Word of the day

December 5, 2013

 Begrumpled – not very happy; most unhappy or displeased.

There is a reason this word was chosen today, an explanatory post will follow when I’m less begrumpled.

Rural round-up

December 5, 2013

Trade access into Peru great news for meat industry:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming the approval of New Zealand meat exports to enter Peru.

Peruvian authority SENASA has approved the listing of all New Zealand exporters currently interested in exporting beef, sheep meat and offal into the country. The listings are valid for three years and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has the option to request the addition of further exporters.

“This approval to export beef and sheep products to Peru is great news for the meat industry. It gives our exporters access to a market with a value (based on 2011 imports) of at least US$19 million, with significant potential for growth.

“This is more good news, following the Chinese Taipei economic agreement which will phase out beef tariffs in 2015. . .

Trust backed for taking court action – Marie Taylor:

The courts should throw the book at anyone causing damage to covenanted land, Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills says.

Wills was speaking after the QEII National Trust decided to take a Canterbury dairy farmer to court, alleging damage to covenanted kanuka woodland.

Netherlands Holdings director Roelof Wobben is alleged to have cleared 2.5ha of protected kanuka woodland on his dairy runoff just north of Eyrewell Forest to create room for irrigators. . .

Farmers asked to be on watch after more Chilean Needle Grass found:

Farmers and landowners are being asked to keep an eye out for the Chilean Needle Grass (CNG) plant pest which flowers and seeds at this time of year.

The number of affected sites has risen to 14 in recent weeks after plants were found on roadsides near known sites and two plants were found on a property adjoining an affected site.

Environment Canterbury is working to prevent further spreading of the pest, which has the potential to infest an estimated 15 million hectares on the east coasts of the north and south islands. . .

How onions recognise when to bulb:

New research will help to breed new onions tailored to grow in specific conditions.

Onions, the third largest vegetable crop in the world, form a bulb in response to lengthening days, however the molecular mechanisms controlling this response were not previously known. Research undertaken by Plant & Food Research and the University of Otago has identified the gene controlling bulb development, the first step in discovering genetic markers that can be used as tools to screen conventional breeding programmes for new onion varieties with the right genetic profile.

The research is published in the prestigious online journal Nature Communications with related research published in Theoretical and Applied Genetics. . .

Ballance passes price benefit to farmers:

Farmers stand to benefit from a global oversupply of plant nutrients and weak international demand, with Ballance Agri-Nutrients leading the domestic market down in its latest round of price cuts.

Ballance is reducing the price on many of its fertiliser nutrients on Friday 6 December, with a significant price reduction for potash to follow in the New Year.

The price reductions follow an earlier cut made in July to help farmers get a head start with spring nutrient applications. . .

Kiwi Manufacturer Answers Call for Healthier Meat Products for Children:

One of New Zealand’s leading food manufacturers has created a new range of meat products for kids with a view to securing the all important children’s meal market share.

Beak NZ, a New Zealand operated company has launched an innovative range of sausages – including a Watties tomato sauce flavoured sausage, meatballs and burger patties to appeal to both parents and children alike.

The products which contain herbs, spices and premium beef or chicken are designed to appeal to the growing number of families who are asking for a more natural meat product. . .

ACC levies down 21-29% for farmers

December 5, 2013

Reductions in ACC levies will result in significant savings for farmers.

Farmers are delighted the Government has confirmed ACC levies for 2014/15, which will see between 21 and 29 percent, shaved off work levy rates for farming ‘risk groups’.  This reflects an improving safety record on-farm and should go lower as this trend continues.

“While farmers may work in one of the highest risk groups, we are finally seeing our improving safety record translate into the levies paid by pastoral farmers,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers ACC spokesperson.

“If there is ever an advertisement for why good safety is good for business then this is it.  Work levy rates for pastoral farming categories in 2014/15 are being shaved between 21 and as high as 29 percent.

“From the macro sense this will save all businesses, not just farming ones, $151 million this financial year in the Work Levy alone.  As farmers are self-employed they will get a share of what is a $151 million safety dividend.

“Employees will also be paying $236 million less in the Earners’ Levy too.

“While Federated Farmers is very happy with this that comes as a result of ACC consultation, one thing we will be watching out for is to ensure any cut to levies does not shift the goal posts of entitlement when farmers need to claim.

