Word of the day

February 12, 2013

Anserine – of or pertaining to the subfamily Anserinae, of the family Anatidae, comprising the true geese; of or resembling a goose; gooselike; stupid, foolish, silly.


Rural round-up

February 12, 2013

Are dairy farm workers well paid? – Milking on the Moove:

I often hear dairy farmers say “farm workers work hard, but they are paid well too”

Well are they?

I thought I would look at three scenarios and compare them to a few jobs in town.

They are:
Entry level dairy farm worker 

18 years old
1 years dairy experience
No tertiary qualifications
Is likely to break things/crash things/stuff things and generally do stupid things at any time with no reasonable explanation. . .

Historic Caterpillar tractors to remain in New Zealand:

A collection of 36 rare and historic Caterpillar tractors will stay in New Zealand – thanks to Ben Gough, executive director of Gough Group and his sister, Gina Satterthwaite.

The Canterbury-based brother and sister have secured a deal which will see the machines and associated equipment remain here following the sale in Rotorua of the privately-owned New Zealand Caterpillar Experience.

The Experience has operated for the last seven years, and is well known world-wide as a unique collection of rare machines.

“When the owner, Lindsay Willis, contacted us to see if we were interested in buying the collection, it was too good an opportunity to pass up,” said Ben Gough. . .

Tamariki get farm training on customary land:

A training centre set up to get more tangata whenua into farming has taken on its first students.

Eight people have so far signed up for lessons on a South Taranaki dairy farm owned by Te Rua o Te Moko.

It sits on blocks of customary land in Normanby – collectively controlled by 1100 owners. . .

New Zealand Campaign Signs Two Year Contract with Global Campaign for Wool:

The Campaign for Wool New Zealand has just signed a further two year contract with the global Campaign for Wool.

National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests, who manages the campaign, has endorsed the international plan focused on the concentrated global populations in the Northern Hemisphere, principally in Europe, USA and Asia.

Chairman, Stephen Fookes said, “The patronage of HRH Prince of Wales and other members of the Royal family has provided a huge boost to the aim of creating a wool renaissance globally. We are now starting to see real evidence of increased demand at the consumer end, and this must eventually flow back to wool growers”. . .

New Zealand cheesemakers set to battle for top honours at the tenth NZ Champions of Cheese Awards:

Wheels of cheese are turning, coloured wax is being applied and cheese is being carefully packed for shipping as the country’s finest cheesemakers vie for top honours at the tenth annual NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.

From the smallest artisan cheesemakers producing one cheese a day to the biggest dairy plants exporting cheese globally, New Zealand’s best speciality cheese will take centre stage under one roof later this month.

Marking a ten year milestone this year, the 2013 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards judging will take place at The Langham in Auckland on Sunday 24th February.

With 413 entries from 59 different cheese companies, including six first time entrants and a larger number of smaller artisan companies, this year’s competition may deliver interesting results, organiser of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards Vikki Lee Goode says. . .

Future of postal services: Rural delivery a lifeline says New Zealand Rural General Practice Network:

The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network agrees with Rural Women New Zealand when it says the special role of the rural delivery service needs to be acknowledged and preserved as far as possible.

The Rural Women NZ Postman pat-on-the-back Awards in 2012 revealed the extent of the social and practical services provided by rural delivery contractors who often deliver groceries, medicines, supplies or spare parts, all of which help farmers, small businesses and families overcome the obstacles of living long distances from town.

The award entries also revealed the very important social role played by rural posties. . .

First finalist named in Northern Regional Final:

Ian Douglas, from the Whangarei Young Farmers Club earned top place at the Northern Regional Final in Whangarei on Saturday 9th February, after a long day at the Barge Park Showgrounds.

Mr Douglas secured his spot at the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Final in Auckland 16 – 18 May and took home the winner’s prize pack valued at $9000 which includes cash components from ANZ and AGMARDT, a Lincoln University Scholarship for an entrepreneurial workshop, quality fertiliser products from Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms retail products, and a Honda XR125 two-wheeled farm bike.

Prizes for the runners up included cash from ANZ, Ravensdown products, a Honda water pump, and outdoor power equipment from Husqvarna. All entrants have the opportunity to apply for one of seven Lincoln University Study Scholarships worth up to $4000 each. . .


