Word of the day

September 9, 2013

Ascesis – rigorous self-denial; active self-restraint; the practice or exercise of self-discipline.


Labour threatening superannuation

September 9, 2013

Kiwiblog points out that if Labour enacts what is an effective minimum wage of $18.40 it will have an impact on superannuation.

The pension is based on 66% of the average wage for a couple. If the average wage goes up, as it will if the ‘living wage’ is introduced then superannuation will too unless Labour changes the way it is calculated.

The party is already proposing to increase the age of eligibility for superannuation because it says it’s not affordable now.

What changes will they have to make to ensure it’s affordable if they keep it based on 66% of the average wage?

Even if, as is inevitable, they have to accept that the ‘living wage’ is unsustainable, one of their other policies will impact on superannuation.

They’re promising tax increases.

The pension is based on the average wage after tax.

When taxes fall, as they have under National, the average after-tax wage increases and so does the pension.

When taxes increase the average after-tax wage will fall. It would be political suicide to cut the pension but if they increase taxes and do nothing else pensions won’t increase or will do so more slowly.

Whichever of the policies you look at, the current rate of superannuation is under threat under a LabourGreen government.


Rural round-up

September 9, 2013

Higher returns for lamb exports expected in coming year:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is expecting higher returns for lamb exports in the coming year to offset a drop in lamb numbers.

From its annual stock number survey, Beef + Lamb NZ has calculated that 2 million fewer lambs will be born this spring, due to the summer drought reducing ewe numbers and lambing percentages in the North island.

It is forecasting an 8.5% drop in the export lamb slaughter from 2013-14.

However, its chief economist Andrew Burtt says improved marketing conditions will outweigh that by lifting the average value of lamb exports by 10%. . .

NZ Merino Co in finalists’ cut :

The New Zealand Merino Company and its chief executive John Brakenridge have been named as finalists in the 2013 New Zealand International Business Awards.

The awards are run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the winners will be announced at a function in Auckland on September 26.

The New Zealand Merino Company is a finalist in the most innovative business model in international business category, while Mr Brakenridge is a finalist in the outstanding contribution to international business section.

Under his leadership, the company implemented a strategy to lift New Zealand merino out of the commodity basket. . .

PGG Wrightson disappointed it put farming sector at risk:

PGG Wrightson says it is terribly disappointed it has put the arable farming sector at risk.

It has acknowledged it breached biosecurity regulations by transporting a delivery of contaminated imported red fescue seeds in an unapproved manner, which led to black grass seeds spilling off its truck throughout mid Canterbury.

Black grass is highly invasive, often herbicide-resistant and significantly reduces the yields of wheat, barley, rapeseed and other crops.

PGG Wrightson seed general manager John McKenzie says the company sincerely regrets the breakdown in procedures at its end that led to the incursion and it will do what it can to make things right. . .

‘Terrific’ response from deer farmers over Invermay – Sally Rae:

Former Invermay director Jock Allison says there has been a ”terrific” response from deer farmers after a call for them to support the retention of Invermay’s deer research programme.

A letter was sent to farmers from Dr Allison, former deer programme leader Dr Ken Drew and Prof Frank Griffin from the University of Otago, asking farmers to indicate whether they preferred the programme to be located at Invermay or Lincoln, and to express their opinions to politicians.

AgResearch is proposing to centralise its operations in Lincoln and Palmerston North, jobs at Invermay dropping from 115 to 30 and 180 jobs going from Ruakura, near Hamilton. . .

Stratford farmer underpaid worker in dry season – Lyn Humphreys:

A message has gone out to farmers that they cannot underpay workers by paying them less in the dry season.

In a test case which has put the dairy sector’s wages under the microscope, a Stratford farmer has been ordered to pay his worker more than $6000 in backpay.

The case follows a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Labour Inspectorate investigation of the dairy sector, focusing on employers maintaining accurate time and wage records. . .

Zealong Tea:  we’re still here – Andrea Fox:

Waikato green tea exporter Zealong Tea says rumours of its demise have been greatly exaggerated as it is swamped with calls from concerned supporters and tea house cancellations after selling part of its tea estate.

Zealong this week said it had sold its original Borman Rd tea farm on the edge of Hamilton’s northern suburbs to a residential property developer rather than face its Rototuna neighbours’ wrath if it has to use helicopters to combat frost damage during harvest next month.

Bulldozers will move onto the 11ha Borman Rd tea farm in November and the company said it would now focus on developing its big Gordonton plantation and tourism site. . .


Oyster farming secret cracked

September 9, 2013

Bluff Oyster Co says it’s cracked the secret to farming oysters for export:

A Bluff oyster company says it has cracked the secret to farming the Bluff oyster for export.

But the company, which is based in the old Ocean Beach meatworks in the port town, will not be ready to start production until it finds suitable waters to finish off the oysters.

New Zealand’s Bluff Oyster Co general manager Rodney Clark said they would then be ready to produce millions of oysters for the world market.

Mr Clark, who has been involved in the Southland fishing industry for 25 years, said he started pioneering the project a decade ago.

The hatchery and nursery were now “perfected” and ready to produce millions of oyster spat and adult-sized oysters for export, he said. . .

This is good news for oyster lovers all over the world.

I’m not among them but accept the verdict of oyster lovers that the Bluff ones are the best.

“This has the potential, with the right support in the southern region, to produce hundreds of new jobs but it will need support from councils and local government,” he said.

Targeting the export market would avoid flooding the New Zealand market and help to protect the existing wild Bluff oyster industry, Mr Clark said.

The oysters would be grown in the hatchery before moving into Bluff Harbour. But the harbour is not “certified waters” so the oysters would need to be moved to other certified waters approved for the sale of shellfish for export.

New Zealand’s Bluff Oyster Co is working with Southern Clams, which is based in Dunedin.

Southern Clams operations manager Dave Redshaw said he was in the process of applying for a resource consent to finish the Bluff oysters in Otago Harbour.

The farmed Bluff oysters would be moved to the harbour for two weeks to cleanse before meeting export standard, he said.

The Otago Regional Council had rejected two applications because of insufficient information, but the company expected to present its third application next month, he said. . .

The ODT is running a Stand Up Otago campaign which is supported by the ORC and Dunedin City Council.

Having a how-can-we-help attitude rather than a you-have-to-do-this one from councils plays an important part in business development.

I’m not suggesting they should break any rules, just that they need to ensure the rules they have are necessary and that applicants are helped to comply with them.

The south needs all the jobs it can get and councils must ensure they’re not putting unnecessary hurdles in the way of businesses which could crate them.


Drought casualty?

September 9, 2013

Is this a casualty of last year’s drought?

A Feilding agricultural machinery business with more than $2 million in annual turnover has been put on the market for urgent sale after going into receivership.

Central Tractors and Machinery was placed into receivership last week. . . .

Turnover isn’t profit and it’s profit which determines business viability.

The Manawatu was hit hard by last summer’s drought.

Most news reports of drought and the aftermath focus on farms, farmers and stock.

But the businesses which service and supply them are also put under strain by drought as farmers reduce their spending to the bare minimum.

 


Home town advantage not enough

September 9, 2013

Grant Robertson had the home town advantage at yesterday’s Labour leadership meeting in Dunedin, but the ODT reports David Cunliffe is the pragmatic pick for leader.

Those spoken to put Robertson second but a TV1 poll puts Cunliffe first, Shane Jones second and Robertson third.

 . . We have the results of our new Q+A Colmar Brunton snap poll of 510 people. We asked, which candidate is most likely to lead Labour to victory and beat John Key in 2014 election? David Cunliffe won by a clear margin on 39%, followed by Shane Jones on 18 and Grant on 15%.

We also asked, who would be most likely to beat John Key in a television debate? Again, eligible voters said David Cunliffe was their preferred candidate. He’s sitting there on 36%. Shane Jones on 27% and Grant Robertson on 11%. . .

With some of the candidates promises big infrastructural projects, we asked, who would be most likely to follow through on their promises if they became prime minister? David Cunliffe just pipping Grant Robertson to the post there on 25%, Grant Robertson 24 and Shane Jones on 17%.

But when asked, which candidate best identifies with the average New Zealand voter, Shane Jones is leading the way. He’s sitting there on 31%, followed by David Cunliffe on 29 and Grant Robertson on 19%.

And in our last question – who would inspire the most people to get out and vote on election day? Again, the winner – David Cunliffe, 33% of the vote. Shane Jones sitting there at second again on 30% of the vote, and Grant Robertson on 17%. . .

There is no way of knowing how many of those polled are eligible to vote but this is the second poll in a week to favour Cunliffe and put Robertson last.

Those who can vote might take this into account, especially when thinking about who would be best to get out the vote and identify with the average New Zealander.

However, if Cunliffe is the answer to either of those questions, I’m definitely not the average voter.


Urgent change needed

September 9, 2013

Understatement of the day:

Secondary Principals Association president Tom Parsons says the law is an ass if teachers that have pleaded guilty are still on the register.

“Heaven forbid somebody could be employed in that interim period where we are just transferring that opportunist from one area to another without having a mechanism there to flag that that person is unlikely to be registered come sentencing,” he says.

He was referring to the fact that people who have admitted dangerous crimes, including those against children, could remain registered.

That this has been going on for years is appalling.

Urgent change to the law and the way the Teachers’ Council operates is needed.


%d bloggers like this: