Word of the day

October 8, 2013

Miasma – a noxious influence; oppressive or unpleasant atmosphere that surrounds or emanates from something; unpleasant or unwholesome air; highly unhealthy smell or vapour; noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter; poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere.


Rural round-up

October 8, 2013

On Farm Productivity Is Good, But The Big Money Is Made From Off Farm Productivity – Milking on the Moove:

There’s a lot of talk about productivity in New Zealand these days.

But are we focusing on the right areas?

The government has set a target of doubling the primary sectors export earnings from $32 Billion to $64 Billion by 2025.

Nobody doubts that this is a difficult ask.

New Zealand’s primary sector has a strong record of productivity gains.

The sheep industry alone has increase productivity (expressed as meat sold /ewe) by 80% over the last 25 years.

That’s 2.5% productivity gain every year. Any business analyst will agree that that is impressive.

But are sheep farmers any better off?

Despite 20 years of productivity gains sheep farmers recently experienced their lowest level of profitability, according to Beef & Lamb NZ data. . .

Setting a pathway to a sustainable future – James Houghton:

The judges ruling on the One Plan has got everyone claiming a win, which is an unexpected result coming from two sides who have always been quite opposing in their views. What a fantastic result Honorary Justice Stephen Kòs has managed to keep both sides happy! For us it has allowed us, in conjunction with the regional council, to come up with a workable solution to the One Plan.

I was sitting next to a Fish & Game representative last Tuesday and I said that the primary industries are committed to putting money into getting good science around achieving the goals of healthy rivers and work forward for sensible solutions. I don’t know where he has been hiding for the past few years because he was quite surprised.

The plan as it now sits means everything is about making the pathway to improvements on farm achievable, and that’s all we ever wanted. It is all part of managing risk and making the most of the resources we have. But at the same time other stakeholders like Fish & Game and Forest & Bird need to have realistic expectations of what can be achieved through good management practice on farm. This all comes down to setting the values through open and honest consultation and this is why we are setting up the Stakeholders Group, who will represent the community in Waikato and identify where the issues are, as well as the Technical Alliance Group (TAG) who will come up with the solutions. . .

Raetihi farmers frustrated but coping:

Farmers reliant upon Raetihi’s water supply are as frustrated as the urban residents are but remain hopeful alternative water supplies maybe secured by the end of this week.

“With livestock understandingly refusing to drink from contaminated troughs, it has been a difficult week for the affected farms and especially those who draw water from Raetihi’s water supply,” says Lyn Neeson, Federated Farmers Ruapehu provincial president.

“What we need now is some heavy rain and it looks like some is on the cards for mid-week.

“Farmers are coping quite well by moving stock to alternative sources either on or off-farm. This includes on-farm water supplies like dams through to sending stock off-farm. . .

Colombian Farmers Get First-Hand Look at NZ Agri Expertise:

The New Zealand Agribusiness Centre, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade this week welcome the largest Colombian delegation to ever visit New Zealand.

Some 170 Colombian farmers are spending a week in New Zealand to get first-hand insights into New Zealand’s pastoral farming systems and agritechnology. The visit includes an exhibition and seminar with major players in New Zealand’s agriculture sector at Mystery Creek Event Centre (home of Fieldays); fieldtrips to dairy, beef and sheep farms; and a visit to Landcorp’s pastoral farm development blocks near Taupo.

Led by Fedegan, the Colombian Federation of Ranchers, the delegation to New Zealand follows Prime Minister John Key’s official visit to Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Brazil earlier this year as part of the Government’s increased focus on strengthening bilateral relations and capitalising on trade opportunities with Latin America nations. . .

NZ study tour on offer for international farmers:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today announced a new programme for overseas farmers to spend time in New Zealand on an agri-tech study tour.

“Four places a year will be available for farmers to spend up to three weeks here, looking at improved agricultural productivity and reducing on-farm methane emissions,” says Mr Guy.

“This programme will be fully funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries and will help promote New Zealand’s agribusiness expertise overseas.

“My recent trip to South America has reinforced to me just how well respected New Zealand is overseas for the success of our agricultural sector. . .

Federated Farmers aids New Zealand’s agricultural diplomacy:

Federated Farmers has successfully tabled a paper at the World Farmers Organisation that could greatly contribute to New Zealand’s global agricultural diplomacy.

“I am pleased to say New Zealand’s proposal to invite farming organisations has been warmly received by the World Farmers Organisation and will further our country’s global outreach and engagement,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“The World Farmers Organisation is currently writing to our Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to agree a programme for farmers from developed or developing countries to travel to New Zealand for an agri-tech study tour.

“We envisage each visit will be coordinated by MPI but will involve industry good bodies, research institutions and ourselves. It will enable visiting farmers to spend two to three weeks working alongside our farming community and agricultural science sectors. . .

NZCTA urges positive action in light of botulism scare:

The New Zealand China Trade Association (NZCTA) is urging industry and Government to work together to learn serious lessons from the Fonterra botulism scare. Official reviews have yet to be published, but the NZCTA is encouraging its members to continue to monitor the situation with respect to the China market.

“There is no doubt that the incident has damaged New Zealand’s image as a source of safe, high quality food products and the implications of this have been felt in terms of earnings for a number of our members, and this is unlikely to be fully resolved until New Zealand can prove that it has adequate systems in place to safeguard the industry and export markets” says Association Chairman Tim White. . .

City-fringe farm with a history of dairy and cattle grazing goes on the market for sale:

A dairy support farm described as being ‘as close to the city as you can get without being a lifestyle block’ has been placed on the market for sale.

The 185 hectare unit near the township of Waiuku in the Counties region of Auckland is a sheep farm which has been converted into a cattle and finishing block capable of running up to 650 head of cattle.

The farm is divided into some 40 paddocks and raced for efficient stock movement and separation. This year the farm has stocked 100 dairy heifer yearlings, 150 dairy heifer calves, 200 beef yearlings and 200 beef calves. . .


Big drop in lamb drop

October 8, 2013

The headline says: farmers predict big lamb drop.

Anyone familiar with farming would interpret that as prediction that lots of lambs would be born.

But the story says the opposite:

Federated Farmers is predicting that lamb numbers could be down by more than three million this year, mainly due to the impact of the North Island and western South Island drought.

That’s a drop of a million on what Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s economic service forecast last month. . .

The big refers to the drop in the drop, not the drop itself.

While the numbers of lambs being born is down the numbers surviving is good thanks to relatively kind weather – so far.


Why and where’s Waitaki grown?

October 8, 2013

Population projections for the Waitaki District have been gloomy for years.

The trend has been for fewer people and the average age of those left getting higher.

But yesterday’s announcement by Statistics New Zealand of electorate populations from this year’s census shows that the Waitaki Electorate’s population has increased from 60,135 to 64, 962.

The electorate includes not just the Waitaki District but most of Central Otago, all of Waimate and Mackenzie Districts, part of Queenstown Lakes and part of Timaru City.

QLDC was expected to increase in population because of Queenstown’s growth but that town is in neighbouring Clutha Southland electorate, not Waitaki.

Wanaka, which is in Waitaki, has grown but more than 3,000 extra people would almost have doubled its population which is unlikely.

There’s been a mini boom in grape growing in Central which will have brought more people into the area but again I’d be surprised if it’s thousands.

Both Waimate and Waitaki Districts have had a big increase in dairy farming which increases employment opportunities on and off farm.

Could it be that anecdotal evidence of a population increase, and a lowering of the average age, because of dairying is reflected in official statistics?

The answer to why Waitaki has grown and where will come when more census data is released.


One of biggest electorates will get smaller

October 8, 2013

Statistics New Zealand’s release of census data yesterday gives the first indication of changes in electorates.

  • The number of electorates will increase from 70 to 71 at the next general election.
  • The number of North Island general electorates will increase from 47 to 48.
  • The number of Māori electorates will remain at seven.
  • The number of general electorates in the South Island is set at 16 by the Electoral Act 1993.
  • In a 120-seat parliament (excluding any overhang seats), a total of 71 electorates will result in 49 list seats being allocated. This is one less list seat than in the 2011 General Election.
  • The Representation Commission can now review the electorate boundaries for the next general election.

The excel sheet under downloads on the link above shows population changes in electorates.

Kiwiblog has checked that out and found:

Since the 2006 census, the SI electoral population has grown by 3.7%, the NI by 6.6% and the Maori electoral population by just 0.9%.

