Fonterra #1 world processor

June 25, 2009

The International Farm Comparison Network has judged Fonterra the number one milk processor in the world.

IFCN benchmarked 600 milk processors in more than 70 countries and found that the top 21 processors represent just 21% of world production.

Fonterra, at number 1, processes 2.7% of world production. It was followed by Dairy Farmers of America, Nestlé, Dean Foods and FrieslandCampina.

India produces 114.4 million tonnes of milk making it the top producer by volume. New Zealand is ninth with 17.3 million tonnes.

The report says the dairy crisis is global, affecting 150 million dairy farming families.

The world price for milk reached $US20 (15 Euro) for 100 kilos in 2008 but IFCN found only 10% of the world’s milk can be produced at that price.

It said that price isn’t sustainable unless the market is distorted by policy and that dairy policy will be the main driver for the future milk price level.

I’m not sure what they mean by policy but I suspect it means political interference resulting in subsidies and/or quota.

The NBR has Fonterra’s reaction to the report.


Mediocre media management not for media to mind

June 25, 2009

Should the media mind if the government’s media management is mediocre?

Trans-Tasman doesn’t think so. In today’s issue (subscribe here) it says:

There’s been a lot of head shaking and tut tutting from the political commentariat about the Govt’s media management of late. . .  What is striking is how much of the commentary is basically saying the Govt – and John Key’s office in particular – is bad at spin.

It seems odd, to say the least, for journalists to write articles and broadcast lengthy pieces to camera saying the Govt is making a lousy job of manipulating journalists.

. . . we’re telling them how to even better use this machine to “spin” journalists and the wider public. Why?

More importantly, this growing trend of commentary serves the public very badly.  Firstly, because an analysis of Govt spin is pretty much irrelevant to most people.  But most importantly, the concern is the underlying attitude it betrays. Inherent in this kind of critique is a worship of power.  It basically says journalists will only write good things about you if you are good at “spin”, manipulation, and the general dark arts of power.

Which seems in itself a fairly major betrayal of what political journalism, is supposed to do, which is to expose such dark arts and hold politicians to account.

 I don’t think the government’s media management is bad. It’s just a change of style from that of the previous administration which micro-managed everything. This one tends to leave people to think for themselves.

But even if the media management wasn’t up to scratch, I agree with Trans-Tasman that that shouldn’t be the issue.

The media shouldn’t be complaining about the quality or otherwise of government, or any other, spin. It should be looking behind the spin for the facts and reporting on them.


Budget papers released

June 25, 2009

Treasury has released official Budget papers and advice.

Finance Minister Bill English said the papers show the challenges government faced in writing the Budget.

“The release of these papers shows the challenges the Government faced in putting together a Budget in the toughest global economic conditions since the 1930s. These challenges required us to consider a wide range of options.

“We believe we struck the right balance and put New Zealand on the road to recovery,” Mr English says.

“Continuing with the rampant growth in spending by the previous Government would have seen debt rapidly spiral out of control.

It’s difficult to get credit for not spending, but anything which didn’t add to growing debt is to be applauded.

However, howls of anguish in the media as the consequences of tighter public service budgets become apparent show that a lot of people still don’t realise the importance of keeping a tight rein on spending.


Powerless

June 25, 2009

A note in the mail box a couple of days ago informed us the power would be off from 10 until 12.30 today while trees near power lines were trimmed.

Thanks to the warning I was prepared – kettle in the office boiled so the staff could have morning tea, computers unplugged and a list of things to do in town.

But when I got back at 12.45 we were still powerless.

They usually over-estimate the time needed but this morning’s job took longer than expected. An extra half hour without power ought to be neither here nor there and it wasn’t a catastrophe but any time without power is inconvenient.

No power means no phone and no computers. It also means no microwave and a couple of men had brought pies for their lunches.

Still it’s back on again and all’s well – except for the seven electronic clocks on radios, oven, mocrowave, DVD . . . . which will have to be reset.


Against the Act but not for smacking

June 25, 2009

It’s a tried and true debating strategy to take your opponents’ arguments to ludicrous extremes which enables you to depict them as extremists.

That’s why people who don’t want any change in the law around child discipline label anyone who does as pro-smacking.

However, it is possible to be against the Act without being in favour of smacking.

I don’t think smacking is a good thing to do but nor do I think parents who administer a light smack should be criminalised for doing so.

And what’s a light smack?  Borrowing from Chester Borrows and the amendment he attempted to introduce to the Act,  it would be one from which any pain is transitory and trifling, which doesn’t use a weapon or tool and isn’t inflicted by any means that is cruel, degrading or terrifying.

That would be a lot better than the old Section 59 and its replacement which still allows smacking providing its for prevention rather than correction.

Gooner points out at No Minister confusingly this means:

At the end of the day a smack for correction is prohibited but a smack for prevention is permitted. If a child constantly plays up then that child can be smacked under subsection (c) as long as parents tell the child “that is to prevent you behaving like that again“, rather than “that is to correct you for behaving like that“.

How silly is that? The Act which aimed to outlaw smacking still permits it yet those who want to change it are criticised for being pro-smacking.

The proponents of the Act got it wrong.

It’s bad law which permits smacking, providing its for the approved reason.

It should be changed to protect children, to protect families and to stop wasting police time.

There are more than enough crimes of violence, the effects of which aren’t transitory or trifling, which need their attention.


June 25 in history

June 25, 2009

On June 25:

1860 the first Maori King, Potatau Te Wherowhero, died.

1874 Rose Cecil O’Neill who created the Kewpie doll was born.

1903  British author George Orwell was born.

1938 Dr Douglas Hide was inaugurated as the first President of Ireland.

Douglas Hyde

 1950 The Korean War started.


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