Labour on sinking sand

March 12, 2014

Labour MPs trying to criticise National for price rises have very short memories:

Hon David Cunliffe: How does the Prime Minister expect everyday New Zealanders to keep up with the cost of living when many of them will be paying 7 or 8 percent more for their power and some face increases of up to 24 percent in this year alone?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: One of the hallmarks of this National-led Government that is in contrast to the previous Labour Government is that, in fact, wages have been going up faster than the price of inflation. It is worth remembering that in terms of electricity prices, they make up less than 4 percent of the CPI. So in overall terms, when one looks at the CPI, some things go up and some things go down. For example, car prices went down, clothing and footwear prices went down, and household contents went down. So in many categories lots of things went down; the odd things went up. Overall, most consumers have not actually faced power increases of that level.

When wages increase faster than inflation, as they have recently under National, people have more purchasing power.

When, as happened under Labour, inflation beats wages, people have less purchasing power and end up worse off,

Hon David Cunliffe: If that is all so rosy, why did the Prime Minister try to blame Transpower when Transpower’s charges make up less than 10 percent of electricity prices and Transpower stated that its increases are likely to be less than $1 a month on average; and is the truth of it not that the power price increases are going to the privatised companies and enriching the foreign buyers that he is in league with?

Hon Bill English: What a load of nonsense.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: To quote the Deputy Prime Minister, what a load of nonsense. If you look at what has been driving up power prices insomuch as there have been rises at all for consumers, it has been a combination of Transpower increases and lines companies, if one looks at those two together. Interestingly enough, though, if we look at, say, for instance, the last 5 years of power price increases—

Dr David Clark: Out of touch—5 long years.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, 5 long years with half the power increases, because they have been 19.7 percent as opposed to 39.1 percent for the 5 years under Labour.

Increases of 19.7% might seem high but they’re about half the 39.1% increases that happened during Labour’s last term.

There’s no hope that they will be lower should Labour return to government when they’re ETS policy will add hundreds of dollars to power bills.

Louise Upston: Do official measures of the cost of living include electricity prices, and what does this tell us?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, a very good question. The electricity prices in the CPI differ slightly from those that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, but they tell the same story. Over the last 5 years, going back to December 2008, electricity prices in the CPI rose 19.7 percent, and in the 5 years before that they rose 39.1 percent. So it is no wonder people think that power prices are high—in 5 years under Labour, electricity prices went up by 40 percent. That is why you cannot trust Labour when it comes to power prices. . .

The only thing you can trust Labour with is that their policies will be costly for us all.

Hon David Cunliffe: When will the Prime Minister listen to New Zealanders who are facing median house prices that are up by 8.6 percent on last year, when first-home buyers are now being shut out of the market, which he has made safe for speculators?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: One of the things that the Government has been doing is working hard to ensure, actually, that first-home buyers can get into the market. There are a few ways of doing that. Firstly, the release of land will have a substantial impact. But let us just ask any first-home buyer we like what they would prefer to pay for their floating mortgage rate. Would they prefer to pay around 5 percent at the moment under a National-led Government, or 11 percent under Labour, which is what it was when we came into office?

Hon David Cunliffe: Speaking of interest rate rises, given that wholesale rates appear to be on their way from 5.75 percent to 8 percent, can he confirm that a household currently paying $500 a week in mortgage costs will face another $136 a week by the time that mortgage hits 8 percent?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: For a start off, it is likely—I think the interest rates will make a gradual return towards a slightly more normalised level, but it is worth understanding that we have interest rates that are on a 50-year low. Secondly, if we want to talk about individual consumers, I am surprised that the Leader of the Opposition is worried about them at the moment, because he showed absolutely no worry about them when interest rates were at 11 percent. When the Government was putting so much pressure on spending, it was forcing up inflation and forcing the Reserve Bank to raise rates. In fact, let us just take that household that has a $200,000 mortgage. That household, in comparison, is paying $200 a week less today than when Labour left office. You see, when we go to the polls on 20 September and the voters ask themselves who they can trust with the economy, it certainly will not be Labour that will be the answer coming from their TV sets.

We can’t trust Labour to run themselves, they’re certainly not ready to be trusted with running the country.

Hon David Cunliffe: When the Prime Minister said in 2008 that New Zealanders should “not be fearful of their next bill”, why are so many people now fearful of their housing, power, and other bills, under this uncaring National Government?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: For a start off, the member is wrong. I did not make that statement, and he will never actually be able to demonstrate that I did. I was asked about the definition of poverty, and I said that the definition, at least of being well off, is that you are not fearful of a bill. But if it comes to bills, then I say this to New Zealanders. What would they rather have: a 19.7 percent increase in power prices under National, or a 40 percent increase under Labour over 5 years, and 72 percent? Would they rather have interest rates at about 5 and a bit percent, or would they rather have them at 11 percent? Would they rather have an economy under a National-led Government that is growing in excess of 3.5 to 4 percent, with 1,500 people a week coming off welfare and going to work?

Would they rather have an economy that most people around the world have envied? And would they rather have an economy that is actually going to be back into surplus?

Labour are standing on the sinking sand of their poor record in government compounded by expensive and impractical policies should they be returned.

That contrasts with National which can stand firm on its record for restrained spending, lower taxes and economic growth in spite of the financial and natural disasters it’s had to face.


Issues that matter

January 28, 2014

He’s referring to Labour MP David Clark’s suggestion that the government bans Facebook.

Perhaps Andrei is right and Labour is trying to throw the election.

 


Rural round-up

January 25, 2014

Farm sales up, confidence strong – Laura Walters:

The number of farm sales rose by more than 20 per cent last year, reflecting strong confidence in the rural sector, the Real Estate Institute says.

