Rural round-up

August 30, 2014

Writing software, beet machine snag awards  – Kelsey Wilkie:

Judges broke the rules by announcing two winners at the Innovate business competition last night.

They could not choose between a computer program that helps children with writing and a machine to reduce the growing cost of fodder beet, so they awarded both $10,000 each.

Innovate is a Manawatu-based competition to help take an idea for a new business, an invention, early-stage research or technology with commercial potential and turn it into reality. . .

Challenge boosts protection of biological heritage:

The National Science Challenge – New Zealand’s Biological Heritage Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho – is to receive funding of $25.8 million over five years for research to protect and manage the country’s biodiversity, improve our biosecurity, and enhance our resilience to harmful organisms.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says the Challenge spans a wide range of scientific disciplines and will include researchers from nearly all New Zealand’s relevant research institutions.

The Challenge will be hosted by the Crown research institute Landcare Research. It includes researchers from the other six Crown research institutes, and all eight New Zealand universities. . . .

Device may boost quad bike safety  – Jack Montgomerie:

A South Canterbury man thinks the anti-roll bar he designed could reduce quad bike accidents.

Farmer and rural contractor Charles Anderson, of Fairlie, said he was inspired to design the retractable “anti-roll bars” after learning of several fatal and serious accidents involving quad bikes rolling over.

“I was just getting sick of reading about all these accidents. I couldn’t believe there were that many.” . . .

Taranaki farm wins effluent fitness warrant – Sue O’Dowd:

What is believed to be the first dairy effluent warrant of fitness in Taranaki has been awarded to an Okato farm.

The warrant of fitness scheme was developed by Dairy NZ to improve farm dairy effluent infrastructure around the country. Certified assessors determine whether farm infrastructure meets industry good practice.

New Plymouth assessor Colin Kay, of Opus Consultants, awarded the warrant to Blue Rata Investments after auditing its 204ha (effective) Okato farm, named for the nearby bush reserve on the banks of the Stony River. . .

From the worst dairy farm to one of the best:

A Thames farming company has turned its business around after prosecution on four environmental offences led to instructions to stop milking.

Tuitahi Farms Ltd was investigated by Waikato Regional Council after an aerial monitoring flight in September last year.

When council officers investigated the farm, they discovered a range of unlawful discharges of milk vat waste and dairy effluent into farm drains that flow to the Waihou River and the Firth of Thames.

The council initiated a prosecution for offences against the Resource Management Act. The farm was convicted on four charges and fined $47,250 in the Auckland District Court in July. It was also ordered not to commence milking until a new dairy effluent system was in operation. . . .

Spring cereal sowing underway:

Canterbury’s grain growers, responsible for nearly two thirds of New Zealand’s total annual grain harvest, are looking to make up lost ground this spring after poor weather stymied autumn seeding for many.

“The Canterbury Plains are NZ’s cereal bowl and the key planting period is upon us. Farmers and contractors are already busy servicing and readying their tractors and seed drills for what they hope will be a productive spring,” says Thomas Chin, general manager of the New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association (GSTA).

Where the soil is dry enough the bulk of Canterbury wheat, barley, oats and maize crops, for both the feed and food processing industries will go into the ground over the coming weeks. . . .

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Labour too late to look responsible

August 26, 2014

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce sums up Labour’s announcement it’s dropping some yet unannounced policies:

Finance Minister Bill English isn’t convinced either:

It’s too late for Labour to try to look responsible with taxpayers’ money when it has publicly committed to four years of new spending with almost a month to run before the election, National Party Finance Spokesman Bill English says.

“Labour is desperately trying to make its big spending commitments look smaller, and has decided to not even put costings on its big spending tertiary and transport commitments.

“Neither David Cunliffe nor David Parker could this morning actually list which of their expensive spending promises would be delayed in what was a failed attempt to appear fiscally prudent.

“Labour would return to their high spending ways, with at least an $18 billion list of new spending commitments,” Mr English says.

“That’s before you add the Greens’ promises to spend an additional $10 billion over the next four years. Then then there’s the wish list of support partner the Dotcom party, which wants to spend billions more on free tertiary education and community make-work schemes.

“Whatever Labour presents now would be up for negotiation in coalition talks where the Greens would have considerable sway – not to mention concessions demanded by Dotcom.

“On top of that, the Greens and Labour are arguing over their numbers. The Greens say they want Labour’s numbers independently audited – and for good reason.  And as we saw from the weekend, they can’t even agree fairly basic stuff like where the two of them think the top personal tax rate should be.

“The last time we saw this sort of approach, New Zealand taxpayers and families were the losers, with high deficits, a stalling economy and mortgage interest rates at nearly 11 per cent. New Zealand simply can’t afford the Labour/Greens/Dotcom coalition,” Mr English says.