The seats that are the most over quota and must lose territory are:

  1. Auckland Central 70,406
  2. Hunua 68,951
  3. Helensville 68,026
  4. Selwyn 67,818
  5. Rodney 67,134
  6. Wigram 65,433
  7. Waitaki 64,962
  8. Hamilton East 64,577
  9. Waimakariri 64,454
  10. Wellington Central 64,374
  11. Rangitata 64,142
  12. East Coast Bays 64,005
  13. Maungakiekie 63,274
  14. Epsom 62,990
  15. Tāmaki 62,779
  16. Tauranga 62,741

So those 16 seats must shrink. What seats are under the 5% tolerance and must grow:

  1. Christchurch East 45,967
  2. Port Hills 53,667
  3. East Cost 53,960
  4. Christchurch Central 54,104
  5. Rangitikei 56,364

The other 49 seats can stay the same size in theory. But it is likely many will have some change because of flow on effects from neighbours.

The migration after Christchurch’s earthquakes is probably the reason for most of the growth in Waimakariri and Selwyn.

They will lose some ground to boost the Christchurch electorates which now have too few people.

Selwyn might have to push south into Rangitata which will then extend into Waitaki, both of which are over quota. It would make sense for the area closest to Timaru which moved from what was the Aoraki Electorate into Waitaki, to be in Rangitata.

Waitaki will have to shrink. It is now 34,888 square kilometres in area, the third biggest general electorate in the country. Any reduction in its size will be welcomed by its MP Jacqui Dean and her constituents.


Need more to pay more

October 8, 2013

The left criticise tax cuts in general and were particularly critical of National tax changes saying they favoured the wealthy.

But top earners are paying more tax:

. . . A feature was that higher income earners paid a larger share of income tax; only 6% of taxpayers earned more than $100,000 a year but they paid 37% of total income tax, he said. That was up from 29% in the 2010-11 tax year.

“So there’s been some significant shift in higher income earners paying a greater share of income tax – the opposite of what the critics said would happen as a result of the tax reforms in 2010,” Mr English said. . . .

The concerning point about this is that only 6% of taxpayers earned more than $100,000.

We need more people earning more at all levels.

That won’t be achieved by artificial boosts through the imposition of a so-called living wage.

The only sustainable way to lift incomes for everyone is through economic growth.

 


Surplus in sight

October 8, 2013

The Crown accounts are in better shape than forecast.

Higher tax revenue and lower than forecast core Crown expenses helped to more than halve the Government’s operating deficit before gains and losses to $4.4 billion in the year to 30 June 2013, compared with a $9.2 billion deficit the previous year.

The result was considerably better than the $7.9 billion deficit forecast by Treasury at the start of the financial year in Budget 2012, and confirms the Government’s prudent approach to fiscal management is paying dividends, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Higher tax income reflects a growing economy and lower expenses shows the focus on reducing the burden of government is having a positive impact.

“The National-led Government has consistently examined how public services are delivered,” he says. “This has allowed us to reduce costs while improving the services New Zealanders receive, as well as helping the people of Canterbury following the earthquakes.

“We are well on track to return to Budget surplus in 2014/15. It’s important we get there because, until we do, we will continue to increase our debt. Despite the considerable progress we are making, there is no room for complacency.

“In the past financial year, we were still borrowing a net $110 million a week, compared to almost $260 million a week in 2010/11. Once we reach surplus, we will then have choices about reducing our debt and investing more in priority public services and important infrastructure.

“The consequences of too much government debt are all too clear in Europe and the United States, where we have seen cuts to public services and pensions, and higher taxes.”

The Oppositions till doesn’t get this.

They’ve fought every initiative to reduce the burden of government and the policies they’re announcing show a cavalier disregard for the necessity of fiscal prudence.

Treasury’s Budget 2013 forecasts show net core Crown debt is expected to increase from $10.3 billion in June 2008 to over $70 billion by June 2017.

“An active approach to managing the Government’s finances needs to continue for a number of years to get debt down to below 20 per cent of GDP by 2020,” Mr English says.

“That’s why we’re running a balanced programme to reduce the previously unsustainable growth in government spending and to grow the economy.” . .

The surplus is in sight and that it has been done in such a short time when labour’s last Budget forecast a decade of deficits before the global financial crisis struck is commendable.

But getting the books back into the black is part of the journey not the destination which is a reduction in debt to ensure the country can weather future storms.

 

 


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