More than 1700 farms were sold in 2013, the largest number of sales a year since 2009.

Figures released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) today showed 292 more farms were sold in the three months to December compared to the same period the previous year, an increase of 20.1 per cent.

Overall, there were 554 farm sales in the three months to the end of December 2013, compared to 414 farm sales for the three months ended November 2013, an increase of 33.8 per cent. . .

Good, not spectacular, arable harvest ahead – Annette Scott:

Crops are looking good but the harvest is not going to be a “bin buster”, industry leaders say.

As the combines roll out many farmers, particularly in Mid Canterbury, are counting the losses after wind and hail played havoc with crops in recent months.

All on top of a wet winter that has created more disease than usual.

“We are really just getting started with the harvest,” Mid Canterbury arable farmer and Federated Farmers South Island grain and seed vice-chairman David Clark said.

“So far the vining peas have been quite disappointing. Autumn cereals, having endured some very wet weather, are not expected to be too exciting. Some ryegrasses have been good and some, due to a variety of ills, quite disappointing. . .

Farmers act as water guardians -

Farmers have been helping Environment Canterbury by providing practical onfarm knowledge and expertise on water quality.

They are members of the Guardians of Fork/Hakatere Stream.

The group was in the process of completing a funding application to help develop and restore an area of land adjacent to the stream.

This would include an educational amenity with green space and interpretive panels next to the stream on Braemar Road. . .

Apple exports a sweet success – Esther Ashby-Coventry:

The growing American demand for the honeycrisp apple has prompted Waipopo Orchards to encourage other local growers to join its export market.

Honeycrisp out-earns any other export apple grown in New Zealand. In the US it sells for about US$50 (NZ$61) a box, compared with other varieties, which are about US$20 a box.

Honeycrisp is the most popular apple in the US, with demand increasing 20 to 30 per cent each year since Waipopo’s first export of 50 tonnes in 2011.

Waipopo co-director Peter Bennett said that along with growers in Central Otago a total of 1300 tonnes, which was double the volume shipped in 2013, would be exported this year. Waipopo will produce about 1100 tonnes, which is 85 per cent of the market. . . .

Missing foal feared stolen - Nicole Mathewson:

A Central Otago couple are baffled after their foal disappeared. 

Horse trainers Bill and Rosanne Keeler were shocked to find their three-week striking black colt was missing from its paddock on January 15.

Bill Keeler said he believed the male foal went missing about two days earlier, because his mother’s milk had already dried up.

The paddock – located in Millers Flat, just south of Roxburgh – was surrounded by high fencing and there were no holes it could have escaped through. None of the other horses in the paddock had disappeared. 

”I find the chances of it being stolen are pretty minimal, but the chances are even more minimal of it disappearing by itself through two paddocks surrounded by deer fencing,” Keeler said. . . .

Hawke’s Bay iwi want Mayor’s resignation – Adam Ray:

A Hawke’s Bay Iwi says local Mayor Peter Butler should resign after suggesting their opposition to a proposed dam means they should be banned from any jobs it creates.

Mr Butler singled out the chair of Ngati Kahungunu for criticism in an email to other councillors.

He says parched pastures will be transformed with irrigation from the proposed Ruataniwha Dam.

“We’re sick of the negativity of the people trying to stop the dam,” he says.  

Among those in his sights are local iwi Ngati Kahungunu and its chair Ngahiwi Tomoana. . .

 


Rural round-up

December 17, 2013

Canterbury suffers another blow:

Farmers are reeling from yet another blow, after a severe localised hail storm tore its way through the Mayfield area of Mid-Canterbury.

“As the year draws to a close and we are fast approaching harvesting season, Mid-Canterbury farmers are facing a financial nightmare after the hail storm yesterday,” says David Clark, Mid-Canterbury Grain and Seed Chairperson.

“This has been a mongrel year for farmers in Mid-Canterbury; we have gone from snow to wind storms to a very dry spring to now this. It is a horrible way to finish off the year, with radish and carrot crops shredded and wheat and barley crops having the stuffing knocked out of them. . .

A timely reminder:

Fonterra dropped a bombshell last week when it announced its latest consideration on its farmgate milk price.

For farmer shareholders in New Zealand’s largest company, it had been shaping up to be a particularly merry Christmas, with economists suggesting the milk price could be lifted as much as 40c.

Elevated prices, which have defied predictions and remained at very high levels – the GlobalDairyTrade price index was just 7% below its April high and about 50% higher than a year ago – raised expectations for the forecast to rise. . .

UK butter eaters lose taste for Anchor after dairy giant cuts NZ ties – Nicholas Jones:

British shoppers have noticed that their favourite Anchor butter tastes different – with the explanation being it’s no longer from New Zealand.

In Britain, the famous Kiwi brand is used by European dairy company Arla. Until recently, Arla had shipped over New Zealand butter made by Fonterra, but has now switched production to its British facilities.

The Arla logo has been added to block butter packs, but the company has faced a number of complaints from disgruntled customers who were unaware of the change. . .

How much dairying is too much in terms of water quality? – Daniel Collins:

On 21 November the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, released her second report on water quality. It warned that business-as-usual dairy expansion by 2020 would leave our lakes and rivers more degraded than they are now, even with improved mitigation. I’d now like to re-cap what the report concluded, how it got there, and how it was received.

The report

The purpose of the report was to illustrate how land use change could affect future nutrient runoff – nitrogen and phosphorus – based on a simple, business-as-usual scenario for 2020.

Motu used a combined economics-land use model called LURNZ to project what land use changes are likely by 2020, driven by commodity process and knowledge of land use practices and landscape characteristics. Sheep and beef farming were expected to give way to dairying, forestry, and even reversion to shrubland. . .

Director elections mean an exciting Red Meat Industry:

Federated Farmers looks forward to working with the Boards of the cooperatively owned Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group following their recent Director elections.

“Federated Farmers congratulates the new directors elected to our two largest cooperatives, Don Morrison at Alliance Group as well as Richard Young and Dan Jex-Blake at Silver Fern Farms,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“We also congratulate Alliance Group chairman Murray Taggart on his re-election.

“Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre wishes to formally thank Alliance Group’s Owen Poole and Jason Miller as well as Silver Fern Farms’ David Shaw for their service to shareholders. . .


So much for the south

September 27, 2013

Labour’s abandonment of the provinces is particularly noticeable in the South Island and the dearth of representation has been highlighted by the party’s reshuffle.

The first South Island MP in the line-up is list MP Clayton Cosgrove at number 7.

The next is another list MP Maryan Street at 12 and then West Coast Tasman MP Damien O’Connor at 19.

The party has only two MPs south of Christchurch. One of those, David Clark who is supposed to be well regarded in and outside parliament, has been demoted to 20.

Megan Woods is 24 and the other South Islanders, Ruth Dyson, Clare Curran, and Rino Tirikatene are unranked.

The ODT says that new deputy, and another list MP,  David Parker’s links give Labour south cover.

David Parker pledged his loyalty to the South after his election yesterday as deputy leader of the Labour Party.

The election of Mr Parker – a list MP who has a house in Dunedin, visits the city two weekends out of three and still calls the city his base – provides Labour with South coverage to complement Mr Cunliffe’s coverage of the North as MP for New Lynn.

The prime reason for those visits will be to keep contact with his children. That is his business but shouldn’t be confused with political representation.

He might have pledged his loyalty to the south but his actions don’t match his words. He chose to leave Dunedin and stand for Epsom at the last election.

The one before that, 2008, he was the candidate for Waitaki but showed his lack of commitment to that when he conceded the seat at a public meeting a couple of weeks before the election, for which local party members still haven’t forgiven him.

If it gets into government, the party’s anti-growth policies will hit the regions hard and the lack of representation in the senior ranks of the party will make it more difficult for the concerns of the south to be heard.


Tweet spotlights division

September 10, 2013

Labour’s two Dunedin MPs Clare Curran and David Clark came out in support of Grant Robertson before the leadership meeting in the city on Sunday.

A couple of polls have shown their candidate is well behind and yesterday Curran tweeted:

“The “NZ’s not ready for a gay PM” is prob the biggest dog whistle I’ve ever heard. Extraordinary that it’s also coming from within the Party.”

And that tweet is not prob(ably) but definitely an illustration that Labour’s big problem is lack of unity compounded by MPs’ ability to keep their thoughts on internal problems internal.
A leadership race like this always had the potential to expose divisions in the party and this tweet has shone a spotlight on at least one of them.

Rural round-up

September 6, 2013

Record number of Rural Women members step up as candidates in local elections 2013:

A record number of Rural Women NZ members are standing in this year’s local elections, motivated by the need for better understanding by councils and District Health Boards of the challenges facing rural communities.

At least 14 Rural Women NZ members are standing around the country, with three already certain of their seats, being unopposed.

Rural rates are a hot issue, particularly the disproportionate share of rates being shouldered by farmers, which is a top priority for many.

Sharyn Price, a Kauru Hill Rural Women member standing for the Corriedale Ward of Waitaki District Council, says, “Rates fairness and value for money are utterly essential. Rural ratepayers have seen much larger percentage increases in rates than council’s averages, thanks to farm development increasing capital values, while town values fail to keep pace. Paying ever more for a shrinking share of services is not reasonable.” . .

$25m invested in new forestry technologies:

The Government is investing $2.5 million over a maximum of five years to support research that will increase the productivity of the forestry industry, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

The funding will support the development of new technologies that can be used by pine tree breeders to reduce the time it takes to breed and plant new improved trees by 15 years.

The Radiata Pine Breeding Company, which has formed a partnership between 16 forestry organisations, Scion and the University of Canterbury, is researching and developing the new technologies. . .

RMA reform bill third reading ‘a reform entrée’:

 Federated Farmers is welcoming some parts of the Resource Management Reform Bill 2012, which recently passed its third reading in the Parliament. 

 “While some parts of the Bill relate to Auckland, other parts are an economic and environmental appetizer for farmers,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment Spokesperson.

 “There are some aspects we welcome, some we have reservations about and some we do not think go far enough.

 “A few environmental activists have irrationally fought tooth and nail against having a robust cost benefit analysis in the RMA.  Without one, however, the RMA was increasingly trending towards perfection as a benchmark and that is as unaffordable as it is unobtainable. . .

Hoorah for Rotorua lake water quality!:

Federated Farmers applauds a recent Bay of Plenty Regional Council report showing water quality improvement in the Rotorua Lakes catchment has improved significantly.

“This gives a good, accurate illustration on the state of water quality within Rotorua Lakes,” says Neil Heather, past provincial president Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo.

“It highlights all the good work done through collaborative partnerships with landowners and the community undertaken to improve the lakes’ water quality. Federated Farmers supports the regional council’s use of the Trophic Level Index (TLI), which has undoubtedly led to an overall increase in water quality of the lakes catchment.

“A major impact on these results was the decision to apply alum dosing, which is key for algal growth meaning there are now less favourable conditions for weed growth and algal blooms. . .

New Zealand Young Farmers Appoints New CEO, Terry Copeland:

New Zealand Young Farmers is pleased to announce the appointment of the new CEO, Terry Copeland. After twelve years of service to NZYF as CEO, Richard Fitzgerald is stepping down.

Mr Copeland, comes to Young Farmers with an arsenal of experience from management, sales and marketing and supply chain management to tertiary teaching, journalism and being a brand ambassador.

