A Noel Leeming kind of deal

August 20, 2013

Tweet of the day:

Aaron Bhatnagar@aaronbhatnagar 2h

Laughing at Labour calling Meridian float “a Noel Leeming kind of deal”, when Dad floated Noel Leeming in ’93, it gained 40% on day 1!


Word of the day

August 20, 2013

Fishy -of, relating to, or resembling fish; consisting of or abounding in fish; cold or expressionless;  arousing feelings of or creating doubt or suspicion; shady.


40 maps and being Mum’s enough

August 20, 2013

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

40 maps that explain the world.

And

Why being Mom* is enough.

The second one is from the blog Finding Joy by Rachel who writes:

It’s a website dedicated to seeking joy in life, specifically in motherhood. Intentional living, if you may. And that life philosophy? Well, you need to know a bit about me to know what I write about.

My life and how it relates to joy? I’ve had a decent share of challenging, nitty-gritty, time in the storm days. My husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2005. {He’s now in remission.} We’ve lost jobs, had severe financial stress, and dreams that have been lost. And in January 2011, my littlest son, Samuel, was been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

Through all of this the I’ve learned the value of living a life loving the little things – the moments – tucked in the fabric of the everyday. And in that is a quest to live joyfully and fully. Now. In this moment.  No more waiting for things to get better, no lamenting the time lost, but rather finding joy in everyday – even when the everyday doesn’t look perfect. It’s in choosing to live today to its fullest, being thankful, and above all grateful. Gratitude is a choice and is something one must learn. And so on this site it’s a celebration of the little things, the moments in life, that matter.

In diaper changes, paying bills, doctor visits,schooling, cooking, gardening, parenting, cleaning, working, laughing, organizing, crying, praying, and in just well, everyday daily life.And that’s what this website is about — my constant journey to find joy and to share with you that you, in the midst of your journey, are not alone. Let’s just call it a spot to breathe in a busy and crowded online world full of should do this and should do that’s — it’s a site of encouragement for mothers and a bit of intentional living mixed in. . .

* I used Mon in the link, because that is how it’s written there but Mum in the heading because  the version spelt with an o irritates me. Don’t ask me why, it’s petty, illogical and unreasonable but it grates.

The post, though, is a heart warming tribute to and affirmation of motherhood and the many ordinary little mom/mum moments which are often overlooked but really do matter.


Rural round-up

August 20, 2013

Important not to let China dominate red meat sector – Allan Barber:

It’s a scary thought how quickly things have changed, but China has become one of New Zealand’s biggest markets for red meat, almost without any warning.

After years of thinking of UK/Europe as our biggest market for sheepmeat and the USA for beef with all other countries way down the chart, China has surged to reach the status of our biggest destination by volume for sheepmeat with 60,000 tonnes in the last 12 months compared with 55,000 to the UK.

The rise in beef is less dramatic, although year on year volume increased by more than 600% to 27,500 tonnes. However this volume is larger than exports to any single market other than the USA. The increases are less pronounced if measured in dollars, but the message is the same. . . .

Innovation from grassroots:

Retaining primary sector research and development to maintain competitiveness while at the same time diversifying into other key areas is important, says industry body DairyNZ.

Commenting on the launch of a new book, Get Off the Grass: Kickstarting New Zealand’s Innovation Economy, by Shaun Hendy and Paul Callaghan, DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says dairying in New Zealand has not been ‘backed’ at the expense of other sectors.

“Its export value has grown by 83% in the last 10 years because our industry is innovative, resilient and highly competitive,” he says. “And I agree that diversifying our economic base is important,” says Mackle.

“Some of the research I’ve seen points to the importance of cities and regions being powerful drivers of knowledge economies. They are associated with significant productivity gains and innovation and high densities of businesses in related industries. The new Lincoln Agri Hub that DairyNZ is a part of is an agricultural response to that for Christchurch and Canterbury. There is a food one in Palmerston North and we are looking to develop a hub in the Waikato too,” he says. . .

Primary industry mobile tech forum draws the digerati – sticK:

Numbers tell a story on their own.

