Word of the day

October 17, 2013

Sprunt – anything short and stiff; a leap or spring; a steep ascent in a road; active, lively, vigorous; to spring up, forward or outward; to make a quick convulsive movement, jump, run; germinate; to draw oneself up suddenly as in anger or defiance; to bristle; to chase girls around among the haystacks after dark.


Rural round-up

October 17, 2013

Overseas experience to boost FMD preparation:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced that a delegation of 10 veterinarians, farming leaders and MPI staff will take part in foot and mouth disease (FMD) training in Asia next year to experience working with the disease first hand.

“While the major focus is always on preventing FMD, it is also very important that we are prepared to respond to such an outbreak quickly and effectively if it ever did happen.

“The training will develop a larger pool of people in New Zealand with experience in recognising, diagnosing and controlling the disease.

“This is the latest initiative in a major 18-month programme of work, which involves the Ministry for Primary Industries and an industry working group working together on key projects,” says Mr Guy. . .

End of an era for southern cooperatives – Allan Barber:

Alliance Group chairman Owen Poole retired at the end of September after five years on the board and 15 in top management roles, while Eoin Garden, Silver Fern Farms’ chairman since 2007 is retiring at the AGM in December.

Both men in different ways have provided notably determined leadership of their respective companies through particularly difficult times for the meat industry. Although each will retire with some regrets at not being able to lead the way to a permanent recovery, it will be a relief to step back from the limelight and leave the battle to their successors.

Poole has been succeeded by North Canterbury farmer Murray Taggart who ironically was voted off the Alliance board at the same AGM as previous chairman John Turner, resulting in Poole being appointed the company’s first independent chairman. That was a consequence of farmer disaffection with low lamb prices, so in spite of some recovery before the last price drop nothing much has really changed. . .

Rise of corporate dairying in China:

A new report says China’s dairy industry is undergoing a massive restructuring, with traditional small farmers departing to make way for large-scale commerical dairying operations.

Rabobank’s report China’s Raw Milk Supply – Still Dreaming of a White River says the rapid changes taking place in China will have an impact on its demand for imports.

Co-author Hayley Moynihan says the restructuring is limiting China’s domestic milk flow. She says as the supply chain restructures, is it put under pressure in terms of its ability to increase the volume of quality raw milk supplies.

Ms Moynihan says the Chinese Government has taken significant action to improve milk quality since the melamine crisis in 2008. . .

Evolving a truly customer-centric industry:

New Zealand’s primary sector needs to develop a customer-centric approach to its marketing – by creating products with unique attributes that are sought after by global consumers.

That was a key theme of the just-released Volume 3 of the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda, titled “Evolving a truly customer-centric industry”.

KPMG’s Global Head of Agribusiness, Ian Proudfoot, says the sector needs to replace its traditional ‘trading mentality’ with a more targeted approach.

“Those customers who see the most value in what we produce – and are consequently willing to pay a higher price for the attributes they value – must be at the centre of everything we do.” . .

A primer of water quality – Clive Howard-Williams at Waiology:

Society is increasingly concerned over water quality. The means by which this is maintained and enhanced while growing an economy is a major challenge for governments in many places. Here I introduce some underlying concepts around water quality that Waiology followers will need to appreciate when they look at the forthcoming series of blogs.

What is good water quality?

Rather than just being a set of defined scientific numbers, water quality is rather a perception defined by communities and it varies from place to place and between communities. What is seen as poor water quality by some may be adequate for others. Generally however, good quality is usually recognized as water that is safely drinkable, swimmable and from where food may be gathered and that provides for community spiritual and cultural needs and for healthy ecosystems. . .

Happy World Food Day:

We all love to eat, but make sure that as you celebrate World Food Day today you spare a thought today for those who don’t have enough to eat.

‘Across the world 842 million people still suffer from chronic malnutrition, including a growing number in the developed world’, said HRLA chairperson Edward Miller, ‘and the latest New Zealand food security study reported that less than 6 in 10 NZ households are food secure.’ . .


Feds president contender for communicator of year

October 17, 2013

Federated Farmers National President, Bruce Wills, has been selected as a finalist for Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) Communicator of the Year.  

The award recognises skills in a leader who promotes open and honest communications within their organisation.

“It is great that Bruce has been selected as a finalist. Bruce has remained a balanced and clear communicator on issues relating to agriculture,” says Conor English, Federated Farmers Chief Executive.

“It goes to show just how highly regarded he is when you look at the other finalists – Sir John Kirwan, Blues Coach and ambassador for depression.org.nz, Otorohanga Mayor Dale Williams, and Tony Kokshoorn, Grey District Mayor, who are all leaders in their own right.

“Bruce has tirelessly advocated on behalf of New Zealand farmers, and his communication has enhanced a better understanding of farming and its value. Its great to have this recognised” concluded Mr English.

The recipient will be announced on Friday November 8 at a PRINZ event in Wellington. 

The reputations of Federated Farmers and farming have improved in the last couple of years.

Under the leadership of Bruce and Conor communication has been clear and positive lacked the defensiveness and negativity which characterised the organisation a few years ago.

They are both very good advocates for the organisation, farming  and rural New Zealand because of that.

It’s pleasing that two of the other three contenders, Dale Williams and Tony Kokshoorn, are from provincial New Zealand too.

We can’t compete on quantity with urban New Zealand so it’s even more important to have quality.


Thursday’s quiz

October 17, 2013

1. Who said: Nothing is more noble, nothing more venerable than fidelity. Faithfulness and truth are the most sacred excellences and endowments of the human mind.?

