Word of the day

September 27, 2013

Caseifaction – the act of turning into cheese.


Rural round-up

September 27, 2013

New funding for Global Research Alliance projects in Latin America:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced $800,000 in funding for two new Global Research Alliance projects in Latin America.

Mr Guy made the announcement during his speech at the Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture conference in Buenos Aires, involving Agriculture Ministers from across the region.

“This funding will support two regional livestock greenhouse gas research projects in Latin America – one looking at dairying in the Andes with Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia, and the other looking at trees on farms in Central America with Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Honduras.”

“This additional funding recognises the growing importance of this region to New Zealand,” says Mr Guy. . .

New Zealand ‘beefs’ up presence in China:

The growing appetite for beef in China – which can’t be met by domestic production in the near-term – is good news for New Zealand exporters, according to a new industry report.

In its report, ‘Australia and New Zealand beef up their presence in China’, agricultural banking specialist Rabobank says Chinese beef consumption is expected to continue growing at a faster pace than domestic production, increasing the reliance on imports to satisfy demand.

Report co-author, Rabobank animal proteins analyst Matt Costello warns however, that while the New Zealand beef industry sees long-term growth and potential within the Chinese market, so too do competitors from around the world. . .

Icelandic fishing industry has some lessons for New Zealand’s commodity sector – Allan Barber:

Ogmundur Knutsson, Dean of the school of business and science at Iceland’s University of Akureyri, was in New Zealand in early September to give a keynote speech at the conference Charting Pathways for Maori Industry Future.

He is an expert in the Icelandic fishing industry which has moved from a low cost, harvest-driven model to a market-driven, value added model within the last 40 years. He believes New Zealand is trapped in the same low-cost industry operating model that existed in Iceland and needs to change its thinking to lift the fishing industry’s profitability.

The dramatic improvement in Icelandic fishing returns since it changed from the old, low value, largely frozen model to a new high tech, mostly chilled model provides a very good lesson for our fishing industry. Without having any firm knowledge base of how our fishing industry operates, I was struck by the philosophy which appears to have potential to be applied to other New Zealand commodity sectors, such as the meat industry. . .

Deepwater Fish Stocks in Healthy State:

Reduced hoki catch limits over the past few years have paid off for New Zealand’s second most valuable fishery.

Increases in the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) levels, from 1 October, for a range of deepwater species, have just been announced by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy.

Both the eastern and western hoki stocks are double the size required to produce the statutory maximum sustainable yield. The western hoki stock is now above the management target range set by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and the eastern stock is at the top of the target range. . .

Estates turn to barn conversions as farms struggle – Agrimoney:

Owners of UK country estates are turning to commercial opportunities, such as office lets, to boost takings in the face of a pressure on agriculture income which is “to continue”, Savills said.

Estate owners are – encouraged by a relaxation in May of UK planning laws, and by an acceleration in economic growth to 0.6% in the second quarter from 0.3% in the first – looking to non-agricultural areas such as turning barns into  industrial units to bolster income.

“The increasing optimism in the economic outlook is reflected in more enquiries to rent commercial space, which is helping to boost rents and reduce void periods and debtors,” Sophie Barrett at Savills said. . .

Good nutrition sets heifers up for lifetime performance:

With the first mating season for heifers coming up rapidly, good nutrition not only has a major role to play in getting replacement stock up to live weight targets, but also in the cow’s productive future.

Failure to achieve adequate mature live weight targets affects the heifer’s lifetime performance, starting with low conception rates and leading to lower milk production in the first lactation.

Yet a recent study, published in the Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production 2013 concluded that between 86-92% of heifers were not achieving optimal weights. . .

New Sacred Hill Sauvignon Blanc already a Gold Medal winner:

The newly released Sacred Hill Orange Label Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is already amongst the gold medals, reflecting this year’s blockbuster vintage.

The wine received a gold medal and was selected in the Top 50 at this year’s New World Wine Awards.

Sacred Hill winemaker Tony Bish says the Orange Label Sauvignon Blanc 2013 showcases everything that was great about the Marlborough vintage, from the cool spring through the warm, dry summer and autumn.

“This year’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs sing with energy and are packed with bursting flavour and aromas derived from the long, idyllic summer,” he says. . .

Fine Wools Ease, Coarser Types Steady

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that the weaker New Zealand dollar played a small role in the South Island Wool auction of 10,300 bales this week, with supply and demand factors influencing sectors differently. There was a 90 percent clearance rate with the fine wool sector making up most of the passed in lots.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies eased 1.53 percent compared to the last sale on the 19th September.

Mr Steel advises that compared to the last time offered on 12th September Merino Fleece 17 to 19 microns ranged from slightly easier to slightly dearer. . .


Tru-Test wins NZ International Business supreme award

September 27, 2013

Tru-Test has won the Supreme Award for International Business in the New Zealand International Business Awards, showing the value of our agricultural products and that manufacturing is doing well here.

Tru-Test Group’s winning the Judges’ Supreme Award for International Business in the New Zealand International Business Awards shows New Zealand can be a better place for manufacturing than China, managing director Greg Muir says.

Tru-Test Group tonight won both the ANZ Best Business Operating Internationally over $50 million award, and the Judges’ Supreme Award for International Business.

Tru-Test Group is the world leader in livestock production systems, including electric fence technology, milk cooling and storage, animal weighing and recording and milk metering. Tru-Test Group has also been a New Zealand pioneer in adopting Lean manufacturing philosophies. 

Doing most of the manufacture in New Zealand reflects a number of competitive advantages locally:

•       Simpler distribution logistics given the company’s multiple product lines and 100 plus export destinations

•       The ability to do short product runs

•       The ability to produce exact amounts of product required by the market at any time, minimising inventory over-runs (or shortages)

•       Enhanced quality control through having centralised operations

•       The opportunities for contract manufacturing for other organisations in New Zealand

“When we decided to continue to manufacture in New Zealand we knew it meant competing on the international manufacturing stage,” Mr Muir said.

“The only way to do this was with an absolute commitment to adopting new ideas, maximising efficiency and minimising waste.”

This has been key to Tru-Test Group releasing 20 new products in to 100 countries worldwide in the past three years.

The media release on the awards says:

Forging deep relationships with partners, spending time to understand its customers and a well-thought-out market entry strategy are just some of the ingredients that have led to agri-tech company Tru-Test Group taking out this year’s Supreme Award at the New Zealand International Business Awards. The accolade was closely fought, with judges awarding a Special Commendation to Christchurch company ARANZ Geo – the first time in the history of the Awards such a gesture has been made.

Tru-Test, who also took out the ‘ANZ Best Business Operating Internationally – Over $50million’ category, is a leading manufacturer of livestock scales, electronic identification products and milk metering equipment. It has a global network that spans the agricultural and security sectors in more than 100 countries. Over the past three years, the company has released 20 new products specifically aimed at expanding its position in overseas markets.

Judges described Tru-Test as a leading example of New Zealand’s agritech industry that displays a high degree of innovation and deep understanding of customers and channels, while ensuring its brand is represented and positioned correctly across different countries. “Its broad and diverse geographic presence and strategic outlook, together with its active and ongoing merger and acquisition activities, are equally valuable assets,” they said.

ARANZ Geo, developer of 3D geological modelling solutions for the mining, hydrogeology and geothermal industries, also took home the award for the ‘ANZ Best Business Operating Internationally – Under $10million’ category. Two years on from embarking on an aggressive three-year strategic plan, the company’s revenues, profitability and market share have grown 300% with further growth on target for year three. Its software licence numbers have tripled to 934, with user numbers in the thousands.

Judges noted that innovation is at the heart of ARANZ Geo’s success, describing the application of its technology to mining geology as revolutionary. “No other company is making similar software and after considerable scepticism ARANZ has now sold to all major global miners…its discipline speaks of a much bigger company and its Fort Knox client list is testament to that discipline. Its transformation has been nothing short of incredible”.

The Awards, run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and Strategic Partner ANZ, celebrate the passion, vision and new approaches that New Zealand businesses are taking to achieve international success.

Other New Zealand businesses recognised for exemplifying that passion and vision include Gentrack, Buckley Systems, and Auckland UniServices, with The New Zealand Merino Company and JUCY joint winners in their category.

New Zealand’s international business leaders were also acknowledged, with Brett Hewlett (Comvita) named ‘KPMG Outstanding International Business Leader’. Judges admired Brett’s commitment to Comvita’s founding values and to giving back to other businesses.

