Timaru wool mill closing

October 9, 2008

New Zealand’s last medium grade wool mill Timaru’s Chargeurs New Zealand, is closing with the loss of 30 jobs.

Its closure was seen as inevitable by industry observers, since the industry was facing competition from low-cost producers in China.

Wool is also a product the international market is demanding less of.

Tim Lonsdale from Wools of New Zealand says there are fundamental changes taking place in the country’s wool sector.

“We’re seeing a radical drop in production of wool as more and more farmland is converted to dairy. This is obviously having a flow-on effect on processors,” he said.

“The global industry for wool is certainly under pressure – we’re facing stiff competition from synthetic fibres.

“I suppose they could have anticipated the trend towards finer wool and perhaps geared their factory up to process that fibre.”

But for John Brakenridge from the New Zealand Merino Company, the outlook is very different.

“Sure there’s some uncertainty as a result of the global situation at the moment but the underlying demand for merino and finer wool is actually very very good,” he said.

“If wool’s going to survive in today’s market people have to invest in marketing and research and development and that’s what NZ’s merino and fine wool growers have done.

“The reason why merino growers and finer wool growers have been successful in my opinion is because they’ve been prepared to invest in marketing and research and development.”

Complaints about poor returns from sheep in recent years have often blamed the meat industry, but the low price for pelts and wool has also been to blame.

The merino industry has shown there is still a place for natural fibresbut courser wools have yet to find a niche which will bring bring the improved returns which are needed if they are to play their part in returning the sheep industry to profitability.


Shear Blacks win 4 world titles

October 9, 2008

New Zealand’s premier shearing team, the Shear Blacks, has returned from the World Championships in Norway with four of a possible six titles.

41-year-old Paul Avery has spent 20 years shearing competitively. He last qualified for the world champs in 1998, but that year shearing legend David Fagan won.

With the help of an AMP scholarship, Mr Avery spent a month in Norway getting to know the local sheep.

“There lamb is like half as big again, like 50 to 60 kilos,” he says. “And they are crazy to shear they are kicking all the time. Even when you are sitting down at the end of a day shearing, sitting on the couch watching TV, you find your muscles are all tense and you’ve got to try and make yourself relax.”

Mr Avery was part of a team which won four out of a possible six titles. The team’s organiser says the results prove shearing is now a New Zealand sport in its own right.

“We have been funded by SPARC,” John Fagan from Shearing Sports NZ says. “Being an Olympic year this year, they didn’t fund us. But we are recognised as a sport.”

WHile I’d admired the skill and fitness of shearers I’d never really appreciated shearing as a sport until I read the account of a Golden Sheras final in Witi Ihimaera’s novel Bulibasha.


Another conference conversation leaked

October 9, 2008

Barry Soper told Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB  that TV3 is going to play another tape of Bill English speaking at the National Party conference.

Barry said Bill was recorded saying something to the effect that elections are all about winning regardless of principles.

I find it difficult to believe that because Bill is a man of very strong principle.

It is possible to docotor tapes. And it’s not a coincidence that this was released the day after national released its tax policy.

The question is what else is on tape and when will it be released?

UPDATE: I’ve just listened to the tape on TV3 news, and it sounds like one of those statements which when taken out of context sounds bad, but as part of a conversation about the importance of winning is harmless.


Horror Story

October 9, 2008

David Fletcher


Caroline & Georgina to retire

October 9, 2008

Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell announced they are retiring from rowing.

They won their second Olympic gold in Beijing and plan to take some time out while they decide their futures off the water.

“Retiring now just feels right,” Caroline said.

“It’s been a great time in our lives and we couldn’t have done it without (coach) Richard (Tonks).”

“We have always said they should give out three medals not two.”

Georgina said there was life in New Zealand rowing after them.


Blogging for money

October 9, 2008

Jim Mora discussed blogging for money with Hamish McEwan in Virtual World  yesterday.

The good news is that you can make a living from blogging. The not so good news is, that like any other business, it doesn’t happen without a serious amount of work.

Hamish said there are some accidental successes where someone’s obsession or passion generates income but most financial success comes from people who treat blogging as a business and work hard at it.

A few at the top might make $US200,000 a year but most don’t even try to make a cent.

Jim said a rule of thumb is that blogs with 100,000 unique visitors a month could make $US75,000 a year, but Hamish said that’s pulled up by the few at the top making the $US200,000.

I’ve got a wee way to go to get the readership up.


Communicating or campaigning?

October 9, 2008

David Benson-Pope is distributing the 50 page booklet for over 60s which has slipped through an EFA loophole.

Asked yesterday why he had sent out the booklets, Mr Benson-Pope said he was still the MP for Dunedin South.

“As far as I am concerned, I am continuing to provide a service to the electors of Dunedin South. You know I am always keen to provide a good service as an MP.

And is he also using a taxpayer-funded opportunity to get his name and face in front of voters to help if he stands as an independent in Dunedin South?

We’ll get the answer to that question by Tuesday when nominations close.


%d bloggers like this: