Rural round-up

August 27, 2014

$150 million boost for Rural Broadband Initiative:

National’s Communications and Information Technology spokeswoman, Amy Adams, today announced a re-elected National-led Government will establish a new $150 million fund to extend the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).

Ms Adams made the announcement in Greymouth with Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Key.

“The RBI is making an immense difference to the way our rural firms do business, the way our kids learn and the way our health services deliver to us as patients,” Ms Adams says.

“Already, nearly 250,000 households and businesses have access to faster broadband under the RBI. However, National wants to see more rural homes and businesses benefit from faster, more reliable internet. . .

New partnership a boost for sheep and beef farming:

Lincoln University officially launched its lower-North Island base for vocational training and demonstration in lamb and beef finishing systems at a function in the Rangitikei today.

The University, along with the newly-formed Lincoln-Westoe Trust, will operate the 400 hectare Westoe Farm north of Bulls as a training facility, offering land-based certificate programmes for students looking to enter into primary sector careers. The training will have a particular emphasis on sheep and beef farming, and a special focus on training youth from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Apa.

Over time, the Westoe Farm will also be developed as a demonstration farm for the finishing of lambs and the raising and finishing of beef cattle. This demonstration activity will be underpinned by objective scientific measurement of the farm’s performance, including its environmental footprint. Demonstration activity will be supported by commercial sponsors. . . .

A1 beta-casein a threat to dairy industry – Keith Woodford:

Evidence that A1 beta-casein might be a human health issue has been available for more than 15 years. However, the mainstream dairy industry has always fought against the notion that it might be important.

Back in 2007, I wrote a book called ‘Devil in the Milk’ which brought together the evidence at that time. The mainstream industry and even some elements within the Government were not impressed. They made it clear that this was an issue which New Zealand did not need to air publicly. The industry, with considerable help from the Food Safety Authority, was largely successful in dousing the public concerns, leaving just a few little puffs of smoke to remind those who were watching carefully that the fire might not be totally out. . . .

Landcorp, keen user of Fonterra’s guaranteed milk price, looks to reduce dairy exposure – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Landcorp, New Zealand’s biggest corporate farmer, has been an enthusiastic participant in Fonterra Cooperative Group’s guaranteed milk price scheme as it reduces exposure to volatile dairy prices, while looking at ways to reduce the dominance of dairy in its portfolio.

The state-owned farmer’s milk revenue soared 70 percent to $129 million in the year ended June 30, contributing to a more-than doubling of operating profit to $30 million. It won’t see a similar benefit from dairy prices in the current year, given dairy prices have tumbled this year from their highs in February.

“We’re making sure we don’t get too reliant on dairy income so the more volatile dairy sector doesn’t become too dominant in the portfolio,” chief executive Steven Carden told BusinessDesk. Landcorp’s strategy includes exploring fixed-price contracts, hedging and greater cooperation with customers across both dairy and meat, he said. . . .

Country of origin law rejected – report:

The Meat Industry Association is supporting the finding by a World Trade Organisation disputes panel that has ruled against the United States over a country of origin meat labelling law.

Canada and Mexico, backed by New Zealand and Australia, amongst others, opposed a new US rule that requires more information on labels about the origins of beef, pork and other meats.

They regard the country of origin law as a potential trade restriction. . . .

Conservation grant supports bird recovery:

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today announced Wildbase Recovery Community Trust is to receive a $90,000 grant from the Department of Conservation to put towards a new state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility for birds and wildlife.

“New Zealand’s most challenging conservation issue is the decline in our native bird populations. We need to raise public awareness of the threat from pests like rats, stoats and possums that kill 25 million native birds each year. We need facilities like Wildbase Recovery to improve public understanding of our special birds and save those birds that are injured and can be rehabilitated back into the wild,” Dr Smith says.

Wildbase Recovery Community Trust is a charitable trust formed in partnership with local iwi, Palmerston North City Council, Massey University, Rotary and the Department of Conservation for the sole purpose of building, operating and maintaining the community-funded Wildbase Recovery. . .

Benefits from dairy demonstration farm New Zealand wide:

 A new demonstration dairy farm in the Waikato has a key role in helping New Zealand achieve the Government’s target of doubling revenue from primary industries by 2025.

This was a consistent theme from speakers at the launch of the St Peter’s – Lincoln University Dairy Demonstration farm in Cambridge on Thursday 14 August. 

