Word of the day

September 26, 2013

Riant – smiling, laughing; showing or feeling mirth, pleasure or happiness; cheerful; gay (in the old sense of the word).


All of govt savings

September 26, 2013

An all-of-government procurement programme will enable hospitals to save $18 million on power bills over the next three years.

The new contracts are part of a public sector-wide Government Procurement Reform Programme aimed at making government buying as efficient as possible and reducing costs. It includes all public sector agencies, councils and up to 2500 schools.

An electricity tender on behalf of 17 District Health Boards (DHBs) has been awarded to Contact Energy and Genesis Energy following a market process.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says the majority of the new contracts have commenced and the estimated savings of $18 million over the next three years is based on a comparison of the new tender rates against the previous year’s contract rates.

“The lower contracted rate shows the benefits to the taxpayer of government organisations like DHBs working together to align their service needs,” Mr Joyce says.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says these significant savings are part of a programme of procurement and administrative savings being carried out by the 20 district health boards.

“This includes moving to one bank nationally for DHBs, resulting in saving more than $4 million a year from lower fees and higher interest payments,” Mr Ryall says. “All savings made by the DHBs go back into frontline health services for patients.”

In addition, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has been working on an All-of Government reticulated gas supply for agencies. This contract has recently been agreed with Genesis Energy and is forecast to realise an additional $4.1 million in savings over the next three years.

All-of-Government contracts let to date are tracking to deliver $330 million in savings over the contract lifetimes. The All-of-Government contract for reticulated gas is the 12th All-of-Government contract signed since 2009 which includes external legal services, computers, mobile voice and data, air travel, and advertising.

Those are significant savings and one of the reasons the government has been able to reduce costs while maintaining services.

Bigger buyers can usually negotiate better prices and the government is one of the biggest buyers in the country.

Using that buying power to get better prices is such a good idea, why has no-one thought of it before?


Rural round-up

September 26, 2013

Dairy prices double-edged sword for NZ – Tony Field:

Rising global dairy prices are proving a double-edged sword for New Zealand; it’s great for farmers and the economy, but it also means prices are going up in the shops.

The autumn drought dented Fonterra’s milk production and means this year’s payout is slightly down on a year ago.

But farmers like Peter Schouten are cheered by predictions of a record payout for the season that’s just begun.

“I am absolutely over the moon with it,” says Mr Schouten. “It gives us a really good chance to play catch-up, with a lot of the farm maintenance, the replacement of gear, tractors, ATVs – you name it.”

The economy could be $5 billion better off too. . .

Fonterra farmers cheer payouts as dividends held unchanged, headwinds loom –  Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group is promising a record payout to its farmers next year, while keeping dividends unchanged, underlining the competing needs of its suppliers and the investors in its exchange-traded units.

Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund units ended the day up 0.4 percent to $7.10, having initially sold off after the world’s biggest dairy exporter posted its full-year results. Normalised earnings before interest and tax fell 3 percent to $1 billion, meeting the guidance it gave in July and missing its prospectus forecast.

Sales fell 6 percent to $18.6 billion in the 12 months ended July 31 and net profit rose 18 percent to $736 million, or 44 cents a share. The company paid a dividend of 32 cents a share, the same as it is forecasting for next year and as it paid in 2012. . .

Satisfactory return for Farmers, implemented changes to ANZ business welcome:

The Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, which safeguards the interests of the dairy Co-operative’s 10,500 Shareholders, said the final payout of $6.16 ($5.84 farmgate Milk Price and $0.32 dividend) for a fully shared-up Farmer announced today was an accurate reflection of the season.

Council Chairman, Ian Brown: “Given the pressure placed on Fonterra by this year’s drought and the unpredictability experienced in international markets the Co-operative has delivered a satisfactory return for Farmers.”
Mr Brown said the success of the integrated ANZ (Australia/New Zealand) business, which has encountered tough market conditions of late, is vital for Fonterra.
“The ANZ business has been working hard to adapt to the changing Australian business environment.
“Accordingly, changes have been made to the ANZ business, there’s a cost associated with these and the Council will continue to monitor the situation.” . .

