Word of the day

February 28, 2014

Aidos -  the ancient Greek concept of shame, modesty, or reverence, esp. as a motivating force; a personification or representation of this as a goddess, especially in art. (From the Greek goddess of shame, modesty, and humility, Aidos).


Rural round-up

February 28, 2014

It’s ‘Good Times’ following record dairy forecast:

While the dry summer is starting to bite in parts of Waikato and Northland, Fonterra has delivered excellent news for New Zealand by upping its 2013/14 forecast Farmgate Milk Price to a record $8.65 per kilogram of Milk Solids (kg/MS).

“You can say New Zealand is truly a land of milk and honey with the two being at record highs,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson, speaking from Federated Farmers Dairy Council in Wellington.

“I also think this will put a huge smile on Minister Guy’s face when he speaks to us later this morning.  If the forecast sticks this represents ‘good times’ for all Kiwis.

“In 2010, the NZIER said a $1 kg/MS rise in Fonterra’s payout makes every New Zealander nearly $300 better off.  Given this latest 35 cent kg/MS uplift, every New Zealander could be $100 better off as a result of what we do. . .

Forefront of farming’s great journey - Annette Scott:

Sarah Crofoot is a young woman with a clear vision, who is advocating passionately for farmers in the modern New Zealand economy. She talked to Annette Scott.

Sarah Crofoot grew up on a farm 45 minutes from New York City.

She treasures her rural upbringing and at just 23 she is clear on what she wants for her children and future generations.

“Because I grew up in New York it has made me appreciate how lucky we are in New Zealand, with the amazing opportunities we have in agriculture,” she said.  .  .

More than 5300 farmers to benefit from TB changes:

From 1 March 2014, more than 5300 herdowners across some 1.7 million hectares will benefit from reductions in both Movement Control Areas (MCA) and cattle and deer bovine tuberculosis (TB) tests.

Herds throughout parts of the Central North Island, Southern North Island and Northern South Island will no longer require pre-movement TB testing, but will continue to be tested annually.

Farmer and Wellington TBfree Committee Chairman Peter Gaskin no longer has to pre-movement test his cattle. He said the progress made by the TB control programme through movement restrictions and wild animal control has been particularly satisfying.

“It’s been very pleasing for farmers to be able to enjoy another on-farm benefit, resulting from the sustained pressure applied by TBfree New Zealand, as it implements the national TB control plan,” said Peter. . .

Growing Dynamic Leaders with Rural Women NZ:

Eleven women from around New Zealand arrive in Wellington today for the start of a three day leadership course co-ordinated by Rural Women NZ and sponsored by Landcorp.

The women – all Rural Women NZ members – are active in their communities and are now looking to grow their communications skills, enhance their networks, and learn more of the work of our organisation at a national level.

“The women will explore what makes an effective leader, how to influence others and the importance of networks both within the organisation and in the broader rural sector,” says Rural Women NZ national president, Wendy McGowan. . . .

ACC announces new forestry sector injury prevention initiative:

ACC announced today that work has begun developing a new injury prevention programme, aimed at encouraging safer practices in the forestry sector.

The ‘ACC Forestry Sector Injury Prevention Programme’ will be developed and implemented in collaboration with WorkSafe NZ, the NZ Forest Owners Association (FOA), the Forestry Industry Contractors Association (FICA) and the Council of Trade Unions (CTU).

ACC’s Head of Insurance Products and Injury Prevention, David Simpson, says “For the past eighteen months, the safety record of New Zealand’s forestry industry has lagged behind other New Zealand industries, as well as forestry sectors globally. Recent fatalities, eleven since January 2013, have highlighted ongoing safety concerns. . .

Online tool compares energy efficiency of dairy sheds across NZ:

Dairy farmers could save $42 million through electricity efficiency measures in the dairy shed, and now an online tool is available that gives individual farmers an idea of how well they are making use of the electricity they pay for.

EECA BUSINESS has launched the Dairy Farm Energy Efficiency tool, which compares a dairy farm’s electricity use to other dairy farms in New Zealand, and to best practice.

The average New Zealand dairy farm spends over $20,000 a year on electricity, but dairy sheds vary a lot in how efficiently they use their electricity, says Kirk Archibald, EECA projects and relationship manager.

“Some dairy farms are using three times as much electricity as others for the same milk-solids production.” . . .

Federated Farmers’ Executive an environmental leader:

Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre Executive member, Sandra Faulkner, along with her family business partners, husband Rob and brother and sister in laws, Bruce and Jo Graham, have won the Supreme Award at the East Coast Balance Farm Environment Awards last night, taking them through to the national finals on 24 June.

“We are incredibly proud of Sandra, who is both a national and provincial executive for Federated Farmers, and her business partners for taking out this award. This meat and fibre farm is as diverse as it is environmentally friendly,” says Peter Jex-Blake, Federated Farmers provincial president for Gisborne-Wairoa. . .


Friday’s answers

February 28, 2014

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.?

2. Who’s the 2014 New Zealander of the Year and who won the award last year?

3. It’s too easy in French and Italian,  éxito in Spanish and  angitu or akito  in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Who wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People?

5. How do you judge success?

Points for answers:

Andrei and Alwyn both got four and a half right. (Question 2 had two parts).

Since they’re so close to five, they win an electronic chocolate cake.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


Raising children for better world

February 28, 2014

Apropos of the discussion on children:
“Like” if you agree.   Do you have wonderfully kind children? Tell us about them in the comments!

I read this as encouragement to nurture, but not spoil.

Children need love, security, boundaries and consequences for breeching them.

Those consequences should not be violent, they should be fair and not cause fear for safety and wellbeing.


Lift in milk payout to record $8.65 – thanks China

February 28, 2014

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has lifted its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2013/14 season by 35 cents to a record level of $8.65 per kilo of milk solids.

The increase – along with a previously announced estimated dividend of 10 cents per share –amounts to a forecast Cash Payout of $8.75.

Chairman John Wilson said the higher forecast was good news for farmers, and for New Zealand.

“The increase reflects continuing strong demand for milk powders globally.

“Last December, the Board approved a forecast Farmgate Milk Price that was 70 cents per kgMS below the Farmgate Milk Price that had been calculated in accordance with the Milk Price Manual.

“We are maintaining this position, with today’s forecast being 70 cents lower than the $9.35 Milk Price derived under the Milk Price Manual.

