Word of the day

August 16, 2013

 Esculent – fit or suitable to be eaten; edible.


Series of quakes rocks central NZ

August 16, 2013

Geonet has recorded a series of earthquakes near Seddon.

The strongest measured 6.2.

Smaller ones rue recorded near Levin and Taihape.

NewsTalk ZB has live updates.


Rural round-up

August 16, 2013

$65 million early windfall for Ballance farmers:

More than 18,000 New Zealand farmers are in for some good news this week, as Ballance Agri-Nutrients delivers support for cashflows at the start of the spring season with an early record rebate payment.

Ballance’s record rebate and dividend will start arriving in shareholders’ letterboxes this week as the co-operative pays out $65 million to shareholders six weeks ahead of schedule.

The co-operative announced a rebate and dividend averaging $65 a tonne last month and advised shareholders it would pay out earlier than usual to help shareholders with early season cashflows.

The rebate averaging $60.83 per tonne and a fully imputed dividend of 10 cents per share represents an average $6,500 return to a fully paid shareholder. It follows the record trading result of $92.6 million delivered by the co-operative. . .

Farmer development programme benefits sector:

Following a successful pilot during 2012, Beef + Lamb New Zealand is now rolling out a development programme for farmers on B+LNZ farmer councils and those involved in project farms.

Facilitated by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT), the programme covers three broad topics: governance, communications and decision-making, and leadership. Each topic is covered in a two-day module in Wellington.

Wairarapa farmer George Tatham was one of 12 farmers from across New Zealand involved in the pilot. George, who has since become chair of the Eastern North Island farmer council, says the skills he picked up over the three modules have benefited his farm business, as well as his council work. . . .

Changes expected to have major impact on dairy farmers – Crowe Horwath,

The Inland Revenue Department (“IRD”) has announced that fundamental changes are going to be made to the National Standard Cost (NSC) valuation methodology for dairy cattle that will increase livestock values commencing from the 2014 income year.

While there are a variety of livestock valuation methods available to farmers, the valuation methods most commonly used are NSC and the Herd Scheme. As a result, the changes will have a wide ranging impact on dairy farmers.

You might be thinking, well why do I care about a change in valuation methodology? The reason why this change is important for dairy farmers using the NSC valuation method is that any increases in value arising under the NSC valuation method are taxable income to the farmer. This will see an increase in taxable income for all dairy farmers using the NSC valuation method. . .

Top ram producers recognised:

New Zealand’s top ram producers were toasted on Wednesday night at the Sheep Industry Awards in Invercargill.

About 300 farmers and industry people attended the awards run by Beef + Lamb.

George and Kathryn Smith from Tamlet stud, near Wyndham, won the Alliance Group Terminal Sire gold award.

They run 300 recorded Texel ewes, 500 recorded Coopworth and 500 Romney ewes.

The Blackdale Sheep Industry Supplier of the Year Award went to Hugh and Judy Akers of Broadlands Station, who supply ANZCO. . .

Grass alone won’t grow the economy:

The fruits of a literary collaboration on innovation between the late Sir Paul Callaghan and award-winning science communicator Professor Shaun Hendy will be unveiled at Victoria University tonight.

The two physicists are authors of Get off the Grass, which will be launched in Wellington tonight (Thursday 15 August) and follows on from Sir Paul’s earlier book, Wool to Weta, which was published in 2009.

Get off the Grass argues that innovation in high-tech niches is the key to increasing New Zealand’s prosperity and that New Zealand needs to export knowledge rather than nature. . .

Entries open for international wine competition:

Entries are now open for the 2013 Avenues International Aromatic Wine Competition. Hosted by the Canterbury A&P Association in conjunction with the Canterbury A&P Show, the competition has been running for eleven years and is supported by competition naming rights partner Avenues – the magazine Christchurch lives by.

“Avenues is delighted to again be a sponsor of the International Aromatic Wine Competition. Nearly three-quarters of Avenues readers enjoy wine as part of their lifestyle, so it is fitting for us to support an event that toasts the best aromatic wines and their producers,” says Avenues Sales Manager Craig du Plooy. . .

Johanneshof Cellars Top Honours and Three Trophies at Spiegelau International Wine Competition:

Four medals, 3 trophies including joint ‘Producer of the Show’; not a bad effort for only entering five wines. Johanneshof Cellars, a small boutique winery in Marlborough, New Zealand, has taken top honours in the 2013 Spiegelau International Wine Competition.

