Don’t they want jobs?

November 28, 2013

Question of the day:

He was commenting on the anti-mining protesters who blocked the road today to show their opposition to exploration for gold and silver in the Puhipuhi Hills by Australian company De Grey Mining.


Word of the day

November 28, 2013

Sternutatory – a chemical substance that causes sneezing and coughing and crying; causing or tending to cause sneezing.


Rural round-up

November 28, 2013

Good Environmental Management No Add-On, Say Farming Ambassadors:

“Sustainability must be built into everyday farming, not bolted on”, was one of the key messages delivered to agribusiness and industry leaders by Canterbury farming ambassadors Roz and Craige Mackenzie.

National Winners of the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards, the Mackenzies recently met with key industry stakeholders to promote good environmental practices and swap ideas on how to improve environmental management.

The five-day trip in November was organised by the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust and included an address to the Primary Production Select Committee.

The Mackenzies also met with sponsors of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards and were impressed with how these organisations had taken the sustainability message to heart. . .

Equity partnership options to buy into a farm:

Equity partnerships offer an opportunity for young farmers and smaller investors to take part in the rise in farm values driven by high dairy payouts and continuing confidence in the long-term future of agriculture, says Justin Geddes, Crowe Horwath’s Dunedin-based Principal.

“Equity partnerships are a great vehicle to grow your own wealth for both farmers and investors,” said Mr Geddes.

The capital cost of running an economic farm unit runs to several million dollars, and one of the pressing issues facing the rural sector is how to get young farmers into farm ownership. . .

Fonterra Australia finalises purchase of Tamar Valley Dairy assets:

Fonterra Australia today finalised the purchase of the assets of Tasmanian yoghurt business, Tamar Valley Dairy. The Tamar Valley Dairy business is now under full Fonterra ownership and management.

Under the terms of the sale, Fonterra has acquired the processing equipment, the related services, and intellectual property and trademark for the Tamar Valley Dairy brand. Fonterra worked closely with Deloitte Restructuring Services to achieve the completed sale.

Importantly, 122 positions of the Tamar Valley Dairy workforce will now transition to Fonterra to ensure the right skill-set and expertise are available to ensure continuity of operations and the long-term sustainability of the business. Regrettably, 18 roles are not required and have been made redundant by the Administrator. . .

Fonterra Wins National Accounting Award:

Two of Fonterra’s senior finance managers picked up the 2013 Innovation of the Year Award at last night’s New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants Awards in Auckland.

Patrice Wynen, Director, Finance Delivery Centre, and Ken Stephens, General Manager Reporting Services, were recognised for a new month-end financial acceleration projects that reduced Fonterra’s group reporting time by 50 per cent.

Through the project, Fonterra’s group month-end financial close was reduced from six days down to just three. The reduction was achieved in less than eight months and without any form of technology change. . . .

Comvita posts 1H loss of $790k on margin squeeze – Paul McBeth:

Comvita, which makes health products from Manuka honey, reported a first-half small loss as its margins were squeezed by expensive honey and as trading conditions in Australia and the UK were stretched by stiff competition.

The Te Puke-based company made a loss of $790,000, or 2.7 cents per share, in the six months ended Sept. 30, from a profit of $2.39 million, or 7.95 cents, a year earlier, it said in a statement. Sales fell 4.6 percent to $43.4 million.

That was in line with guidance last month, and Comvita affirmed its annual forecast to beat last year’s profit of $7.4 million and sales of $103.5 million, with about 60 percent of revenue expected to come in the second half. . .

ANZ Young Farmer Contest sets sights on Taupo:

The ANZ Young Farmer Contest is pleased to announce the 2015 Grand Final events will be held in Taupo.

The decision comes after a unanimous vote by the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Management Committee.

The ANZ Young Farmer Contest alternates between the North Island and the South Island each year. This year it was held in Auckland and the upcoming 2014 Grand Final will be in Christchurch, 3-5 July.

“After three Grand Finals based in larger metropolitan areas, I think the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Final hosted in an increasingly agricultural area will go down as one of the most exciting and well-run events in the history of New Zealand Young Farmers,” said Terry Copeland, New Zealand Young Farmers CEO. . .

Trust announces Christmas present for the New Zealand wine industry:

Directors of Wine Competition Ltd, the company that owns and organises the Spiegelau International Wine Competition and Marlborough Wine Show, have established a Trust to fund initiatives designed to enhance the success of the New Zealand wine industry.

Margaret Cresswell and Belinda Jackson established Wine Competition Ltd in 2011as an independent company that owns and organises wine competitions and associated events in New Zealand. Knowing that there were a significant number of unopened bottles following the judging process, the pair decided to establish a Trust to which these bottles were donated. The Trust then auctions the wine with the objective of returning the ensuing funds to the industry.

Trustee, Belinda Jackson explains, “Producers pay to submit their wines for the judging process and send us samples. Though we request the least number possible – just three bottles, we feel strongly that those not used should be returned to the industry somehow.” She continues, “The easiest way is to monetise them and then offer that money back in the form of funding for industry grants and scholarships.” . . .

Queenstown trophy station on market Chris Hutching:

Sothebys in Queenstown is marketing Homestead Bay overlooking Lake Wakatipu on Remarkables Station next to Jack’s Point golf resort.

The trophy property has been owned by three generations of the Jardine family after being founded in 1861 by Queenstown’s first European settler William Rees. The 45ha site comes with development potential for a resort village plus 27 less intensive building sites.

The station is a working farm that descends down terraces to the lake. . . .

Exporting New Zealand forward:

Federated Farmers is buoyed by surging primary exports that has turned in the lowest trade deficit for an October month since the mid-1990s.

“These export trade figures when coupled with the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research’s outlook for 2014 tells me we are turning the corner,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“The primary industries have got our collective foot to the floor and in the month of October by value alone, dairy exports surged an incredible 84.7 percent, followed by logs (26.2 percent), red meat (9.4 percent), fish (5.7 percent) and wine (3.2 percent).

“Of our big six primary exports fruit admittedly did go backwards but the trend overall is positive. . .

NZ winery first in southern hemisphere to trade with bitcoin:

A small high-end winery in North Canterbury is set to become the first wine business in the southern hemisphere to accept bitcoin payment to make transactions easier for its strong domestic and international customer base.

Pyramid Valley Vineyards, Waikairi, produces collectable wines in New Zealand and sees the new currency as a development in line with its innovative approach to business.

“It’s exciting times we live in and bitcoin is a movement that is gaining huge international traction as a currency that is borderless,” says Caine Thompson, managing director of Pyramid Valley. “We’re increasingly getting requests from our international customers to be able to pay with bitcoin, particularly for our exclusive Home Collection wines. They don’t want to be worried about exchange rates and costly transaction fees.” . . .

Record year as NZ Racing Board continues transformation:

At the NZ Racing Board AGM, held at the Head Office in Wellington today, the NZ Racing Board reflected on a record-breaking financial year and outlined its ambitious vision and goals for the future.

Financial achievements in 2013 included a record turnover of $1,956.8m, and record distributions of $147.7m to the racing industry and sporting organisations.

Speaking at the AGM, NZ Racing Board Chair Glenda Hughes said the organisation and the industry still faced significant challenges, and ongoing transformation and a collaborative approach is key to further, sustained success for an industry that contributes almost 1% of GDP. . .


For better, for worse . . .

November 28, 2013

Tweet of the day, on the announcement Geoff Robinson is retiring from Morning Report after 35 years.

The marriage vows have a different meaning for people who take on politicians – marriage to an MP is for better, for worse and for a lot of separation.


Knees together

November 28, 2013

One of my brothers wears a kilt as real kilt-wearing Scots do.

When I saw the photo Keeping Stock has posted for a caption contest I was very pleased that Gerry Brownlee doesn’t.

This is why women are taught to sit with their knees together and why men in kilts need to follow suit.

 


Political tragics and lawyers will be happy

November 28, 2013

At first glance I thought you’d have to be a political tragic or lawyer to appreciate this but no doubt there are others who have to work with legislation who will find it useful.


Thursday’s quiz

November 28, 2013

Baking is taking priority over blogging today so I’m leaving the questions up to you.

An electronics batch of shortbread is on offer to anyone who stumps us all with a bonus batch for mentions of #gigatownoamru.


Here are the jobs

November 28, 2013

Tuesday’s ODT  led with two good news stories.

The first is Children’s  TV for NHNZ:

Dunedin’s NHNZ is preparing to take on the likes of Disney with the launch of its own international children’s television channel.

NHNZ managing director Kyle Murdoch said, in preparation for the launch of the channel next February, 54 staff were hard at work in Dunedin producing content for it.

About 40 were new staff who had joined the office since the middle of this year. . .

About 40 new staff – these will be skilled jobs and this venture will earn export income.

And that’s not all NHNZ is doing:

Other exciting projects were under way at NHNZ, including the co-development with a Korean company of technology to transfer two-dimensional film into three dimensions.