His latest post was with Treasury Wine Estates, the second largest wine company globally. He led the export strategy and the supply chain team for four years. . .

MPI To Work with Farmers On Blackgrass Biosecurity Response:

Federated Farmers is working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and other stakeholders to ensure that blackgrass is not established in New Zealand, following the news of a potential blackgrass incursion in mid-Canterbury.

“The seed was spilt between Ashburton and a seed dressing plant in the Methven area and is a serious threat to arable farming in New Zealand,” says David Clark, Federated Farmers mid-Canterbury Grains Chairperson.

“We have just one chance to get this right and we commend MPI for identifying and informing us of this restricted weeds presence.

“Federated Farmers is firmly committed to working collaboratively with MPI and the Foundation of Arable Research to mount a credible response. . .

Synlait joins the ‘Good News Club’

Federated Farmers is thrilled that Synlait has increased their forecast milk price of $8 per kilogram of milk solids.

“Synlait has joined the ‘Good News Club’ at a time when dairy farmers needed some reassurance in the strength of the market,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chair.

“It has been a tumultuous time for the dairy industry this past month, but it is clear from Fonterra, Westland and Synlait that the demand for New Zealand milk is stronger than ever. . .

Wool Prices Continue to Rise:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the 9,400 bales of North Island wool on offer this week saw a 98 percent clearance and significant price lifts in some sectors compared to the last sale in the South Island on 29th August.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies lifted by 1.05 percent, however resurgence in wool prices in other markets coupled with limited supply locally, bypassed any currency impact with the market lifting between 3 and 10 percent.

Mr Dawson advises that Fine Crossbred Fleece and Shears were 3 to 6 percent dearer. Good Style Coarse Full Fleece were 5 to 6 percent stronger with poorer styles lifting by 7 to 10 percent. . .

Rural Equities annual profit slides 31% on property revaluations, drought; lifts dividend:

(BusinessDesk) – Rural Equities, the farming group controlled by the Cushing family, reported a 31 percent drop in annual profit as property revaluations lagged behind those from a year earlier, and as the North Island’s worst drought in seven years ate into operating earnings.

Net profit fell to $10.9 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from $15.8 million a year earlier, the Hastings-based company said in a statement. Profit included a gain in the 27-farm property portfolio of $4.9 million, smaller than the $14.3 million revaluation in 2012. Operating earnings declined to $2.1 million from $2.9 million as the drought increased the cost of feed, and the farms received lower prices for milk, sheep and wool. . .

 Eastpack Celebrates 30 Years of Packing Kiwifruit:

Leading kiwifruit post harvest supplier, EastPack has celebrated 30 seasons of packing kiwifruit. EastPack, which began in Edgecumbe and was originally called Rangitaiki Fruitpackers Co-operative, is now New Zealand’s largest post harvest kiwifruit operator, following its merger earlier this year with Satara.

Chief Executive Tony Hawken has led the company through 30 years of continuous growth.

“From day one, we have always had, and continue to have, a reputation for looking after our growers no matter how challenging the circumstances,” Mr Hawken said.

“As a grower-owned company, EastPack growers share in the company’s financial success. We consistently deliver industry-leading orchard gate returns (OGR) through our operational efficiencies, inventory management and our grower-owned structure.” . . .

Sacred Hill scores high in Gimblett Gravels Vintage Selection:

Hawkes Bay’s Gimblett Gravels has selected its top wines from an outstanding 2011 line up and Sacred Hill Vineyards is the only producer to have two wines make the grade in the prestigious Annual Vintage Selection (AVS), recording the highest scoring wines in two categories.

The selection of wines from the 2011 vintage was made this week following a tasting by one of the world’s most highly respected Masters of Wine, Andrew Caillard of Australia.

Gimblett Gravels producers were allowed to put forward no more than three wines each for the tasting with a maximum of two from any winery eligible for the final selection of 12 wines. Only wines scoring 93 points out of 100 or more were selected. . .


Rural round-up

August 30, 2013

Land use pressure for farmers – Tony Benny:

Farmer predicts proposed new land use rules will jam the brakes on agricultural development in Canterbury.

Federated Farmers’ South Island Grain and Seed vice-chairman David Clark claims that the proposals for rules limiting changes of land use recommended for inclusion in the proposed Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan will put more pressure on arable farmers and stop further expansion of dairy farming.

“The proposals that have been put forward would make it extremely hard to change land use with any degree of intensification.

“The big issue and the big concern is around nutrient management rules that are coming in, that would severely constrict land use modification.” . .

Key holds fire on botulism blame - Hannah Lynch:

Prime Minister John Key is refusing to point the finger of blame at who is responsible for the Fonterra botulism fiasco until all inquires in to what turned out to be a false alarm are completed.

In a shock announcement yesterday, the Primary Industries Ministry said there was no contamination linked to botulism in Fonterra whey protein product at the centre of an international food safety alert. 

The ministry’s independent testing contradicted the results of tests done by Fonterra or on its behalf by state owned AgResearch. 

The alert earlier this month caused product recalls, a trade backlash and tarnished New Zealand’s “clean green” brand. . .

Deer farmers urged to fight for Invermay - Annette Scott:

The Invermay deer programme has led the development of the New Zealand deer industry for the past 35 years and is recognised as world leading, former Invermay Agricultural Centre director Dr Jock Allison says.

Allison opposes AgResearch’s proposal to focus South Island agricultural research on a single hub in Lincoln, describing it as schizophrenic behaviour.   

In a letter to deer farmers Allison, Dr Ken Drew, a leader of Invermay deer research for 25 years, and Otago University Professor Frank Griffin urged the industry to voice its concern.

