Should that be mis-communication spokesperson?

November 9, 2012

Labour’s communication spokesperson Clare Curran issued a media release today headlined Catastrophic Failure’ Hits Southern Cross Cable:

A ‘catastrophic failure’ has struck the Southern Cross international internet cable, says Labour’s Communications and IT spokesperson Clare Curran.

“Labour has learnt that a ‘catastrophic failure’ at Southern Cross’s Alexandria landing station occurred this morning due to an unauthorised and un-notified software change to their wavelength switching platform, which blew up.

“We understand that partial service has been restored by reinstating old circuits via New Zealand. Full restoration is still being worked on.

“This shows the Government’s inaction and disregard for our international infrastructure could have equally catastrophic consequences for New Zealand. . .

Southern Cross responded with a media release headlined No catastrophic failure on Southern Cross Cable:

Contrary to a misleading and inaccurate media release from Labour’s Clare Curran, no ‘catastrophic failure’ has occurred on the Southern Cross Cable.

The cable is, a figure of 8 network providing internet services to New Zealand, Australia, Pacific and the US. In the early hours of this morning a limited outage affecting 10% of our active capacity occurred during our maintenance window which is a low traffic impacting period.

The outage occurred at one of our Sydney cable stations, Alexandria, and it lasted from 3.17am – 4.28am, Sydney Time, impacting 4 of our customers.

A problem occurred and the switch was reverted to its original software. The incident occurred as a part of authorised work taking place to expand capacity on the Southern Cross Network.

If the Mis-Communciation spokesperson has apologised for her mistake it hasn’t yet appeared on Scoop where she put the media release.

Word of the day

November 9, 2012

Anoesis –  mere reception of impressions without understanding or intellectual effort; a state of mind consisting of pure sensation or emotion without cognitive content; not subject to conscious attention; having an indefinite, relatively passive, conscious being.

Alliance reports $50.8m loss

November 9, 2012

Anyone who paid any attention to the industry last season would have known to expect red ink in meat company annual reports.

Even so the media release from Alliance Group makes sobering reading:

Alliance Group has reported a net loss after tax of $50.8 million from a turnover of $1.37 billion for the year ending 30 September 2012.

The result is after incurring restructuring costs of $13.5 million arising from the cessation of sheep
and lamb processing at its Mataura Plant.

In announcing the company’s first operating loss in 20 years, the Chairman of Alliance Group, Owen
Poole, said: “While this is a very disappointing result, it reflects a substantial change in our export
markets over the past 12 months, in particular for sheepmeat.

“Export   market   prices   for   lamb   suffered   a   steep   decline   in   key   markets   due   to   the   widespread
economic crisis. The increasing value of the New Zealand dollar through the period exacerbated the
impact of the price decline.

“We accept that many exporters and processors like ourselves did not respond to the changing
economic environment fast enough, and in an intensely competitive industry, continued to pay too
much for livestock for too long.

Competition for stock which boosted returns for farmers in the short term have cost the company dearly.

This won’t be the only annual report showing a big loss.

“Despite the significant loss, and after providing for the restructuring costs associated with ending
sheepmeat processing at  our Mataura Plant and the closure of Sockburn Plant, the company’s
balance sheet remains robust.

“These decisions, as well as investments in beef processing at Mataura, venison processing at
Smithfield and rendering at Lorneville, will provide significant ongoing cost savings and benefits.
Alliance Group anticipates a much improved financial result for the 2013 year.”

The company is also making changes to its procurement policies to reinforce its commitment to loyal
shareholder/suppliers, he said.

Grant Cuff, Chief Executive of Alliance Group, said: “Despite the challenging economic environment,
stability is now returning to the market and recent events give Alliance Group and its 5,000
shareholders cause for optimism.

“China continues to show strong growth, particularly with higher-value products being added to the
offer, while the first shipment of Pure South lamb has now arrived in Brazil. Alliance Group believes
Brazil offers significant potential, given its natural affinity for red meat, a growing population and an
emerging middle class.

“The recent announcement of an exclusive deal to supply chilled New Zealand lamb to iconic UK
retailer Marks & Spencer is also good news for suppliers.”

We spent a day with one of the men responsible for selling our meat when we were in London in June.

Lamb was by far the most expensive meat on supermarket shelves. This showed we can’t hope to compete on price, we have to market on quality.

However, even the top end of the market has its limits and the price paid for stock last season was out of kilter with the prices consumers were willing to pay for meat in supermarkets and restaurants.

Prices for stock will be lower this season but the medium to long term outlook for sheep and beef are brighter and the company is strong enough to withstand this one bad year.

Rural round-up

November 9, 2012

Water measuring to allow more efficient measurement:

Environment Minister Amy Adams has welcomed the effective start of new regulations that require for the first time significant water takes to be metered, as part of a wider programme to improve fresh water management.

From tomorrow, all significant water takes (more than 20 litres per second) need to be metered. Smaller water takes down to five litres per second will gradually be covered by the regulations so that by 2016, about 98 per cent of consented water will be measured.

“It is time to get serious about how we use water in this country. It is a replenishable resource but a finite resource at a given time and place,” Ms Adams says. . .

Youth no bar for contractor – Sally Rae:

Geoff Scurr was just 16 when he bought his first bulldozer.

Two years later, the hard-working East Otago teenager bought a contracting business.

He was determined to prove to a few critics, who thought he would never make it work because he was so young, that they were wrong.

Geoff Scurr Contracting Ltd recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with a function at the East Otago Events Centre, attended by several hundred people.

The business now employed six staff, along with casual workers when needed. Forestry work was a major component, along with irrigation dams, installing fibre-optic phone cables, subdivisions, farm work and quarrying. . .

Underlying Strength To Wool Market:

Mr John Dawson, General Manager, New Zealand Wool Services International Limited reports that although the South Island sale saw several categories at slightly lower price levels than last week’s North Island sale, there is still steady demand and a general underlying strength to the market.

Of the 10,362 bales offered this week, which was considerably more than anticipated, 75 percent of the offering sold. The passed-in wools were predominantly lots with inflated grower reserves.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was unchanged compared to the last sale on 1st November. . .

New Zealander to head world dairy organisation:

Dr Jeremy Hill, Director Research Science Technology & Development at Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, is President-Elect of the International Dairy Federation (IDF); the first New Zealander elected to that role in its 109-year history.

“This is truly a major moment for New Zealand on the world stage,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson speaking from the IDF summit in Cape Town.

“Dr Hill will serve a four year term effective from this Friday and is, I believe, the first time a New Zealander has ever headed the world body for the dairy industry. As one of the Kiwis at the IDF we are very, very proud. . . .


Exactly 88 entries have been received in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, since entries opened just one week ago.

Entries in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, Farm Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year are being accepted online at They close on December 20.

Mrs Keeping says there have been 24 entries in the sharemilker/equity farmer contest (up from 18 at the same time last year) and 34 entries in the farm manager contest to date. . .

Friday’s answers

November 9, 2012

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”?

2. What is the Angel’s share of whisky?

3. What are the main ingredients of whisky?

4.  It’s  boire in French, bere in Italian,  beber in Spanish and inu in Maori, what is it in English?

5. Water, whisky and/or wine?

Points for answers:

Andrei and Willdwan got four.

Alwyn wins an electronic batch of meringues for a clean sweep.

I hesitated over whether Grant’s  fermented grain mash was right butfigured it was near enough so he too wins an electronic batch of meringues. I saw the film this week (which is what spurred the question) and agree it’s good.

Why meringues? I made about 700 for our staff party last week and have lots left over.

Answers follow the break: Read the rest of this entry »

The Auckland conundrum

November 9, 2012

If house prices are high in Auckland because more people want to live there.

And more people want to live there because that’s where the jobs are.

How do you explain the latest Household Labour Force Survey which shows higher unemployment there?

Matt Nolan says other factors are also involved in house prices.

And Lindsay Mitchell thinks that the unexpected rise in the number of job seekers could be not so much about people losing jobs but more about people becoming available for and seeking work.

If that’s the case it would show that expecting people on benefits who could work to do so is already having an impact.

However, the real measure of success will be when they find and keep the jobs.

If some of those jobs weren’t in Auckland then that might take some of the pressure of house prices too.

Fairness and equity when it suits

November 9, 2012

Trans Tasman comments on the Electoral Commission’s recommendations on MMP:

The Commission had recommended the 5% threshold be cut to 4%, and abolition of the one-seat (or “coat-tail” rule). It said the one-seat rule’s effect had been to undermine the principles of fairness and equity and the primacy of the party vote in determining the overall composition of Parliament which underpin MMP. This is because it gives voters in some electorates more power than those in others. However it is hard to argue in favour of refined principles of fairness and equity so long as separate Maori seats are retained in the NZ electoral system.

Opposition MPs are keen to support the recommendation, though Labour didn’t regard the one-seat rule as a problem when it gave them the support of Peter Dunne and those he brought in on his coat tails.

Nor will they suggest there is no longer a need for Maori seats because in that case fairness and equity won’t suit them so well.



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