The Demonstration Dairy Farm has set its sights on being in the top 3% of farms in the region for both profitability and environmental performance.  The overall aim of the farm is to promote the sustainable development of profitable dairying, principally in the Waikato but also the greater North Island.  This will be achieved through the implementation of proven scientific research, best practice farming coupled with scientific monitoring of impacts in a collaborative environment with farmers. . .

Akarua Purchases Vineyards on Felton Road

Akarua is delighted to announce a major vineyard purchase with the acquisition of vineyards located in Felton Road and Lowburn finalised on Friday 22 August 2014.

Akarua, established in 1996 by Sir Clifford Skeggs is the largest family owned vineyard in Central Otago with single estate holdings in Cairnmuir Road Bannockburn, this recent purchase will significantly boost their total vineyard area to 100 hectares in Central Otago.

David Skeggs, Managing Director of the Skeggs Group said that that the company had been actively looking at purchasing developed vineyard in Central Otago for the last 2 years. . . .

New Zealand organic pioneers place farming unit up for sale:

A sizeable landholding which is part of one of New Zealand’s oldest organic farming operations has been placed on the market for sale.

The farms just north of Tolaga Bay on the East Coast and trading under the brand Kiwi Organics, have been run by the Parker family for more than 50 years – the last 23 of those under ‘certified organic’ branding. Owners Mike and Bridget Parker are former winners of the Heinz Watties Organic Farmer of the Year title.

Kiwi Organics farm and manufacture primary products for customers throughout the Pacific Rim – including Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Australia. The company’s products are Bio Gro Certified, USDA/NOP Certified, and EU Certified and Gluten Free. . .

 


Fonterra expands in NZ and proposes partnership in China

August 27, 2014

A newsletter to suppliers from Fonterra chair John Wilson announces plans to expand processing in New Zealand and the proposal for a new partnership in China:

Your Board has given approval to build a new high efficiency milk powder drier in the North Island and further increase milk processing capacity in the South Island to help meet global demand for dairy products.

This investment, totalling $555 million, will grow the Co-operative’s processing capability and allow for more flexibility to better optimise production.

New Zealand is our most important milk pool.  Our strategy is to increase earnings by driving more of your milk into higher value categories.  It’s all about turning the wheel from commodities to higher-margin products.

Key points on the new Lichfield drier:

  • Capable of processing up to 4.4. million litres per day
  • Similar in size to the world’s largest drier at Darfield which produces up to 30 metric tonnes of Whole Milk Powder per hour, and 700 metric tonnes per day
  • Will use the latest energy-efficient processing and water reuse technology.

Three plants will also be installed at our Edendale site in Southland.  Key points are:

  • Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC) plant which separates protein from skim milk and turns it into protein powder – capable of processing 1.1 million litres per day
  • Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant which will increase capacity on an existing drier by 300,000 litres per day
  • Anhydrous Milk Fat (AMF) plant capable of processing 550,000 litres of milk into cream per day

In total, the development of Edendale will increase capacity by 1.4 million in milk, and 550,000 litres of cream processing per day.

Global Partnership with Beingmate

We are establishing a global partnership with Beingmate, which is one of the leading infant food manufacturers in China.  Beingmate is already a long-standing customer – and is a well-established and respected company in China.

Our partnership will be the next milestone for our strategy, as it will increase the volume and value of our ingredients and branded infant products exported to China.

Together we will create a fully integrated global supply chain from the farm gate direct to China’s consumers, using Fonterra’s milk pools and manufacturing sites in New Zealand, Australia, and Europe.

This global supply chain will see more of our high quality dairy ingredients and our Anmum™ brand exported from here in New Zealand. It will see more high value paediatric products made in Australia for China at the Darnum plant – that is our second milk pool. And it includes a third milk pool in Europe where whey specialty ingredients will be manufactured at our new JV plant in the Netherlands, and through our alliance with Dairy Crest in the UK.

This partnership is about volume and value.  The value will come from accessing Beingmate’s extensive distribution and sales network in the infant formula market in China.  This market is today worth around NZ$18 billion – and is expected to be worth nearly NZ$33 billion by 2017.

This partnership will come together in two phases:

We are starting the process to issue a partial tender offer to gain up to a 20 per cent stake in Beingmate. Depending on the response to the tender offer, Fonterra’s total investment in the global partnership will be in the range of NZ$615 million (including proceeds from the JV in Australia), funded through debt.  