“It is our view that only through concerted industry efforts will the deer research programme be retained at Invermay,” Allison said. . .

European manufacturer commits to New Zealand:

The current strength and strong outlook for the future of New Zealand agriculture has led Europe’s major tractor manufacturer, SAME Deutz-Fahr, to commit itself to our market.

The Vice Chairman of the company, Francesco Carozza, (pictured) who was in New Zealand recently, says the future of world agriculture is very strong, and New Zealand is well positioned to capitalise on that potential.

“Globally speaking, food demand is going to double over the next 40 years, so the market is going to increase big time – and so are the opportunities for New Zealand agriculture,” he says. . .

Primary Industry Training Organisation cements first successful year with fresh new brand:

On 1 October 2012, Agriculture ITO and Horticulture ITO merged to form the Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO). Primary ITO is also responsible for Water Industry Training, Equine Industry Training and NZ Sports Turf ITO, making it one of the largest ITOs in New Zealand.

“Agriculture ITO and Horticulture ITO made the proactive move to join together because we shared a natural affinity and a common vision. We recognised that we could deliver better outcomes for our industries by having an organisation with a larger critical mass and shared resources,” says Primary ITO Chief Executive Kevin Bryant.

Since the launch of Primary ITO, the organisation has continued to operate under the five existing brands. . .

Conservation and management of NZ whitebait speciesJane Goodman:

New Zealand’s whitebait fishery consists of the young of five migratory galaxiid species – inanga (Galaxias maculatus), koaro (Galaxias brevipinnis), banded kokopu (Galaxias fasciatus), giant kokopu (Galaxias argenteus) and shortjaw kokopu (Galaxias postvectis). Smelt (Retropinna retropinna) are also present in catches from some rivers along with the young of other fish species such as eels and bullies. (See Amber McEwan’s earlier blog.)

Four of the five galaxiid whitebait species (inanga, koaro, giant kokopu and shortjaw kokopu are ranked in the New Zealand Threat Classification System (Townsend et al. 2008) as ‘at risk – declining’; banded kokopu are listed as not threatened (Allibone et al. 2010).

A2 shares record-high as investors buy into growth story:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Corp shares touched a record high 77 cents in trading today after the company boosted sales 51 percent and improved its underlying earnings.

The Sydney-based company, which markets milk products with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits, lifted sales to $94.3 million in the 12 months ended June 30 from $62.5 million, and more than doubled operating earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation to $10.6 million.

Net profit slipped 6.5 percent to $4.12 million, as the company wore losses associated with setting up its British joint venture and year earlier gains from a tax asset and legal settlement rolled off. . .


PKE import rules tightened

June 20, 2013

Rules are on the importing of palm kernel expeller are to be tightened.

Federated Farmers have been airing concerns about the biosecurity risks from the import of PKE for some time.

Grains executive members Colin McKinnon and David Clark travelled to Malaysia last September for an official Palm Industry Board briefing; they also made an unofficial, unannounced visit to another plant, chosen at random.

They saw PKE in silos open to birds and other animals, and contamination was probable. Product would probably not have met New Zealand’s Import Health Standard, but the mill owner believed it was suitable for export to New Zealand and was willing to sell it to them.

Clark and McKinnon detailed their concerns in a report to MPI in November (Rural News, December 4 and February 19). Late last month, the ministry issued a statement saying it took Feds’ report very seriously. . .

MPI sent two inspectors to PKE meal processing facilities and Malaysia and Indonesia and requirements will be tightened as a result.

The audit reports show good biosecurity systems are in place in the two main PKE-supplying countries, but some tightening up is recommended to ensure New Zealand’s standard is met.

Deputy Director-General, Compliance and Response, Andrew Coleman says the reports conclude that any biosecurity risk from the importation of PKE is very low, but the strengthening of import requirements will be accelerated after a small part of an animal limb was recently discovered in a PKE shipment.

MPI is sending a senior manager to Malaysia today and then on to Indonesia to work with authorities there.

“The focus will be on working together to ensure that PKE from unapproved facilities cannot be exported to New Zealand. In addition, a small number of processing facilities will need to improve their systems to keep birds and rodents out of the product in storage,” Mr Coleman says.

“This work is timely given the recent discovery of the animal limb which was reported to MPI by a Bay of Plenty farmer. The lower part of an animal leg, approximately 18cm in length, has been identified by a zoologist as most likely from a small deer or goat species not present in New Zealand,” Mr Coleman says.

“Our risk assessors have told us that the risk of the introduction of any animal disease posed by this find is very low. However we took the precaution of sending a vet to the property where they found all animals in excellent health.

“A find like this one is rare, given that approximately 1.5 million tonnes of PKE are imported annually.”

PKE is a vital import for New Zealand’s dairy farmers who rely on it for supplementary feed – particularly now in the aftermath of the summer’s drought and with the onset of winter.

“The changes we are introducing will help strengthen our system further,” Mr Coleman says. Currently every shipment of PKE must meet strict requirements before it can be imported to New Zealand, including heat treatment, fumigation and inspection.

“A further option being considered is a new levy on PKE imports, or an increase to the existing biosecurity levy to increase the level of inspection in these countries. Any such proposal would have to be consulted on and have industry support. MPI is now beginning work on various options for consultation.”

The audit reports are here and here.

 

 


Rural round-up

February 18, 2013

Call for tighter rules – Gerald Piddock:

Federated Farmers is demanding the rules for importing palm kernel expeller (PKE) be tightened.

This comes after two members of the group’s grain and seed executive observed massive breaches of the New Zealand import health standards for importing 

Federated Farmers is demanding the rules for importing palm kernel expeller (PKE) be tightened.