Not only did the winery’s haul of accolades capture a cross section of their handcrafted wines including sparkling and dessert wines, but the two Gold medal winning wines went on to receive the Trophy for Champion Wine in both categories. The rare success of winning two trophies in one Show culminated at the end of the evening in Johanneshof Cellars being awarded the joint Trophy for ‘Champion Producer of the Show’. . .


Friday’s answers

August 16, 2013

Alwyn, Andrei, Gravedodger and PDM supplied Thursday’s questions.

All win an electronic bunch of daffodils for stumping us all and PDM gets a bonus for boggling the mind.

Your flowers can be collected by leaving the answers in the comments here.


Com Com gives Fonterra tick

August 16, 2013

The Commerce Commission has given Fonterra  a tick for its raw milk price.

This is the second of two annual reviews the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA) requires the Commission to undertake. The Commission completed the first review in December 2012 on Fonterra’s Milk Price Manual.

The base milk price review focusses on the Commission’s assessment of the extent to which Fonterra’s 2012/13 base milk price calculation is consistent with the purpose of the milk price monitoring regime set out in DIRA.

“The Commission specifically considered the extent to which the assumptions adopted, inputs and process used to calculate the base price provide an incentive to Fonterra to operate efficiently while providing for contestability in the market for the purchase of milk from farmers, “ said Sue Begg, Commerce Commission Deputy Chair.

“The Commission’s view is that these statutory tests are largely met,” said Ms Begg.

The Commission has identified one assumption that does not appear to be practically feasible.  This relates to the assumed energy usage rates, which rely on data generated during peak capacity utilisation and therefore do not take account of variable plant utilisation across the season.

There are also assumptions that the Commission is unable to come to a conclusion on, given the information available to it at this stage. However, having regard to the direction and potential size of the impact these assumptions might have on the base milk price calculation, the Commission does not consider them to have a significant impact on the overall conclusion.
This draft report is being provided to Fonterra for comment. In addition, the Commission welcomes feedback from other interested parties on the draft conclusions and supporting analysis in this draft report. Any comments must be provided by 5:00pm on Thursday 29 August 2013. . .

In plain English this means the Commission has found the milk price to be fair which is what Fonterra has always said.


Air NZ service with smile

August 16, 2013

Labour list MP Andrew Little scored a SMOG – social media own goal – yesterday when he tweeted a complaint about service from Air New Zealand.

He did have the grace to later  admit he was wrong to send it and apologise.

Yesterday two colleagues and I were in a similar situation to Little.

We arrived at the airport at 4:15 for flights at 5:30 and 6:30.

We asked if we could change them for anything earlier and all three of us were given seats on a 5pm flight by a courteous, helpful and smiling Air New Zealand staff member.

That, in my experience, is how they always are.


Manufactured crisis torpedoed

August 16, 2013

The manufacturing crisis the opposition has been trying to manufacture has been torpedoed by facts:

New Zealand manufacturing activity rose to its highest level on record for a July month, reflecting a broad expansion.

The BNZ-BusinessNZ performance of manufacturing index rose 4.3 points to 59.5 in July from June, the highest result for a July month since the survey began in 2002 and the third highest monthly result on record. A reading above 50 indicates the sector expanded, while a fall below 50 shows contraction.

New Zealand manufacturing is underpinned by domestic demand from the construction sector on the back of the rebuilding of earthquake damaged Christchurch and demand for housing in Auckland, the nation’s biggest city. Domestic demand is outweighing a weakness in our biggest export market of Australia, where an economic slowdown and the higher New Zealand dollar are crimping demand.

“Production and new orders continue to lead the charge, with signs that employment is starting to join in,” Doug Steel, an economist at Bank of New Zealand, said in a statement. “The strength is broad-based with expansion indicated by all major sub-indices across industries, regions and firm size.” . . .

Bad news for the opposition is good news for employment and the economy.

The ODT profiles a company which counters the gloom merchants:

Despite constant talk of recession and a so-called ”manufacturing crisis” people in rural Otago are still better placed now than at any time since the introduction of Rogernomics in the 1980s to set up in business, an Oamaru cheese manufacturer says.

Whitestone Cheese was set up in a defunct Oamaru garage at the height of government deregulation and a severe rural economic downturn in 1987.

The company, now exports to eight countries and employs about 40 full-time and 20 part-time staff at its Oamaru factory and up and down the country.

Managing director Bob Berry said today’s rural economy was still a ”much more positive environment” for business than it was 30 years ago.

”In our rural communities it was very difficult in the ’80s, but out of adversity often come opportunities. . . .

Whitestone Cheese began in adversity and has succeeded.

It is proof that opportunities are there for those with the courage to seize them, and that some of those opportunities are in manufacturing.


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