”If you go and convert this stuff in Hollywood, it’s going to cost you about $10,000 a minute to convert, but with this technology we aim to convert it for between $10,000 and $20,000 an hour.”

The second story is more uni students expected:

Student numbers are expected to increase at the University of Otago next year, turning around three years of declining enrolments at the institution.

The prediction student numbers would rise by 1.7% to 18,918 full-time equivalent students (Efts) next year was made in the university’s budget for next year, which was tabled at yesterday’s council meeting – its last for the year.

The budget, along with the university’s forecast performance for this year, also tabled at the meeting, added to a picture of the university being in a strong financial position in the face of a challenging funding environment. . .

The university is one of the city’s biggest employers. The servicing and supplying of students and staff is also a large part of the Dunedin’s economy.

The city has been in the doldrums, partly because of the perception it hasn’t been getting its fair share of public spending. That isn’t the case and the university is one area where the government puts a lot of money.

But sustainable growth shouldn’t rely on public funding which can come and go. It must be built on a foundation of local individuals and businesses with the will and skills to prosper.

Both these stories show Dunedin can turn pick itself up by building on its strengths which include sound existing businesses with the potential to expand.

Another is the university which is one of the city’s biggest assets in financial and social terms.

It gets public funding and has the ability to earn extra export income from foreign students. It creates jobs directly and indirectly and provides opportunities for businesses which service and supply those who work and study there.

Today’ there’s another exciting headline – project worth ‘millions’ to city.

A major international investor is eyeing Dunedin with plans that could pump ”tens of millions of dollars” into the city’s economy, the Otago Chamber of Commerce says.

The unnamed organisation is in talks with members of a new Dunedin investment panel, created by the chamber, the Dunedin City Council and other city organisations, and hopes to progress plans next year.

Chamber chief executive John Christie said the development, if confirmed, would be in a ”key area” of strength for the city, and involve land, construction and a ”significant” number of new jobs for the city.

”We’re talking about tens of millions of dollars of new opportunity from the city.

”This is good. This is one of the city’s key strengths that we would be building on,” he said.

He stressed the opportunity was yet to be secured, and other New Zealand centres were also in the running, but believed Dunedin was well placed. . .

This bird is still in the bush and it’s too early to start counting its chickens but it is good to see the city being proactive.

The opportunity involved one of ”about eight” organisations now in talks with the new Dunedin investment panel, he said. . .

It comprised representatives from the chamber, council, the Otago Southland Employers’ Association and the tertiary sector, and there were plans to invite other members, as needed, Mr Christie said.

The panel aimed to improve city-wide communication and co-ordinate efforts to help attract potential investors to the city, as well as protect established Dunedin businesses and help them grow, he said.

”What we’re trying to do with that group is get the people that can make a difference around the table to understand what the issues are, and be able to make contact with those companies to see what, if anything, we can do.

”For whatever reason, some things can fall through the gaps … there’s a range of different options that can be put to people if only we know about them.”

One of the first topics of conversation for panel members had been to identify lessons from the handling of Betterways’ bid to build its $100 million, 27-storey hotel.

”I think there’s a lot of lessons learned from a lot of players, both internal and external to council, that can see that there’s a whole lot of things that perhaps we could do to be supportive as a city,” Mr Christie said. . .

Those are important lessons which the city must learn to ensure the city is supportive to existing businesses and new ones.


Wee parties spread too thinly

November 28, 2013

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes has been given an exemption from the party’s rule that candidates must contest electorates.

Instead, he will run in 2014 as a list-only candidate so he can focus on boosting the party’s youth vote. He stood in Ohariu in 2011, but the party has chosen Tane Woodley to stand there next year.

Most parties allow a few people to stand as list-only candidates and if Hughes was pulling out of Ohariu and not being replaced it would seriously threaten Peter Dunne’s hold on the seat by boosting Labour votes.

But since another Green candidate has been selected this isn’t a strategic move.

The announcement comes straight after yesterday’s news that the party’s co-leader Russel Norman is being challenged because the party had too few MPs in Auckland.

The Green Party is the biggest of the wee parties but both these stories indicate the problem they all face with fewer MPs and members.

They’re spread too thinly and can’t hope to have nation-wide representation in a geographical or a sector sense.


Fonterra must lift game – Spierings

November 28, 2013

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings said this will be a record season but the company must lift its game:

An optimistic Spierings told the meeting in Edendale he expected it would be an “outstanding year” for the corporation, farmers and shareholders.

He estimated 2.5 to 3 per cent growth.

The forecast cash payout for 2013-14 has been worked out as a farmgate milk price of $8.30 per kilogram of milksolids, with an estimated dividend of 32 cents per share, to give farmers a record payout of $8.62.

Speaking about the botulism scare which hit the co-op earlier this year, Spierings said Fonterra was now in rebuild mode and in a good space with local authorities and customers.

He said Fonterra was not walking away from the event and had to lift its game in food supply quality and sustainability.

Farmers wanted to see Fonterra learn from the scare, translate this into actions and come out stronger, he said.

His promise to farmers was that Fonterra would learn and lift its standards. . .

The company let itself, its customers, its shareholders and the country down.

It must implement all the recommendations in the report on the incident to ensure it does everything to prevent a repeat of that incident and that it is far better prepared for any future problems.

Spierings said there were areas Fonterra “must do better” and work was under way.

“Going forward, when we want to grow dairy, we will need to do it in a sustainable way.” This was not just “on farm” but included factory and logistics.

Fonterra wanted to look forwards and had a 10-year growth plan, which it had presented to the Government.

Southland, one of the four pillars of the New Zealand dairy sector, was still growing in farm conversions and cow numbers.

However, the game had to shift from just adding animals and become more sustainable, he said.

Southland farmers were looking for solutions in sustainability, environment and winter milk.

“But there are definitely issues they still want to discuss with us.”

With regard to sustainability solutions, it would not be a one size fits all – Fonterra would look at each farm individually, he said.

Sustainability in the entire supply chain was the key to securing further international growth and Fonterra now had a strategic plan for this.

Spierings spoke about Parliamentary Commissioner Dr Jan Wright’s Water quality in New Zealand report released last week.

He said the report was “in the past and looking backwards”.

It looked at samples and situations which Fonterra had already said a few years ago were not good enough and had started to fence waterways.

But last week Dr Wright said the report, based on satellite images from 2008, included current best practices.

Spierings said Fonterra farmers had now fenced 20,400 kilometres of waterways – about 90 per cent.

The final 10 per cent, mostly in hilly terrain, would be done because such fencing was part of the Fonterra supply contract.

He said Fonterra would consider doing its own scientific water research project.

Dairy’s reputation isn’t good.

Too often discussion of it is prefaced with the word dirty.

Some of that is based on perception rather than reality.

Big improvements have been made – in attitude and practice  – but there are areas of concern which still need to be addressed.

Fonterra  must do all it can to ensure it and its farmers are operating in a sustainable way.


NZ tops Telegraph Travel awards again

November 28, 2013

New Zealand has topped the Telegraph Travel awards for the second year in a row:

Is there any surprise that New Zealand has topped this category for another year? The Land of the Long White Cloud casts its spell over many people in many places, but seems to exert a special hold over British travellers with its mix of old-fashioned Englishness, stunning alpine scenery, vibrant Polynesian culture and obsession with extreme sport. The fact that it also produces some of the world’s best sauvignon blanc and pinot noir adds to its charm, while the quality (and freshness) of Kiwi cuisine continues to impress.

Apart from its sheer physical beauty, New Zealand is also a very compact country, which is fully geared to the needs of time-poor visitors, whether you’re enjoying a family campervan trip or staying at a top-notch country lodge. The roads are well maintained and largely free of traffic and there’s a modern air-transport system for those who want to pack even more into their travel itinerary. But the country’s single biggest tourism asset is surely its people, who are friendly, relaxed and a little eccentric. Passionate travellers themselves, New Zealanders are the world’s most natural hosts. No wonder so many Brits regard this plucky, outdoorsy and rugby-loving nation as their second home.

The story doesn’t say how it was chosen and it doesn’t reflect the number of visitors actually wanting to come.

But given you can’t get any further away from the UK and the strength of our dollar against the pound makes it more expensive than it has been for travellers from there, this is a welcome boost for our reputation as a tourist destination.

 

 


Voting because I can

November 28, 2013

Today’s history post noted it was on this day  120 years ago that women in New Zealand first voted.

That’s a good reason to vote in the referendum, even though the question is wrong and the opposition subverted the process to make it a politicians’ initiated referendum rather than a citizens’ one.

I believe that if you’re free to vote you’re also free to not vote.

But because so many people fought so hard to win universal suffrage and that right isn’t available in too many other countries yet, I am voting because I can.

And I’ll be voting yes. Although it doesn’t reflect my views exactly, it’s closer to them than no would be.

I don’t have a problem with the government selling any or all of its shares in a few energy companies and Air New Zealand.

I’d far rather they did that than borrow more or not invest in other much-needed assets.


November 28 in history

November 28, 2013

1095 – On the last day of the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II appointed Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy and Count Raymond IV of Toulouse to lead the First Crusade to the Holy Land.

1443 – Skanderbeg and his forces liberated Kruja in Middle Albania.

1520 – After navigating through the South American strait, three ships under the command of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first Europeans to sail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

1582 – William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway paid a £40 bond for their marriage licence.

1628  John Bunyan, English cleric and author. was born (d. 1688).

1632 Jean-Baptiste Lully, French composer, was born  (d. 1687).

1660 – At Gresham College, 12 men, including Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, and Sir Robert Moray decided to found what became the Royal Society.

1729 – Natchez Indians massacred 138 Frenchmen, 35 French women, and 56 children at Fort Rosalie.

1757 – William Blake, British poet, was born  (d. 1827).

1785 – The Treaty of Hopewell was signed.

1811 – Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, was premiered at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig.

1814 – The Times in London was for the first time printed by automatic, steam powered presses built by German inventors Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer, signaling the beginning of the availability of newspapers to a mass audience.

1820  Friedrich Engels, German philosopher, was born (d. 1895).

1821 – Panama Independence Day: Panama separated from Spain and joined Gran Colombia.

1829  Anton Rubinstein, Russian composer, was born (d. 1894).

1843 – Ka Lā Hui: Hawaiian Independence Day – The Kingdom of Hawaii was officially recognised by the United Kingdom and France as an independent nation.

1862 – American Civil War: In the Battle of Cane Hill, Union troops under General John Blunt defeated General John Marmaduke’s Confederates.

1893 – Women voted in a national election for the first time in the New Zealand general election.

Women vote in first general election

1895 – The first American automobile race took place over the 54 miles from Chicago’s Jackson Park to Evanston, Illinois. Frank Duryea won in approximately 10 hours.

1904  Nancy Mitford, British essayist, was born (d. 1973).

1905 – Irish nationalist Arthur Griffith founded Sinn Féin as a political party with the main aim of establishing a dual monarchy in Ireland.

1907 – In Haverhill, Massachusetts, scrap-metal dealer Louis B. Mayer opened his first movie theatre.

1910 – Eleftherios Venizelos, leader of the Liberal Party, won the Greek election again.

1912 – Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire.

1914 – World War I: Following a war-induced closure in July, the New York Stock Exchange re-opened for bond trading.

1918 – Bucovina voted for the union with the Kingdom of Romania.

1919 – Lady Astor was elected as a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. (Countess Markiewicz, the first to be elected, refused to sit.)

1920 – Irish War of Independence: Kilmichael Ambush – The Irish Republican Army ambush a convoy of British Auxiliaries and kill seventeen.

1929 – Ernie Nevers of the then Chicago Cardinals scores all of the Cardinals’ points in this game as the Cardinals defeat the Chicago Bears 40-6.

1933  Hope Lange, American actress, was born (d. 2003).

1942 Manolo Blahnik, Spanish shoe designer, was born.

1942 – In Boston a fire in the Cocoanut Grove nightclub killed 491 people.

1943 – World War II: Tehran ConferenceU.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin met in Tehran, Iran to discuss war strategy.

1948  Beeb Birtles, Dutch-Australian musician/singer-songwriter; co-founding member of Little River Band, was born.

1958 – Chad, the Republic of the Congo, and Gabon became autonomous republics within the French Community.

1960 – Mauritania became independent of France.

1961 Martin Clunes, British actor, was born.

1962  Matt Cameron, American drummer (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam), was born.

1964 – NASA launched the Mariner 4 probe toward Mars.

1972 – Last executions in Paris, of the Clairvaux Mutineers, Roger Bontems and Claude Buffet, guillotined at La Sante Prison.

1975 – East Timor declared its independence from Portugal.

1975 – As the World Turns and The Edge of Night, the final two American soap operas that had resisted going to pre-taped broadcasts, aired their last live episodes.

1979 – Flight TE901, an Air New Zealand sightseeing flight over Antarctica, crashed into the lower slopes of Mt Erebus, near Scott Base, killing all 257 passengers and crew on board.

257 killed in Mt Erebus disaster

1984 – More than 250 years after their deaths, William Penn and his wife Hannah Callowhill Penn were made Honorary Citizens of the United States.

1987 – South African Airways flight 295 crashed into the Indian Ocean, killing all 159 people on-board.

1989 –  Velvet Revolution – In the face of protests, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced it would give up its monopoly on political power.

1991 – South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia.

2008 An Air NZ Airbus A320 crashed off the coast of France.

Air NZ A320 crashes in France

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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