“The Board has the discretion to pay a lower Farmgate Milk Price than that specified under the Manual, if it is in the best interests of the Co-operative,” said Mr Wilson.

The Board has also approved an increase in the Advance Rate schedule of monthly payments to farmer shareholders.  Payments from March through to June will be 25 cents per kgMS higher than the previously published schedule. . .

The increase will inject another half billion dollars into the economy but next season’s price is expected to be lower:

. . . Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface said they maintained their view that increasing global milk production, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, would weigh on dairy prices from mid-2014.

”Consequently our forecast is for the milk price to fall next season to $7.10/kg MS.”

The payout along with what is expected to be new record highs in production, would provide a big boost to incomes in the rural sector, and would be a key pillar of stronger growth in the New Zealand economy in 2014.

For the average Fonterra shareholder nationwide with a herd of 402 cows milking 346kg milk solids per cow, it was an additional $48,682 in income, according to DairyNZ data for the 2012-13 season. . . .

The increase is due to continuing demand from China which is now our biggest export market.

In January 2014, goods exports were worth $4.1 billion, with $1.2 billion going to China and $556 million to Australia, Statistics New Zealand said today.

The rise in exports to China, up $590 million, was due to milk powder, butter, and cheese exports, up $469 million. The fall in exports to Australia, down $80 million, was due to unwrought gold and silver, and crude oil.

“A record 30 percent of our total exports headed to China in January 2014,” industry and labour statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said. “These exports were more than double the value of those that went to Australia.” .

The trade balance for January 2014 was a surplus of $306 million (7.5 percent of exports). This is the highest-ever trade surplus for any January month. . .

The free trade deal with China is paying huge dividends.

Increased export income will be welcome at a personal level by farmers and the wise ones will use at least some of the increase to reduce debt.

It will also be welcome at a national level – adding to tax income and helping keep the country on track back to surplus.

 


February 28 in history

February 28, 2014

20 BC coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han takes place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty‘s rule over China.

870 The Fourth Council of Constantinople closed.

1261 Margaret of Scotland, queen of Norway, was born  (d. 1283).

1638 The Scottish National Covenant was signed in Edinburgh.

1710  In the Battle of Helsingborg, 14,000 Danish invaders under Jørgen Rantzau were decisively defeated by an equally sized Swedish force under Magnus Stenbock.

1784 John Wesley chartered the Methodist Church.

1787 The charter establishing the institution now known as the University of Pittsburgh was granted.

1824 Blondin, French tightrope walker, was born  (d. 1897).

1827  The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people and freight.

1838 Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaimed the independence of Lower Canada (today Québec).

1844 A gun on USS Princeton exploded while the boat was on a Potomac River cruise, killing eight people, including two United States Cabinet members.

1849 Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States began with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 21 days after leaving New York Harbour.

1865 Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary, was born  (d. 1940).

1870 The Bulgarian Exarchate was established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire.

1883 The first vaudeville theatre opened in Boston, Massachusetts.

1897 Queen Ranavalona III, the last monarch of Madagascar, was deposed by a French military force.

1900 The Second Boer War: The 118-day “Siege of Ladysmith” was lifted.

1912 Clara Petacci, Italian mistress of Benito Mussolini, was born  (d. 1945).

1914 The Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus was proclaimed in Gjirokastër, by the Greeks living in southern Albania.

1922 The United Kingdom accepted the independence of Egypt.

1925 Harry H Corbett, English actor, was born  (d. 1982).

1928  C.V. Raman discovered Raman effect.

1933 Gleichschaltung: The Reichstag Fire Decree was passed in Germany a day after the Reichstag fire.

1935 DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invented Nylon.

1939 The first issue of Serbian weekly magazine Politikin zabavnik was published.

1939 – The erroneous word “Dord” was discovered in the Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation.

1942 Brian Jones, English musician (The Rolling Stones), was born  (d. 1969).

1942 The heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30) was sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait with 693 crew members killed.

1943 Charles Bernstein, American composer, was born.

1945 New Zealand soldier David Russell was executed by a Nazi firing squad in Italy.

Kiwi soldier faces Nazi firing squad

1946 Robin Cook, British politician, was born.

1947 228 Incident: In Taiwan, civil disorder is put down with the loss of 30,000 civilian lives.

1953 Paul Krugman, American economist, Nobel laureate, was born.

1957 Cindy Wilson, American singer (The B-52′s), was born.

1958 A school bus in Floyd County, Kentucky hits a wrecker truck and plunged down an embankment into the rain-swollen Levisa Fork River. The driver and 26 children died in what remains the worst school bus accident in U.S. history.

1970 Daniel Handler, American writer, better known as Lemony Snicket, was born.

1972 The Asama-Sanso incident ended in Japan.

1972 The United States and People’s Republic of China signed the Shanghai Communiqué.

1974 Moana Mackey, New Zealand politician, was born.

1975 A major tube train crash at Moorgate station, London killed 43 people.

1985 The Provisional Irish Republican Army carried out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary police station at Newry, killing nine officers in the highest loss of life for the RUC on a single day.

1986 Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden  was assassinated in Stockholm.

1991 The first Gulf War ended.

1993 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raided the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas with a warrant to arrest the group’s leader David Koresh. Four BATF agents and five Davidians die in the initial raid, starting a 51-day standoff.

1995 Denver International Airport officially opened in Denver, Colorado to replace Stapleton International Airport

1997 – The North Hollywood shootout took place.

1998 – First flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace.

1998 – Kosovo War: Serbian police begin the offensive against the Kosovo Liberation Army in Kosovo.

2001 – The Nisqually Earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale hits the Nisqually Valley and the Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia area of the U.S. state of Washington.

2001 – Six passengers and four railway staff are killed and a further 82 people suffer serious injuries in the Selby rail crash.

200 More than 1 million Taiwanese participating in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally formed a 500-kilometre (300-mile) long human chain to commemorate the 228 Incident in 1947.

2005 Lebanon‘s pro-Syrian prime minister, Omar Karami, resigned amid large anti-Syria street demonstrations in Beirut.

2005 A suicide bombing at a police recruiting centre in Al Hillah, Iraq killed 127.

2007  Jupiter flyby of the New Horizons Pluto-observer spacecraft.

2013 – Pope Benedict XVI resigned as the pope of the Catholic Church becoming the first pope to do so since 1415.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

February 27, 2014

Snickersnee – a knife, especially one used as a weapon; a knife fight; to engage in cut-and-thrust fighting.


