Word of the day

August 12, 2013

Bodger – – a wood-carver or wood turner, specifically one who makes chairs from beechwood; a labourer who traditionally lived and worked in the forest, making chairs from felling trees; one who makes or builds something from a mishmash of found or improvised materials; an expert in bodging; worthless or second-rate.

 


Ram vs bike

August 12, 2013

Rural round-up

August 12, 2013

 

Bacteria detection a game changer for meat industry:

A SOLUTION to a meat industry headache is offered by Christchurch company Veritide.

“We’ve proven the concept of our real time, non-contact bacterial detection technology in the meat industry,” says chief executive Craig Tuffnell. “We have a known problem and a huge opportunity to provide a solution for meat companies and food processors that need to identify and manage their pathogen risk.”

Tuffnell says Veritide has worked with ANZCO to prove its concept, and it and other food processing companies will assist prototype development, testing and validation, and as an actual product is taken to market. . .

‘Part of deer industry fabric’ – Sally Rae:

”It’s not the end for Invermay. It’s not the end for Otago.”

That was one of the messages from Federated Farmers national vice-president William Rolleston as he outlined his thoughts on AgResearch’s proposed major restructuring, which will result in 85 jobs at Invermay, near Mosgiel, being relocated to other parts of the country.

While it was going to be tough on scientists and their families who were going to have to move – ”that’s always painful, we have to recognise that” – he believed that, in the long-term, it was a sensible strategy for AgResearch to be clustering itself around the country’s two agricultural universities. . .

Drought “response hero” gets life membership:

A long-standing Federated Farmers member has been granted life membership of Federated Farmers. Former Hawke’s Bay provincial president, Kevin Mitchell, was bestowed the honour after more than 30 years of outstanding service to the Federation.

“It is the least our organisation can do,” said Will Foley the current Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay provincial president.

”Kevin was my first introduction to Federated Farmers and has been an inspiration.  He has always strived to uphold the Federation’s drive to achieve profitable and sustainable farming. . .

Waste animal products turned into a winner:

PLACENTAS WERE never part of Angela Payne’s plans when she started in business in 2002 supplying ‘waste’ animal products to a few niche clients.

“I didn’t think I would end up collecting placentas, let alone they would become the main product,” says Payne, founder and sole owner of Agri-lab Co Products, Waipukurau. The business has won the 2013 Fly Buys ‘Making it Rural’ Award, recognising manufacturing and creative businesses run by members of Rural Women NZ.

The business sources waste animal products including placentas, glands and membranes from farmers and freezing works, and, in some cases, freeze-drying them for health supplements and skincare products. Most are exported as frozen raw ingredients for further processing overseas. . .

Cowboys accept challenge – Sally Rae:

Three Southern cowboys are heading to Australia this month as members of a high school team to compete in a transtasman challenge.

The team is captained by Omarama teenager Clint McAughtrie (17), a year 13 boarder at John McGlashan College, and includes Logan Cornish (16), from Central Otago, and Clint’s brother Wyatt (15), who is travelling reserve. The trio are all bull riders. . .

Over the moon about deer cheese:

John Falconer runs 5000 deer on 4000ha at Clachanburn Station and he’s milking them for all they’re worth – literally.

The Maniototo farmer has turned to milking hinds in the past 15 months to open up new avenues for growth.

And what does Mr Falconer make with his deer milk? Cheese, of course.

”It’s certainly different, it’s certainly unique,” he says of the cheeses’ flavour. . .

Campaign for planting bee friendly plants – Annabelle Tukia:

Canterbury researchers believe they’ve come up with a way to increase biodiversity and bee populations on farms, and they say they can do it without having to use valuable productive land.

Cropping farmer John Evans is hoping to have thousands of healthy bees pollinating his crops this spring and summer.

That’s because he’s planted 12,000 trees on unused land around his irrigation pond, giving the bees something to eat even in the middle of winter.

“Good farming is always working with nature rather than against nature,” says Mr Evans. “The fact that we can encourage insects and bees is letting nature work for us rather than fighting it all the time.” . . .


Family matters

August 12, 2013

Quote of the day:

The basis of a country is not its government, it is families. – John Key.

The definition and make-up of families changes but their importance doesn’t.

Happy, healthy well-functioning families are the basis of a happy, healthy, well-functioning country.

Governments have a role in helping those which need it, but they can not and should not try to replace them.


Fonterra inquiry team includes external members

August 12, 2013

Fonterra’s inquiry into the whey protein concentrate contamination will include two people from outside the company.

Today Fonterra Chairman John Wilson announced that Fonterra’s Board has established the WPC80 Inquiry Committee, and charged them to oversee an independent review into the circumstances giving rise to the affected whey protein concentrate (WPC80) and subsequent chain of events.

Mr Wilson said he had complete confidence that Fonterra’s CEO, Theo Spierings, had made the right decisions and is continuing to do everything to manage this complex issue, but that there are serious lessons that need to be learnt.

“It is critical that we identify these lessons quickly so our farmers, governments, customers, consumers and unit holders can again have full confidence in Fonterra and its products.

“With this in mind, the Board has confirmed the Committee will be chaired by Independent Director, Sir Ralph Norris, and will include two external independent members who are not Fonterra board members.”

The Committee is comprised of:
·         Sir Ralph Norris (chair) – Independent Director
·         Simon Israel – Independent Director
·         Dame Judith Potter – External Independent Member
·         Blue Read – Farmer Elected Director
·         Nicola Shadbolt – Farmer Elected Director
·         John Waller – Independent Director

An eminent and respected scientist will also be appointed to the Committee over the coming days as the second independent member.

Commenting specifically on Dame Judith Potter, a retired High Court judge and fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Directors, Mr Wilson said that her appointment to the Committee demonstrates the Co-operative’s commitment to a full and independent inquiry.

“Dame Judith brings with her a breadth of legal, judicial and board experience, and a reputation for being decisive and commercially astute.”

The Committee has appointed Jack Hodder, QC of Chapman Tripp, to undertake the review into the events leading up to and following the WPC80 concerns. Mr Hodder will  report back  to the Committee.

As part of this, Mr Hodder will have access to all necessary independent experts and advisers, and the WPC80 Inquiry Committee is currently seeking an internationally recognised industry expert on the manufacturing and safety of foods to work alongside Mr Hodder.

“The inquiry will start immediately and it is the Board’s intention to have it completed within six weeks. However, the emphasis will be on a full and thorough investigation.

“The Board has given the Committee a far-reaching remit. It will not only review the circumstances and principle decision points relating to the affected WPC80 product, it will also look more broadly at Fonterra’s business procedures, systems and practices,” Mr Wilson said.

Two well qualified external members, three independent directors and two farmer elected ones provide a good mix for the committee.

A full inquiry into not just the contamination and how it was handled but the broader view of the company’s procedures, systems and practices is necessary to find out exactly what went wrong and why it was so badly handled.

Only then will the company be able to improve what it does and how it does it and from that foundation rebuild its reputation.


For want of a nail

August 12, 2013

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

For want of the right labels on meat for China, work opportunities in North Otago are being lost.

An error with carton labels which stopped a container of meat getting into China has led to about 240 workers being temporarily out of their jobs at Alliance Group’s Pukeuri freezing works.

The workers were sent home on Thursday, but New Zealand Meat Workers’ and Related Trades Union general secretary Graham Cooke hopes they will still get paid the collective agreement’s minimum weekly wage because the problem was the company’s. . .

Alliance’s general manager of processing, Kerry Stevens, yesterday said Pukeuri’s certification for exports to China was suspended by the Ministry for Primary Industries last month because cartons in the container were incorrectly labelled.

Only the one container was affected and was being returned to New Zealand.  . .  Mr Stevens said the problem was not related to the Chinese freeze on imports of New Zealand meat in May when incorrect paperwork was provided in a format China would not accept. That was resolved at the end of May.

Pukeuri was the only plant affected, with Alliance’s Smithfield works, in Timaru, taking over processing sheep and lamb so the company could continue to supply its Chinese customers.

The error was not a result of any new requirements by the Chinese, but resulted from administrative problems at Alliance’s corporate headquarters, in Invercargill, and at Pukeuri.

Chinese market regulations require a label on both the inside and outside of the carton.

The Pukeuri cartons in one container were labelled only on the outside.

The issue related solely to labelling, and the error had since been addressed.

It might seem petty, but the rules are clear and an error resulted in them not being followed.

This is not related to the MPI paperwork problem which has now been resolved nor does it have anything at all to do with issues Fonterra has had and is having in China.

But it reinforces the importance of getting things right.

That is necessary in any market and even more so in China with a different culture, different language and different way of doing things.

. . . In June, Alliance won the HSBC excellence in New Zealand-China trade category at the New Zealand China Trade Association Awards.

The category was for companies excelling in growth of their product or service to China, or importing and distributing through New Zealand a Chinese-sourced product or service.

Earlier this year, Alliance and its Chinese partner, Grand Farm, began developing a six-point blueprint designed to increase business between the two companies.

This reflects well on the company and its relationship with China and keeps the labelling error in perspective.

But that will be cold comfort for workers who will be earning less than if they were at work and farmers who will ultimately pay for them being paid to do nothing.


Centre right vs far left

August 12, 2013

Prime Minister John Key’s speech to the National Party conference yesterday included a rallying call for next year’s election.

National has a clear plan for New Zealand. We are delivering on that plan, and we are seeing the results.

The fundamental difference between us and the opposition is that we are about doing things, and they are about stopping things.

As we prepare ourselves for the election next year, I can tell you that I’m as fired up to win now, as I first was in 2008. . .