This comes after two members of the group’s grain and seed executive observed massive breaches of the New Zealand import health standards for importing PKE into New Zealand during a visit to a Malaysian PKE crushing plant.

Mid Canterbury farmer David Clark along with Whakatane farmer Colin MacKinnon visited the country in September last year.

They detailed the breaches along with several recommendations to improve New Zealand’s biosecurity process in a report they submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries last year.

into New Zealand during a visit to a Malaysian PKE crushing plant.

Mid Canterbury farmer David Clark along with Whakatane farmer Colin MacKinnon visited the country in September last year.

They detailed the breaches along with several recommendations to improve New Zealand’s biosecurity process in a report they submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries last year. . .

Irrigation scheme on target -Gerald Piddock:

The first of the giant ponds at the Rangitata South Irrigation scheme could be filled by the end of the month, as construction of the project continues.

Workers were one third of the way through lining the surface of the first of the ponds, Rooney Earth Moving general manager Colin Dixon said.

The plastic lining came in large rolls that were unwrapped and the edges were then joined together.

“It’s like a sewing machine, it runs up the seam really slowly and melts them together,” Mr Dixon said.

He estimated it would take four to six weeks to line each pond. The ponds were lined one after the other, rather than all at the same time. As soon as one pond is lined, it can be filled with water. . .

Time to merge ag unis?- Marie Taylor and Rebecca Harper:

Merging agriculture courses offered at Lincoln and Massey universities is one way to make better use of limited resources, Beef + Lamb chairman Mike Petersen says.

It emerged last week that Lincoln was undertaking a major review of its qualifications.

It is the country’s smallest university, with 3500 full-time equivalent students, and has faced a series of financial losses in the past few years. It had a $5 million loss last year and a $5m loss is budgeted for this year.

Lincoln wants to reduce the number of undergraduate degrees it offers from 13 to three land-based three-year degrees, with a common first year. . .

The carbon-neutral dairy farm, is it possible? – Milking the Moove:

What does a dairy farmer have to do to become carbon neutral?

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the prospect of agriculture being included into New Zealand’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). 

So I thought to my self, what would a dairy farmer need to do to become carbon neutral?

But first, why would a farmer what to be carbon neutral?

Some may say because it’s the right thing to do for the environment.

Others will want to eliminate any tax paid on the carbon they emit. 

Other people will say that, being carbon neutral gives that farmer a wonderful point of difference in which to differentiate their products.

In order to avoid getting into a debate about whether climate change is real or not, I’m going to approach this from the marketing angle. . . .

Sector pins hopes on golden fleece – Tim Cronshaw:

A golden yarn developed by Kiwi scientists and containing pure gold is expected to be sold to wealthy buyers of luxury carpets, rugs and furnishings.

Unlike the golden fleece in Greek mythology the yarn and completed woollen products will not have a golden colour at this stage.

The Aulana-branded wool has been developed by Professor Jim Johnston and Dr Kerstin Lucas of Victoria University after $3 million of research and development.

A tiny amount of pure gold is combined with wool and the chemistry between the two causes it to bond and produce the colours of purple, grey and blue.

The range is expected to be extended and include a golden hue later. . .

Shearers busy as farmers heed market – Tim Cronshaw:

Canterbury shearers have gone into overdrive after an unexpected surge in sheep needing to be shorn.

The December to early February stint is usually quiet for shearing, but an influx of lambs and cull ewes needing their fleece removed put the pressure on shearers during the hot spell, when temperatures soared above 30 degrees in shearing sheds.

Farmers appear to have moved quickly in line with lower lamb prices and this acted as a catalyst for more shearing.

January was expected to be a slow month for shearing, but only in the last week has the pace slowed, said Barry Pullin,  an owner of Pullin Shearing, and chairman for the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association. . . .


How appropriate

February 9, 2013

Labour’s Dunedin North MP tweets:

Clark tweet 09022013

Is there any more appropriate place for a prospective member of a Labour/Green government than Thieves Alley?

Hat Tip: Keeping Stock


Rural round-up

December 17, 2012

MPI investigating palm kernel biosecurity-risk – Gerald Piddock:

The Ministry of Primary Industries is investigating claims by Federated Farmers that Malaysian-grown palm kernel expeller (PKE) could present a biosecurity risk to New Zealand.

The claims come after Federated Farmers grains executive vice-chairman David Clark and maize growers committee chairman Colin MacKinnon visited Malaysia in September to investigate the country’s palm industry.

“What we saw would be a complete breach of the import health standard if that palm kernel, when it was consolidated, formed part of a shipment coming to New Zealand,” Mr Clark said.

The pair were hosted on a plantation and shown around a mill where the PKE was processed. They attended a conference on PKE and spent time visiting the installations where PKE is stored and loaded onto container ships bound for New Zealand. . .

Farmlands CRT favour merger – Rebecca Harper:

Farmlands and Combined Rural Traders (CRT) directors are recommending in favour of a merger between the two farmer-owned rural supplies co-operatives.

The New Zealand Farmers Weekly revealed the two farmer-owned co-ops were in merger talks in early October.

The chairmen of the two co-ops, Don McFarlane (CRT) and Lachie Johnstone (Farmlands) confirmed exclusively to Farmers Weekly on Friday that a letter had been sent to shareholders that day saying the boards of each society were in favour of the merger. Directors had “agreed to take steps to merge the two societies together”. . .

Poor pasture quality costly - Gerald Piddock:

The poor quality of New Zealand pastures is one of the main reasons agricultural debt levels are so high, a leading soil scientist says.

Dairy cows are being presented too often with a nitrate-crude protein-rich pasture that does not provide them with enough energy, Graham Shepherd says.

It meant farmers brought in high levels of supplementary feed to give the rumen the energy required to process that type of pasture, he told farmers at a field day at Bryan and Jackie Clearwater’s farm near Geraldine. . .