John Brakenridge (The New Zealand Merino Company) was named ‘KPMG Leader: Outstanding Contribution to International Business’, adding to the ‘Outstanding International Business Leader’ accolade he picked up in the 2010 New Zealand International Business Awards. Judges commended John for being resolute in his vision to move New Zealand merino out of the commodity basket and up the value chain.

NZTE Chief Executive Peter Chrisp said this year’s winners showcase the prized can-do attitude that enables the internationalisation of business, and ultimately, the growth of New Zealand’s economy.

“Although Tru-test is already a leading manufacturer of livestock scales, electronic identification products and milk metering equipment, the company is constantly striving for growth and innovation and continues to invest in the development of new products. Constantly pushing the boundaries is an extremely valuable trait and it’s one Tru-Test and many other winners tonight have demonstrated.

“Growing a business is also about identifying market opportunities and having the strategic nous to pursue those opportunities, something ARANZ Geo has epitomised with its move into markets such as North and South America, South Africa, Europe, and Australia.”

David Green, Managing Director Institutional at ANZ New Zealand, said: “As the Strategic Partner for the New Zealand International Business Awards, ANZ is proud to recognise and celebrate our leading international businesses and the role they play in building a successful export sector. Their success creates jobs and growth in the New Zealand economy and delivers for their stakeholders.

“This year’s winners are world-class businesses and business leaders that have generated innovative ideas, identified market opportunities, through a commitment and skill that has carried them through to success on the global stage. In doing so they embody the outstanding qualities needed to compete and win in offshore markets, and provide an example for other businesses that aspire to international growth.”

We toured Tasmania on an International Grasslands pre-conference tour a couple of weeks ago.

Several farms we visited there used, and paid tribute to, New Zealand technology and products.

Opposition politicians harp on about diversifying from agriculture and in doing so ignore the value of the many innovative and successful businesses, like Tru-Test, which support and service agriculture here and overseas.

2013 New Zealand International Business Awards winners are:

JUDGES’ SUPREME AWARD FOR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Tru-Test Group
SPECIAL COMMENDATION

ARANZ Geo Ltd
ANZ GENERAL CATEGORY WINNERS
ANZ Best Business Operating Internationally

Under $10million: ARANZ Geo Ltd

$10m-$50million: Gentrack

Over $50million: Tru-Test Group

SPECIAL CATEGORY WINNERS

Callaghan Innovation International Success through the Application of Innovation

Buckley Systems Ltd

 

James & Wells Best Commercialisation of Intellectual Property in International Business

Auckland UniServices Ltd

AUT Business School Most Innovative Business Model in International Business

Joint winner: JUCY and The New Zealand Merino Company

Best Use of Design in International Business

3i Innovation Ltd
KPMG LEADERSHIP CATEGORY WINNERS

KPMG Outstanding International Business Leader

Brett Hewlett, CEO, Comvita

KPMG Leader: Outstanding Contribution to International Business

John Brakenridge, CEO, The New Zealand Merino Company Limited

More information on all the finalists can be found at the Ministry of Trade and Enterprise.

 


Friday’s answers

September 27, 2013

Thursday’s questions were:

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 Maoir, 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?

Points for answers:

JC gets 1.

Alwyn got four and a bonus for the anecdote and for being a Pooh fan too.

Andrei wins an electronic chocolate cake for a clean sweep and a confession I haven’t read that yet.

Teletext also wins an electronic chocolate cake for a clean sweep with bonuses for the extra information and great taste in humour.

Graeme gets one and the Pooh fan bonus too.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


No widespread preservative problem in fresh meat

September 27, 2013

The Ministry of Primary Industries is investigating the suspected use of sulphites in meat by a small number of independent butcheries and groceries in the Auckland area.

The investigation led TVNZ’s news a few days ago and MPI is concerned it may have unnecessarily caused consumers concern that there is some food safety risk associated with fresh meat.

But the Ministry said its investigation to date has found  no widespread problem with the use of preservatives in fresh red meat.

“The use of sulphites to prolong the shelf life of fresh meat and freshen up the appearance of greying meat is something that appears to be being undertaken by a small group of “rogue” operators and not mainstream meat suppliers. We targeted these butcheries and grocery stores for further investigation based on our own intelligence gathering.

