Lost chance

November 13, 2012

If I’d put my money where this morning’s post was I’d have been on to a winner.

My pick this morning was Terror To Love which won its second New Zealand Trotting Cup race this evening.

Terror To Love joined an elite list of some of the greatest Cup champions with his second successive NZ Trotting Cup win.

The defending champ had to be everything he was touted to be and more after he endured a midrace battled with leader Mah Sish.

When the whips were cracking though Terror To Love was still able to present his trademark finish and overwhelm a wall of horses featuring Highview Tommy, Sushi Sushi and Mah Sish.

It was a triumph once again for the father-and-son partnership of Graham and Paul Court. The Cup win was a culmination of a faultless preparation. Nothing went wrong. It threatened to a lap out when a dip for the lead proved unsuccessful but driver Ricky May didn’t panic, the horse came back to him and the rest is history.

The win takes Terror To Love past the million in stakes earnings.

But nothing for me except the dubious satisfaction of knowing that picking a winner in ignorance can sometimes be lucky.

Word of the day

November 13, 2012

Omnishambles –  something which is completely and continuously shambolic; a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.

This is Oxford Dictionaries’ UK word of the year.

Why omnishambles? Well, it was a word everyone liked, which seemed to sum up so many of the events over the last 366 days in a beautiful way. It’s funny, it’s quirky, and it has broken free of its fictional political beginnings, firstly by spilling over into real politics, and then into other contexts. If influence is any indication of staying power, it has already staked its claim by being linguistically productive in its own right, producing a number of related coinages. While many of them are probably humorous one-offs, their very existence shows that the omnishambles itself has entered at least the familiar parlance, if not quite the common parlance. And for every Romneyshambles (coined in the UK to describe US presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s doubts that London had what it took to host a successful Olympic Games) and omnivoreshambles (detailing the furore over the proposed badger cull in England and Wales) there is the far more sober adjective omnishambolic. . .

Court protection to prevent forced marriages

November 13, 2012

Protecting young people from forced marriages is the intention of Dr Jackie Blue’s Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill.

There are only about 80 marriages each year which involve a minor (16 or 17 year old) , the vast majority being young women.  I am concerned that some minors may be undergoing forced marriage.
Currently 16 and 17 year olds who wish to marry need parental consent. This Bill will require 16 and 17 year olds who wish to marry to apply to the Family Court.  It also sets out how the court should consider the application.
This is an important amendment to the Marriage Act 1955 and will make sure that all minors wishing to marry are doing with the acceptance of the court and with equal consent from both parties.
I have made it very clear in the Bill’s explanatory note that forced marriage is not an arranged marriage where parents take a leading role in choosing a partner but ultimately the son or daughter has free choice.
Marriage celebrants have the right to refuse to carry out a marriage ceremony. Suspicion that one or both parties was under coercion would be good grounds for doing so but that isn’t sufficient protection.
Hearing about a distraught girl who was forced into marriage prompted the Bill.
Dr Blue said only a small number of teenage nuptials would be marriages forced upon girls for cultural reasons.

“The majority are probably quite legitimate, but the majority of those minors are young girls. I can’t not do anything. If it saves one young girl it’s going to be worth it.”

No data existed on how many people have been forced to marry as affected women were often hidden from the glare of social services.

But while researching the issue Dr Blue heard of a recent incident in which a school girl approached a social worker after being forced into an engagement. . .

By forcing teenagers to seek the court’s permission to marry, Dr Blue said it would take parental coercion out of the equation.

“It’s not going to stop people from dragging their sons and daughters off shore to get married. We can’t stop that, but it’s another hurdle.” . . .

This Bill won’t stop young people marrying of their own free will but it will make it more difficult to force them into marriage.

It is unlikely to affect many people but it is still worth doing.

Forced marriages are more common in other countries. This Bill, if enacted, will send a strong signal that they will not be condoned here.

SFF $31.1m loss

November 13, 2012

Silver Fern Farms has reported a net operating loss of $31.1 million from total revenue of $2 billion.

. . .  Chief Executive Keith Cooper commented that Silver Fern Farms operates in an environment where many outcomes are beyond the company’s control but materially impact on the business. 

 “Climatically  we  went  into  the  2011/12  season  with  ideal  pasture  growing  conditions  which  meant  livestock  was  held  on  farm  for  valid  reasons.  This  resulted  in  markets  being  short  of  product  versus historical supply patterns. Off the back of this, we saw global prices for lamb in particular, escalate to  unsustainable levels, which resulted in a sharp fall in demand, and which then led to a significant decline  in value. This market correction was subsequently reflected back to suppliers and, in turn, caused write-downs in inventory valuations throughout the financial year of circa $25.6 million.  Through this period,   Silver Fern Farms had to manage business continuity – supplying to customers and operating processing  assets – which meant we had to compete for livestock at unsustainable prices which further contributed to the problem.  . .

SFF wasn’t alone in facing these problems.

Strong competition for stock was good for farmers in the short term but bad for the companies.

