Word of the day

July 23, 2012

Foofaraw – a great deal of fuss or attention given to a minor matter; showy frills added unnecessarily; an excessive amount of decoration or ornamentation, as on a piece of clothing, a building, etc.

Chocolate’s always a winner

July 23, 2012

We’ve been coming and going a lot this month and enjoying the wee Whittaker’s chocolate bar Air New Zealand offers passengers as a snack.

The choice is usually vege crisps, and Anzac biscuit or the chocolate and from my observations chocolate is by far the most popular choice.

That’s no doubt good for the company and Whittaker’s has another reason to celebrate – it’s been named Readers Digest’s most trusted brand.

Hello Chocolate Lovers. We are proud to announce that we have been voted by Reader's Digest as New Zealand’s Most Trusted Brand for 2012. Thanks for all your support and we hope you continue to enjoy our delicious chocolate :)

Porirua based chocolate maker Whittaker’s has been voted New Zealand’s most trusted brand in the annual Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Survey; released today in the August issue of Reader’s Digest New Zealand.

Whittaker’s moved up three places to top the 2012 list, knocking last year’s number one, St John’s, to number two. Iconic cooking and baking goods brand Edmonds made an impressive debut at number three, while Dettol fell from two to eight. . .

The top 10 for most trusted brands (with last year’s place in brackets) were:

1) Whittaker’s (3)
2) St John (1)
3) Edmonds (n/a)
4) Wattie’s (4)
5) Sanitarium (8)
6) Tip Top (bread) (5)
7) Lemon & Paeroa (L&P) (10)
8) Dettol (2)
9) Toyota (9)
10) Colgate (7)

Category winners were:

Category Winner Highly Commended
NZ Iconic Brands Watties Whittakers
Banks KiwiBank ASB
Breakfast Food Sanitarium Kellogg’s
Car Brands Toyota Ford
Cleaning Products Dettol Jif
Confectionery Whittaker’s Nestle
DIY Power Tools Stihl Black & Decker
Dry Foods Sanitarium Tip Top
Electronics Sony Panasonic
Fast Food Subway McDonalds
Frozen Food Watties Bird’s Eye
Gardening Equipment Masport Stihl
Home Improvement Stores Mitre 10 Bunnings
Hotel/Motel Accommodation Copthorne Millennium
Insurance Providers AA Insurance Southern Cross
Kitchen Appliances Breville Kenwood
Packaged Foods Watties Sanitarium
Pain Relief Panadol Nurofen
Paint Brands Resene Dulux
Pet Food Brands Whiskas Purina One
Retail Brands Farmers NZ Post
Supermarket Brands Countdown PaknSave
Toiletries& Cosmetics Colgate Dove
Vitamins & Supplements Healtheries Blackmores
Whitegoods Fisher & Paykel Samsung

Alert readers will note that although these have been judged New Zealand’s most trusted brands it means brands trusted by New Zealanders rather than New Zealand brands. Only some are local companies.

Rural round-up

July 23, 2012

Heaps of grass has helped agriculture grow three times as fast as the overall economy. Doug Steel wonders if this may even understate how well the rural sector is doing, given how the numbers were analysed in 2007/08 – Doug Steel:

Like blood to the body, agriculture is critical to the NZ economy.

The sector makes economic contributions in direct and indirect ways, although measurement of such can be a tricky business.

The latest national accounts show agriculture GDP growing 7.5% through the year to March 2012. This supported the 2.4% expansion in the New Zealand economy over the same period. . .

Massive Chinese market for red meat market – Sally Rae:

The importance – and potential – of China as a market for the red meat industry was reiterated during the recent red meat sector conference in Queenstown.   

 Arron Hoyle, McDonald’s senior director and head of strategy in China and Hong Kong, said the dragon was redesigning  global trade and global prices.   

He spoke of the “unprecedented” urbanisation in China, the emergence of mega cities and the significant opportunities      the fast food chain saw. It was bullish and very excited      about those opportunities. . .

Sector strategy shows encouraging signs – Sally Rae:

Meat Industry Association chairman Bill Falconer believes the red meat sector strategy has been “settling down extremely well” since its launch 14 months ago.   

The strategy, initiated by the MIA and Beef and Lamb New  Zealand, was aimed at improving the sector’s viability and      increasing its earnings from $8 billion to $14 billion by  2025. . .

Aim for first place: chairman:

NZPork chairman Ian Carter has challenged those attending the  industry’s annual conference to recognise themselves as “the best little pig industry in the world”.   

    “Pork is the world leader in animal protein, but only number three in New Zealand.   

    “Our target must be first place,” Mr Carter, a North Otago farmer, said. . .

Clutha dairy earnings climb – Shawn McAvinue:

Sheep and beef farmers were the biggest agricultural earner in the Clutha district but dairy farmers were a close second.

The latest statistics from the Clutha Agricultural Development Board (CADB) says sheep and beef farming earned $313 million and dairy farming $276m for the year ending June 2011.

However, a steady five-year growth spurt in dairying had the Clutha herd increasing by 30 per cent to 98,543 cows. In the same period sheep numbers dropped 14 per cent to about 2.17m. . .

2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards Opening Soon:

Entries for the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on August 1, 2012.

Administered by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFE) and operating in nine regions, the annual competition promotes sustainable land management by showcasing the work of people farming in a manner that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.

Entry forms for the 2013 competition are available from the NZFE website at http://www.nzfeatrust.org.nz

NZFE chairman Jim Cotman says this website has been upgraded to make it easier for farmers to find information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards and the Trust’s other activities. . .

Damp squib protests

July 23, 2012

Security at this weekend’s National Party conference was tighter than I have ever seen it and there was a very large police presence.

Much larger than the protests as it turns out.

Their target wasn’t the conference or the MPs but the media – however, they failed to impress them too:

Tracy Watkins says the damp protest shows the heat has gone from asset sales fire:

If ever the Government needed reassurance the heat had gone out of the asset sales debate, it came with the tired protest by the handful of familiar old faces outside SkyCity.

    It would have been laughable if not for the dozens of police rostered to spend their weekend outside the annual gathering of National Party faithful in Auckland . . .

And John Armstrong says the thin protest confirms Nats’ faith:

National’s annual conference was not short of protests. But the protests were embarrassingly short of protesters.

Contrary to the impression given by some accounts, the 400 or so party faithful did not spend their weekend cowering inside Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre behind a not-so-thin blue line of police.

The police showed up in significant number; the protesters did not. Yesterday morning’s all-comers rally against everything National stands for drew a total of 79 people – it may well have been counter-productive.

John Key and his senior ministers will take the paucity of protesters as confirming National is on side with majority public opinion in pushing ahead with controversial policies such as more welfare reform and much more oil and mineral exploration.

National believes – or rather its polling is telling it – that most voters are now desperately hungry for serious economic growth. The environment has become very much a secondary concern. . .

That doesn’t meant he environment is not important. It does mean that the focus should go on working out how to reduce and mitigate any risk to it rather than just giving a blanket no to any development which is needed to create jobs and increase prosperity.

None of the few banners I saw even mentioned asset sales, a few mentioned the poor and it is the poor who have most to gain from policies which will increase economic growth.

The protesters promised fireworks, they delivered a damp squib. They hoped to make a strong showing of opposition but displayed only their own weakness.

Two faces of media and Labour

July 23, 2012

The New Zealand Herald shows two faces of the media in its reporting of the National party conference.

One is an example of a line-up of photos, snapped in a fraction of a second, of Ministers when they were speaking which gives line-up of funny faces.

I’m not going to dignify it by linking to it but I do ask a question: Is this a reputable newspaper of a student capping mag?

The photos suggest the latter but the paper also has conference commentary from Audrey Young which is fair and balanced, as it should be in a reputable publication.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce made a stinging attack today on Labour and the Greens accusing them of being “snake oil salesmen” and by pretending they could stop development and still have more jobs.

“It’s fairy tale stuff,” he told delegates to the National Party conference in Auckland. They had to be called out for their “intellectual dishonesty”. . .

Energy Minister Phil Heatley backed him up with photos and facts about the benefits of oil exploration that has been going on for years, without any of the environmental disasters the scaremongers would have us believe we’ll suffer if we allow more.

Mr Joyce said the greatest risk for New Zealand was that it could “ankle-tap” itself by not developing because of small vocal minority who hated change and hated progress.

“It’s about the mitigation of the risk, it’s not about saying no. Every time you say no, it’s less jobs.” . . .

He didn’t use the h word but he did point out that what Labour says in opposition is different from what it did when it was in government.

