Word of the day

March 5, 2013

Farrago – an assortment;  medley;  conglomeration; confused mixture; hodgepodge.


Rural round-up

March 5, 2013

Personal reflections on Land and Water Forum Hugh Canard:

I was asked to contribute to Waiology’s series on water governance, and after a very brief struggle with my inertial guidance system, I thought my contribution should be from the inside of the governance tent looking out. I have been variously engaged in the early stages of the development through to the implementation phases of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, and I have been a member of the small group of the Land & Water Forum. I was selected as a representative of water-based recreation, not for any real or perceived level of expertise in science or engineering.

The Land & Water Forum was a bottom-up response to a rapidly deteriorating state of many of New Zealand’s waterways and failed attempts to address the wider legislative issues. Agricultural intensification and a widespread perception of abundance of water failed to deal with the creeping decline of water quality in many catchments. The stakeholders collectively approached a receptive environment minister to fund the forum in a collaborative process to produce a series of reports. . .

Not just luck in Palmerston North:

Cam Brown is the fourth Grand Finalist to be named for the 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest. He earned his win over the weekend, Friday 1st March, at the Taranaki/Manawatu Regional Final in Palmerston North held at the Railway Land and Awapuni Racecourse.

It wasn’t all luck for the 30 year old Eketahuna dairy farmer.

“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”, Cam said. Having a solid support team was essential for his success. “I had a wide range of people behind me to offer their expertise and help me up skill”, he said. . .

NZ organic pastoral sector growing in value – new research results:

 There has been a big increase (33%) in the value of organic dairy production in New Zealand in the past three years, and a smaller 11% increase in the value of organic sheep and beef production. This information and more on the growth in organics are contained in the latest research report on the organic sector – Organic Market Report 2012 – to be launched in Wellington on March 6.* . . .

DairyNZ welcomes NAIT levy reductions:

DairyNZ welcomes the decision of National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) to reduce the tag and slaughter levy on cattle from March 8.

“This is good news for farmers. We’ve been working with NAIT to ensure that it’s as low cost and farmer-friendly as possible,” says DairyNZ’s chief executive Tim Mackle.

“Farmers have responded to NAIT even better than we expected. The high uptake is an indication that farmers, as we knew they would, see the benefits of traceability in terms of increasing our preparedness and reducing risk to the industry.

“It’s great, as it means we’re in a position to lower costs to cattle farmers, earlier than anticipated.” . . .

Million milestone for Kim Crawford Wines:

New Zealand brand Kim Crawford Wines has hit a record one million case sales in the past 12 months with 60 per cent of them going to the USA.

The Kim Crawford label, launched in 1996, has been part of the Constellation Brands NZ Limited portfolio since 2006 with global sales having grown significantly since that time.

Constellation New Zealand’s President Joe Stanton says Kim Crawford is a raging success story overseas and represents in excess of 45 per cent of all Constellation exports.

“It is sold in more than 50 countries and 88 per cent of Kim Crawford wine going offshore is Sauvignon Blanc,” Mr Stanton says. . .


Books, maps and super heroes’ alphabet

March 5, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* The 30 best places to be if you love books.

* 38 maps you didn’t know you needed.

* And a phonetic alphabet based on superheroes (only some of whom I recognised).


Happy to be home

March 5, 2013

Wednesday: home to Auckland.

Thursday: Auckland to home.

Friday: home to Mosgiel then Dunedin and home.

Saturday: home to Invercargill and back.

Sunday: siesta.

Monday: home to Invercargill.

Tuesday: Invercargill to home then Oamaru to Wellington.

Wednesday: Wellington to Christchurch.

Friday: Christchurch to home.

Saturday: home to Wanaka.

Sunday: Wanaka to home.

This week home and very happy to be here.


Who am I?

March 5, 2013

Who am I is a fundamental question of identity.

Ethnicity is a fundamental piece of the jigsaw that provides the answer.

For census purposes an ethnic group is defined as:

 . . . people who have some or all of the following characteristics:

  • a common proper name 
  • one or more elements of common culture which need not be specified, but may include religion, customs, or language
  • unique community of interests, feelings, and actions
  •  a shared sense of common origins or ancestry 
  • a common geographic origin.

The group into which I best fit with that definition is New Zealander.

But those of us who consider ourselves to be of New Zealand ethnicity will have to tick other and write New Zealander in the box because the census doesn’t consider it important enough to have a category of its own.

At least this year we will be counted under that category. Until the last census anyone who wrote New Zealander was considered to be a European New Zealander. That gross act of official and discriminatory presumption must have miscounted a whole lot of people of all sort of descent who considered their ethnicity to mean a lot more than where there ancestors happened to come from.

But it is ridiculous that still New Zealander can only be a self-selecting after thought and not a category in its own right as it is in Australia.

If we can’t count in our own country how can we answer who we are – or should that be whaddarya?


Selling at last

March 5, 2013

National’s policy to sell, or partially sell, a few state owned assets was forecast before the 2008 election when John Key made it clear no assets would be sold in the first term and any proposal to sell anything in the second term would be part of the election campaign.

It became a big part of the 2011 campaign, not just because national campaigned on the policy of selling minority shares in a few energy companies but even more because opposition parties campaigned so hard against the policy.

National won, the opposition lost but continued to campaign against the policy.

Like their election campaign that will get them nowhere.