Rural round-up

February 27, 2014

Very, very sad and entirely unnecessary – Gravedodger:

Last night on Sky News 10pm nz summer time, a scheduled regular Wednesday Hour featuring resident lefty Graeme ‘Richo’ Richardson and radio jock Alan Jones, Wallaby coach in a previous life, had a harrowing expose on the Bush and its current Drought that has been running over parts of all mainland States for 18 months and continuing.

5000 cattle are dying every day, a grazier/farmer is taking their own life every 4 days, one grazier attempted to sell his last 500 sheep only to be told they were valueless and a sale impossible. He took them back home killed them then took his own life.

Australia is regarded by many, far too many, as too marginal for farming over most of the mainland.
A few salient facts;
Australia currently employs only 6% of the water that reaches the sea.
Immeasurable giga liters are allowed to flow into the Timor  and Coral Seas.
Much water flows from the great divide East while the Bush lies parched to the west.
The town of Cloncurry near Mt Isa was threatened with evacuation until a few weeks respite came in rain that did not solve the problem long term. . . .

5000-10,000 cattle dying in north every day: Katter:

North Queensland MP Bob Katter says anecdotal reports suggest that drought is causing the deaths of between 5000 to 10,000 cattle every day across the state’s north, an area which is home to about one quarter of the national cattle herd.

The Federal member for Kennedy and leader of the Katter Australia Party says $100m in grants, the creation of an Australian Reconstruction and Development Bank and better access for graziers to underground water for irrigation are urgently needed to avert further losses and a dramatic reduction in the region’s future productive capacity.

With producers now enduring their second failed wet season in a row and affordable drought fodder all but impossible to source, many cattle were now dying cruel deaths from starvation, and reports of rural suicides were becoming increasingly prevalent. . .

Mendip fulfilling reverend’s dream - Tim Fulton:

The Reverend Dr Bryden Black is a priest and a businessman. Tim Fulton talks to the vicar about his love for Mendip Hills Station, site of a proposed cadet school.

Mendip Hills Station is being taken by the scruff of the neck, just as the Black family has long hoped.

Bryden Black is keen for his sheep, beef and deer farm near Cheviot to stir young farmers.

His family has been at Mendip since the mid-1950s, either running it directly or under a manager. . .

Family farms are under threat – Stephen Bell:

Family farms will continue to excel as part of New Zealand’s rural landscape, agricultural communicator of the year Doug Avery says.

Passion would keep individual farmers on the land, the Marlborough drylands farmer said.

“You can’t replace passion in anything and people that are working for themselves, with their own vision, have that element that is called passion, which will lead and beat pretty much anything else that corporate structures will throw at us,” he said. . . .

Sheep and beef farmers to vote on genetics investment proposal:

New Zealand sheep and beef farmers are being asked to consider a proposal that would combine Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s current genetics investments and speed up genetic advances.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Dr Scott Champion said voting packs were out with farmers now and they were being asked to support the organisation’s continued investment of $2.9 million a year, for the next five years.

“This would be matched by the Government which has already said it will invest $3 million a year if the proposal is supported by farmers,” Dr Champion said. . .

Should agribusinesses fix their interest rates?:

Recent low interest rates have encouraged some agribusiness owners to fix their rates, but that can be a mistake, says Hayden Dillon, Managing Principal, Waikato, for Crowe Horwath. Constantly changing market conditions mean it is crucial for interest-rate hedging to be treated as part of an ongoing strategy.

“Hedging is not a single event,” said Mr Dillon. “Very few businesses remain stagnant and the market never remains stagnant. Having an understanding of the impact of likely significant changes in your business is critical to being successful. And having a clear strategy around exactly what you’re trying to achieve is the first and most important step.”

Because there are a number of often complex financial instruments available, Mr Dillon recommended managing interest rate hedging through an independent advisor who specialised in the field, rather than a banker or accountant. . .


Thursday’s quiz

February 27, 2014

1. Who said: Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.?

2. Who’s the 2014 New Zealander of the Year and who won the award last year?

3. It’s too easy in French and Italian,  éxito in Spanish and  angitu or akitu  in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Who wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People?

5. What attributes do you consider important for success?


Tony Ryall not seeking re-election

February 27, 2014

Health and States Services Minister  Tony Ryall has announced he won’t be seeking re-election.

“I am looking forward to being part of New Zealand’s dynamic future in the private sector,” Mr Ryall says.

Mr Ryall has been in Parliament for 24 years, as a young back bencher, an opposition spokesman and a Minister of six portfolios.

“This is the right year for me to leave politics, and I’m up for the next challenge. The Government is doing very well and the National Party is in great heart.

“It has been a huge privilege representing the Bay of Plenty since 1990 and having a senior role in John Key’s high-achieving government. I’ve greatly enjoyed being in Parliament.”

As Minister of Health since the National Government took office in 2008, Mr Ryall has overseen significant change and improvement in services.

“Our health services have been transformed with a great effort by clinicians and motivated teams across the sector.

“In 2008, the health system was on track to financial ruin but we’ve turned that around. My more business-like approach has provided more services and better care for patients within a tight budgetary environment.

“I am particularly proud of achieving record elective surgery, faster cancer treatment, and more effective preventive healthcare for New Zealanders.

“Many people underestimate the importance of the health sector in New Zealand which amounts to one-tenth of the economy. There are some 70,000 people employed directly in the public health service alone.

“And we have a very vibrant private sector too, with innovative and successful New Zealand companies like Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. There’s a wide group of NZ Health IT and medical device manufacturers whose innovation and expertise is developing technologies for here and abroad.

“As State Owned Enterprises Minister, it’s been a pleasure working with Bill English to oversee the government share offer programme.

“This has deepened New Zealand’s capital markets and to date has generated almost $4 billion to help control debt.

“Externally, the mixed ownership model has forced increased scrutiny and debate on the performance of these companies, the service they provide their customers, and of their value to New Zealand.

“Across the wider SOE portfolio I’ve introduced an on-going series of strategic reviews. These enable the Crown and the board of an entity to consider the longer term strategy and future direction of each business. This has already led to significant improvements and will generate further benefits over time.