“We trust the levy cuts reflect a far more efficient and focused ACC, rather than chalking up accidental injuries as part of the ‘wear and tear’ of being alive.

“Given what Minister Collins said earlier in the week, we remain very hopeful that a safer vehicle fleet including farm road going farm vehicles, will see a cut next year in the motor vehicle account average levy.

“Overall this is a very good result for employers and employees alike but we now wonder if the time has come to give ACC its political independence from levy setting, much like the Reserve Bank has with the Official Cash Rate,” Mrs Milne concluded.

Farms are full of hazards – animals, vehicles, machinery, insects . . .

But taking account of individual business’s safety records when setting levies rewards safer workplaces which is good.

A table on the link above shows reduction varying from 40 cents (from $1.40 to $1 per hundred dollars earned) for grain and crop growing to $1.06 (from $4.26 – $3.20) for shearing.

These are significant amounts which will leave more money in the pockets of businesses and employees.

The table below shows the finalised 2014/15 Work Levy rates (current portion) for employers and self-employed people compared to last year’s rates payable on each $100 of wages or earnings from self-employment (all rates shown exclude GST):

Farming occupations

Previous Levy (2013/14)

 New Levy (2014/15)

Grain growing $               1.40  $           1.00
Crop growing (not elsewhere classified) $               1.40  $           1.00
Grain (and sheep or beef) $               2.56  $           1.94
Sheep/Beef $               2.56  $           1.93
Sheep $               2.56  $           1.93
Beef $               2.55  $           1.93
Beekeeping $               2.61  $           2.01
Dairy $               2.61  $           2.07
Deer $               2.61  $           2.01
Pig $               2.61  $           2.01
Other livestock $               2.62  $           2.02
Shearing $               4.26  $           3.20

Thursday’s quiz

December 5, 2013

1. Who said: Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.?

2. What was the name of the 1957 film in which a dissenting juror tried to convince the other 11 on the panel that the case wasn’t as clear cut as it appeared?

3. It’s fâché in French, arrabbiato in Italian, enfadado in Spanish and pukuriri in Maori, what is it in English.

4. The the Erinyes, female chthonic deities of vengeance, are better known by what name?

5. When it comes to anger is it better to be a stewer or a volcano?

Can’t have it both ways

December 5, 2013

The Opposition, blinded by its determination that selling a minority share in a few state assets cannot be good, has got a bit confused.

Finance Minister Bill English did his best to simplify matters for them during question time yesterday:

The Opposition cannot have it both ways. If it says that the shares trading below their sale price is a failure, it certainly would say that if the shares were trading above the sale value, then that was a failure. The Opposition cannot have it both that we ripped off the investors and that we gave away the taxpayers’ assets. Both of those things cannot be true. The sales were a success. We gave out share certificates to New Zealanders, and in return for that we have $4 billion in the bank. I know it worries the Opposition that we are going to be spending that on public assets when it cannot—because it would have to borrow that money from foreign bankers, whom it seems much more interested in—and when we want to provide investment opportunities for New Zealanders.

The government gave out share certificates and banked $4 billion.

That seems like a very fair exchange for all involved and a lot better than the alternative of borrowing more or not investing in other assets which, unlike energy companies and an airline, are core government business.

Being careful with our money

December 5, 2013

Quote of the day:

. . . hard-working New Zealanders get to the end of the week and very generously hand us 25 percent of their pay packet. They could make good use of it. When we get it, just because it adds up to billions, it does not mean we should be irresponsible. It means we should be very, very careful with the $200 and $300 weekly payments that New Zealanders make to us. Bill English.

How very refreshing to have a Finance Minister who understands where tax revenue comes from and the necessity to be very careful with our money.

Spot the irony

December 5, 2013

Facebook posts of the day:

Michael Woodhouse MP
Definition of irony #1: an opposition that rails against any form of educational measures that compares pupils or schools, but bows down before a report that compares countries.
Michael Woodhouse MP
Definition of irony #2: an opposition that fails to realise that the real value of National Standards is the measurement of an child’s progress over time, but values the PISA report for doing just that.
Definition of irony #3: an opposition that criticises the Government for not having measures of poverty at the same time as criticising the Government for its measures in educational achievement.

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