Rural round-up

November 13, 2012

Fonterra shares in hot demand despite unknowns – Terry Hall:

Dairy farmers should be very, very happy. It seems heaps of Asians, Australians and Kiwis want to invest in their now highly desirable, fashionable industry, even if many haven’t a clue precisely what they are putting their money into.

Even well-tested professional investors are finding the prospectus and the concept behind the $525 million Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund tough to get their heads around. It is essentially an untried investment, the first of its type ever unleashed anywhere. Essentially, owners of the co-operative company will retain full control while opening an investment opportunity to outsiders. This is to provide additional finance to further expand a crucial part of their business, which the farmers seem reluctant to do themselves. . .

Fonterra is a price taker – Milking on the Moove:

Following on from my post about how New Zealand agriculture can learn from Apple, I thought I’d look at some New Zealand companies that are doing well overseas.

Geoff Ross is a former advertising executive who rose to prominence when he founded 42 Below, the Vodka company. He and his partners have gone on to invest and run other companies which they take public. The companies Geoff and co have invested in are Ecoya which makes candles and Moa Beer.
I think he is an interesting business person to study because he hasn’t invented anything new or created a unique product. He has simply taken products which are already common place, but he creates brands that enable him to sell these products at a premium price. . .

Scientists looking at smarter irrigation technology:

Lincoln University researchers are investigating the use of microwave technology to improve efficiency and reduce water wastage from farm irrigation.

The university’s research subsidiary, Lincoln Ventures, has won government funding of almost $850,000 over two years to put its smarter irrigation concept to the test. . .

Fernbaby marketing infant formula – Sally Rae:

When it comes to travelling, Tianxi Shao could be considered a frequent flyer.

The Chinese businessman and sporting enthusiast has visited 60 countries, yet fell in love with New Zealand, captivated by the “clean, green image”.

Mr Shao is now principal of Fernbaby, a company formed to provide a locally-made high-quality alternative to the Australian and Singaporean-made infant formulas, which it says dominate the New Zealand market. . .

Wool-Rich Innovations Take Centre Stage at Shear Brilliance:

Fill your living environments with wool and do it in style – that’s the message from the Campaign for Wool.

The Campaign is hosting HRH The Prince of Wales today at Shear Brilliance – a wool showcase at The Cloud, Queens Wharf, Auckland (1pm today).

“From a carpet couch to a wool peg necklace, from grass grown on wool dags to Tiki artwork on Merino, from Zambesi’s carpet bag to the loftiness of wool knops, Shear Brilliance will surprise and delight anyone who might have thought wool was passe,” says Stephen Fookes, Chair, Campaign for Wool New Zealand. . .

Shearing Showcase At The Cloud For Prince Charles

New Zealand’s shearers and wool handlers have welcomed the opportunity to join Prince Charles in Auckland today at Shear Brilliance, a showcase celebrating the Campaign for Wool.

As patron of the campaign Prince Charles supports the industry’s efforts to raise awareness of wool’s virtues and while In New Zealand for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations visits the Cloud in Auckland to inspect a wool showcase staged by the industry.

President of the New Zealand Shearing Contractors’ Association Barry Pullin says Royal patronage at Shear Brilliance is an opportunity for the industry to state it’s fundamental principle that more successful farmers will sustain a more successful wool industry.  . .

Farmers urged to take early action to prevent crop damage

Auckland/Waikato Fish & Game is urging farmers to make plans now for reducing the damage that can be caused by large flocks of Paradise shelduck, and other game birds.

Game Bird Manager David Klee says that with summer approaching, farmers will start to see large groups of birds moving into their newly-planted crops.

“We urge farmers to plan ahead to reduce the damage done by these flocks,” he says. “We encourage farmers to place bird-scaring equipment out before the new grass or crops start emerging and providing birds with an easy source of food.” . . .

New Zealand Cup picks

November 13, 2012

The New Zealand Trotting Cup takes place at Addington 5:15 pm today.

I know even less about harness racing than I do about gallops, which is almost nothing, but on the strength of their names am opting for  Terror To Love,  Gold Ace and Pure Power.

The field is:

1 Zenola Seelster
2 Caribbean Blaster
3 Terror To Love
4 Major Mark
5 Sushi Sushi
6 Mah Sish
7 Franco Ledger
8 Fly Like An Eagle
9 Stunin Cullen
10 Mach Banner
11 Pure Power
12 Ohoka Texas
13 Donegal Delight
14 Highview Tommy
15 Gold Ace
16 Jarcullembra
17 Pembrook Benny
18 Auckland Reactor

Fonterra offer oversubscribed

November 13, 2012

Dairying seems to get more bad headlines than good, but that obviously doesn’t reflect investors’ confidence in the industry.

A share broker tells us that his firm is getting only 5% of the Fonterra units it applied for and the price is likely to be towards the upper end of the $4.50 – $5.50 spectrum.

That could be a concern for farmers who have to share-up to match increased production.

But once they’ve bought the extra shares they could sell them again which wasn’t an option before.


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