High tax, high spending policies under the last Labour-led government put the country into recession before the rest of the world and left us with a forecast for a decade of deficits.

If they couldn’t manage the books responsibly in good times, they’ll have no show of exercising the restraint needed to ensure we keep on the road to recovery from bad times.

 


Labour lacks ambition for Otago

August 22, 2014

Labour is promising to create 3000 jobs a year for Otago which shows a distinct lack of ambition when compared with job growth over recent years:

David Cunliffe has committed to short-changing Otago on the job front with his pledge today to create 3000 more jobs in the region if elected, National’s Economic Development spokesman Steven Joyce says.

“In his press release today, Mr Cunliffe announced that Labour’s policies would create 3,000 more jobs in Otago in the next three years. However that would be a major slowdown on job growth achieved in the last five years,” Mr Joyce says.

“In the last five years our policy mix has seen 23,000 extra jobs created in the Otago region according to Statistics New Zealand. That’s an average of 4,600 jobs a year. Mr Cunliffe is proposing to cut that growth rate by nearly 80 per cent with his ‘economic upgrade’.

“On the one hand I understand Mr Cunliffe’s lack of ambition. A Labour-Greens government with at least four big extra taxes and large amounts of extra spending and the high interest rates that go with it would be a massive drag on the Otago economy.

“On the other hand, with their policy prescription I think they would struggle to even create the extra 1000 jobs a year he suggests.

“Under this Government Otago’s unemployment rate has dropped to 3.3 per cent – one of the lowest in the country.

“And great Otago companies are flat out creating the Innovation and Knowledge Centre Mr Cunliffe says he wants to create.

“Mr Cunliffe is struggling under the weight of his own lack of knowledge about what is happening in the region.

“I suspect that once Otago people compare their economic performance under this government with Mr Cunliffe’s prescription, they will likely tell him to keep his ‘economic upgrade’.”

The Otago unemployment rate is now at about 3.5%.

That’s getting down to the unemployable – those who either can’t or won’t work for a variety of reasons.

One reason for that is government policies and the economic climate, including low interest rates, have given businesses the confidence to invest and expand.

But that confidence will be severely dented by the anti-business, anti-progress policies Labour and its coalition partners – the Green, New Zealand First and Internet Mana parties would impose on us.

They are threatening us with more and higher taxes, greater compliance costs, less flexible employment laws, higher KiwiSaver contributions, higher interest rates . . .

None of those is conducive to business growth and the jobs which rely on it.


$28b and climbing

August 19, 2014

The left keep trying to convince us they can be trusted with the Treasury benches but  promises from the Labour and the Green Party already add up to more than the country can afford:

Less than five weeks out from the election, the Labour-Greens set of combined spending promises for the upcoming election has now hit a whopping $28.1 billion over four years, National’s Associate Finance spokesperson Steven Joyce says.

“The Labour Party’s new spending commitments hit $17.9 billion over four years last week, and with the extra welfare money announced yesterday, the Greens’ extra commitments have now reached $10.2 billion over four years,” Mr Joyce says.

“It’s now even more apparent that the big spenders on the Left are flat out thinking of new ways of spending money that the country doesn’t have.

“Labour and the Greens will, of course, both tell you it’s all fully costed and so on. What they mean is they’d raise taxes and set up a number of new taxes, and if all that fails, borrow a lot more money to meet their commitments.

“Labour will also tell you they haven’t bought into the Greens’ announcements yet. However that flies in the face of the reality that any Labour-led government would have the Greens holding the whip hand – and that means the Greens big-ticket spending pledges in areas like transport and welfare benefit increases.

“Labour now needs to front up and say which of the Greens promises, if any, they don’t support.”

Mr Joyce says Labour and the Greens are completely out of touch with fiscal reality in this election.

“They propose, if elected, to go back immediately to their big spending ways by placing a massive additional burden on Kiwi taxpayers. They haven’t learnt a thing from their six years in opposition,” Mr Joyce says.

“New Zealand is now heading in the right direction with growing economic momentum. We are now one of the fastest growing economies in the OECD, and we need to lock in that faster growth to further lift New Zealanders’ standard of living.

“The Labour-Greens swag of massive election promises would simply bring New Zealand to a grinding halt again and send all taxpayers a very big bill.”

For further information:
Green Party Election 2014 Spending Announcements – as at 17 August 2014
Labour Party Election 2014 Spending Announcements – as at 11 August 2014

Economic management matters not as the end but the means for sustainable spending on things which matter more.

When Labour lost the 2008 election their legacy was a forecast for a decade of deficits.

National has managed to turn that around, while protecting the most vulnerable without any slashing and burning, and get us back on track to surplus in spite of the natural and financial disasters that it’s had to deal with.

If Labour, the Green, New Zealand First and Internet Mana become the government the surplus will disappear and the social and environmental progress it could fund will go too.

Returning a National-led government will enable it to deliver on more of hte policies that are working for New Zealand.

 

 


Green for slow

August 18, 2014

The Green Party wants to give in-work tax credits to people who aren’t working and fund it with an envy tax.

The motivation to end child poverty is noble.

But in taking away the incentive to work they are going to increase benefit dependency, which as Lindsay Mitchell, says is one of the major determinants of poverty:

Let’s remember is was Labour that introduced the IWTC, the rationale being to attract more parents, mainly single, into employment. Clark and Cullen believed that the best way to get children out of poverty was to get their parents into paid work. From Cullen’s 2006 budget speech:

The Government believes that ultimately work is the best way out of poverty, and provides the best social and economic outcomes for families in the long run. Making work pay through the In-Work Payment component of the Working for Families package improves people’s opportunities to make a better life for themselves and their families.

In Social Developments author Tim Garlick wrote

The decision to strengthen work incentives by not increasing the income of non-working families was strongly criticised by some academics and community groups…

 But they stood by their conviction.

And the courts have upheld the policy’s legitimacy against multiple challenges from the Child Poverty Action Group.

Yet the Greens see no value in paid work. No value in children growing up with working role models.No value in actually earning an income; participating, contributing and producing.

All they see is a quick cash cure (with no gaurantee the money will be spent on the children) which comes with the almighty risk that more children will grow up welfare dependent as the financial rewards of working, as meagre as they are, disappear.

I must have said it hundreds of times. Welfare made families poor. More of it is not the answer.

Contrary to what the Greens believe, neither more welfare nor higher taxes are the answer to reducing poverty:

The Greens/Labour recipe of more and higher taxes would stall New Zealand’s economic recovery just when we are getting back on our feet after the Global Financial Crisis, National’s Associate Finance spokesman Steven Joyce says.

“The Greens have proposed a 40 per cent top tax rate that would affect many hard-working New Zealanders, including school principals, doctors, and many small business owners,” Mr Joyce says.

“We’ve been here before. A 40 per cent tax rate is damaging to the economy because it increases tax avoidance, penalises hard work, and sends some of our best and brightest offshore.

“And it is of course just another in a long list of new taxes Labour and the Greens want to introduce including a capital gains tax, a big carbon tax, taxes on water use, higher personal taxes, and regional fuel taxes.

“Just when the New Zealand economy is heading in the right direction and we are growing the largest number of new jobs in a decade, the Greens want to go back to the old tax and spend approach that clearly didn’t work in the lead up to the GFC.

“Back then, our best and brightest were flooding out the door for better opportunities in Australia. Now migration out to Australia has stopped.

“Back then, welfare rolls were already growing because of our domestic recession. Now 1600 people a week are moving off welfare and into work because of our growing economy.

“Back then, government spending had jumped by 50 per cent in just five years, pushing floating mortgage rates close to 11 per cent and leaving us with forecasts of budget deficits and soaring debt into the future.

Mr Joyce says the economic recipe that’s working includes lower, not higher, taxes and a government that is relentlessly focussed on growing jobs and getting people off welfare support and into meaningful work.

“National’s economic plan is working for New Zealand. We have just become one of the fastest growing economies in the OECD. Keeping with the plan is the best way of helping people the opportunity to get off welfare and into work. We should not go back to the failed recipes of the past,” Mr Joyce says.

And let’s not forget that the Greens are also promising a carbon tax which would impact directly on every individual and business adding costs not just to luxuries but to basic necessities including food and heating.

Anything they “give” to reduce poverty will be more than counteracted by what they take away in direct and indirect cost increases and the brake their policies would impose on the economy.

Green is supposed to be for go, but Green influence in government would be for slow and low when it comes to economic growth and the social progress and environmental protection and enhancement that depend on that.


$17.9 billion and counting

August 12, 2014

Labour’s election policies bribes are already adding up to $17.9 billion:

Updated figures today show that Labour’s election-year spending spree is now up to almost $17.9 billion over four years – and counting, Associate Finance Minister Steven Joyce says.

“Labour’s own numbers show spending promises to date of $16.4 billion over four years,” Mr Joyce says.

“However, they have woefully underestimated the costs of introducing compulsory KiwiSaver, dismantling the electricity sector and paying a 12.5 per cent R&D tax credit.

“For example, Labour claims to be bringing 500,000 extra people into KiwiSaver from 1 October 2015, and would be paying them a tax credit that averages around $370 a year plus a $200 a year kick-start for the first five years. A simple calculation shows that the cost of this must be approaching $250 million in the first year, rather than $141 million as Labour is claiming.

“It’s interesting that Labour’s costing of exactly the same policy in 2011 was more than two-and-a-half times higher than it is now in 2014, so it  looks like they’ve cut a few corners this time around.”

Mr Joyce says when you put more realistic costs on these policies it takes Labour’s numbers to $17.9 billion over four years.

“More will be added to this bill as Labour makes more desperate promises – and that’s not counting the big spending of their prospective coalition partners the Greens,” Mr Joyce says.

“Labour is making very big spending commitments despite New Zealand being yet to post its first surplus since the GFC and the Canterbury earthquakes.

Kiwis will recall Labour’s previous big spend-up in the late 2000s. It left us with a large Budget deficit and pushed up interest rates and the cost of living for households and businesses across the country.

“The New Zealand public will see Labour’s spending plan for what it is – reckless.”

The costings are here and it’s very scary reading.

Labour’s expensive election bribes in 2005 led to a steep increase in spending and the forecast deficit of deficits they left behind when National regained the treasury benches.

Careful management, spending less and doing it better combined with policies which are encouraging export led growth and improved savings has turned the economy round in spite of the financial and natural disasters which the government had to deal with.

We are now in sight of a surplus and have the prospect of sustainable growth.

That is under threat with Labour’s multi-billion dollar spend up – and the $17.9 billion doesn’t take into account any of the growth-reducing, cost-increasing policies of the other parties on the left to which labour will be beholden if it’s in government.

For a while Labour sounded as if it had learned the folly of its high-tax, high-spend policies of the noughties.

The $17.9 billion cost of policies so far shows that was empty rhetoric and its propensity for spending other people’s money is as strong as ever.


Clear choice is right

August 11, 2014

Labour’s pretence at sound fiscal management hasn’t lasted long.

It’s back to the profligate spending promises in its desperation to win enough votes to cobble together a government:

A desperate Labour Party is making promises the country simply couldn’t afford as it tries to buy its way into contention at the election, Associate Finance Minister Steven Joyce says.

“We are hardly out of the starting blocks for this election campaign and the Labour Party has given up any remaining sense of fiscal responsibility,” Mr Joyce says.

“Today’s announcement of free doctor visits and free prescriptions for the over 65s is the latest in a series of big spending promises.

Mr Joyce says so far Labour has pledged billions and billions of new spending.

“Labour has announced policies that on their own admission add up to more than $16 billion of new spending over four years. And the true total is likely to be higher because some of the policies have been costed incorrectly,” Mr Joyce says.

“And that’s before you add in the Greens and other coalition partners like Internet-Mana.

“New Zealand has yet to achieve its first surplus since the Global Financial Crisis and the Canterbury earthquakes – and the Labour Party has broken out the Santa Claus outfits.

“The last time Labour went into spending overdrive in 2008, it pushed floating mortgage rates to almost 11 per cent, it sent the economy into recession before the Global Financial Crisis and it left the incoming National Government with a deficit of nearly $4 billion in 2008/09. It’s clear David Cunliffe has learnt nothing from that experience.

“It’s becoming obvious unusually early in this campaign – New Zealand simply can’t afford a Labour/Greens/Internet-Mana Government.”

 Cunliffe started his speech by saying:

This election is going to be about a choice probably one of the clearest that we have had as a country in a generation.

And it’s not just about two leaders, or even a contest between two parties.
This election is fundamentally about two very different pathways to two very different futures for New Zealand.

It’s a choice between prosperity for all, or only for a few. . .

He’s right about that but wrong about which party will lead a government with the policies aimed to help everyone, and in a sustainable way.

Labour’s policies are about picking winners, over taxing, over spending and adding costs and complexities to businesses which will reduce productivity and profits and threaten employment.

National’s policies will continue to promote sustainable growth, targeting help at those in most need, helping those who can help themselves to do so and leaving people to enjoy the rewards from their hard work.

Labour’s policies might treat a few symptoms.

National’s will continue to deal with the causes.

If Labour leads the next government it will be divided, weak and beholden to the Green, New Zealand First and Internet Mana Parties to whom it will need to make major concessions.

If National leads the next government it will continue to be strong, stable and united with the need for only minor concessions to support parties.

The right choice is clear  and the clear choice is right – National for stability and sustainable growth in stark contrast to Labour with the mismatched combination of radical wee parties which will undo the hard-won gains of the last six years.
The future is positive for New Zealand, but we need to ensure the country keeps moving in the right direction. #Working4NZ #TeamKey


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