PGW shares downgraded


Forsyth Barr has downgraded PGG Wrigthson shares from hold to reduce because they are not convinced about the returns from its $220 million investment in Silver Fern farms..

Forsyth Barr researchers were sceptical meat company Silver Fern Farms (SFF) would be able to capture all the synergies from the partnership without industry consolidation and were also concerned at the extra debt PGG Wrightson (PGG-W) was incurring to fund the investment.

Without additional industry consolidation, the PGG-W partnership with SFF was viewed as simply recapitalising SFF’s balance sheet.

There are 9 million fewer sheep and lambs to be killed this year and global demand for protein is growing. That means it’s a sellers market.

Farmers are expecting at least $80 a head for lambs in the coming season and if they can’t get that from one company they’ll be confident of getting it from another. This competition which will help farmers’ balance sheets will also make it much tougher for meat companies so Forsyth Barr is right to be concerned about PGW’s share price.

No grounds for trust


Michael Cullen reckons that regardless of whether Winston Peters lied about the donation from Owen Glenn, there were no grounds for his censure or sacking.

Would you trust a man with such a scant regard for ethical behaviour to be Attorney General and Finance Minister?

Adam Smith  doesn’t either.

Update: Nor does Keeping Stock.

Policy for woods not just trees


The Korean Society says there is a misperception that Koreans are only interested in immigration policy.

“We are very concerned about law and order, we are also worried about health, education, etc, . . .” says Kenneth Jeong, from the Korean Society.

This comment was made at an electoral forum in Auckland attended by hundreds of Koreans.

It’s a very good point which political parties over look at their peril. While every individual and group has issues which are of greater interest or impact on them more than others, the most important issues are those we have in common.

It is also something voters should consider because if what appears to be in the best interests of us as individuals or a group to which we belong is not in the wider interests of New Zealand then it probably isn’t something worth persuing.

We need to know about policy that affects our trees and our individual corners of the wood, but that is of secondary importance to the policy which impacts on the whole wood.

Ex-expat  looks at the same story from a different angle.

Media manipulation


Goodness me, how surprising that on the day the privileges committee report into Winston Peters and the donations debacle is announced there is a major announcement on progress towards free trade with the USA and a make-muck revelation about John Key’s family trust shareholding in Tranz Rail.

Colin Espiner exposes the not so subtle hand of Labour behind it all:

What an amazing coincidence that three big stories would all break on the same day. Wasn’t it?

Um well no, not really. Because it turns out that Labour fed the story about Key’s share trades to TVNZ late on Sunday night for use on Monday, knowing that the privileges committee report was about to blast Winston Peters to smithereens. And Trade Minister Phil Goff leaked details of the FTA announcement to selected media – TVNZ, TV3 and Radio New Zealand – five days ago, on the condition they kept it quiet until yesterday.

Espiner gives credit where it’s due:

Labour’s tactics are not dirty or underhand. They are smart, vicious, and calculated. It’s how you win election campaigns. But it’s still worth pointing out that there was nothing coincidental about yesterday’s yarns.

It wasn’t coincidental, but did the media have to swallow the lines they were fed?

All of the stories were newsworthy so there was nothing untoward about the media running them, nor about the timing, because they wouldn’t have wanted to delay and let their competitors beat them.

Poneke asks if there was anything untoward behind the Dom Post’s decision to put the FTA and share stories on the front page and relegate the Peters report to page three. I tend to go for incompetence rather than conspiracy when people raise questions of media bias here, especially given, as comments on Poneke’s blog pointed out, the Peters story might have been considered stale and the other two were fresh.

That said, had it not been for Espiner’s blog, we might have guessed but would almost certainly not had it confirmed, exactly how Labour manipulated the media.

Roarprawn acknowledges that by offering him a bottle of wine. Keeping Stock  said this exposes Helen Clark as a liar again and No Minister is searching for the quote that will prove that.

Newsflash: MP admits mistake


No, it wasn’t the neither right nor honorable Winstan Peters who was censured by parliament today.

No it wasn’t Helen Clark who signed art which wasn’t her own work, wouldn’t stand by police who sped her to catch a plane, and with Michael Cullen today followed their criticism of the Serious Fraud Office with an attack on the privileges committee.

No, it was John Key who admitted he should have given a full account of his shareholding in Tranz Rail earlier.

So who can we trust?

The people who have deliberately done wrong, will not acknowledge it and will not apologise, or the man who made a mistake, initially didn’t handle the situation well but then acknowledges it, accepts responsibility for it and apologises?

Kiwiblog contrasts Key’s behaviour with Peters’  and  Roarprawn rightly points out the issue was minor but Key should have handled it better.

Ski field for sale


The Southland Times reports the Cardrona Snow Farm and Park  are up for sale.

