Valedictory schedule

September 14, 2011

Acting Leader of the House Simon Power advises that Parliament’s Business Committee has agreed to the following schedule for MPs’ retiring from Parliament to present their valedictory statements:

Tuesday 27 September

5:45pm            Sue Kedgley

Wednesday 28 September

5:30pm            Hon. Mita Ririnui

5:45pm            Keith Locke

Thursday 29 September

5:00pm            Dr Ashraf Choudhary

5:15pm            Hon. Heather Roy

5:30pm            Hon. Sir Roger Douglas

5:45pm            Hon. George Hawkins

Tuesday 4 October

5:15pm            Lynne Pillay

5:30pm            Hon. Pete Hodgson

5:45pm            Hon. Jim Anderton

Wednesday 5 October

5:00pm            Sandra Goudie

5:15pm            Hon. Georgina te Heuheu

5:30pm            Hon. Dr Wayne Mapp

5:45pm            Hon. Simon Power

Word of the day

September 14, 2011

Bas-bhualadh (Gaelic) – extol by clapping hands; clap hands from joy or grief.

RWC picks

September 14, 2011

My tartan genes are backing Scotland against Georgia, besides the Tartan Army are leaving some goodness behind.

I’m really impressed by the Tongan supporters but since the Canadian team is further from home  and they were wonderful hosts when we were there in July, I’m supporting Canada in that match.

I’m overlooking distance from home in the third game – Samoa is a neighbour so I’m backing them against Namibia.


Saturday’s streaker got diversion.

Foreign ownership irrelevant for Fonterra debate

September 14, 2011

Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson, Willy Leferink, has asked how long Fonterra would remain a New Zealand company if it was listed.

The nationality of shareholders is irrelevant.

What matters is that listing the company would take power and profit away from the suppliers who under the current co-operative model own 100% of its shares.

If Fonterra was listed non-supplying share holders wouldn’t have the same interest in or commitment to ensuring decent returns to producers that supplying shareholders do.

Regardless of where they came from, non-supplying share holders would be most interested in the price of shares and return on investment. Suppliers are also keenly interested in the price of milk and dependent on it being fair.

People outside Fonterra are keen for the company to list. Shareholders are rightly determined to keep the shares and control in the hands of producers.


September 14, 2011

2/10 in the Herald’s Rugby World Cup opening games quiz.

Farming for cash rather than capital gain

September 14, 2011

The message has got through: farmers can’t rely on capital gains, good cash returns are necessary for reinvestment.

IT HAS been a while coming but farmers are changing their investment behaviour from farming for capital gain to driving cash surpluses for reinvestment into productive assets, says Westpac head of agribusiness David Jones.

“It’s fantastic to see this building across the industry.”

Farming for capital gains might be alright when land value is increasing and incomes are healthy. But for most of the noughties incomes were poor and too many farmers were eating into their equity to stay afloat and had nothing for reinvestment.

“We are starting to see some confidence coming into the market where people are actually looking at improving productivity and reinvesting in their existing operation through retention of profits — bringing in new money (financed or private equity) to drive efficiencies and productivity.

“People don’t have as high a cost to get into an industry as before because capital values have come off land assets.

“While it has hurt some (through reduced equity), financially it is good for the whole agricultural industry, including the support industries.”

“Although we are coming out of a global recession and people will take their time before making decision to spend again.”

He says people are still wondering and waiting to see if there will be any further drop in asset and commodity prices, and in fact if the bottom of the cycle had been reached yet.

“Basically, it will be a willing-buyer, willing-seller scenario that will make that call on asset values and be supported by confidence around access to funding, commodity prices, currency and interest rates.”

“We really are in a bubble at the moment — we have managed through the highs and lows of markets, with volatility in the market still out there. Any investment needs to have an air of caution with it but there are still good opportunities in the market to do business.

Land sales have been slow but I’ll be very surprised if prices go any lower. Buyers have been cautious and banks have tightened lending criteria but confidence is returning. No-one is expecting last season’s high prices again this year, but forecasts are for reasonable returns.

He believed climatic events had as much if not more impact on farmers than an economic cycle.

“Generally, when you go through drought or a flood the implications are such that it takes time to restore the property, pasture and build stock numbers back up. Climatic events also take a great personal toll and this is where we need to provide the greatest level of support to restore personal well being. These events take one to two or even multiple seasons to correct.”

Last September’s snow fall hit southern farmers financially and emotionally. Higher prices last season did a lot to compensate for the dreadful spring losses but it will take another good season or two to make up for the run of bad ones before that.

However, one of the lessons learned from the tough years is the importance of cash returns rather than reliance on capital gains.

Hat Tip:

From ECan’t to ECAN

September 14, 2011

Environment Canterbury has made a welcome change from ECAn’t to ECan with a significant improvement in its resource consent processing.

Environment Canterbury has improved its compliance with resource management consenting timelines from 29% in 2007/08 to 92% in 2010/11, Environment Minister Nick Smith says.

“That only 29% of consents in 2007/08 were processed on time – the worst of New Zealand’s 84 councils – was one of the key reasons the Government stepped in and appointed Commissioners in March last year. It is a real credit to the Commissioners and Environment Canterbury staff that this has been turned around so dramatically,” Dr Smith said.

“Delays in resource consent processing add expense, inhibit growth and cost jobs. It is particularly important as Canterbury rebuilds from the devastating earthquakes that consents are processed as timely as possible.

“Environment Canterbury has achieved this turnaround by putting in place good systems, ensuring consents have all the information early on and building a good relationship with consent applicants and Canterbury’s other councils. The Government’s reforms to simplify and streamline the Resource Management Act also helped in improving consenting timelines.

“This dramatic improvement in resource consent processing follows completion of a natural resources plan, a significant improvement in compliance with farm resource consents, good progress in implementing the Canterbury Water Management Strategy and the $12 million plan to clean up Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. The Commissioners’ performance has significantly exceeded the Government’s expectations.”

The appointment of a Commissioner was controversial but it has paid off.

ECan’s record was bad enough in good times. It is even more important in the wake of the Canterbury earthquakes that the Regional Council is working efficiently and minimising delays in the consent process.

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