“As State Services Minister I was pleased to introduce the performance improvement framework for departments and the cap on public service staff numbers.

“I have discussed my decision with Mr Key and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, who were both disappointed but supportive.

“There is still a lot of work to do in both my portfolios and I appreciate the Prime Minister allowing me to continue my work in Cabinet until the next election.

“I also want to thank all the good people who have voted for me over the years, and in particular the great team who have worked so hard for me in my National Party organisation.”

Reporter’s notes:
Tony Ryall entered Parliament as MP for East Cape in 1990 at age 26.
Between 1997 and 1999 Mr Ryall was at times Minister for State-Owned Enterprises, Minister of Local Government, Minister of Youth Affairs, and Minister of Justice.
During the National Party’s time in Opposition, he was Law and Order Spokesman (1999–2005), Commerce Spokesman (2002 – 2003) and Health Spokesman (2005–2008).

Since 2008 Mr Ryall has served as Minister of Health and again as Minister for State Owned Enterprises (2011 – ). He was Minister of State Services 2008 – 2011.
His majority in the Bay of Plenty electorate is 17,760.

Health is one of the most important and demanding portfolios and the Minister has accomplished a lot of work in improving services and getting better value for money.

His will be big shoes to fill in Cabinet, caucus and his electorate.

He is the 14th National MP to stand down which is enabling refreshment in caucus in stark contrast to Labour.


Dr Lance O’Sullivan NZer of Year

February 27, 2014

Northland GP Dr Lance O’Sullivan is New Zealander of the Year.

Prime Minister John Key presented O’Sullivan with the award at a ceremony in Auckland this evening.

The Kaitaia-based doctor was honoured for his leadership, vision and advocacy in healthcare.

Accepting the award, O’Sullivan said: “We don’t do what we do for recognition, but when nights like this happen it helps us go forward for another day, another week, another month, another year.”

O’Sullivan and his wife, Tracy, established low-cost health clinic Te Kohanga Whakaora (The Nest of Wellness) to make basic healthcare more accessible for people in the Far North.

He also set up Northland’s first fulltime, school-based health clinic, which provides medical care to 2000 children across the region.

His Kainga Ora (Well Home) initiative fixes rundown homes in the community and promotes the idea wellness begins in safe, warm homes. . .

Choreographer and dancer Parris Goebel has won Kiwibank Young New Zealander of the Year.

She and her Palace Dance Company have showcased New Zealand dance on the international stage. 

Presented by the Minister of Youth Affairs, Nikki Kaye, Goebel dedicated the award to her parents.  . .

Tauranga businesswoman Frances Denz took away this year’s Senior New Zealander award.  

As a business educator, she has helped thousands of people and people with disabilities to start businesses and find employment.  

“People from all sorts of backgrounds can achieve wonders. We are a wonderful place, I want us all to work to achieve magic,” she said. 

Chief scientific officer and co-founder of the pioneering sustainable fuel company, Lanzatech, Dr Sean Simpson, was the winner of the inaugural Sanitarium Innovator of the Year.  . .

Cecilia Sullivan-Grant, who inspired young people in Dunedin to take up apprenticeships when the trades had gone out of fashion, was the Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year. 

“To me I am not a hero, it is the people I work with.  I am a farm girl from South Canterbury, and I dearly love my country,” she said. 

The Mitre 10 Community of the Year award was given to the New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups, for their support for victims of crime and trauma, including homicide, suicide,  and serious and grievous assaults. . .

I like the way these awards celebrate ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

You can read about past recipients here.

 

 


Will Labour move on Mana?

February 27, 2014

Recent Mana Party member Matt McCarten is now Labour’s chief of staff – what will that mean for Mana?

Will Labour court its leader, and sole MP, Hone Harawira and invite him to join them?

Will it go after his seat?

Of will they be happy to leave him to the electorate they believe is theirs to give them another coalition partner?

The first and third options won’t appeal to the lighter pink people towards the centre who are already being scared to the centre right by the prospect of a Labour-Green government.


Mustn’t put feet up

February 27, 2014

Quote of the day:

We must avoid complacency that might flow from believing today’s good times are permanent.

We don’t want to make a habit of doing the hard work under pressure, then putting our feet up just when the serious long-term gains are within our reach. . . Bill English.

He was speaking to Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Massey University:

 . . . This is the fifth time I’ve spoken at this forum since becoming Minister of Finance.

With your support later this year, I look forward to returning in 2015.

Today I’d like to update you on the Government’s economic programme and summarise the opportunities we have to lock in the benefits of our improving economy.

And I want to talk about what you can expect from another National-led Government, should we have the privilege of a third term.

Our approach will remain clear and predictable.

In the shorter term, we’ve worked to protect New Zealanders from the sharpest edges of the recession, and to help the people of Christchurch through the devastating earthquakes.

We have incurred significant extra debt by spending in excess of our revenue to protect the most vulnerable families, to maintain living standards and to support the renewal of our second-largest city.

As the economy improves, we will begin repaying that debt until it is down to prudent levels.

At the same time, we have set out on a longer-term path to repair the damage to our economy from several years of excessive borrowing, consumption and government spending, and the global financial crisis.

Reducing debt and repairing the damage of the failed policies of the noughties must be priorities once we’re back in surplus.

So together with households and businesses, we are rebuilding the economy’s capacity to deliver more jobs and higher incomes over the next decade. We are starting to see positive results.

More recently, the Government’s focus has moved from managing our way out of recession to managing a growing economy.

Initially, growth in the economy has been driven by high prices for our export markets, a catch-up in housing supply and the Christchurch rebuild.

This momentum is turning into a broader-based recovery where consumer and business confidence has lifted, employment is rising across the board and wages on average are increasing ahead of the cost of living.

However, the Government is taking a long-term view about the health of our economy. Each of the initial drivers of growth will peak over the next few years.

Export prices are likely to come back closer to normal levels, housing supply will eventually catch up and the Christchurch rebuild will peak and eventually slow.

We are setting out to manage this growing economy with a five to 10-year view in mind.

The Government will continue to focus on lifting New Zealand’s underlying growth rate so that beyond the peak of this economic cycle, incomes continue to rise and new jobs continue to be created.

And it’s critical we maintain a long-term focus. The rest of the world will not stand still.

