Word of the day

February 5, 2014

Wairangi – to be beside oneself, in a daze, infatuated, foolish, suffering from mental illness, demented, deranged, unbalanced, unhinged, crazy; demon, monster.

Hat tip: YourNZ


Rural round-up

February 5, 2014

Addressing severe erosion on the East Coast:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew has today announced that public consultation on proposed operational changes to the East Coast Forestry Project (ECFP) is now underway.

“The Gisborne region has a severe erosion problem. A quarter of the land is susceptible to severe erosion, compared with only 8 percent of all land in New Zealand,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The ECFP funds the treatment of land to prevent soil erosion, through planting trees or indigenous regeneration.”

Since 1992 landowners have used the fund to treat soil erosion on 42,000 hectares. . .

MPI confirm neurological equine herpes – Corazon Miller:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed the country’s first case of the neurological form of the Equine Herpes Virus.

12 horses have been affected on a single stud farm, six of which have since died or been euthanised.

While the virus itself is common amongst New Zealand horses, MPI spokesman Andrew Coleman says the virus often sits dormant but can manifest into the neurological form when the animal is stressed.

He says stress is a key factor in transforming the common dormant form of the virus into one which attacks the brain. . .

David Ellis, Karaka’s biggest buyer, blames IRD for bleeding bloodstock sales –  Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – David Ellis, the biggest spender at New Zealand’s premiere Karaka horse sales this year, says the tax department is stifling new investment in the bloodstock industry with its interpretation of depreciation rules.

The value of yearling sales at Karaka in South Auckland have fallen in each of the past six years, reaching $69.7 million last month, down from $111.2 million in 2008. That’s below the average $83.9 million in the past seven sales. The number of catalogued horses has fallen 12 percent in that time and actual lots bought are down 18 percent.

Ellis, principle of Waikato-based Te Akau Racing stables, spent $6.8 million on 43 horses at Karaka last month, almost $3 million more than the second-largest buyer. . .

Plantain Proves Popular Alternative to Pasture:

A Hawke’s Bay on-farm trial shows lambs fatten faster on plantain and yield better than lambs grazed on pasture.

Awapai Station, which is a ram breeder for Focus Genetics recently carried out trials and then held an on farm field day for other farmers to find out more about plantain management.

The field day comes as more farmers turn to plantain as a popular, affordable alternative to pasture for fattening lambs and improving the condition of livestock for mating.

Many sheep and beef breeders and traders say plantain helps produce better growth rates.

Awapai farm manager, Shane Tilson says he has planted 80 hectares of mixed clover and tonic plantain in the last four years and is now seeing outstanding results. . .

NZ agribusiness get dedicated crowdfunding platform :

New Zealand agribusinesses looking for investors will be able to turn to crowdfunding once new legislation comes into effect in April.

The agribusiness-focused crowdfunding platform, Snowball Effect, is the first of its kind in New Zealand, and intends to give small to medium sized businesses access through their website to funding from investors looking for equity.

Snowball Effect’s launch coincides with the new regulations and is the brainchild of Fonterra Cooperative Group executives Richard Allen, Simeon Burnett and Francis Reid. They appointed 26-year-old Josh Daniell to be the company’s business development manager to oversee daily operations. . . .

Judges Choose First Regional Dairy Awards Finalists:

The first regional finalists in the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards should be known, following the start of preliminary judging last week.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the launch of regional preliminary judging signals the start of the process to whittle down the 572 entrants to 33 regional winners and then three national winners.

“It is a long process that involves a lot of planning and preparation by our entrants and considerable time by our teams of voluntary judges,” Mrs Keeping says.

“It is also a very satisfying time, as entrants gain insights and valuable feedback from the judges and judges gain satisfaction in assisting people to progress in their career and in the dairy industry. The judges generally learn a thing or two from the entrants too!” . . .

Three reasons to toast the 2013 vintage:

It is said good things come in threes and the three newly released Sacred Hill Orange Label wines showcase all that was good about the 2013 vintage.

Sacred Hill Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2013, Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013 and Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 are now available and winemaker Tony Bish says they are ready to drink and be enjoyed during the rest of summer and beyond.

“The superb 2013 vintage has been much talked about and will be for some time,” Mr Bish says. “These wines tell more of the story of just how good the fruit from the 2013 harvest was.” . . .

Wool merger exploratory talks:

Exploratory talks are underway on a possible merger between two farmer-owned wool bodies.

They are the Primary Wool Co-operative and the investment company Wool Equities. . . .


GDT price index up .5%

February 5, 2014

GlobalDairyTrade’s Price Index increased .5% in this morning’s auction.