“We are confident, through conducting our regular food safety compliance activity, that larger retailers including New Zealand’s supermarket chains and reputable, New Zealand-qualified butchers are well aware of the rules and will not be carrying out this practice,” Ministry for Primary Industries Director Animal, and Animal Products, Matthew Stone says.

“MPI will not tolerate flouting of the rules that are in place to ensure New Zealand’s food is safe. The Ministry has a range of legal options at its disposal where evidence is present that this law-breaking is taking place.”

Mr Stone also points out that the issue concerns the handling and retailing of meat in New Zealand domestically and that this is not an issue concerning export meat.

“Consumers need to have confidence, particularly if they are in the small group that have allergies to sulphites, that fresh meat will not have this additive in it.”

Sulphites such as sulphur dioxide are food additives used in a range of foods around the world. In New Zealand its use is controlled by regulation and must be reflected in labelling, which MPI also monitors.

Mr Stone says some initial sampling of fresh meat from 10 Auckland butcheries and grocery stores found the presence of sulphite which is a preservative allowed in processed meat goods (and a range of other foodstuffs) but is not allowed to be added to fresh meat.

He says for this reason, MPI recently carried out sampling of fresh red meat (a range of cuts including mince) from another 27 premises in Auckland.

“We expect to know in a couple of weeks what the true situation is out there. But we need to be clear that the evidence shows that the use of sulphite in fresh meat is not a widespread problem.

“There can be serious consequences for those who break the rules. The incorrect use of additives breaches the Food Standards Code and the Food Act 1981. Under the Act, failure to comply with the Food Standards Code can result in a fine of up to $5000 for an individual or $20,000 for a body corporate. . .

This is a serious issue but it is not a widespread problem.


Right to die or right to kill?

September 27, 2013

MP Maryan Street has withdrawn her End of Life Choice Bill from the members’ ballot.

The Bill was promoting voluntary euthanasia which is often called the right to die.

It would also give the right to kill.

It would give people, including doctors, the right to offer, provide and ultimately administer fatal medication.

I have twice given doctors permission to not resuscitate a child.

Tom was just 20 weeks old, Dan five years, both had degenerative brain disorders and both had stopped breathing when I was asked if I wanted treatment to continue.

That isn’t what this Bill is about.

Nor is it about pain relief as part of palliative care.

There might be a grey area now about pain relief which gets to the level where it could be fatal but there is a huge gulf between alleviating pain and deliberately killing someone.

If we ever consider our own mortality most of us would choose to die without pain and with all our faculties intact.

Life and death aren’t always that tidy and palliative care isn’t always optimal.

That is a very strong argument for better palliative care, not an argument for euthanasia.

Our lives are our own but the right to kill is a big and very serious step on from the right to die.

Macdoctor has several posts on the issue.


So much for the south

September 27, 2013

Labour’s abandonment of the provinces is particularly noticeable in the South Island and the dearth of representation has been highlighted by the party’s reshuffle.

The first South Island MP in the line-up is list MP Clayton Cosgrove at number 7.

The next is another list MP Maryan Street at 12 and then West Coast Tasman MP Damien O’Connor at 19.

The party has only two MPs south of Christchurch. One of those, David Clark who is supposed to be well regarded in and outside parliament, has been demoted to 20.

Megan Woods is 24 and the other South Islanders, Ruth Dyson, Clare Curran, and Rino Tirikatene are unranked.

The ODT says that new deputy, and another list MP,  David Parker’s links give Labour south cover.

David Parker pledged his loyalty to the South after his election yesterday as deputy leader of the Labour Party.

The election of Mr Parker – a list MP who has a house in Dunedin, visits the city two weekends out of three and still calls the city his base – provides Labour with South coverage to complement Mr Cunliffe’s coverage of the North as MP for New Lynn.

The prime reason for those visits will be to keep contact with his children. That is his business but shouldn’t be confused with political representation.

He might have pledged his loyalty to the south but his actions don’t match his words. He chose to leave Dunedin and stand for Epsom at the last election.

The one before that, 2008, he was the candidate for Waitaki but showed his lack of commitment to that when he conceded the seat at a public meeting a couple of weeks before the election, for which local party members still haven’t forgiven him.

If it gets into government, the party’s anti-growth policies will hit the regions hard and the lack of representation in the senior ranks of the party will make it more difficult for the concerns of the south to be heard.


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