“Those people are beneath contempt because they want to slow down New Zealand’s development for their own political ends.”

It is an uncomfortable fact of opposition that they welcome bad news. But this opposition is worse because it opposes policies which will make life better for people, policies that will create more jobs and reduce benefit dependency.

They show one face in government and another in opposition.

They do so because instead of being aspirational for New Zealanders they are aspirational for their own political careers. They want people to be dependent on the state so they will vote for them.

Changing financial mind-set

July 23, 2012

New Zealanders don’t have a good savings record and too few of us know much about investing in the share market.

The Mixed Ownership Model for a few state owned assets might help change that mindset because the government plans to ensure New Zealanders are at the front of the queue when the partial float in Mighty River Power takes place:

Speaking at the National Party annual conference in Auckland, Mr Key said the initiatives will make buying shares easier for New Zealanders, while at the same time encouraging long-term share ownership.
“Each of the share offers will be organised so New Zealanders are at the front of the queue for shares. When we do the share offers, we expect around 85 to 90 per cent New Zealand ownership of these companies. Shares will be owned by the Government, individual New Zealanders, and funds like KiwiSaver, ACC and the Super Fund.”
The four initiatives announced today are:
· The appointment by Treasury of a retail syndicate of sharebrokers and banks to help potential investors – particularly first-time share investors – understand how they can participate in the share offer.
· A minimum application for Mighty River Power shares of $1000.
· A guarantee that New Zealanders seeking up to $2000 worth of shares will not have their application scaled back.
· The provision of loyalty bonus shares in Mighty River Power for New Zealand investors. . .
“Accessibility to the share offer is also broadened with the minimum application size of $1000 for Mighty River Power shares, meaning a wide range of New Zealanders will be in a position to apply.
“Those New Zealanders seeking up to $2000 worth of shares will not have their offer scaled back. In other words, New Zealanders applying for up to $2000 worth of shares are guaranteed to receive the shares they apply for.
“Big institutions aren’t getting any guarantees, so this is another way we’re putting everyday New Zealanders at the front of the queue,” Mr Key said.
“Finally, we have agreed to offer New Zealanders a loyalty bonus. New Zealanders who keep their Mighty River Power shares for a certain length of time will get a loyalty bonus, in terms of additional shares.
“We’re working through the time period involved, but it’s likely to be somewhere around three years.
“We believe it is important to recognise the loyalty of New Zealanders who retain their shares, and we want to encourage long-term share ownership among New Zealand savers.”
These initiatives will make it easier for individual New Zealanders to buy shares and also reward those who hold on to them.
As a nation we haven’t got a good savings record and we’ve not got a large share market in which to invest.
The partial float of a few energy companies will provide new opportunities for investment and the government is doing all it can to ensure New Zealanders are at the front of the queue for shares.
They can’t prevent people selling shares they buy.
But the Port of Tauranga has more local shareholders now that when it was first floated and it is very likely that this will happen with Mighty River and the other SOEs which will under go partial floats.
But those who hold on to shares and benefit from the dividends will learn good lessons about savings and investment. The resulting  change of financial mindset and the realisation there’s more to investment opportunities than real estate will  be good from both a financial point of view and a political one.

Public said yes,opposition says no

July 23, 2012

There are several important differences between the voting public and the opposition.

Prime Minister John Key listed some of them in his speech to the National party conference yesterday:

On   election day, over a million Kiwis supported our plan to build a brighter    future.

They    said yes to more jobs, lower interest rates and less debt.

They    said yes to a better welfare system, more elective surgery and greater    achievement in our schools.

They    said yes to our tough stance on crime.

And    they said yes to a more competitive economy.

The public said yes and the opposition just keeps saying no:

Labour and the Greens don’t have a plan and they don’t have a clue.

They    just want to spend more money, bring in new taxes, and make you work two    years longer.

They    say no to everything that will move this country forward.

They    say no to 90-day trials, which are giving our young people jobs.

They    say no to oil and gas exploration.

They    say no to irrigation.

They    say no to jobs that are coming here from Australia.

They    even said no to The Hobbit.

And    the latest thing is they want unions to help elect their leader.

The job of the opposition is to oppose but a government in waiting must also put up viable alternatives and no isn’t one.

People don’t vote for no.

They vote yes for economic prosperity, better health and education and more security and you don’t get that by saying no to policies which will promote growth, equip more people for work and life and help more people become independent.

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