After gaining regulatory approvals and Fonterra satisfactorily completing the partial tender offer, Fonterra and Beingmate will set up a joint venture to purchase Fonterra’s Darnum plant in Australia and establish a distribution agreement to sell Fonterra’s Anmum brand in China.

The purpose of the proposed joint venture will be to manufacture nutritional powders, including infant formula and growing up milk powder at Darnum, for Beingmate as well as Fonterra.

Beingmate will own 51 per cent of the JV to satisfy Chinese regulatory requirements.

The JV will be governed by a Board, and Fonterra and Beingmate will each appoint two directors. 

We will manage Darnum’s operations, under a formal management agreement.  We will also supply raw milk to Darnum.

Summary

Today’s announcements are a major step forward in our strategy to be a globally relevant co-operative so that we can will deliver increased returns to our farmers – through both the Milk Price and dividend – during the ups and downs of global dairy price volatility.  We are financing the increases to processing capacity and our partnership with Beingmate from a solid balance sheet position, and a strong gearing position will be maintained.  These investments are intended strengthen returns by:

  • Turning more New Zealand milk into higher value products  
  • Optimising the use of our Co-operative’s global assets  
  • Investing in capacity and flexibility of our New Zealand assets  
  • Building a fully integrated global supply chain. . . .

This is very good news for the company and the communities where it is expanding processing because of the jobs that will be created.

The board also decided to hold the forecast farmgate payout at $6 a kilo.

Along with a previously announced estimated dividend range of 20-25 cents per share, the forecast Cash Payout for the season is $6.20-$6.25.

The decision to maintain the forecast Farmgate Milk Price reflects the longer term outlook for international prices for dairy. Current market views supported by our own forecasting indicate commodity prices improving later this year or in early 2015, with global demand for dairy continuing to grow year-on-year. 

While the long-term market fundamentals remain sound, we need to recognise that the current conditions are difficult and there remains further downside risk.

There is still volatility. This reflects challenges with supply and demand following a good dairy season globally. Given these factors, the forecast is our best judgement at this time.

It is early in the season, and it is important to continue exercising caution with your farming business budgets. The reality is, we expect to see ongoing volatility, and we will keep you informed as we move forward.

Russia’s decision to block European imports and cheaper grain prices which are leading to an increase in production in the USA will both have an impact on the supply of milk and other dairy products.

Fonterra and its suppliers are right to be cautious.

For more see media releases:

FONTERRA INCREASES PROCESSING CAPACITY TO HELP MEET GLOBAL DEMAND

FONTERRA AND BEINGMATE INITIATE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP IN CHINA’S HIGH-VALUE INFANT FORMULA MARKET

FONTERRA MAINTAINS FORECAST FARMGATE MILK PRICE FOR 2014/15 SEASON


Labour negative on labour

August 27, 2014

Labour’s campaign on positivity took several hits at the ASB finance spokespeople’s debate in Queenstown last night.

The worst was from its finance spokesman David Parker in response to a question on immigration when he said:

“I don’t think that in a world that needs less labour the answer is more labour.”

He then went on to talk about low value immigrants, was pulled up by the chair Duncan Garner and tried to turn it into immigrants doing low value jobs.

Then he repeated what he’d already said that in a world with a decreasing need for labour because of technology the answer wasn’t more labour.

That is an extraordinarily ignorant statement which shows no understanding of how an economy and the job market works.

It also demonstrates a depressingly negative attitude from a party which obviously doesn’t understand wealth creation.

Businesses go and others come, jobs go and others come and in a growing economy more come than go.

They might be different jobs and will need differing levels of skill and receive differing levels of pay, but they will be jobs.

Finance Minister Bill English made that point by saying that we will need 150,000 people to fill the jobs that will be created.

Parker presumably meant labour with a small l but look at his sentence with a big L:

I don’t think that in a world that needs less Labour the answer is more Labour.

Now that’s positive.


Rural round-up

August 26, 2014

Blood and guts all poachers left behind   – Sonita Chandar:

A steaming pile of blood and guts was all that was left of a mob of newly bought pigs after poachers visited a Tararua farm.

In an incident that occurred earlier this year, a farmer told of taking his young grandchildren to show them the new pigs but instead they found a distressing sight.

”We released the pigs in a paddock right in the middle of the farm and they didn’t even last a week. . .

Night raiders caught in the act-

A Tararua victim of stock rustling and poaching had his security cameras stolen after police showed photos of alleged rustlers around sporting goods shops.