Global food security and strong trade links key for NZ Ag

February 12, 2013

The world’s increasing focus on global food security and safety and New Zealand’s strong trade links will be key factors in the international competitiveness of New Zealand’s agriculture in 2013.

In its flagship Agriculture in Focus 2013 report – examining the outlook for New Zealand and Australian agriculture – specialist food and agribusiness bank Rabobank identifies key opportunities and challenges for the competitiveness of New Zealand agricultural commodities in the year ahead.

Overall, the report finds the outlook for New Zealand agri commodities remains generally robust, despite some ongoing challenges to competitiveness.

“Global supply and demand fundamentals indicate an increased reliance on exportable supplies from New Zealand in 2013, which should help bolster local prices, largely off-setting the currency drag (from the high dollar),” the report says.

However, the report cautions, maintaining competitiveness is vital in order to take full advantage of the opportunities.

“Enhancing the international competitiveness of New Zealand agribusiness is becoming increasingly challenging. Where possible, these challenges must be tackled in 2013 to mitigate the impacts of the elevated New Zealand dollar and to unlock the growing opportunities for the sector into the future,” it says.

Food security and safety

Chief among the opportunities for the New Zealand agricultural sector are those presented by the pressing global need to provide food security to rapidly-expanding and increasingly wealthy populations, particularly in developing Asian economies.

The report says New Zealand, like its near-neighbour Australia, is well placed to increase the volume of agricultural exports into the Asian region due to its competitive advantages, including superior product quality, developed trade linkages and geographic proximity.

“The issues of food security and food safety provide enormous opportunities for New Zealand and Australia’s agricultural sectors,” the report says. “Both countries have ample supply of high quality food and agricultural products, and comfortably sit on the doorstep of a fast-growing region.”

However, extracting and retaining maximum value for that production – along with maintaining and developing competitive advantages – will be key to ongoing growth in exports, says Rabobank senior analyst Hayley Moynihan.

“The New Zealand agribusiness sector is expected to play a major role as a reliable supplier of high-quality, safe food over the next decade, however it is not the only country eyeing the opportunities presented by the increasing food demand from a rising middle class in Asia. Maintaining competitiveness is vital to take full advantage of the opportunities,” she said.

Food safety is also an important factor identified by the report. “Plagued by local food safety issues, many trading partners are seeking the assurance of high quality imported food and agricultural products,” Ms Moynihan said. “And stringent food quality and safety frameworks already underpin production systems in New Zealand.”

Trade links

Throughout 2013, New Zealand’s strength in international trade links with key importing markets is expected to be a distinct competitive advantage for the country’s agri exporters, according to the Rabobank report.

“The inability of many, particularly developing countries, to feed growing populations through domestic production means that governments are aiming to facilitate trade flows and offshore investment in agriculture as a means of securing food supply,” Ms Moynihan said.

“Trade relationships and agreements are integral in developing and maintaining efficient access to global markets. The continued facilitation of trade flows to ensure stable food stocks globally in 2013 is expected to help support the local prices of agri commodities in New Zealand.”

For New Zealand, a key focus is the ongoing negotiations with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to form a Free Trade Agreement.

The report says foreign interest in New Zealand’s agricultural assets also looks set to continue in 2013, with the country’s reputation for quality food production making it an attractive destination for investors.

Other issues

Other key issues facing the agricultural sector in 2013 identified by the Rabobank report include the strong New Zealand dollar, increasing regulatory pressures and sector employment.

The New Zealand dollar is forecast to remain elevated for at least another 12 months, challenging the competitiveness and profitability of the country’s agricultural exports, the report says.Media Release February 11, 2013 3

“The elevated currency makes the pursuit of future productivity gains in New Zealand agriculture all the more critical,” Ms Moynihan said.

In addition, increasing regulatory pressures are creating some extra headwinds across the agricultural sector adding to the cost of production, as well as creating uncertainty, limiting resource availability and driving change in farming practices.

While attracting current and future generations to agriculture is a priority for all of the farming sector, Ms Moynihan says. “The challenge is not just meeting and being able to afford immediate labour requirements to get the job done, but identifying from where the next generation of farm owners, managers and agribusiness leaders will emerge,” she said.


