Word of the day

April 15, 2013

Boulevardier – a wealthy, fashionable socialite; man aobut town; frequenter of the Parisian boulevards.


Rural round-up

April 15, 2013

Partnership To Offer Significant Benefits For New Zealand And China Agriculture Industries:

Beijing, China: New Zealand Government-owned AsureQuality and PwC New Zealand have today signed a collaboration framework agreement with China Mengniu Dairy Company Limited and COFCO Corporation to investigate the development of a China New Zealand agribusiness service and Food Safety Centre of Excellence in China.

Initially AsureQuality and PwC will work with Mengniu and COFCO on a dairy-related food safety and farm assurance project. As the partnership evolves it is expected that additional New Zealand commercial and research entities with expertise in other areas of the agricultural sector will be brought in.

AsureQuality’s CEO Mr Michael Thomas and PwC New Zealand’s CEO Mr Bruce Hassall, who signed the agreement in Beijing today, say, “This agreement acknowledges the expertise held by AsureQuality, and the benefits that formal collaboration offers for us, and potentially the wider New Zealand agribusiness sector, in the Chinese market. . .

Sheep production vet’s main interest – Sally Rae:

When people ask vet Dave Robertson what he does in his job, his usual reply is that he ”scans cows and talks about sheep”.

Mr Robertson, a partner at the Veterinary Centre, based in Oamaru, graduated with a degree in veterinary science from Massey University 10 years ago.

He grew up in West Otago, in a family which has a long association with sheep breeding. . .

Returning business manager sees transformation in Southland – Sally Rae:

David Backhurst has seen a lot of changes in Southland since first moving there in the early 1990s and then spending a decade away from the province.

Mr Backhurst has returned to Invercargill to take up the position of general manager of agribusiness and business banking at SBS Bank, after spending the past seven years in Australia.

He was state leader for New South Wales, ACT and Queensland for NAB Health, a specialised banking business launched by the National Australia Bank to service the financial needs of medical practitioners, healthcare and aged-care facilities and investors in the healthcare sector. . .

Deer milk cheese may be world first – Rob Tipa:

Scientists at the University of Otago and Lincoln University and a cheesemaker from Oamaru have produced what they believe may be the world’s first cheese made from the milk of farmed red deer.

What’s more, laboratory tests have identified unique bioactive compounds in red deer milk that they say could improve the immune system of humans.

If that is the case, red deer milk could be worth as much as $100 a litre on niche health food markets and a single red deer hind could potentially produce up to $20,000 worth of milk in a single lactation, according to Dr Alaa El-Din A Bekhit, a senior lecturer in the University of Otago’s Food Science Department. . .

Mill’s expansion plan taking shape – Helena de Reus:

Milton’s historic woollen mill is a hive of activity as its owners shift and replace machinery and plan for its expansion.

Some of the plant’s machinery has been sold, and Bruce Woollen Mill Ltd has spent more than $500,000 on several other machines from Australia to help produce a greater range of products.

Bruce Woollen Mill managing director John Stevens, of Christchurch, said much work had taken place over the past eight months. . .

Smith crowns stellar shears year with NZ Champs win :

Hastings shearer Rowland Smith crowned a stellar couple of months on the competition circuit with a comfortable New Zealand Open Championship win set to a background of drama in Te Kuiti’s packed Waitomo Cultural and Arts Centre on Saturday night.

The win in a six-man final of what should have been 20 sheep each was the 26-year-old Northland-raised gun’s 14th in 11 weeks, including his first Golden Shears Open win in Masterton on March 2.

But there was drama all-around the winner on Stand 3, most-amazingly next-door on Stand 2 where fellow Hawke’s Bay shearer Dion King was wondering how he’d beaten the all-conquering event favourite Smith by more than a sheep and set a record time, until his worst fears were realised. There’d been only 19 sheep in his pen. . .