Glyphos hit by grass resistance – Richard Rennie:

The discovery of glyphosate resistant ryegrass in Marlborough has sparked calls for compulsory labels on agri-chemicals highlighting resistance risks.

Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) CEO Nick Pyke officially confirmed the discovery at a field day in Hamilton on Thursday.

The discovery came during work for a Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) funded project on studying glyphosate resistance. It was identified in grasses from a vineyard after a call from a chemical company. . .

Really important to have social scientists working in agriculture - Pasture to Profit:

Social scientists are very active in agrifood.

That’s great! I welcome these intelligent minds working in both the agriculture & food space. Agrifood is about people. Dairy Farming is primarily about people. 
 
How people think, make decisions, work with each other, how we collectively live & work together is really important stuff. Yet mainstream agricultural science, farmers & farming largely ignore the social scientists & their work. I’ve just attended the Australia-NZ Agri-food Research Network conference held at Massey University. . .

And they think they’re ready for government?

December 7, 2012

Labour’s finance spokesman David Parker can’t count.

Backbencher David Clark doesn’t understand the difference between revenue and profit for tax purposes.

And now Phil Goff doesn’t understand the role and responsibilities of a non-beneficial trustee.

. . . “By attacking Mr Kiely without checking the facts Mr Goff has impugned the reputation of a highly professional individual without any justification.

“Central to Mr Goff’s allegation is that Mr Kiely held shares in shipping company Sofrana at the time PFL, of which he was a director, was considering an offer from Sofrana.

“Mr Kiely has never owned shares in Sofrana. The shares referred to by Mr Goff were held by Mr Kiely as a non-beneficial trustee for a Sofrana employee. Practising lawyers like Mr Kiely commonly hold shares for clients as non-beneficial trustee. If Mr Goff had asked he could have been told this.

“There was no obligation for Mr Kiely to disclose such matters to the Ministry when he was appointed a director. Only personal interests must be disclosed. There has never been a requirement for lawyers to disclose clients’ interests.

“Furthermore, when Sofrana expressed interest in PFL, Mr Kiely ensured that the PFL chairman was made aware of the non-beneficial trustee holding, and took the further step of ceasing to act as trustee. This is more than he was obliged to do. I have sighted the relevant documentation today. . .

And they’d like to think they’re ready for government!

The series of errors reflects on the MPs’ competency.

Goff was trying to embarrass the government because of Keily’s links to the National Party.

Instead he’s embarrassed himself and reminded voters again that a party that can’t perform in opposition is far from ready for government.


Spot the contradiction

September 24, 2012

Did anyone notice the contradiction in two of Labour’s policies?

Last week Dunedin North MP David Clark was trying to get support for his Bill to increase the minimum wage.

At the same time list MP David Parker was, and still is, trying to get the government to meddle with the exchange rate to decrease the value of the dollar which will in effect cutting the real wages of all New Zealanders.

Both policies are misguided and one contradicts the intent of the other.

One effective way to take pressure off the value of the dollar is tighter fiscal policy but Labour has fought tooth and nail against every policy National has introduced to cut costs in the public sector.


Missing link on Planet Labour

July 30, 2012

There’s at least a couple of missing links on Planet Labour – the one between action and reaction and the one between productivity and wages.

There’s no better example of this than in Dunedin MP David Clark’s ignorance about the impact on an increase of the minimum wage:

” . . . It will affect a couple of hundred thousand New Zealanders, . . . “

I presume he means there are a couple of hundred people on the minimum wage who would get a pay rise.

But what about the people who employ them and the people who might have got a job had the minimum wage not been increased?

What about the people who have to pay more for goods and services when businesses can’t absorb the extra cost of wages and put up their prices?

What about people who lose jobs because the business can’t afford the flow on increase to other wages.

Keeping Stock explains:

 . . . You see Dr Clark; it’s not just as simple as paying people $15/hour. If the minimum wage goes up, so will everyone else’s. Our wage bill is in the order of $1m per annum, so an arbitrary, across-the-board 15% wage increase would cost us an additional $150,000 per year. That would be totally unsustainable for us; our businesses run at break-even at best. There is little doubt for our businesses that we would have to reduce our staff numbers.
 
So who wins there Dr Clark? We certainly don’t; nor do the staff members whose jobs are lost, and their families. And far from the Wanganui economy receiving a shot in the arm, there are suddenly less people spending. . .

Pay rises as a result of productivity increases or a reduction in costs are sustainable.

Pay rises by decree are not and would affect a lot more than a couple of hundred thousand people.


Pretty meaningless stuff

June 27, 2012

Another quote of the day:

Rt Hon John Key: Has he seen any reports that the Government’s attempt to quantify 14 different outcomes is “pretty meaningless stuff”, and does he think it is pretty meaningless stuff to

be tackling rheumatic fever, abuse of children, and better education for New Zealanders—is that pretty meaningless stuff?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I saw a report—well, I heard a report that I did not initially believe, actually, because it was a quote from some chap called Chris Hipkins from the Labour Party, who said of these result areas—better educational achievement, less crime, and fewer vulnerable children—“It’s actually pretty meaningless stuff.” And on “Planet Labour”, I think it is.

On Planet Labour all sorts of strange things are said and done. Maybe it’s all the SMOGs (Social Media Own Goals) which cloud their thinking.

Megan Woods tweeted a Hitler comparison yesterday and David Clark followed it up by criticising Peter Dunne for his absence from parliament when he (Dunne) was at a funeral.

Such things are probably meaningless stuff outside the Bowen Triangle and among political tragics but they’re still nasty stuff.


Equality or prosperity?

March 4, 2012

The quote in the previous post was from a Critic interview with National’s senior whip and Dunedin-based MP and Dunedin North MP David Clark.

Among the questions asked by interviewer, Callum Fredric was:

In a hypothetical society, which society would you prefer: One where everyone earns $50,000 per year; or one where half the people earn $70,000 and the other half earns $300,000?

In the discussion that followed Michael said:

. . .  It’s a really straightforward question, with a really straightforward answer. Either you agree with the proposition that as long as you’re better off, it’s okay for other people to be even more better off in society, all other things being equal. . .

The question was about income inequality. All other things being equal, would a society where everybody is better off but there is greater income inequality be a better society than one where everyone is equally impoverished? I’m going to quote my new colleague Dr Jian Yang who grew up in china. And in his maiden speech said by 1968 when he was 6 years old, china under Mao Zedong had reached its utopia. Everyone was equally impoverished, and on his tenth birthday his present was two eggs for breakfast. So we can go to the statistics that David loves quoting and say that according to your argument, we would be better off living in Afghanistan or the Czech republic than we would be in NZ and I simply reject that proposition. What’s important is the issue of social mobility. So fair pay for work.

The left are spending a lot of energy on inequality but it’s not whether everyone has enough is far more important than whether some people have more.

Prosperity for everyone even if it’s unequal is far better than everyone being equally poor.

 

 

 


Lab/Green policies encourage dairy conversion

November 18, 2011

Labour and Green policies for resource rentals would threaten arable farms and encourage more dairy conversion.

“Ten cents per cubic metres of water may sound like a drop in the bucket but for my arable and lamb finishing farm, it wipes out any surplus I’d make from farming,” says David Clark, Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury Grain & Seed chairperson.

“Ten cents per cubic metre adds up to $234,000 per year and that sum is frightening.

“I’m an arable farmer so the crops I grow go into the bread people eat. Those crops rely on irrigated water but in Canterbury, much of that water is drawn from ground water.

“Having costed resource rentals and the near quarter of a million it would cost my business, the only way for me to keep farming is to build a milking platform and go dairying.

“I’m not sure that’s what Labour Leader Phil Goff wants but that’s the practical outcome of his party’s policy. Dairying would be the only way for arable farmers to keep up with the astronomical cost of resource rentals. As a country, we’d also have to import more grains too.

“It’s one example of why Federated Farmers warned the Labour and Green parties about their policies towards farming. These are policies that could make the family farm a folk memory and Federated Farmers doesn’t want that.

Labour and Green primary sector policies, like their general business ones, add costs without doing anything that will aid productivity.

This could result in what they will consider perverse outcomes including encouraging farm amalgamation to get economies of scale, more corporate ownership and more dairy conversions.


Are these within the rules?

May 14, 2011

My farmer spotted these signs near Waitati a couple of days ago.

It’s not easy to see in the photos but there does appear to be an authorisation statement so they probably comply with the Electoral Act.

But the Dunedin City Council has a by-law prohibiting such signs outside the three month campaign period and it’s a little more than six months until the election.

Unless they have special consent these signs are another sign that Labour has a very casual attitude towards the rules.


Rural round-up

December 5, 2010

MAF director-general plans to be visible - Neal Wallace interviews Wayne McNee:

The new director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is looking forward to re-acquainting himself with those who he says work in “the engine room of the economy”.

Wayne McNee, who was raised on a North Otago farm, started his new position last Monday, and said he did not underestimate the importance of the role to New Zealanders and the New Zealand economy. . .

 Telford Polytech to be Lincoln run:

While it’s been described as a merger, the assets of Telford Polytechnic such as buildings, other improvements and staff contracts, will be transferred to Lincoln University without any cash changing hands.

The Telford brand will continue to be recognised, says Lincoln University vice-chancellor Professor Roger Field, with Telford becoming a division of the university and its 880 hectare Telford farm in South Otago remaining in trust ownership and management by the farm training institute. . .

Farm sales hit by doubt over OIO hurdles:

Uncertainty over foreign land deals is thought to be weighing heavily on efforts to sell a group of dairy farms in the central North Island.

Twenty-nine “designer” dairy farms created by Carter Holt Harvey around Tokoroa have been sitting on the market since early this year.

The company initially hoped to sell them for $224.5 million.

But a real estate agent involved in the marketing effort says interested parties are waiting for the outcome of the Crafar farms deal to set the tone on foreign farm ownership. . .

Wheat growers call in Comerce Commission:

New Zealand grain growers are appealing to the Commerce Commission and other government agencies amid fears large multinationals are achieving a dominant position in the local market and limiting access to markets for local produce.

“Our concerns are not solely regarding [Canadian company] Viterra but a general loss of transparency of grain markets and vertical integration across several multinationals operating in New Zealand,” said David Clark, chairman of the Mid Canterbury Grain and Seed Section of Federated Farmers. . .

Lamb stance comes up short: Jon Morgan writes:

When I asked two of the biggest meat companies, Silver Fern and Alliance, what effect they expected a 2.8 million plunge in lamb numbers to have on them, they said they were insouciant, which is a French word meaning they couldn’t care less.

I don’t believe this for one moment. Calling on my basic French again, they are talking merde du boeuf, or in patois (with appropriate gesticulation) – “conneries!”.

I don’t hold it against them. You would hardly expect them to reveal to their competitors their true concerns. But they must be at least a trifle uneasy. . .

It all bodes well for hazelnuts:

The seventh annual New Zealand Gourmet Oil Competition was held in conjunction with the Canterbury A&P Association annual show. The competition, open to New Zealand-produced olive, walnut, avocado and hazelnut oil, attracted more than 40 entries, with the judges awarding 25 medals. . .


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,277 other followers

%d bloggers like this: