Word of the day

February 7, 2014

Ineptocracy – system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely  to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Hat tip: Not PC


iPredict approves of Act changes

February 7, 2014

Investors in iPredict have given a vote of confidence to Act’s new leaderhshp:

The probability National will lead the next government after this year’s election – now likely to be in October – has passed 60% for the first time. The Act Party has gained at the expense of the Conservatives while John Key’s other support parties, UnitedFuture and the Maori Party, have improved their prospects of returning to parliament, as has Mana. . .

A party vote turnout of 77.2% continues to be expected compared with 74.2% in 2011.

There have been small changes in forecast party vote shares over the last week. Of the major parties, National is expected to win 42.26% of the party vote (down from 43.06% last week), Labour 32.94% (down from 33.17%) and the Green Party 9.42% (down from 9.59%).

No other parties are expected to reach the 5% threshold under the MMP electoral system. NZ First is expected to win 4.73% of the party vote (compared with 4.40% last week), the ConservativeParty 4.14% (down from 4.40%), Act 2.46% (up from 1.70%), the Maori Party 1.28% (down from 1.30%), the Internet Party 1.28%, Mana 0.49% (down from 0.60%), UnitedFuture 0.49% (down from 0.60%), the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 0.30% (down from 0.40%), the Civilian Party 0.1% and Democrats for Social Credit 0.1%.

This isn’t an opinion poll but even so I’m not sure why Act, a supposedly liberal party, should gain at the expense of a party Conservative in name and by nature.


Rural round-up

February 7, 2014

Beef producers need comprehensive TPP deal:

Beef producers from the four largest beef producing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries continue to advocate that any TPP agreement must deliver on the 2011 TPP Ministers’ position of eliminating tariffs and other barriers to trade.

Beef producers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, working in a coordinated partnership known as the Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA), issued a statement today expressing concern at the possibility that some TPP members may seek to exclude some so-called “sensitive” products from comprehensive, duty free access.

Granting a TPP member any such exclusion would result in other members seeking similar treatment, leading to a decline in the agreement’s level of ambition and the resulting economic growth that it would bring. . .

NZ apple growers likely to beat $1 billion export target early on rising prices, higher productivity – TIna Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand apple growers will probably reach $1 billion in exports ahead of their 10-year 2022 target as the industry benefits from higher productivity and rising prices.

The apple industry, New Zealand’s second-largest fresh fruit export after kiwifruit, has raised export prices to offset the negative impact of a higher New Zealand dollar on returns, said Gary Jones, business development manager at grower organisation Pipfruit New Zealand. Better access to seasonal staff through a 2008 government scheme has helped orchard owners raise production.

New Zealand’s apple industry, which accounts for a quarter of the southern hemisphere’s fresh apple exports, is heading into its main three-month harvesting period. Pipfruit NZ plans to drop its compulsory grower levy for research and development to 1 cent a kilogram this year from 1.25 cents last year as it benefits from the extra revenue gleaned from a larger crop. . .

Strong Export Seed Season:

New Zealand seed growers enjoyed another strong export season in 2013.

Radish, carrots, ryegrass and white and red clover are just some of the high value export seed crops grown in this country every year, many of them in Canterbury, and exported to over 60 world New data sourced from Statistics New Zealand show the total value of seed exports was $192 million up $24 million or 14 per cent for the year ended December 2013, compared with the previous year.

Herbage seed (ryegrass, clover and other grasses) accounts for 53 per cent of total seed exports by value. Vegetable seed has 47 per cent share.

Australia is the biggest market for pasture seed, accounting for 16 per cent of total shipments.

Northern hemisphere markets remain hugely important for New Zealand vegetable seeds and Asian sales are steady with good growth opportunities. The Netherlands is the number 1 export market by value for carrots, radish and other vegetable seeds.

Thomas Chin, general manager of the New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association, says growers, processors and exporters have every reason to be pleased with the latest export data. . .