By 2017, Australia, the US, the UK and Europe will have spent a decade since the global financial crisis becoming more innovative and more competitive.

And while emerging economies face uncertainty in the short term, they will continue their march up the value chain in the long term, adding to competitive pressure.

So later in the decade, we will be challenged again on our ability to improve the standard of living for all New Zealanders.

Our task is to take the opportunity of a reasonable growth outlook to deepen investment, upgrade skills, intensify and diversify our export base and rethink the next stage of gaining competitiveness.

We must avoid complacency that might flow from believing today’s good times are permanent.

We don’t want to make a habit of doing the hard work under pressure, then putting our feet up just when the serious long-term gains are within our reach.

We’ve seen that happen in the last decade.

Until the mid-2000s, New Zealand enjoyed a period of low inflation and high growth.

Complacency then led to a rapid pick-up in government spending, policy that undermined competitiveness, soaring house prices and an unprecedented increase in household debt.

By 2008, households faced mortgage rates of almost 11 per cent and business rates exceeded 9 per cent.

Interest rates are likely to rise soon, but they will still be well below the 11% in the dying days of the last Labour-led government.

The high cost of capital dampened business and investment growth.

It’s likely that relatively low productivity growth recently is a result of that drop in investment.

So while some increase in interest rates is an inevitable consequence of a growing economy, we need to do everything we can to ensure they don’t rise too sharply in the next few years.

We must create the conditions where higher levels of skills and better conditions for investment lay the foundation for more innovation, more diversification and more capital intensity.

Two areas where the Government can act to dampen the interest rate cycle are through housing market regulation and through government spending control.

Demand for housing is rising, and a sharp turnaround in migration flows will push demand even higher.

Planning rules and attitudes have restricted the supply of new houses that can be built in response to this demand.

We are working to significantly increase the supply of housing, particularly in Auckland and Christchurch.

The Government remains determined to free up supply so more low- and middle-income families can benefit from home ownership and so we can protect the wider economy from unnecessarily high interest rates.

Careful government spending will also help to keep interest rates lower, as the Reserve Bank regularly points out.

Politicians should not splash cash everywhere just because we are within sight of a paper-thin budget surplus next year.

If governments make large cash injections into the economy when house prices are already high, interest rates will be pushed up further.

That’s the danger a Labour-Green government would pose.

Our strong focus on better public services demonstrates that a system organised around getting results community by community can achieve so much.

In fact, the possibility of more spending can be a distraction from a growing focus in the public sector on solving complex problems rather than throwing money at them.

The National-led Government intends to avoid repeating the mistakes of the previous economic cycle.

And we believe we have the support of New Zealanders who can remember the dashed hopes of debt-fuelled growth and floating mortgage rates above 10 per cent.

They will benefit most from a stronger, more stable, economy that can again weather global storms and deliver higher incomes and more jobs.

But to take advantage of the opportunities we have, we must continue our relentless focus on doing hundreds of things better.

New Zealand’s productivity growth can be improved.

We know it will lift if all our efforts focus on higher skill levels for all New Zealanders and excellent conditions for more business investment.

As I mentioned to you last year, we’ve pulled all of this together in the Business Growth Agenda work programme.

This has six focus areas:

Export markets

Capital markets

Innovation

Skilled and safe workplaces

Natural resources

And infrastructure

The programme will be refreshed this year. I want to thank the business community for its participation in open and constructive discussions and helping to develop the Agenda.

Improving New Zealand’s capital markets is one of the focus areas within that work programme.

The Government’s share offer programme is contributing to deepening capital markets so more businesses can source the capital they need for new investment.

Our sale of minority shareholdings in three energy companies and Air New Zealand is delivering several benefits – including reducing the need to run up more debt to pay for new public assets.

It is also reducing risk for taxpayers.

The public sector is not well-equipped to manage the risks of commercial businesses operating in competitive markets.

Sadly and expensively for taxpayers, Solid Energy proves this point.

Full government ownership of most electricity generation was likely to become more problematic as market competition intensified – as illustrated by the fact that 20 per cent of all consumers changed suppliers last year.

The energy companies in the share offer programme will benefit from extra market scrutiny in the same way Air New Zealand has since it was set up as a mixed ownership company by the previous government.

A 100 per cent government-owned Air New Zealand would certainly not be the nimble, world-beating airline it has become.

As you will know, last year we successfully floated minority shareholdings in Mighty River Power and Meridian Energy, and we sold down 20 per cent of the Crown’s shareholding in Air New Zealand.

We met every one of the tests we set for the share offer programme.

New Zealanders were at the front of the queue for shares.

Including the Government’s majority stakes, at least 85 per cent of the shares were held by New Zealanders after each float.

We’ve so far raised around $4 billion, which is being invested in new public assets such as schools, hospitals and ultra-fast broadband.

That’s $4 billion we don’t have to borrow from overseas lenders.

And the share programme has been a shot in the arm for New Zealand’s capital markets.

As the NZX has noted, 2013 was a tremendous year for the sharemarket on all fronts.

Around $7.3 billion of new capital was listed on the NZX in 2013.

The total number of trades jumped by more than 30 per cent last year.

Driving this increased activity was a renewed interest in the markets by New Zealand investors.

More than 115,000 new common shareholder numbers were issued to investors last year, taking the total number of active accounts on the NZX to 585,000.

The sharemarket is now a more attractive option for sourcing the investment required to boost productivity.

The Government’s share offer programme has no doubt contributed significantly to this extra interest by New Zealanders in the sharemarket.

Today I can confirm that ministers have agreed to proceed with the last of the Government’s share offers – a minority stake in Genesis Energy, subject to market conditions.

We expect to open the offer in March and complete it in time for Genesis to list on the sharemarket around the middle of April.

We will set out all of the details in the next few weeks.

As with the other share offers, New Zealanders will be at the front of the queue for Genesis shares and we remain committed to at least 85 per cent Kiwi ownership.

Each of the previous share offers was structured to meet our balanced objectives of achieving good value for taxpayers and providing opportunities for New Zealand investors.

We will be doing that again through some new features for the Genesis offer.

First, the shares will be priced at the start of the offer period – rather than at the end as we have for the previous IPOs. This process is known as a front-end book build.

It will provide more certainty for Kiwi retail investors, because they will know the price when they apply for shares.