GDT Trade Weighted Index Changes

GDT 5.2.14

The price of anhydrous milk fat dropped 1.2%, butter increased 2.6%; butter milk powder was down by 1.2%, cheddar dropped 4.3%; lactose was down 2.7%, milk protein concentrate fell 3.3%; rennet casein dropped 3.7%,  and whole milk powder  increased by 1.4%.


Employment up, unemployment down

February 5, 2014

Employment has lagged behind other encouraging announcements but the labour market is strengthening and unemployment has fallen to a three-year low:

The labour market continues to grow and unemployment has fallen to 6.0 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. There were 24,000 more people employed in the December 2013 quarter, following an additional 28,000 in the September quarter.

Over the December 2013 year, the number of people employed rose 3.0 percent in the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS). Demand for workers from established businesses rose 1.9 percent in the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES).

“We’re seeing strength across the labour market, particularly in the industries that provide services,” industry and labour statistics manager Diane Ramsay said. “The unemployment rate has been falling and employment rising for the last 18 months, with both now at levels last seen in early 2009.”

Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labour cost index (LCI) salary and ordinary time wage rates, remained steady at 1.6 percent in the December 2013 quarter. Average ordinary time hourly earnings, as measured by the QES, rose 2.9 percent over the year – up from 2.6 percent in the September quarter.

 

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says this is further evidence that the New Zealand economy is heading in the right direction.

“What is pleasing is the growth is right across the country and shows the Government’s responsible economic policies and comprehensive Business Growth Agenda is creating the opportunities for businesses to invest and employ more people.”
Highlights include:

  • The labour force participation rate increased 0.3 per cent to 68.9 per cent – the second highest since records began in 1986. Female participation rose 0.4 per cent to 63.4 per cent – the highest level since the HLFS began
  • The rate for youth not in employment, education or training (NEET) for 15-24 year olds fell 0.1 per cent to 11.3 per cent – the lowest rate since December 2008
  • Māori and Pasifika unemployment are both down. Māori unemployment rate was 12.8 per cent (from 14.8 per cent a year ago). Pasifika unemployment rate was 13.7 per cent (from 16.0 per cent a year ago)
  • Manufacturing jobs are up 6 per cent in the last year or 14,300 people.

New Zealand’s unemployment rate remains better than most OECD countries and is just behind Australia (5.8 per cent). New Zealand has a significantly higher employment rate than Australia because of our higher participation rate. The average unemployment rate across the OECD is 7.8 per cent. 

Wages continue to rise faster than inflation. Average weekly earnings rose 2.8 per cent in the last year, compared to inflation of 1.6 per cent.

“While steady progress is being made, as a country we need to remain focused on encouraging investment that will bring jobs, and higher incomes for New Zealanders and their families,” Mr Joyce says.

Six percent is still too high but the improvement is welcome and increased business confidence means it is likely to continue.


Straight talk in sits vac

February 5, 2014

An advertisement on TradeMe:

Matt Ford Contracting Ltd are on the hunt for some decent staff!
In previous ads we seem to get plenty of people that can’t read properly or have grossly warped opinions of themselves (and or) their abilities. In an ad when we state things we want – that’s what we want. eg, if we say you need to be very fit, honest, reliable, and trustworthy we mean exactly that not unfit, dishonest, unreliable and untrustworthy Pretty Simple really! With this in mind read on or go read the woman’s weekly.
We are an agricultural spraying operation situated in North Canterbury and operate from Mid Canterbury to Marlborough.
Our business is based on getting the job done quickly, efficiently and completed to a very high standard i.e. Old School. The job is best suited to the classic “get down to business Kiwi bloke” not the “pot smoking, drop kick, wissy teenage Kiwi joke”. The following is a list of attributes that will go a long way to getting you a job with us ( and funnily enough surviving in life!):
Being Steve Gurney fit, Have a passion for the outdoors, Be happy and prepared to work long hours, Be happy and prepared to work away from home, Be honest, trustworthy and reliable, Be able to use, respect gear and not bring the company’s name into disrepute, Have a car and valid drivers licence (4WD experience useful), Be able to communicate clearly via speech (not text language), Be able to work and live with a team of like minded people – eg cook, clean, wash dishes, shower and keep your room tidy (all very basic potty training).
If you fit the bill with the things mentioned above you may very well be one of an endangered species – Ring quickly, we would love to chat to you.
DO NOT TEXT – I WILL NOT REPLY, use the phone for what Alexander Graham Bell designed it for! Have at least two references and phone numbers ready when you call please – BE WARNED, if you talk the talk, you need to be able to walk the talk!

Applicants for this position should have NZ residency or a valid NZ work visa.

A lot of employers will sympathise with this.