Developer John Lee said there were two reasons for selling: “I’m 72 — close to 73 — that’s No 1. No 2, we got consent for the gondola in early May and it’s bigger than us.” The planed $17 million gondola, the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere, would take skiers and snowboarders from the valley up to the two resorts, a distance of 3880m.

The project was too big and too expensive to undertake without outside investors, he said.

John and Mary Lee have made a wonderful contribution to the Cardrona Valley, Wanaka and the wider community. You can read a copy of an ODT feature on John here.

Principle before politics


Labour and New Zealand First put politics before principles in their failure to support the majority decision of the privileges committee to censure WInston Peters.

Politics and principle coincided for National and Act which enabled them to do the right thing. Their opponents will say they did it for the wrong reasons, supporters will dispute that but that makes no difference to the outcome.

However, United Future, the Greens and the Maori Party acted on principle when their political allegiance could have swayed them to vote the other way.

Kiwiblog asks if this principled stand will continue in a refusal to support Labour while he remains a Minister.

United and the Greens have already made it clear they would not want to work with Peters in the next government.

I can think of only two reasons why Helen Clark has continued to stick with Peters. either he has something over her or she’s doing it in the desperate hope he’ll enable her to scrape together enough support for a fourth term.

How ironic if by sticking with him she not only drives away her other potential partners for the next government but forces them to bring down this one and all because they put principle before politics when she wouldn’t.

Why is she doing it?


Until recently I would have said Helen Clark was a very clever political strategist. But her handling of Winston Peters and the donation debacle has proved me wrong.

By sticking with him she’s losing ground on two fronts by providing ammunition for her opponents and turning off her supporters.

She won’t care what people like me think because I’m never going to vote for her. But she ought to care about people like Deborah at In A Strange Land.

Her post is worth reading in full but I’ll just copy the intro and conclusion:

Forgive me, Helen. Although I like to characterise myself as a swinging voter, in practice, every election I have voted in, except my very first, I have voted Labour, even if at times through gritted teeth.

But if you want to campaign on trust, then you need to rule out working with Winston Peters. . .

. . . But until Labour explicitly rules out working with Winston Peters and New Zealand First, I will be looking for some other party to give my vote to. Until then, I can’t trust you to do the right thing.

Update: I’ve been thinking more about this over lunch, and I think that what is upsetting me so much is that Labour is inviting me to be complicit in their “courageous corruption.” We all know pollies lie, but rarely is it so obvious, and so self-serving, as has been in the case of Winston Peters. It all stinks to high heaven, and then some. By not ruling him out, and still asking me to vote for them, at best Helen Clark and Labour are asking me to block my nose, to pretend that the stench isn’t there. But more realistically, they are asking me to buy the stink in order to have a Labour government. “That’s just what it costs,” they are telling me.

Quite simply, I refuse to pay the price. I will not collude in returning Winston Peters to influence in any government.

So why is she doing it?

Has she lost her strategic nous; doesn’t she realise how far she’s stretching the loyalty of her supporters; is she so desperate for power she’s prepared to overlook anything Peters has done?

Or does she simply not think that integrity matters?

Why keep a cryptorchid?


When writing about neutering options a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Winston Peters reminded me of a cryptorchid  because he’d kept his baubles but wasn’t being expected to perform.

Farmers use this option because cryptorchids grow bigger and so provide more meat than wethers or steers.

If Helen Clark continues to stand by Winston Peters today it will show she has a similar rationale for keeping him as a minister without responsibilities but with perks. She’s hoping that his share of the votes will grow big enough to provide her with enough seats to form a government.

46 more sleeps . . .


. . . until the election and Helen Clark doesn’t believe in fairies or polls although she does appear to believe in Winston Peters.

He stays, we pay


Yesterday Helen Clark said she didn’t believe  the findings of the privileges committee would lead her to either sacking Winston Peters or reinstating him as a Minister.

That’s a pretty strong hint that she will be unmoved by the committee’s majority report  which found Peters had provided misleading information about Owen Glenn’s $100,000 donation.

If so, he will continue as a Minister without any responsibilities but with all the perks until the election and we taxpayers will carry on paying for it all.

Free Trade deal with US closer


Great news – the United States is going to join New Zealand, Singapore, China and Brunei in multi lateral free trade negotiations as part of the Comprehensive Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement.

The agreement, commonly known as the “P4”, was signed between Singapore, Chile and New Zealand in 2005. Brunei joined it a year later.

It aims to tear down trade barriers among participants within a decade.

World wide free trade is best, but until we get there, free trade deals with inidividual countries or groups is a lot better than trade restrictions and Phil Goff deserves our gratitude for achieving this progress with the USA.

If this free trade deal goes ahead it will be especially good news for sheep and beef exporters who currently disadvantaged by taxes put in place to protect U.S. meat producers in their local markets.

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