For the first time in the Government’s share offer programme, it means that New Zealand sharebrokers will bid for shares at the same time as institutions.

This will create stronger competition for shares.

We also expect that a range of independent reports from sharebrokers and other analysts will be available to New Zealand retail investors – as was the case during the Meridian IPO.

A front-end book build was used successfully last year during the Synlait, SLI Systems and Wynyard IPOs.

Second, the Government expects to sell between 30 per cent and 49 per cent of Genesis.

When we announced the share offer programme almost three years ago, we said that we would sell up to 49 per cent of these companies, subject to market conditions.

Our initial advice is that a smaller Genesis offer could increase price tension in the front-end book build by offering fewer shares to more bidders.

But we will not know that until we further test demand in the market, where investors now have a wider choice of several energy companies.

Our aim is to set a fair market price that works for both taxpayers and investors.

We will announce a final decision on how much of the company we intend to sell before the offer opens.

Third, I can confirm we will offer loyalty bonus shares to eligible New Zealand retail investors in Genesis – as we did with the Mighty River Power offer.

The quantity of bonus shares and the loyalty term will be announced at the start of the share offer.

In addition to the front-end book build and loyalty bonus scheme, we are taking another step to make the process more user-friendly for New Zealand investors.

Genesis Energy directors and the Treasury have been consulting closely with the Financial Markets Authority to produce a separate Investment Statement for the Genesis offer.

The more succinct Investment Statement will be the primary investment document for retail investors.

We will have more to say about the details and exact timing of the Genesis share offer in the next couple of weeks.

I also want to reiterate the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this week that Genesis will be the last state owned enterprise or mixed ownership company to be floated by the National-led Government.

The Government won’t be selling any more shares in SOEs or mixed ownership companies – either this term or after the election.

We’ve achieved what we wanted to with the share offers in energy companies and Air New Zealand.

We’re now returning to a business-as-usual approach to SOEs.

That obviously doesn’t preclude SOEs buying and selling assets themselves, which they do all the time, or entering joint ventures or other arrangements.

The remaining SOEs are a combination of small entities, natural monopolies or companies in sectors that are unsuitable for future share offers.

What people don’t realise is that the value of the share sales programme is just 2 per cent of around $250 billion of total assets owned by taxpayers.

And while the share offer programme has been going on, the Government has invested heavily in other parts of its portfolio of assets.

Our focus will remain on improving the management of this significant stock of assets, on behalf of New Zealand taxpayers who rely on them to deliver high-quality public services.

So we need to make sure they are getting the best value for this considerable investment.

I’ll give you a good example. Taxpayers own $17 billion of state houses.

Around one-third of these houses are in the wrong place or are the wrong size.

The state has not kept up with the impact of changing demand in terms of the size or location of state housing.

So assistance for vulnerable New Zealanders in need is not as effective as it should be.

Yet the opposition will kick and scream at any proposal to sell houses which aren’t fit for purpose or in the right place.

The Government will continue working with other housing providers who can better meet demand.

In housing and in other areas, we will continue recycling taxpayer assets to free-up money for reinvestment in areas where there is genuine demand.

This is just one example of how we will better manage existing and new capital on the Crown’s balance sheet.

Conclusion

So in conclusion, later this year New Zealanders will have a clear choice as we head into the election campaign.

11
Under John Key’s leadership, the Government, alongside households and businesses, has managed New Zealand through some of the most significant challenges we’ve seen in generations.

We have a faster-growing, more sustainable economy. Wages are increasing faster than the cost of living and tens of thousands more jobs are being created every year.

We are providing more elective operations, more New Zealanders are getting off welfare and into work, and the crime rate is falling.

We’re on track to surplus next year, and we’ll soon be able to start repaying debt and investing a bit more in priority public services.

The alternative is to put all of this at risk at the election and radically change direction.

We’ve already had a taste of what that change of direction would involve: a combination of high government spending, anti-market economic experiments and a lack of focus on what really matters.

That is a backward-looking policy prescription, particularly when the Government’s existing programme is starting to pay dividends.

I believe New Zealand now has the opportunity to significantly improve its economic fortunes and provide a better future for New Zealand families.

We are making good progress, but there is a lot more to be done.

Providing we stick to our plan, I’m confident that we will build the brighter future New Zealanders deserve.

The difference between the two major parties and the governments they would lead after the election are stark.

National is offering policies which are working. Labour is promising policies that won’t.

Labour and its coalition partners will offer to throw money at problems, National is offering policies to solve them.


McCarten in, Anderton out

February 27, 2014

One of new Labour chief of staff Matt McCarten’s biggest tasks is to unite the caucus and party.

But he’s already lost a big player:

Matt McCarten’s appointment as Labour leader David Cunliffe’s chief of staff has reawakened a longstanding rift – former Progressives leader Jim Anderton has withdrawn his help for Labour in this year’s election campaign. . .

Asked if he and Mr Anderton had reconciled since the then Deputy Prime Minister split from the Alliance in 2002, Mr McCarten said the differences at that time were “profound” but “we will work together on this campaign”.

Mr Cunliffe would not say if Mr Anderton had agreed with the choice of Mr McCarten, “but Jim is showing by his actions that he’s coming home to Labour”.

However, Mr Anderton made it clear he was not coming home, saying he helped Labour in the 2013 Christchurch East byelection and in his old electorate of Wigram in 2008 “but I will not be helping in the general election campaign. I don’t want there to be any confusion.”

He had not spoken about Mr McCarten publicly since the Alliance split “and I don’t intend to start now”. . .

Anderton didn’t just help with the by-election, he led Labour’s campaign and losing him will leave a huge hole in Labour’s organisational team in Christchurch.

Another of Labour’s problems is the dead wood in its caucus.

Only Ross Robertson has announced his retirement.

McCarten, and leader David Cunliffe will no doubt have a little list of others they’d like to follow Robertson’s example.

But if they’re pushed they’ll have nothing to lose and could do a lot of damage to Labour in the few months left before the election.


February 27 in history

February 27, 2014

1560 The Treaty of Berwick, which expelled the French from Scotland, was signed by England and the Congregation of Scotland.

1594 Henry IV was crowned King of France.

1617 Sweden and Russia signed the Treaty of Stolbovo, ending the Ingrian War and shutting Russia out of the Baltic Sea.

1626 Yuan Chonghuan was appointed Governor of Liaodong, after he led the Chinese into a great victory against the Manchurians.

