Word of the day

July 19, 2013

Addlepated – befuddled; confused; eccentric, peculiar.


Rural round-up

July 19, 2013

Whole milk prices bode well for profits – Jamie Gray:

Dairy farmers could be looking at another record year for profit in 2013-14 after a 4.9 per cent rise in GlobalDairyTrade prices was recorded at the overnight auction, banks said.

Prices for whole milk powder – the most important line for New Zealand producers – were up 7.7 per cent from the the last auction at US$5058 a tonne.

ANZ Bank said prices gained as buyers scrambled to refill their inventory after last summer’s drought and a seasonal low in New Zealand supply, which would put upward pressure on Fonterra’s $7 per kg of milksolids milk price payout forecast for this season. . .

$3.8m after tax loss for Blue Sky  – Sally Rae:

Blue Sky Meats chairman Graham Cooney, whose company has recorded a $3.8 million after-tax loss for the year ending March, says the solutions to the red meat industry model problems are in New Zealand, not in the marketplace.

The result compared with a $449,149 loss last year and a $3.6 million profit the previous year. . .

German vet enjoys shearing experience – Sally Rae:

Cordula Ihring is one determined woman.

The qualified German vet has traded a stethoscope for a shearing hand-piece as she works for a Kurow-based shearing gang.

During the morning smoko break at Peter and Pauline Dodd’s Tapui farm, in North Otago, recently, Ms Ihring (28), known as Cordy, spoke of her passion for shearing. . .

Looking ahead with AbacusBio – Sally Rae:

Since joining AbacusBio on an internship at the end of her university studies, Grace Johnstone admits she ”hasn’t really looked back”.

After spending time last year travelling and working overseas, Ms Johnstone (24) returned to the consultancy and new venture development company this year as an associate consultant.

Brought up on a sheep and beef farm near Outram, the former Columba College head prefect graduated from the University of Otago in 2011 with a double bachelor’s degree in science, majoring in genetics, and law. . . .

A heavy load to carry for native kōura: Amber Mcewan:

This winter, in a cold, clear stream near you, a certain freshwater crustacean has a heavy load to carry. The female New Zealand freshwater crayfish, or kōura, spends the winter months carrying large eggs (up to 200 of them!) attached to the underside of her abdomen. The eggs hatch after 3 or 4 months, but motherhood doesn’t end there for the female kōura – the tiny babies (miniature replicas of their parents) hang on to their mother and she carries them everywhere she goes until they are around 4 mm long, at which point they let go of mum and head off to seek their aquatic fortunes. . . .

Higher truffle production predicted in WA:

Truffle growers in Western Australia are on track to harvest record yields this season.

It is only halfway through their harvesting season but producers are predicting an increase of 30% on last year.

Manjimup Wine and Truffle Co chief executive Gavin Booth expects to produce more than four tonnes of the fungus.

“We’ve got about 1.8 tonnes of saleable truffle,” he said. “I anticipate that to double, so we should get around 4.4 tonne.” . . .


Friday’s answers

July 19, 2013

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Did anyone notice there wasn’t a quiz last week?

2. Did you miss it?

3. Is it too hard/too easy?

4. Is it time for a change in format?

5. Any suggestions for improvements?

There were no right or wrong answers but Andrei, PDM, Alwyn and Grant get an electronic chocolate cake for responding positively and helpfully.


In praise of Oamaru

July 19, 2013

Quote of the day:

I am often asked why I chose Oamaru to live after 25 years in Auckland. As the Editor of NZ TODAY magazine I spent ten years exploring every part of New Zealand. I reckon I have visited every town where there’s either one pub or a grocery store.
In all of those travels and in all of those hundreds of thousands of kilometres I am convinced that there is no other place in New Zealand of similar size, that has half of what Oamaru has to offer.
This is a sensational, undersold place — to make it stay that way into the future, we need a plan. Allan Dick

Contractors want immigration rules eased

July 19, 2013

Rural contractors are calling on Immigration New Zealand to make it easier for skilled foreign workers to come back into the country each season to help with harvest.

Rural Contractors New Zealand president Steve Levet says about 3000 skilled drivers and machinery operators, who are typically from Ireland and England, come here to help with harvest each year.

Mr Levet says rural contractors struggle to find suitable staff in the domestic labour pool – partly due to the seasonal nature of the work which can last for just two months and also because of the highly specialised nature of the farm machinery being used.

But he says Immigration New Zealand is making contractors jump through too many hoops to bring back their skilled drivers from abroad. . .

Contractors don’t usually have problems getting someone the first time, but have difficulty if they want to employ the same people again.

. . . Mr Levet says rural contractors are finding it harder and harder to bring back contractors who have built up valuable local knowledge.

It’s not only contractors who want immigration rules eased.

Dairy farmers would also like it to be easier to employ staff from overseas and to rehire people who have worked for them before.

Just as young New Zealanders are valued for their attitude and skills when they work in other countries, foreign workers who come here are often better workers than some locals.


Red + Green poisonous mix

July 19, 2013

Wee parties generally do worse after they’ve been in coalition with a bigger one here, but in Australia the Green Party has tainted Labor.

An alliance with the Greens could be fatal for the already-struggling Labour Party, a leading Australian commentator warns.

The Australian’s chief opinion editor Nick Cater, who visited New Zealand this week to promote his book The Lucky Culture, warns an alliance with the Greens has been disastrous for Australia’s Labor Party, as socially-conservative middle and working class voters have abandoned their traditional support.

Of the Greens, he says: “They are absolutists and are rigid about man’s role in the environment and on earning a living.” . . *

Labour will almost certainly need Green Party support in some form, whether it’s as a coalition partner or just an agreement on confidence and supply, if it’s to form a government.

The bigger party is doing its best to sabotage itself with its internal woes and it’s being further undermined by its potential partner.

The radical left agenda of the Greens scares many moderate voters.

Labour couldn’t govern without them but fear of what would happen if it tried to govern with them is scaring voters who think rightly think Green + red would be a poisonous mix.

* Today’s NBR print edition has more on this.


Info sharing saves $33.7 m

July 19, 2013

Information sharing between the IRD and Ministry of Social Development has identified and stopped 3139 illegitimate benefits in just six months, Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows says.

“While it is always disappointing to see some people are willing to break the law and take money they’re not entitled to, it happens, and we have a responsibility to the taxpayer to stop it,” says Mr Borrows.

“The benefits stopped thus far were costing the taxpayer more than $33.7 million per year, money which should be going to those who really need it.”

The enhanced information sharing started earlier this year, highlighting beneficiaries whose taxable income did not match what they had declared to MSD. MSD staff reviewed each case, and where the beneficiary was earning enough income that they were no longer eligible to receive a benefit, that benefit was stopped.

It’s not all about stopping benefits. Some people were not getting as much on a benefit as they could with other help.

A further 645 clients have been assessed as being better off with other financial assistance, such as Working for Families, and helped by Work and Income to move from benefit to that assistance.

Of the 3139 cancellations, the majority were receiving the unemployment benefit (1948) or sickness benefit (559).

MSD will now look to recover all overpaid money, including seeking attachment orders to wages which should see these debts repaid faster than most benefit fraud debt.

“MSD staff are still working through the information, including a large group of clients identified as being eligible for a benefit, but having incorrectly declared their income,” says Mr Borrows.

“Fraud investigators are also looking hard at the benefits which have been stopped, and where there is evidence they deliberately defrauded from the taxpayer they can expect to be prosecuted for their crimes.”

With all this saved, and some people helped to move off benefits which is better for them and the taxpayer, it’s just a pity information sharing wasn’t introduced years ago.

Jacinda Ardern was on TV last night complaining about the policy and saying tax fraud should be targeted instead.

It shouldn’t be one or the other, it should be both.

Fraud is fraud and should be targeted wherever it happens and whoever does it.

 

>Enhanced information sharing has identified and stopped 3139 illegitimate benefits in the last six months. Unfortunately some people are willing to take money from taxpayers that they are not entitled to, but this sends them a clear message that they are not going to get away with it.


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