Battle of cheesemakers

February 5, 2014

A media release from the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards:

With over 400 entries, a new milk type, three new international judges and five new cheese companies stepping into the ring, this year’s NZ Champions of Cheese Awards are set to be the most competitive yet.

Now in its eleventh year, the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards see our country’s finest speciality cheese come together under one roof, in the hope of winning one of 16 champion cheese titles.

New Zealand’s largest cheese exporters, our smallest artisan cheesemakers, and even home crafted cheeses, will be judged by an expert panel at The Langham in Auckland on Sunday 2nd March.

“The diversity in this year’s entries with five new companies, a new milk type and a record number of home crafted cheesemakers, are positive signs of a dynamic and vibrant New Zealand cheese industry that strengthens each year,” organiser of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards, Vikki Lee Goode, said.

One of Australasia’s most experienced international cheese judges and renowned cheese educationalist, Russell Smith will be joined by three highly-regarded overseas cheese judges, adding another level of expertise and excitement to the awards.

Of particular note is Ueli Berger, the most awarded cheese maker in Australia and current head cheesemaker at beverage and food company, Lion.

“I regard Mr Berger as Australia’s most knowledgeable and skilled cheesemaker. He’s simply one of the best, and I personally am very excited to bring him to New Zealand to experience first-hand the top-rate cheese produced in this country,” Mr Smith said.

Master Judge Russell Smith will lead 28 expert assessors, including some of New Zealand’s most experienced cheese connoisseurs. Together they’ll consume and critique over 400 cheeses in search of the nation’s best.

Each cheese will be examined by a technical and an aesthetic judge as a duo, and strictly graded to pre-determined gold, silver and bronze standards.

Judges will also determine a champion cheese in 16 categories before selecting the two best overall cheeses to be named supreme winner of the Cuisine Champion Artisan Award for small artisan producers, and the Countdown Champion of Champions Award for larger producers.

 The international trend of mixed milk cheese varieties remains, as well as a strong number of home crafted cheesemakers – a category that’s increasing in popularity each year.

For the first time in award history, cheese made from deer milk is being entered. Deer cheese was introduced last year as a collaboration between Whitestone Cheese alongside scientists at the University of Otago and Lincoln University, and drew interest of the feat of milking deer and the technical skill of turning deer milk into cheese.

Kiwi cheese lovers can also have their say with the New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award selected entirely by public votes through the New World website (www.newworldcheeseawards.co.nz). Voting is open now till 26th February.

The 2014 NZ Champions of Cheese Award winners will be announced at a gala dinner at The Langham in Auckland on Tuesday 4th March.

The following day (Wednesday 5th March) the public are invited to sample award-winning cheeses. Cuisine CheeseFest, billed as at the ultimate event for cheese lovers, takes place at The Langham from 5pm to 8:30pm. Tickets are available for $30 per person at www.eventfinder.co.nz or $35 at the door.

You can read more at Specialist Cheesemakers.

You can vote for the People’s Choice and go into a draw to win  two tickets to the Cuisine CheeseFest on Wednesday, 5 March at The Langham hotel in Auckland (flights provided if you reside outside of Auckland). Prize includes two night’s accommodation at The Langham, dinner at Langham’s Eight Restaurant, a Langham Tiffin Afternoon Tea and a $500 VISA Prezzy Card! More on that here.


Northland must embrace job opportunities

February 5, 2014

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is urging Northland iwi and community leaders to endorse and encourage resource opportunities that will create jobs and boost economic growth in the region.

It follows comments from a spokesperson for one Ngapuhi hapu on Radio New Zealand and in Mining Australia magazine that Ngapuhi miners working in Australia wouldn’t be welcome home if they return to work in mining exploration in Northland.

“While regions across New Zealand are leading New Zealand’s economic recovery, Northland has been struggling with high unemployment. The only way to change that is to encourage new investment in the region,” Mr Joyce says.

“Northland iwi and community leaders have been working well together to develop a number of economic opportunities. It’s important that Northland embraces all opportunities to grow jobs in the region while carefully managing the environmental impacts.

“There are many opportunities for investment and growth here. Accelerating treaty settlements, improving the development of Maori land, and exploration of mineral opportunities are all part of the story.

“We have to get past the point where people react with a black and white no to resource opportunities. We need to manage the process so that we can both have the jobs and protect our environment.

“It’s time to unambiguously endorse measures that will really lift the North and bring jobs, incomes, and above all a stronger future here in Northland for the young people of the region.”

Northland is one of the poorest regions.

Taranaki is booming with higher employment and higher wages because it has embraced resource extraction.

In doing so it’s got the economic benefits without any of the environmental problems those opposed to drilling and mining use to defend their position.


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