1700 William Dampier was the first European to discover the island of New Britain.

1797 The Bank of England issued the first one-pound and two-pound notes.

1807 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet, was born  (d. 1882).

1812 Poet Lord Byron gave his first address as a member of the House of Lords, in defense of Luddite violence against Industrialism in his home county of Nottinghamshire.

1844 The Dominican Republic gained independence from Haiti.

1900 British military leaders received an unconditional notice of surrender from Boer General Piet Cronje at the Battle of Paardeberg.

1900 The British Labour Party was founded.

1902 John Steinbeck, American writer, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1968).

1912 Lawrence Durrell, British writer, was born (d. 1990).

1921 The International Working Union of Socialist Parties was founded in Vienna.

1922 A challenge to the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, allowing women the right to vote, was rebuffed by the Supreme Court of the United States in Leser v. Garnett.

1930 Joanne Woodward, American actress, was born.

1932  Elizabeth Taylor, British-American actress, was born  (d.2011).

1933 Reichstag fire: Germany’s parliament building in Berlin was set on fire.

1934 Ralph Nader, American author, activist and political figure, was born.

1939 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sit-down strikes violated property owners’ rights and were therefore illegal.

1940  Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discovered carbon-14

1942 During the Battle of the Java Sea, an allied strike force was defeated by a Japanese task force in the Java Sea.

1943 The Smith Mine #3 in Bearcreek, Montana, exploded, killing 74 men.

1943 – The Rosenstrasse protest started in Berlin.

1945 Lebanon declared Independence.

1951 The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, was ratified.

1951 Troops were sent on to Wellington and Auckland wharves to load and unload ships during the waterfront dispute.

Troops deployed in waterfront dispute

1961 The first congress of the Spanish Trade Union Organisation was inaugurated.

1963 The Dominican Republic got its first democratically elected president, Juan Bosch, since the end of the dictatorship led by Rafael Trujillo.

1964 The government of Italy asked for help to keep the Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over.

1967 Dominica gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1973  The American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

1974 – People magazine was published for the first time.

1976 The formerly Spanish territory of Western Sahara, under the auspices of the Polisario Front declared independence as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

1986 The United States Senate allowed its debates to be televised on a trial basis.

1989 Venezuela was rocked by the Caracazo riots.

1991 Gulf War: U.S. President George H. W. Bush announced that “Kuwait is liberated”.

1999 Olusegun Obasanjo became Nigeria‘s first elected president since mid-1983.

2002 Ryanair Flight 296 caught fire at London Stansted Airport.

2002 – Godhra train burning: a Muslim mob killed 59 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya;

2003 Rowan Williams was enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.

2004 A bombing of a Superferry by Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines’ worst terrorist attack killed 116.

2007 The general strike against Lansana Conté in Guinea ended.

2007 – The Chinese Correction: the Shanghai Stock Exchange fell 9%, the largest drop in 10 years.

2010 – Central Chile was struck by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Labour lurches further left with McCarten as CoS

February 26, 2014

Matt McCarten is Labour’s new chief of staff.

Former New Labour and Alliance party founder Matt McCarten has been appointed chief of staff for Labour Party leader David Cunliffe.

In a move likely to please Cunliffe’s backers on the left of the party and place further strain on relationships with centrist, senior members of his caucus, Cunliffe said McCarten’s proven track record as a political organiser and strategist over more than 30 years qualified him for the role.

“He has spent his life fighting for social justice and workers’ rights. His values are the values of the Labour Party and the values of the government I want to lead,” said Cunliffe.

McCarten’s early professional life was in the trade union movement. He split with the Labour Party in 1989 to help form the New Labour Party with dissident Labour MP Jim Anderton, then split with Anderton in 2002 over the Alliance’s coalition with the Labour-led government of Helen Clark.

Anderton went on to form the Progressive Party and the Alliance lost all its parliamentary seats that year.

McCarten most recently stood for Parliament in the Mana by-election in 2010 as a candidate for the far left-wing Mana Party, led by Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, and has been an adviser to Mana.

That’s an interesting political journey -he started in the Labour Party, moved to New Labour, then Alliance,  Mana and now he’s back in Labour.

Do the values of the Labour Party Cunliffe says he shares, not paying tax?

Inland Revenue is chasing unionist Matt McCarten’s Unite Support Services Ltd. for $150,750 in unpaid taxes after the department forced the company into liquidation last month.

McCarten’s vehicle, which supplied administrative support services to the youth-orientated union Unite Inc., was put into liquidation by a High Court order last month after the tax department pursued it for “failure to provide for taxation,” according to the first liquidator’s report. . .

Whatever he’s done and wherever he’s been, there’s no question about where he wants to go and take Labour with him  – that’s to the far left.
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Rural round-up

February 26, 2014

Govt invests $540,000 in Lake Horowhenua clean-up:

Environment Minister Amy Adams has today announced the Government will invest $540,000 towards cleaning up Lake Horowhenua.

Combined with funding from Horizon’s Regional Council and Horowhenua District Council, as well as in-kind contributions from Dairy NZ and the Tararua Growers’ Association, the total funding for the project will be $1.27 million.

The project will improve the water quality through sediment and nutrient management on the lake and its tributaries, improving water quality for recreation and wild life.

The project includes stream fencing, planting, building a wetland, harvesting lake weeds, and developing farm plans. . .

Irrigation supplies shut-down begins:

Irrigation water supplies to some parts of Marlborough are being shut down as the continuing hot, dry weather takes its toll on river levels.

The Marlborough District Council is advising property owners that water for irrigation is being shut off to about 5000 hectares of farmland and vineyards along the Wairau River.

Further Wairau consents, including all those from the Southern Valleys Irrigation Scheme, were expected to be cut off by today.

Waihopai consents will be suspended in the next day or two.

The shutdown is necessary slightly earlier than last year because there has been no real rain since Christmas. . .

 

Safety group astonished as farmers flout helmet law - Sue O’Dowd:

Worksafe New Zealand has savaged organisers of a farmers’ day out for failing to require helmets on quad bikes in Taranaki hill country.

About 200 people visited Aotuhia Station when Beef + Lamb New Zealand – the farmer-owned industry organisation representing New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers – hosted what it called a Big Day Out last week.