The theft is just one incident of many that have recently occurred in a small community where several farmers have had stock go missing.

Farmers were willing to share their stories but did not wish to have their names published for fear of retaliation.

Frustrated at being the target of stock rustlers and trespassing hunters, a farmer and his son installed surveillance cameras in trees earlier this year. . .

Agricultural exports to Japan - Keith Woodford:

Back in 1988, Japan was our most important market for both total exports and agri-food exports. Now, some 25 years later, the share of total exports going to Japan has declined from more than 18 percent down to less than six percent. In part this is because of the phenomenal rise of China. Also, in that 25 year period our global exports have increased greatly, so a loss in percentage is not necessarily surprising. But our exports to Japan have been declining in absolute as well as percentage terms. So what went wrong?

The simple but somewhat naïve answer is that the Japanese economic boom came to an end. The Japanese economy has indeed struggled during those times, but per capita incomes have remained much higher than almost everywhere else in Asia. The exceptions are the city states of Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau. The Japanese GDP per capita is still more than five times that of the Chinese. . .

Water system a winner on Mt Watkins :

Switching to a gravity-fed water system has paid off for East Otago farmers David and Sarah Smith.

The couple are equity managers on a 1463ha property, Mt Watkins, near Waikouaiti, farming in partnership with Mr Smith’s parents Rex and Glenys.

The family purchased the original 920ha block in 2005 and bought another 510ha, which was previously leased, three years ago. . . .

A little home cookery for orphan lambs – Diane Bishop:

David Hamill has a secret weapon when it comes to mothering lambs onto ewes.

The semi-retired Southland farmer has been using the popular baking ingredient vanilla essence as a mothering on tool for almost 50 years.

Hamill rubs the essence on both the orphan lamb and the ewe and it’s doesn’t take long for the ewe to bond with the lamb and accept it as her own.

”I’ve had huge success with it,” Hamill said. . .

Rabobank Recognises the Challenge of Farm Succession:

As part of Rabobank’s focus on assisting New Zealand farmers with the challenges of succession planning, the agricultural specialist bank has announced it has strengthened its succession team with the appointment of succession planning manager Chris Haworth.

An experienced agricultural banker who has been involved in family farm succession planning, Chris will be working with rural farming families to achieve their personal, family and business goals for each generation. . .


Rural round-up

August 25, 2014

Key skill is the attitude – Bryan Gibson:

I had the chance last week to spend an afternoon at the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre in Masterton during a visit by Prime Minister John Key.

He spent more than an hour talking to staff and students and saw them at work milking, measuring pasture, washing down quad bikes and fencing. . .

Stint as ocean-going shepherd an eye-opener – Sally Rae:

When Fred Ellis boarded a ship at Port Chalmers in 1957 in charge of a consignment of stud sheep bound for Brazil, he was ”dead scared”.

His only previous sea experience was crossing Cook Strait on the Wellington-Lyttelton ferry in his school holidays.

Now in his 80s and retired in Inglewood, Taranaki, Mr Ellis contacted the Otago Daily Times after watching a recent Country Calendar episode which featured Central Otago.

It reminded him of his own exploits 57 years ago and he wondered where the sheep came from and how many subsequent exports of sheep to South America there had been. . . .

They don’t come here for fun – Alan Williams:

New Zealanders need to respect the reasons for migrant workers coming to this country to work, Waimate resource centre manager Steve Napper says.

Most of those he speaks to haven’t come just for the Kiwi way of life.

“They come from areas of the world with much greater deprivation than we experience and so come to earn a decent wage so they can support their families back home,” he said.

“That they come here to support their families instead of living large is to be admired.” . . .

Couple thrilled with move north - Sally Rae:

Dairying is likely be a regular topic of discussion in the Duffy household.

Husband and wife Mark and Sue Duffy work for artificial breeding company CRV Ambreed, which has a core business of dairy semen production and sales.

Mr Duffy is sales and services manager for the South Island, managing about 20 full-time staff, while Mrs Duffy is the regional sales and services manager, covering the area from Rakaia to Invercargill. . .

Alpaca breeders forming owners’ group - Sally Rae:

Interested in alpacas?

Southern alpaca breeders Brenda and Stewart McLean, of Windermere Alpacas, and Gordon Baird, of Waiwera Alpacas, have formed an Otago-Southland alpaca owners’ group.