And the fact that over 220 attendees ponyed up at the Mobile Tech Summit 2013 in Wellington on August 7 & 8 underscores the message that our natural resources aren’t as old-hat as some would like to believe.

This new event is designed to showcase current and upcoming mobile innovations in New Zealand’s principle food and fibre sections.

In other words; the application of smartphones and mobile devices across our biological industries – which for all the movies made in New Zealand and talk of standalone digital businesses, still underpin our economy. . .

Farm compliance and water breakthroughs:

Figures obtained by the Dominion Post show a significant fall in the number of dairy farmers receiving infringement and abatement notices.  This follows hard on the heels of the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) reporting in 90 percent of monitored sites, water quality over 2000-2010, was either stable or showed improvement

“The numbers from the Dominion Post tell the full story and that is one of marked improvement,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“While the Dominion Post has singled out dairy farming over the past five seasons, we are buoyed to see the number of abatement notices almost halve while infringement notices have more than halved.  . .

Changes to farming regulations on the horizon:

Federated Farmers supports Government proposals to change the Resource Management Act (RMA) but there are some changes still to be made.

“The principles behind the changes are to give certainty to the planning process and to consenting,” said Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers’ Environment spokesperson.

“I’m sure everyone will welcome greater consistency and faster decision making. The changes should make local authorities better to deal with and more accountable.

“We are disappointed that the Government is still not addressing inconsistencies with the framework of the National Policy Statement for Fresh Water; devised to protect indigenous aquatic flora, fauna and habitat. The proposed RMA changes continue to protect introduced predator species, such as trout. You cannot have it both ways. . .

Best plants for bees – Raymond Huber:

Honey bees are the glue that holds our agricultural system together…Hannah Nordhaus

It’s Bee Week and Time magazine features The Plight of the Honeybee (hey Mr. Time Editor, it’s ‘honey bee’, two words, not one). One cause of bee decline is monocultural farming: bees are starving because of a lack of flower diversity. You can help by planting bee-friendly fruit trees, bushes, herbs and wild flowers:
  • Plant nectar-rich flowers: clovers and mimosa; rosemary, thyme and sage; koromiko and veronicas; brassicas; dandelion, sunflower, dahlias, cosmos, and zinnia
  • Bees like bluish-purple flowers such as Californian lilac, erica, and lavender . . .

Kiwisaver for kids in care

August 20, 2013

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is proposing to sign up children in care to Kiwisaver.

“While on my U.S Eisenhower fellowship, I was impressed with savings accounts set up for children in care and saw an opportunity with KiwiSaver.”

“New Zealand children in care generally don’t have family who can sign them up to Kiwisaver, but being enrolled will help them later in life and send a message that their future matters,” says Mrs Bennett.

We’ve been working on a range of supports for young people leaving care, called Set for Life to help them as they move into adulthood.

“I’m proposing we sign all children in care up to KiwiSaver, so they leave the care system with a solid financial foundation,” says Mrs Bennett.

“New Zealanders wanting to help children who’ve been abused and through the worst in life, would be able to contribute financially through payroll giving.”

Each young person would get the Government $1000 kick start payment and a community organisation would distribute any donated funds evenly.

The Vulnerable Children Bill, includes a proposed amendment to the KiwiSaver Act 2006 allowing the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development to enrol the young person in KiwiSaver, act as guardian and manage the account.

The current KiwiSaver rules require both parents, or guardians to sign when a young person under 18 years old enrols in KiwiSaver.

This will provide vulnerable children with a financial foundation for their futures and provide a vehicle for charitable donations which goes to those in need.

The proposal is part of a wider care strategy aimed at improving the transition experience for young people who legally leave care at 17 years old.

“Part of that strategy is to provide more support for those who need and want it when they leave care, up to the age of 20 years,” says Mrs Bennett.

“Only some will want to stay involved with Child, Youth and Family for that long, but the option should be there for those who need it.”

This provides an option for those who don’t have the family support available to most young people when they leave home.

Other changes to be introduced include better support for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and other caregivers, more transparency for Family Group Conferences and better support for disabled children in care.