The court ruling against the Maori Council’s bid to stop the sales cleared the way for the sales process and the government has lost no time in getting it under way.

Prime Minister John Key today confirmed the Government will offer the public up to 49 per cent of Mighty River Power in the second quarter of this year – subject to market conditions.

“This will begin tomorrow, with the opening of the process for investors to pre-register their interest in finding out more about the Mighty River Power share offer,” says Mr Key.

The Supreme Court last week dismissed challenges by the Māori Council and others to the Government’s sale of a minority shareholding in Mighty River Power. This follows the High Court reaching the same decision late last year.

“It means we can now proceed with offering a minority share in Mighty River Power.

“The Government’s share offer programme is an important policy. It is expected to free up $5-7 billion that we can then invest in other assets such as modern schools and hospitals, without having to borrow in volatile overseas markets,” says Mr Key.

“Under the share offer programme, New Zealanders will be at the front of the queue. They will have an opportunity to invest in big Kiwi companies at a time when they are telling us they want to diversify their savings away from property, bank deposits and finance companies.”

Cabinet today made a number of decisions about the timing and details of the Mighty River IPO.

These include:

  • The Order-in-Council decision was taken to remove Mighty River Power from the SOE Act.
  • A pre-registration process for New Zealand retail investors interested in finding out more about Mighty River Power shares will open tomorrow (5 March 2013) and run though until 22 March, around three weeks.
  • The offer period is expected to open in mid-April and run for three weeks. The share offer document will be available at that time.
  • Details of a loyalty bonus for New Zealand retail investors will be announced before the offer period starts.
  • When the offer period closes, the institutional book-build takes place. Ministers then make share pricing and allocation decisions.
  • We then expect that Mighty River Power will list on the sharemarket.

“My expectation is that, subject to market conditions, this process will be completed in mid-May, most likely before the Budget,” says Mr Key.

“The Mighty River Power share offer has been designed to achieve widespread New Zealand ownership. We envisage that, with the Government’s majority shareholding, total New Zealand ownership will be 85-90 per cent of the company after the share offer.

“From the Government’s perspective it makes sense to use this opportunity to reorganise the Government’s assets and redeploy capital to priority areas without having to borrow more.

“We intend to make it as easy as possible for New Zealanders to get access to information, register their interest and apply for Mighty River Power shares.”

Today Finance Minister Bill English and State Owned enterprises Minister Tony Ryall will officially launch the pre-registration period for New Zealanders who are interested in finding out more about the Mighty River Power share offer.

 . . . Mr English says the initial public offering of up to 49 per cent of the Government-owned power company is an opportunity for New Zealanders, including those who have not owned shares before, to invest in the stockmarket.

. . . Pre-registration will allow New Zealand retail investors who are interested in finding out more about Mighty River Power shares to register their interest.

“Tomorrow will also see the start of a substantial advertising and communications campaign covering television, print and online media which will raise awareness of the IPO, and tell people how to pre-register,” Mr English says.

“That campaign will include a strong investor education element for those unfamiliar with the sharemarket. We strongly recommend investors obtain their own independent financial advice”

Ministers also announced today that they expect that the share offer document will be lodged shortly after the pre-registration period ends and that there will be a three-week offer period.

At the end of that, the book-building process will take place before ministers decide on the share price and the allocation of shares. Those decisions will include how the shares will be allocated between New Zealanders and overseas shareholders.

The Government expects this process to be completed in mid-May.

The share offer had been designed to put New Zealanders first, Mr Ryall says.

“Mighty River Power will apply to be listed on the NZX main board. We expect that its primary stock exchange listing will be in New Zealand.

“We also expect it to have a secondary listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. There is nothing at all unusual about this – eight of the 10 largest New Zealand listed companies are already dual listed in Australia.

“There is a balance to be struck here. On the one hand, we have given New Zealanders an absolute commitment that Kiwis will be at the front of the queue for shares.

“On the other hand, we want to ensure there is enough tension in the share price for investors. A secondary listing in Australia will help to achieve that.

“Another point worth noting is that some Australian institutions, under their own investment mandates, would not be able to invest in Mighty River Power unless it was also listed in Australia.”

Mr Ryall says the website for pre-registration and for the share offer itself has been designed to restrict people from outside New Zealand from participating.

However, the IPO will be open to certain institutional offshore investors because that will help ensure New Zealand taxpayers get the best price for the shares being sold. Ministers expect around 85-90 per cent of shares to be held by New Zealanders after the share offer.

Other decisions confirmed today include:

  • The minimum application for shares will be $1000, increasing in $100 increments.
  • New Zealanders applying for up to $2000 worth of shares will not be scaled back if the IPO is over-subscribed.
  • A loyalty bonus will apply for New Zealand retail investors who keep their shares for a minimum period. The terms of that bonus will be announced before the share offer opens.

I’m not purporting to be a financial advisor but I’ll be putting my money where my mouth is on this.

I think the partial sale will be good for the company, good for the country and good for all shareholders – the private ones who buy up to 49% of the shares which will be for sale and the government which will retain at least 51% of the shares.


Gamble

March 5, 2013

Grandma said you only need to worry about what other people think if they’re right.

I asked her how you know when they’re right and when they’re not.

She said life’s a gamble and you have to learn to trust your heart.

I asked her how do you know if your heart’s right.

She said she’d been trusting hers for a long time and it hadn’t let her down yet.


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