The aim of the new group was to share information and help new and interested alpaca owners, following an increasing number of inquiries to breeders about basic alpaca care, from health and welfare through to feeding and shearing.

Mr Baird, from Waiwera South, in South Otago, first became interested in alpacas in the mid-1990s. . .

Winegrowers see growth through value:

Future wine industry growth will largely come from increased value, rather than from planting more vineyards, New Zealand Winegrowers chair Steve Green says.

The industry exports more than $1 billion worth of product and has set a target of nearly doubling that within two years.

It has confirmed a record grape harvest this year of 445,000 tonnes, up about 60,000 tonnes on last year. . .


Rural round-up

August 24, 2014

Smart switch could save lives on farms – Lauren Hayes:

The scientific smarts of a young Southlander could save lives on farms.

James Hargest College pupil Maria Burnett took home the premier technology award from the NZAS Science and Technology Fair for her project, Smart Switch.

For the project, the 16-year-old invented a shield to cover the power take-off (PTO) shaft on tractors.

The PTO shaft carried electricity from the tractor to the implement attached to it and spun 16.6 times a second, so was very dangerous, Maria said. . .

White truffles could transform forestry industry – Annabelle Tukia:

At $3000 a kilogram, white truffles are a true gourmet delight.

Now a team from Plant and Food Research have come up with a way to cultivate the delicacy on pine tree roots, and they say forestry owners could do the same, adding another stream of income to their business.

Deep in a Canterbury pine plantation, scientist Alexis Guerin is hunting for white truffles, a fungus that could one day transform pine plantations all over the country.

Scientists at Plant and Food Research planted the white truffle-infused pine seedlings 10 years ago and, with the help of truffle-hunting dog Ace, they’re now finding the fruits of their labour cropping up all over this plantation. . .

China’s milk thirst will grow – Stephen Bell:

China’s thirst for imported dairy products will expand over the next five years to equate to New Zealand’s entire annual production, Agrifax senior dairy analyst Susan Kilsby says.

Though NZ had a foot in the door, being first with a free-trade agreement with China, there would be increased international competition, made tougher by Russia’s ban on Western imports, Kilsby, who spent three weeks in China in June, said.

She found China would need to import more dairy produce in coming years than it had so far. . .

Migrant workers need more help – Alan Williams:

Dairy farmers helping their migrant workers to have improved access to English language classes could be the best way to help them integrate more into their communities.

This is the view of people offering support services to the workers, though they say there is also no harm in the various nationalities choosing to stay mostly in their own groups.

Given the challenges involved in living in a foreign country it’s only natural for different groups to gravitate towards their own nationality for comfort, support and advice, Aoraki Multicultural Council executive member Kate Elsen said.

New Zealanders shouldn’t be put off by that, she says, but everyone agrees that the better their understanding of English, the better it is for everybody. . .

Swiss cattle breeder puts rare herd up for sale  – Tim Cronshaw:

Colin Lyon hopes someone with the same passion as him will take on his rare Swiss breed of beef cattle to bigger things.

His small herd of stud braunvieh beef breeding cows, which has twice reached the semifinals of the Steak of Origin contest, was begun by Lyon obtaining embryos from an Australian stud in 2005.

Lyon feels that, having reached 71, beef breeding is a “young man’s caper” and would like to pass on the genetic line to someone else and his herd is for sale.

The braunviehs at his farm near South Canterbury’s Pleasant Point are believed to be the only cattle of their kind in New Zealand. . .

Cows in class:

Nelson dairy farmer Julian Raine is bringing the country into the city, when he teams up next week with the Fonterra Milk for Schools Programme and Victory Primary School. A cow and a calf from Oakland’s, Mr Raine’s family farm, owned and worked by his ancestors since 1842, will visit the school on the morning of Monday 25th August.

The initiative is part of the Victory School’s Year 5 Integrated Study, “From Paddock to Puku”.

Victory School, Deputy Principal, Mr Sullivan, says “The idea for this terms integrated study came from our schools involvement in the Fonterra Milk for Schools Programme, it was important for the students to learn more about where milk comes from and it’s health benefits, together with the cultural and environmental effects of drinking milk.” . . .


NY to NZ – our gain

August 24, 2014

Federated Farmers vice president Anders Crofoot  reacts to emotive opposition to foreign investment:

When it comes to the foreign ownership of farmland my family has a unique perspective. 