He paid tribute to his deputy and Finance Minister Bill English then listed some of National’s achievements:

Bill has delivered five Budgets – all in tough circumstances. But that’s what growing up in Dipton prepares you for.

Each Budget has laid out further stages in our plan to deliver a brighter future for New Zealand.

Under our plan, we have protected the most vulnerable New Zealanders through difficult times, set a path back to surplus, and built a solid platform for growth.

Under our plan, the economy is growing, wages are rising, the cost of living is well under control and there are 65,000 more jobs in the economy than there were two years ago.

Under our plan, business confidence is the highest it has been since 1999, we are delivering better public services for Kiwi families, and crime rates per capita are at their lowest level in more than 30 years.

Under our plan, we are overhauling a welfare system that is trapping thousands in dependency and giving people more support to get off the benefit.

Under our plan, more kids are getting early childhood education and every child’s going to get breakfast.

Under our plan, more young people are achieving NCEA Level 2, and National Standards are letting parents and schools see how children are really doing in reading, writing, and maths.

And finally, ably led by Gerry Brownlee, we are standing behind the people of Canterbury and supporting the rebuild of our second-biggest city.

These are real achievements, of which we can be very proud.

And I can promise you that through good, sound policy and economic management we will continue to make New Zealand a better place. . .

Former Prime Minister hoped to leave New Zealand no worse off than he found it, and failed.

The current one aims to make it much better and is already succeeding.

This is even more noteworthy when it’s being done in the face of tough financial times and natural disasters.

. . . The Party is in great shape as election year approaches.

We will have to redouble our efforts next year to ensure we keep the hard-won gains New Zealand has made over the past four-and-a-half years.

All of us will have to work extra hard to earn every vote.

Under MMP, all elections are close elections.

And they are not just about National versus Labour, but about the centre-right versus the left.

And it’s clear for everyone to see that Labour has hitched their wagon to the Greens, lurching the opposition to the far left.

Make no mistake, our opposition comes from the far left of politics.

That is a very scary prospect, not only to National supporters but also many swinging voters in the centre and more than a few on the centre left.

It’s important that New Zealanders understand what a Green-dominated government would look like.

They want to tax you more, rack up more debt and make you work two more years before you can retire.

They want a government department to run the entire electricity system, just like it did in the old days when we had blackouts.

They want to stop oil, gas and mineral exploration that would create jobs and growth.

They blame foreigners for all the ills of the country when our future prosperity lies in being open and connected to the rest of the world.

They even characterize businesses relocating jobs from Australia to New Zealand as ‘deeply worrying’.

And they take petty, opportunistic political positions on national security in the face of the obvious need to clarify the GCSB law – a law they passed in the first place!

Well, I can tell you that as Prime Minister, I take the role of our agencies and my responsibilities in terms of national security, very, very seriously.

And I always will.

It’s bad enough for the wee parties to play political games over national security, it is even more stupid for Labour to do so if it wants to be taken seriously as lead party for a government in waiting.

For our part, the National Party has a track record of sensible economic management and policies that actually make a difference to peoples’ lives.

We are guided by the enduring values and principles of the National Party.

They run through the 77 years of our proud history.

We believe in a supportive government but also in personal responsibility.

We understand that businesses large and small create jobs and prosperity in our country.

We believe in supporting people’s hard work and enterprise.

We have tolerance and respect for all New Zealanders and we don’t favour one group over another.

We believe in supporting families – they are the most important institution in our society.

And we have always been the party of home ownership, because we know it provides stability for families, strength for communities, and security for retirement. . .

This message was given to the party faithful at the conference.

But it was of course also aimed at voters.

This is an extraordinarily successful government.

In opening the conference on Saturday, Minister & Nelson MP Nick Smith noted where other parties had been five year into government.

Muldoon was facing internal revolt and external division over the Springbok tour. David Lange was falling out with his Finance Minister Roger Douglas. Jim Bolger faced a similar situation with his Finance Minister Ruth Richardson. Helen Clark was mired in controversy over foreshore and seabed legislation which led to Tariana Turia’s resignation and the formation of the Maori Party.

This government in its fifth year has a united and strongly performing caucus, coherent policy which is making a positive difference, and polls consistently show support at more or less the same level as in the last election.

In spite of that absolutely nothing can be taken for granted.

No party has managed to get 50% of the vote since MMP was introduced and, popular as this government is, it is unrealistic to hope that National could do it next year.

That means we’ll need coalition partners, none of whom are in a particularly strong position at the moment.

The alternative to that on current polling is the Labour Party dependent on the Green Party and at least two others.

That gives voters the option of a centre-right government led by a strong and united National Party or a far-left one led by a weak Labour Party beholden to the Greens.

Anyone not clear on exactly how bad that would be should think about the Finance Ministers.

It’s a choice between Bill English’s steady hands and proven record  or Russel Norman who still believes printing money is a viable option.

That’s a choice between leading New Zealand forward or taking it back and a clear choice between the centre right or the far left.


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