Knowing when to go

February 12, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI has broken with tradition by announcing he will resign at the end the month.

It’s a very sensible decision to stand down if he feels he is no longer able to do what’s required, rather than hanging on to die in office as his predecessors have done for centuries.

Too often people cling on to a position in business, politics, sport or voluntary organisations, instead of stepping back with their dignity intact before their ability, health, energy and/or  enthusiasm falters.

It isn’t always easy to know when to go but it’s always better to choose to go when you’re still making a positive contribution and can use your talents elsewhere or simply slow down and smell the roses.

The alternative is to be pushed, implicitly or explicitly because you’re no longer up to the job.


The cost of renewable energy

February 12, 2013

Greenpeace doesn’t think its important to address the costs in its report on on renewable energy.

In answer to a question from Nikki Kaye on advice he’d received on the proposition of a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2020 and whether a 100 percent renewable electricity supply would be achievable then-Minister for Climate Change Issues, Nick Smith, said:

. . . I am advised that that would require, first, the writing-off of $4.5 billion of thermal generation assets. It would also require $11 billion for the replacement capacity of 2,500 megawatts, and $2 billion for additional renewable peaking stations needed to ensure security of supply in a dry year. This amounts to a total capital cost of $17.5 billion, excluding the additional transmission investment that would be required, and this would amount to a 30 percent increase in the power price for all consumers. Going 100 percent renewable would also require the equivalent of another seven Clyde Dams to be built by 2020. I do not describe $17.5 billion, a 30 percent power price increase, and seven Clyde Dams as being easy.

New Zealand is blessed with plentiful supplies of water and already have a high proportion of hydro electricity.

But many of the people who want more renewable energy are also opposed to more hydro generation and it would be difficult to find anyone who thought a 30% increase in power charges for everyone was acceptable.


Information not persuasion

February 12, 2013

This year Maori have the first chance since 2006 to choose whether they’re on the Maori or general electoral roll.

“If you are Maori and on the electoral roll, then this year you get to choose which type of electoral roll you want to vote on,” Enrolment Services national manager Murray Wicks said.

“There hasn’t been a Maori Electoral Option since 2006, so we want to make sure that Maori have access to all the information about the option and what it means before making their decision when the option period begins.

“It’s an important choice, and we want people to be confident to take part.”

The Electoral Commission is bound to present information on the options rather than persuade and says Maori organisation tasked with spreading the word should be strictly impartial.

Kiwiblog noted yesterday that one of those organisations is the Maori Council which is in the midst of legal proceedings against the government.

How impartial will it be?

Other groups, not employed by the Commission are free to persuade and they usually urge people to sign up for the Maori roll.

It would be good to see a campaign explaining the disadvantages of that and the benefits of being on the general roll.

As Tariana Turia said, Maori seats didn’t give Maori a voice:

I think what our people are starting to realise though is that when they voted Maori people into Labour they never got a Maori voice, they got a Labour voice and that was the difference, and they’ve only begun to realise it since the Maori Party came into parliament, because it is the first time that they have heard significant Maori issues raised on a daily basis.

Maori seats not only didn’t give Maori a voice, they gave and continue to give them inferior representation because most of them are too big to service effectively and provide constituents with ready access to their MPs.

Te Tai Tonga covers 161,443 square kilometres – the whole of the South Island, Stewart Island and part of Wellington. Te Tai Hauauru is 35, 825 square kilometres in area, Ikaroa-Rawhiti covers 30,952 square kilometres and Waiariki 19,212 square kilometres.

Maori seats were created when the right to vote depended on the ownership of land. That hasn’t applied for decades and there are now more Maori MPs in general seats and on the lists than representing Maori seats.

This gives them better representation than the Maori electorates which were taken for granted until National invited the Maori Party to be a support partner in government.


Right words

February 12, 2013

“I do envy people who find the right words at the right time,” he said.

“I know exactly what you mean,” she said. “People would find I’m much cleverer, kinder and wittier if they could hear the conversations I have with myself at 3am.”


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,328 other followers

%d bloggers like this: