I Feel Good

May 3, 2010

James Brown would have been 87 today.


Little Boxes

May 3, 2010

Happy birthday Pete Seeger, 91 today.


Is Labour targeting women ministers?

May 3, 2010

Kiwiblog’s has followed his rating of Labour MPs with one of government Ministers.

One of the stats shows that the ministers to whom Labour has directed written questions:

For written questions, the Opposition decides who to ask them to, but it does indicate how targeted a Minister may be. Top was Paula Bennett who had 4,650 (over 100 a week), followed by Anne Tolley on 3098 and Judith Collins on 1615.

They’re all women.

Is that deliberate or is it just coincidence that the ministers whose policies Labour has decided to question most  happen to be women?


Swinging On A Star

May 3, 2010

Bing Crosby would have been 107 today.


Monday’s quiz

May 3, 2010

1.  What does Otakou/Otago mean?

2. Who wrote The Man Whose Mother Was  A Pirate?

3. What does the Plimsol line indicate?

4. People who suffer from atelophobia are afraid of what?

5. What does q.e.d. (quod erat demonstrandum)  mean?


Hogsnort Rupert Medley

May 3, 2010

Day three of New Zealand Music Month:

A Hogsnort Rupert medley which starts with Auntie Alice Bought Us This.


Norgate’s last stand?

May 3, 2010

The Press (not online) reports that Craig Norgate has given up on Rural Portfolio Investments, the parent company of Rural Portfolio Capital:

Norgate has essentially thrown in the towel on Rural Portfolio Investments . . . saying he cannot raise enough funds for the next dividend on the $60m of preference shares.

It is unlikely the preference shareholders will get the face value of that $60m investment back in the short term and the market has already priced in a much lower return.

The security for the RPC preference shares is 46.76m PGG Wrightson shares (which closed at 53c yesterday) and 10m NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZFSU) shares (41c) was well as $742,314 held in a dividend escrow account. . .

RPI and its financing subsidiary Rural Portfolio Capital are the investment vehicles for Norgate and the Otago-based McConnon family, and will very likely be wound down. . .

Norgate contributed to the McConnon family fortune when, as general manager of Kiwi Dairy, he bought Mainland Products from them. He’s now taken a large chunk of that away through his encouragement for them to invest in PGW.

He thought he could capture the rural servicing market by amalgamating Williams and Kettle, Pyne Gould Guiness and Wrightson. But farmers never bought into his plans and the combined market share of those companies fell from more than 70% to less than 50%.  PGW’s share price went from around $2. 80  two years ago to just 53 cents on Friday.

The decline of PGW provided opportunities for competitors Combined Rural Traders and new companies of stock agents set up by former PGW agents, including Hazlett Rural and Rural Livestock.

The only positives for PGW at the moment are the arrivals of Sir John Anderson as chairman of the company and former PGG general manager George Gould as a director.

One of Norgate’s biggest mistake was failing to gain finance for the purchase of 50% of Silver Fern Farms. While the financial meltdown has been blamed for this many farmers cannot believe how he ignored the fundamental basics of business which require securing funding before doing a deal.

His foray into dairying in Uruguay was big on promises but has yet to deliver. Share prices peaked at $2 and were at 41 cents on Friday.

From the outside, the investment in Uruguay looked simple. However, Norgate failed to take full account the challenges of farming in South America with language, cultural and political difficulties and a very different climate from New Zealand.

You only have to look  at the difficulties New Zealand companies have when investing in Australia, where at least the language, culture, banking and legal systems are similar, to realise that what works so well here might not  transfer easily to Uruguay.


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