2. Whose law begins with the expectation to be trusty, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind . . . ?

3. It’s fidèle in French; fedele in Italian, fiel in Spanish and piripono in Maori, what is it in English?

4. What and where is Old Faithful?

5. Are exposures of private misbehaviour in the public interest of just something in which the public might be interested?


Ruxon on Rudd

October 17, 2013

Former Labor MP Nicola Ruxon has delivered a very frank assessment of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:

NICOLA Roxon has called on Kevin Rudd to quit parliament, defending the 2010 coup as “an act of political bastardry” that was warranted because he had been “such a bastard himself”.

Delivering what would be her “first and last” public comments on Labor’s time in government, the former attorney-general launched a blistering attack on Mr Rudd.Ms Roxon said it was the “bitter truth” that as long as Mr Rudd remained in parliament, he would feature in leadership polls and be a destabilising figure.

“In my opinion and it is only my opinion, for the good of the federal parliamentary Labor Party . . . Kevin Rudd should leave the parliament,” she said.

“Removing Kevin was an act of political bastardry, for sure, but this act of political bastardry was made possible only because Kevin had been such a bastard himself.”  . . .

It’s difficult to understand why former leaders hang on when they’ve been ousted.

It must be very, very difficult to go from leading the country to warming a seat on the back bench.

Julia Gillard acted with dignity when she accepted her defeat as leader and didn’t seek re-election as an MP.

Rudd’s determination to stay in parliament will continue to destabilise his party.


USA open again

October 17, 2013

The USA Budget crisis has been averted and it’s led to a five month high for the New Zealand dollar.

. . . The kiwi jumped as high as 84.44 US cents, and was at 84.33 cents at 8am in Wellington, from 83.89 cents at the 5pm market close yesterday. The trade-weighted index rose to 78.17 from 77.89 yesterday. . .

The USA government shutdown has been a reminder of how fragile the financial recovery is and the importance of the government sticking to its plan to head off global risks.

A number of ongoing global risks reinforce the need for New Zealand to continue improving its own economic resilience and competitiveness, Finance Minister Bill English says.

It can do that by returning to budget surplus and addressing potential threats to financial stability such as housing affordability, he told the Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand (INFINZ) annual conference in Auckland today.

“When the National-led Government was first elected in late 2008, we set out with a long-term programme to protect the most vulnerable New Zealanders from the recession, deal with the GFC and build a platform for sustainable growth.

“After inheriting Treasury forecasts showing never-ending fiscal deficits and soaring public debt, we have successfully set a path back to surplus so we can get on top of that debt.

“In addition, we have implemented a plan to improve competitiveness and we are now on a path of steady growth. At the same time, we’re dealing with important issues such as housing affordability,” Mr English said.

“We want to avoid a repeat of the dangerous house price bubble that developed in the mid-2000s, when house prices doubled in five or six years, floating mortgages rates exceeded 10 per cent and household debt got dangerously high.

“That’s why we’re addressing the underlying causes of fast-rising house prices by freeing up more land, removing costly red tape and looking at construction sector productivity.”

Mr English said the Government’s responsible economic and fiscal management had helped keep interest rates for homeowners and businesses lower for longer and had improved New Zealand’s financial stability.

For homeowners, average floating mortgage rates are now about half of what they were five years ago. This is saving a family with a $200,000 mortgage around $200 a week in interest payments.

“Sound fiscal policy and progress with increasing housing supply will help to keep interest rates lower for longer. On the other hand, Opposition promises to increase government spending and pump cheap credit into the housing market will push up rates sooner.

“Under current settings, interest rates are not expected to return to anywhere near their 2008 levels of more than 10 per cent, which is good news for home owners and businesses across New Zealand.”

Mr English, who has just returned from a visit to New York, Boston and Washington DC, said the recent United States budget stalemate was just the latest in a number of global risks to the New Zealand economy.

“As we’ve said all along, we cannot influence these global issues, so we need to focus on what we can influence, such as New Zealand’s competitiveness, better public services and the Government’s own financial performance.

“Together these global events provide a timely reminder to everyone from politicians, to businesses and to households, that we cannot be complacent about the progress we’ve made in the past four or five years.

“Now is certainly not the time to put that progress at risk by reverting to damaging policies that have failed us in the past such as more taxes, more costs on business and more government spending and borrowing.

“We must continue with sensible economic policies, year after year, that deliver better living standards and public services for families across New Zealand.”

When we have so little impact on what happens that impacts on us beyond our shores it’s essential we do all we can at home, as individuals and a country, to ensure financial stability.


Free publicity pays off

October 17, 2013

Oamaru’s entry and subsequent win in Seven Sharp’s Sharpest Town competition gave the Waitaki District free publicity which is paying off:

. . . In July, Oamaru took the title of Seven Sharp’s New Zealand’s Sharpest Town competition in a landslide victory.

As a result, Oamaru played host to the Seven Sharp team for a live broadcast from the Victorian Precinct on August 5.

All things good about the district, including Alps 2 Ocean, businesses, education, steampunk, the Victorian Precinct, the Penguin Colony and the people, were showcased to about 409,700 people around the country.

LJ Hooker’s Stephen Robertson said the company had noted a 30 per cent increase in the volume of sales since the Seven Sharp publicity.

Of the 30 per cent increase, about 60 per cent of inquiries had come from out of town, with some specifically mentioning the TVNZ exposure. . . .

There will be other factors influencing the increased sales but the television programme has had a positive impact.

It’s also helped locals look at the District with a fresh appreciation of its charms and given us a welcome infusion of positivity.


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