‘We’re increasing efforts to get all available health supports for families who’re considering putting a disabled child into care, so that child can stay at home.

If a disabled child is in care, a review of their living arrangements will be held every year instead of every two years, but the focus will be on staying in the family home, with more support as the best option. 

Family Group Conferences are currently run by a CYF co-ordinator. A review found many people would support external co-ordinators, including iwi as well.

Child, Youth and Family is working with iwi on this idea alongside a range of cultural improvements that draw from tikanga Māori.

The Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act will be amended to clarify the intended prominence of section 13(a) that children must be protected from harm, their rights upheld and their welfare promoted.

In his 2010 report into the serious abuse of a nine year old girl, Mel Smith noted section 5 of the CYPF Act (which says where possible the relationship to family should be maintained) often takes precedence over section 13.

“Mel Smith said this is possibly to the detriment of the safety, welfare and interests of the child, so I think we need to strengthen the core purpose of the Act which is to put the needs of the child first,” says Mrs Bennett.

 Families aren’t always the best and safest place for children.

The welfare of the child should always come first even if it means the relationship with his or her family is weakened or undermined.


Partial float of Meridian to go ahead

August 20, 2013

The partial float of Meridian Energy is going ahead with the float expected to take place in early November.

Prime Minister John Key today confirmed the Meridian Energy share offer would be concluded and the company listed on the New Zealand sharemarket by early November, subject to market conditions.

“The Meridian share offer – the second in the Government’s Share Offer programme – comes after we successfully floated 49 per cent of Mighty River Power in the first half of this year, hitting our target of an 85 to 90 per cent New Zealand shareholding, and retaining majority Government control,” Mr Key says.

“And the Government remains committed to 85 to 90 per cent New Zealand ownership on the Meridian share offer.”

He expects Mighty River Power, and now Meridian Energy, will benefit from a broader shareholder base, and end up being better, stronger companies for the rigour and transparency that being listed on the sharemarket brings.

“Both companies will also be better off because they will be able to access capital to grow in more ways than companies that are 100 per cent government owned – which is basically from the taxpayer.”

He says the share offer programme is aimed at freeing up between $5 billion and
$7 billion to invest in other public assets for New Zealand and New Zealanders.

“The partial sale of Mighty River Power put $1.7 billion into the Future Investment Fund – and that is money we have been using to buy public assets without having to borrow on overseas markets.”

Mr Key says it should be remembered the whole Government Share Offer programme covers less than 3 per cent of the Government’s total assets.

“It’s smart reinvestment. With so many demands on government funding, these companies can get investment from sources other than just hard-working taxpayers, and taxpayers can get money freed up for spending on other priority projects that they will benefit from.”

Mr Key says he is confident New Zealanders will understand the instalment receipts model being used for the Meridian share offer, which will involve them paying for their shares in two instalments.

“It is not an uncommon model with large share offers.  I think New Zealanders will view the ability to pay around 60 per cent of the share price at the time of the IPO and receive full benefits for the first 18 months as a positive feature of this offer.”

He says listing up to 49 per cent of Meridian Energy will also give New Zealanders the chance to invest in another big Kiwi company at a time when many people recognise the value of diversifying their growing savings away from property and bank deposits.

As at June this year, New Zealanders held around $118 billion in bank deposits – around 20 times the expected size of the entire Government Share Offer programme. 

The Government will use instalment receipts in the share offer which will allow investors to pay for their shares in two instalments.

Subject to market conditions, the sale of up to 49 per cent of Meridian is expected to be completed, and the company listed on the sharemarket, by early November, Finance Minister Bill English and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall say.

“Listing up to 49 per cent of Meridian on the sharemarket will give New Zealanders an opportunity to invest in another big Kiwi company at a time when many people recognise the value of diversifying their growing savings away from property and bank deposits,” Mr English says.

The instalment receipts, which are fairly common for major initial public offerings in other countries, will mean New Zealand retail investors will need to pay less cash up front when they apply to buy shares. Instalment receipts were used by the Government in the float of Capital Properties in 1998.