Ngāti Kahungunu harvesting our future:

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi is developing an Export Strategy. As part of the wider Māori Economic Development Strategy, we are increasing the export capacity of Māori farmers into the market, in other words from the ‘Nuku to the Puku’.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated and Wairoa Taiwhenua are hosting a Kahungunu Farming Conference at Takitimu Marae in Wairoa on Thursday 10th October 2013. The purpose of this Farming Conference is to bring together Māori Farmers, Land owners, people who utilise primary resources and anyone else who might be interested in connecting, exploring, sharing ideas and being a part of the Ngāti Kahungunu Export Strategy.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated is proposing that Ngāti Kahungunu Farmers and all Māori Farmers would be better off by supplying directly to the market and retaining all the earnings in the supply chain rather than waving goodbye to the animals and the profits at the farm gate. . .

Precision Seafood Harvesting’ to be unveiled at the 2013 NZ Seafood Industry Conference

It is less than a week to go until the2013 NZ Seafood Industry Conference, where, in a world first for the fishing industry, the first underwater pictures of the New Zealand developed ‘Precision Seafood Harvesting’  technology will be shown to reveal the revolutionary new fishing method . . .


Thursday’s quiz

September 26, 2013

1. Who said: Laughter is the shortest distance between two people?”

2. . . . these lyrics are from which song:

So if you chance to meet him
While walking 'round the town.  
Shake him by his fat old hand
And give him half a crown.  

His eyes will beam and sparkle
He'll gurgle with delight.
And then you'll start him laughing
With all his blessed might!

3. It’s rire in French ridere in Italian, reír in Spanish and kata in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Gelotology is the study of what?

5. What’s the funniest book you’ve read or your favourite funny book?


Farming for the future

September 26, 2013

Federated farmers provincial president Will Foley writes that the Ruataniwha water Storage Project  will provide a future for our children and our children’s children.

He concludes:

If we focus on what we are good at, producing high quality food and beverages, then our future is strong because the global demand for quality primary goods is strong. Our climate and landscape makes the Hawke’s Bay a brilliant destination for tourists for the same reasons I live here. I farm on the plains, I tramp in the Ruahines and I fish out at sea. I have a vested interest in enhancing all aspects of the Hawke’s Bay economy and its environment; we can have the best of both worlds.

But we now stand at a cross-road. Shutting down farming won’t get us a pristine environment because we humans have been modifying it for over a thousand years. How bad things would get without the jobs, wealth and infrastructure the primary industries brings in, is as clear as the nose on my face. Those left would be bombarded by more burglaries, more home invasions and a worse environment. Alternatively, we can have farming taken to a new level where farms are highly productive, adaptive to new technologies and a changing climate, as well as being environmentally responsible stewards of the land. That’s the progressive Hawke’s Bay I want for my children and my children’s children.

Everything we do impacts on the environment.

Leaving it all to nature doesn’t necessarily help as successive droughts have shown and all the impacts from human endeavour aren’t negative.

The solution to those that are isn’t to stop progress but to encourage it in a sustainable way,

That will provide economic development, create more jobs and do so in a way that protects and enhances the environment.


Let’s keep positive

September 26, 2013

Oracle Team USA has won the America’s Cup.

The final score was 9-8 – though they won two more races before they got on the scoreboard.

But let’s not go into national mourning.

Emirates Team New Zealand sailed well, with a New Zealand crew, New Zealand boat design, New Zealand technology and New Zealand expertise.

Oracle Team New Zealand sailed better, with an international crew which included New Zealanders, New Zealand boat design, New Zealand expertise.

They also had a New Zealand manager – Russell Coutts – who hasn’t lost an America’s Cup.

They also had more money and the lack of challengers showed that was a significant factor.

This was an amazing spectacle and one of the great sporting comebacks.

But it was only sport.

So let’s keep positive, congratulate the victors, thank Dean Barker and the team for the effort they put in and the entertainment they provided us, get on with our lives and smile – it’s contagious.


Just one more race

September 26, 2013

It’s Emirates Team New Zealand 8 – Oracle Team USA 8.

Oracle has made an amazing come-back.

The pressure on both teams is immense – both need just one more race, both have only one more race.

Kia kaha Team New Zealand – we’re still leaning with you.
Sending the boys on their way to the race of their lives with a classic kiwi send off. Let's do this.


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