Before my wife and I moved our family thousands of miles from upstate New York to the Wairarapa, we did research.  A great deal of it.  We’d narrowed our choices to English speaking Canada, Australia and of course, New Zealand.  Adding a new language, when you are moving thousands of kilometres, adds too much complexity.  Since moving downunder, we’ve learned that being a “good b..tard” is a complement. Maybe Winston Churchill was right when he said “Britain and America are two nations divided by a common language”. 

While Emily was the farmer, I was an investment analyst.  Together, we learned more about the country, its political stability, history, economy, agricultural system, climate and the rural property market.  Of course, being ‘foreign investors’, we checked out whether we’d be welcomed or not. 

We quickly dropped Canada from consideration for being even colder than New York.  We also wanted to break out of the closeted subsidy culture prevalent in North America. While Australia offered space aplenty, dealing with years of drought followed by floods was a challenge too far.  Our preference was for New Zealand’s more benign climate.

To farmers overseas, New Zealand is the mecca of farming.  Nowhere else had an organisation like Federated Farmers worked with a left-wing government to end subsidies.  Farmers there, we learned, were judged on their abilities as farmers and not the size of their subsidy cheque. New Zealand was at the forefront of pastoral research and practice too.  It also had plenty of migrant farmers who had integrated and excelled. New Zealand felt right.

Being in Federated Farmers a few years later, I came across one farmer who made Winston Peters look like a weak-kneed liberal.  Proving the debate is seemingly two-thirds heart and one-third brain, I later learned that he’d bought a farm in Australia but he still opposed foreign investment, albeit, slightly sheepishly. 

Sadly this hypocrisy isn’t unusual.

Deciding on a country is one thing, but it’s quite another to get the ideal farm. We were very fortunate to convince Castlepoint’s Board that New York Yankees were fit custodians for their iconic Wairarapa station.  That was 1998 and we’ve never looked back. 

Kiwis are the most hospitable people with an unerring knack of convincing you to take on more responsibilities. I was one of two non-New Zealand born farmers on the Federated Farmers National Board.  I’m also on the Board of Grow Wellington and to keep my feet firmly on the ground, I’m also Castlepoint’s Fire Chief.  Emily is similarly involved and our children are now working in New Zealand.

The Crofoots have and continue to contribute a lot to their local community, farming and the country.

Their decision to move from new York to New Zealand has been our gain.

Politicians are quick to say that families like us are their ‘ideal’ business migrants.  The message is that ‘people like us’ will continue to be welcomed, whichever party wins on 20 September. 

Unfortunately, that nuance is lost if you’re thousands of miles away reading herald.co.nz or watching news on-demand.  The streaming of talkback radio means Albany, New York can listen to ZB just as easily as someone in Albany, Auckland. 

If we were researching New Zealand, today, would we make the biggest of big moves?  Possibly not. 

The tone around foreign investment has hardened for the worse.  To outsiders, politics and cultish popularity now seem big determinants.  There’s also a nasty undercurrent which reflects poorly on us as Kiwis.  Who this is putting off we’ll never know, but it is off-putting.

That might be what those opposed to foreign investment want but it’s not necessarily in the best interests of New Zealand.

Farming is the most international industry we have.  It’s this mix of people that makes New Zealand agriculture unique and the success it is.  The Green Party opposed Shania Twain’s High Country purchase but look at what British record producer Robert “Mutt” Lange has given back; 53,000 hectares and a whole landscape permanently protected. The restoration and enhancement of Young Nicks Head would never have taken place had a Kiwi farmer purchased it rather than New York financier, John Griffin.  We’re even near neighbours of James Cameron, that’s in a rural sense because we’re over an hour away by car. 

Politics must come out of the ‘foreign investment’ debate because it can so easily spiral into the gutter.  Rules are important and we Kiwis accept that with sport, why not overseas investment? 

We have rules on foreign investment and those rules have been toughened since National has been leading the government.

It hasn’t been easy for foreigners to buy farms here for a long time and it’s harder now.

If the rules still aren’t tough enough it is fair enough to look at the m again.

But that look must be a rational one, mindful of both the costs and benefits of foreign investment, our obligations to trading partners and the benefits New Zealand and New Zealanders get from investing in other countries.

 

I know another couple from the USA who have made a big investment in New Zealand in hospitality and tourism. They are an asset to the community in which they’ve settled, the wider hospitality and tourism industry and the country.

I wonder how many others like that might write New Zealand off their list of countries to visit and possibly invest and settle in because of political opportunism?


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