“They will allow New Zealanders to pay for their shares in two instalments,” Mr English says. “The first instalment, for around 60 per cent of the share price, will be paid when investors apply for shares.

“The remaining amount, which will be fixed at the end of the share offer, will not need to be paid for a further 18 months.”

Between the first and second instalments, investors will receive the full dividends paid out in that period, which will make the dividend yield – or return on their investment – higher in those first 18 months.

Ministers have decided to use the instalment receipts as an incentive for New Zealand investors in Meridian, instead of the loyalty bonus shares that were used in the previous Mighty River Power share offer.

Mr Ryall says ministers have also confirmed the following decisions for the Meridian share offer:

  • A minimum application of $1,000 will apply for the first instalment of shares.
  • Given there is sufficient public familiarity with the Government’s share offer programme, there will not be a formal pre-registration process, as happened with the Mighty River Power offer.
  • Retail banks ASB and ANZ and sharebroker Forsyth Barr have been appointed to the retail syndicate for the Meridian offer. The syndicate will work closely with joint lead managers Craigs Investment Partners / Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs /JB Were and Macquarie to market the offer to New Zealanders.

“Another difference with the Meridian offer is that we have decided to set a share price cap for New Zealand retail investors who take part in the offer,” Mr Ryall says.

“We understand that people like to know the maximum price they’ll be paying at the time they apply to buy their shares. 

“Therefore, the cap will be set at the same time that we set the price range, and it will be announced when we lodge the offer document. This will give retail investors more certainty when they apply for shares.

“It also means that if demand is such that institutions are bidding at higher prices than our price cap, then retail investors will get their shares at a lower price than that paid by the institutions.”

More information on the offer and how instalment receipts work is here.


Caught in Fonterra fallout

August 20, 2013

Fonterra and the companies which used its contaminated whey protein concentrate featured in the news.

But other companies were caught in the fallout.

At a meeting in Wellington last week two owners of small businesses said they’d lost custom because of it.

One supplied something to a company which had had orders for its food product cancelled by China.

The other supplied a service to a company which no longer needed the service because its product was selling itself as customers switched to it from one of those which had used the whey protein.

There will be many other businesses directly or indirectly caught up in the fallout and the dent to our reputation for the highest standards of food quality.

This is why a government investigation into the whey protein concentrate contamination incident, the terms of which were announced by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye yesterday, is necessary.

“The Government has agreed in principle to establish a joint Ministerial-led Government Inquiry which will be divided into two parts,” says Mr Guy.

“Part A will look at how the potentially contaminated whey protein concentrate entered the New Zealand and international market, and how this was subsequently addressed.

“Parts B and C will look at regulatory and best practice requirements against the background of this incident in relation to the dairy industry, including the response of regulators. The inquiry will then report back on any recommended legal, regulatory or operational changes. 

“This will provide the answers needed to the questions that have been raised about this incident, both domestically and internationally. It is also an important step in reassuring our trading partners that we take these issues seriously,” says Mr Guy

The Ministers have invited Miriam Dean QC to chair the inquiry. Ms Dean is the past president of the Bar Association, a former partner at Russell McVeagh, and has held a range of board appointments.

Two other members will also be appointed shortly, one of whom will be an international food safety expert.

The details of the Ministerial inquiry, including the appointment process, are ‘in principle’ because it’s proposed that the inquiry will be carried out using powers in the Inquiries Bill currently before the House.

“I think it is important in terms of independence that we have an international expert on food safety and systems as part of the inquiry,” Ms Kaye says.

“Parts B and C of the inquiry have an interim report back time of three months after the inquiry panel has been formally established.

“This report back will feed into the work plan I already have underway to look at areas where we can strengthen our food systems, which includes infant formula assurance work.

“I have also written to the chair of the Primary Production Select Committee to ask that consideration of the Food Bill be put on hold pending this part of the inquiry into regulatory and best practice requirements,” Ms Kaye says.

The inquiry is in addition to those already announced by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Fonterra.

The draft terms of reference for the inquiry are here.


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