Farmers praised for role in helping stilt:

High-country farmers have been praised for contributing to a record-breaking season for the endangered kaki (black stilt).

Each year, Department of Conservation staff collect kaki eggs from the wild for incubation at the captive breeding centre at Twizel.

Nearly half of all eggs taken this summer were collected from farmland in the Mackenzie and Waitaki basins with the co-operation of farmers. . .

Farmer of the year –  rivettingKateTaylor:

You are just getting the press release this afternoon…. courtesy of the HB A&P Society – I have been out photographing all day and now I am off to assembly. More later :)

 Night of Winners

Hawke’s Bay’s agribusiness community was out in force last night to celebrate a string of awards that recognise excellence in the primary industries.

350 guests packed the events centre at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay to enjoy an evening of fine food, entertainment and celebrate with the worthy winners.

The big winners on the night were Danny & Robyn Angland, who took out the prestigious Silver Fern Farms Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year title for their management of the iconic Hawke’s Bay farming enterprise Kereru Station.  Danny has been Manager of the 2847ha Station since 2007. . .


7/10, 2/10

April 15, 2013

Only 7/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz.

A red-faced 2/10 in NBR’s Biz Quiz (which proves random guesses don’t always work).

 


Farm worker salaries better than average

April 15, 2013

Federated Farmers/Rabobank Farm Employee Remuneration Survey 2013, shows that remuneration levels for most pastoral farm positions have continued to increase.

The average farm worker is now earning $5,500 more than the New Zealand average annual wage and salary.

“I need to point out our survey was in the field in late 2012 and before the impact of the 2012/13 drought really hit home,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers employment spokesperson.

“The drought will undoubtedly have a drag effect on farm wage growth and prospects. We need to also point out that marked commodity price pressures have become apparent in 2013 in the meat and fibre sectors particularly.

“That said, the 2013 survey covers more than 3,900 positions involving the input of 1,194 farm employers. That makes it the most comprehensive of its type and we sincerely thank Rabobank, our research provider Ipsos and farm employers for helping us with it.

“Federated Farmers considers that it has an important role to develop and attract quality people into agriculture. This survey is intended to assist employers and employees, both current and potential, to better understand what agriculture has to offer.

“It is also important to point out that the primary industries made up of pastoral agriculture, horticulture, forestry and fisheries employ over 146,000 New Zealanders. Misconceptions about pastoral agriculture must be challenged and this survey is a useful tool doing just that.

“Agriculture is vast and includes on-farm work, value-added processing right through to scientific research and international business.

The survey showed farm workers earned an average salary of $46,246. That increased to $49,159 when the value of non-wage , such as accommodation, power and meat, was taken into account.

“Farming is incredibly wage competitive because the national average wage for people in paid employment was $40,716[i] in the June 2012 quarter. When you consider living costs in many rural areas tend to be lower than in urban areas it is an eye-opener.

“Yet despite relatively high unemployment nationally, farmers are finding it difficult to recruit skilled and motivated staff. There is a gulf between talk in the media about unemployment and the experiences of farm employers.

“We are hopeful reforms to the benefit system may incentivise Kiwis with the right attitude to look wider and consider a farming career.

“Farm employers know they need to strike the right balance between containing wage growth and attracting high quality skilled workers to not only consider farm employment but to stay. The need for career development is also important.

“We are seeing a growing professionalism in rural employment relationships. This is paying dividends as evidenced by StatisticsNZ’s recent Labour Productivity statistics. These show labour productivity within agriculture has increased 3.4 percent each year.

“Labour inputs showed little change whereas output has surged, meaning agriculture is driving New Zealand’s labour productivity growth. . .

This survey disproves the contention that farm workers aren’t well paid.

There will always be a few employers in any industry who exploit their staff, just as there are some staff who can’t, or won’t, do what’s required of them.

But good staff are valued by good farmers and the higher than average remuneration levels uncovered by this survey reflect that.


Who counts jobs gained?

April 15, 2013

Job losses get headlines.

That’s justified by the impact not just on those directly affected but by the wider community and economy.

But who counts jobs gained by those who lost them?

Those who go on benefits or immigrate will eventually turn up in welfare and immigration figures.

But who counts the people who find work either for other employers or in their own businesses?

The creation of a large number of new jobs by, for example, the opening of a new milk processing plant, will be reported, but smaller job gains aren’t usually.

In a column discussing how subsidised jobs make everyone poorer, Rodney Hide writes:

. . . If Tiwai closed, the job losses will be obvious and reportable. The jobs and income generated through the extra and cheaper power won’t be. But they will be there. And we will all be better off as a consequence.

The only difficulty is that these jobs won’t be spotted and will go unreported. We don’t know where they are. And we can’t point to them. That’s why the jobs argument – bad as it is – has propaganda value. . .

There have been lots of stories about job losses recently, there have been few about jobs created.

But benefit numbers have fallen to the lowest level since 2009 .

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says there are 29,000 fewer New Zealanders receiving benefits since the last quarter.

This is the lowest benefit numbers have been at this time of year since 2009.

“I’m really pleased to see this significant reduction in benefits and I take my hat off to the more than 17,600 people who went off the Unemployment, DPB and Sickness Benefits and into work in the last quarter.”

The Ministry of Social Development cancelled 525 benefits in the last quarter after it implemented an enhanced information sharing arrangement with Inland Revenue. . .

If benefit numbers have dropped in spite of all the reported job losses, new jobs must also have been created.

n spite of all those jobs lost, there must have also been jobs created.


Not finished yet

April 15, 2013

Quote of the day:

Well, look, you know, the thing is I’m actually enjoying it.  As Prime Minister, what are they going to remember when they look back?  And the answer is going to be is the economy strong, does the education system work better, does health system work better, is New Zealand a stronger, more confident country?  I’ve been Prime Minister for four and a half years.  My own personal view is that we are building that sort of New Zealand.  Now, you know, is there perfection?  There will never be perfection in politics, but you can do your very best and you can see the course, and that’s what we’ve done.  I really believe passionately that— And again, I’ve read lots of stuff in the media that I’m not going to be there in 2014, I’m not going to run National in the election, that’s not true.  None of that is true.  I’ll be there.  As long as National wants me there, I’ll be there in 2014.  Why?  Because I don’t think we’ve actually finished the job yet. And, you know, there will always be some weeks that are better than others, but for the most part I’m in an incredibly privileged position.  You know, I’m the 38th prime minister of New Zealand, and I’ll always be grateful to the New Zealand public that they gave me that chance.  Prime Minister John Key (on Q+A yesterday).


Labour’s desperate attempt at sabotage

April 15, 2013

Labour is making a last-ditch desperate attempt to sabotage the partial sale of Mighty River Power.

Shares in Mighty River Power go on sale today, but Labour is warning potential investors it plans to makes changes in the electricity sector if elected next year. . .

He won’t say what the changes will be, only that is was fair to warn potential investors.

“What we’re most concerned about is the rise in power prices and the fact that when these assets are sold the likelihood is that power prices are going to go up and that the companies are going to be increasingly held in foreign hands.” . .

The Labour leader is playing at being David Shearerpisos again.

There are no details on what they’d do because there is nothing they could do. If he’d asked his Finance Spokesman, David Parker, he’d know that.

Power prices went up far more steeply in the nine year’s when Labour was last in government than they have since National took over in 2008.

At a public meeting, when he was a Minister, Parker was asked about power prices and said he’d joined Labour because of Max Bradford’s electricity reforms.

In response to a question about why Labour had done nothing to reverse the changes or moderate them he said it was too late, there was nothing the government could do.

Shearer’s latest release is empty rhetoric. It displays the party’s contempt for, and ignorance of ,business and provides another reason to ensure they won’t be leading the government after next year’s election.


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