Only about five people on a cavalcade of bikes touring the 2240ha Aotuhia Station, 65km east of Stratford, wore helmets, and many riders carried passengers.

Worksafe New Zealand would have issued enforcement notices to the organisers, those not wearing helmets and those carrying passengers if it had been there, quad bike national programme manager Francois Barton said yesterday. . . .

Eyes wide open – James Houghton:

Employment relationships are a key factor in setting a positive working environment and ensuring your farm is productive. The general work relationships in rural New Zealand have been traditionally informal. This has had to change with stronger workplace protection for employees.  It means the farm employer has had to learn new skills, involving contractual agreements and human resources.

When it comes to dairy agreements with sharemilkers, who are arguably what makes New Zealand dairying so successful; there have been breakdowns between some employers and their sharemilker.  Sharemilking is a hybrid between self-employment and employment but that hasn’t stopped some harsh treatments of sharemilkers. Such as an employer not honouring either a handshake agreement or misusing clauses in their agreement, which causes sheer misery for the sharemilker involved.

Over the past year, Federated Farmers has been revising the industry standard Herd Owing Sharemilking Agreement, looking to remove outdated clauses and with it, issues within the industry like harsh treatment, which may deter new entrants. . .

Strong growth and profitability increases from PGG Wrightson:

PGG Wrightson Ltd* (PGW) has announced a strong half-year performance under its new Chief Executive.

For the six-months ended 31 December 2013, PGW achieved operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Operating EBITDA)** of $22.3 million, up from $18.0 million for the corresponding period last year.

Mark Dewdney, who took up the role of PGW Chief Executive on 1 July 2013, called it a strong result with increases recorded across most areas of the business. . .

New Zealand Drives Global Pet Addiction:

Imagine a Singaporean company making premium pet food from possums in the Bay of Plenty and exporting successfully for eight years. That’s what Jerel Kwek of Addiction Foods has accomplished, along with a vision to improve pet nutrition globally.

While cats and dogs around the world have fallen for Addiction, it’s only now with a recent plant upgrade in Te Puke that Kwek can make his natural NZ pet food available in the NZ market.

Addiction use a selection of premium proteins and game meats, including New Zealand possum to produce a range of dry and raw dehydrated natural foods designed to prevent allergies and promote long-term health in cats and dogs. . .

Loan package to grow pasture productivity:

New Zealand’s largest rural lender today launched a lending package for farmers wanting toboost farm productivity by improving pasture and forage growth.

ANZ Bank’s Pasture Productivity Loan offers an interest rate of 4%* p.a with a maximumloan amount of $100,000. The maximum loan term is five years, principal reducing, andthere are no establishment fees.

“Renewing pasture and forage is one of the key things red meat farmers can do to improveproductivity and profit,” said Graham Turley, ANZ Managing Director Commercial & Agri. . .


Sheep smothered

February 26, 2014

Police are investigating the death of about 500 sheep on a Southland farm:

. . . The loss of the stock is estimated to be about $75,000, with each animal potentially worth $150.

The sheep were found dead in a gully on Mt Wendon, owned by Steve and Steph Hastie in the Wendon Valley.

Steve Hastie declined to comment and Steph Hastie said they “really don’t want to think about it”.

“It’s a big hit,” she said.

The sheep are understood to have been smothered. Smothering can occur when sheep are startled or rush to a particular area and end up suffocating each other with their own wool. . .

Neighbours suspect poachers might have scared the sheep.

Whether that’s the case or it was a natural occurrence it’s an awful thing to happen to a flock in both animal welfare and financial terms.


Bias in business as usual?

February 26, 2014

TVNZ has announced the panel to review the misuse of company resources and alleged political bias.

It includes media law expert Steven Price and broadcasting figure Bill Francis.

Price is a barrister specialising in media law and lectures at Victoria University of Wellington’s law school. Francis is the Chief Executive of the Radio Broadcasters Association with more than 45 years broadcasting experience. . .

The review panel will be chaired by Brent McAnulty, TVNZ’s Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs, and be joined by others as needed – to provide Maori language expertise, for instance.

The panel will investigate the inappropriate use of TVNZ resources within its Maori and Pacific Programmes department for political means between February 2013 and February 2014.

It will also determine whether any obvious political bias can be identified in the department’s programmes during that period or in Q+A interviews conducted by the former General Manager of Maori and Pacific Programmes, Shane Taurima, during his time on the show (March to November 2012).

Stephen Franks has a defence for Shane Taurima whose activism in the Labour Party sparked the investigation.

He and his colleagues may have grounds to claim to the just announced enquiry, that they thought the employer had acquiesced in their activism, or tacitly approved it. In other words they were simply getting with the programme.

Employment Courts often over-ride terms of employment contracts and express workplace rules, if they’ve been ignored in practice.

State broadcasters work in a milieu of implicit support for the left, and barely suppressed contempt for and suspicion of others. Maori in State broadcasting have been allowed for decades to act as if they’ve had an exemption from Broadcasting Standards requirements for balance. They’ve almost universally acted on a right to promote “Maori aspirations” (often equated to the Maori Party), to call the ‘race card’ on anyone who questions those “aspirations” irrespective of the legal orthodoxy of the question or challenge. . .

It would not take much diligence to find plenty of examples of decades long practice from which Maori broadcasters might assume that the obligations of objectivity and political neutrality were waived for them.

Any regular audience members of Maori and Pacific programmes on TV and radio could find examples to support this view.

Topics chosen, the angle taken on issues, the people chosen to comment on them as well as the questions asked and the way they’re asked can all result in a lack of balance and fairness.

Business as usual can easily be biased, intentionally or not, if a particular world view is accepted without question.

 

 


Not fit for sale

February 26, 2014

Prime Minister John Key says Genesis Energy will be the last State Owned Enterprise to be partially sold by the government.

Asked why he had decided to end the sales programme if it was so successful, Mr Key said a company had to have the “right characteristics” to be part of the mixed ownership model. A company like Kordia did not fit as it was too small in value and a monopoly, like Transpower, did not fit the model.

The only other two which could be sold were Television New Zealand and New Zealand Post and neither was fit for sale.

Companies which aren’t fit for sale aren’t assets they’re liabilities.

Yet opponents of even partial sales are still clinging to the view that state owned companies are sacrosanct and that the portfolio should remain exactly as it is in perpetuity.

 

 


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