There are two types of eaters at the table: The quick, and the hungry! – Art4Agriculture:

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to our guest blogger Andrew Dallimore

In the words of Marian MacDonald ( read Marian’s blog post on Andrew here) who suggested  Andrew to me as a candidate for the Young Farming Champions program

There are plenty of dreamers out there. I can’t tell you how many of our city friends say how lucky we are to be living on the land but never take the plunge. Andrew Dallimore is not one of them.

This young man is a dreamer, thinker and doer rolled into one. In the name of encouraging students to be ambitious, achieve their goals, and overcome challenges, he set up a charity and cycled from Adelaide to Melbourne (see more at http://thegentlewaydotorg.wordpress.com/about-2/). Now, in the name of his future family and community, Andrew’s applying those very same principles to his own life. . .

My first five decades in a nutshell (but I didn’t marry a farmer after all) – Madbush Farm:

January 1964

My mother gave birth to her fifth child. It was the time of the Vietnam War. People were dying and the protests against the war were already raging. Mum and Dad got a black and white Murphy Television.

1967
I was three years old and I saw my first horse. I wanted to have my own horse. Next door was an old horse named Joey. I was found sitting underneath him with a rope in my hand.

1969

I started school. My first day was crap. I got the drawing in the book wrong. The teacher hit me on the hand with a ruler. I  now wanted my own farm and a horse.  I didn’t like school. We watched Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon. I was disappointed. There was no man in the moon after all.

1973

I still wanted my own farm and a horse. I was told I had to marry a farmer if I wanted a farm. I knew the answer to the question What is the capital of Vietnam? in my class general knowledge quizz. It was Saigon. The Vietnam War was all over our television screen. People were dying. I didn’t understand why. I started to watch Country Calender because I wanted to be a farmer. . .

 


Friday’s answers

February 7, 2014

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: We believe that we should sit down and invite who we want in the country, both on need, but also, like, our Pacific neighbours and people like that. Now, once you invite them here, you must embrace them, otherwise, what are you doing? We’ve gotta go forward as a country.?

2.   What are the six words which follow He aha te mea nui o te ao?   in this quote and what does the whole quote mean?

3. It’s gens in French, gente in Italian and Spanish and tangata in Maori, what is it in English.

4. Who translated a copy of the Maori text of the Treaty of Waitangi into English?

5. Waitangi Day is . . . .?

Points for answers:

Andrei got two.

Grant got three with bonuses for reasoning for # 1 & 4 – even though it didn’t lead to the right conclusion.

Answers follow the break

1. Pita Sharples.

2. He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people!

3.  People.

4. Henry Williams.

5.


New blogs

February 7, 2014

A couple of new blogs on matters political:

Matthew Beveridge, a post-grad student at Massey, looks at politics with a focus on the use of social media.

. . . The point of this blog is to look at the use of social media, by parties, media and voters, and compare it to previous elections in New Zealand as well as elections and campaigns overseas. As part of this, I would be interested in anyone sending in links of stories/posts/comments they see online that they think would add to the conversation. These tips can be sent to politics@matthewbeveridge.co.nz.

Decisionz14 is run by a self-described vibrant team of very nerdy pols geeks. We all come from different political backgrounds and have different views.


Buy local here but not there

February 7, 2014

The chief executive of one of Australia’s big supermarket chains told an agribusiness dinner in Melbourne about its strategy to buy local produce.

It was, he said, a response to customer demand for Australian goods.

The supermarket was also going to go direct to producers, eschewing buyers in between.

It would, he said, be good for customers and producers.

The New Zealanders in the audience saw the danger in this and even the Australians weren’t entirely convinced of the scheme’s merits.

They liked the idea that they wouldn’t be competing with overseas producers but they’d seen how hard dairy farmers had been squeezed by milk wars.

Many of them were exporters and they recognised the risk, and hypocrisy, in supporting buy local at home when they would be wanting customers in other markets to do the opposite.

The Australian-made strategy is now hitting New Zealand producers as supermarkets stop buying are fresh and processed food.

New Zealand products are being stripped off supermarket shelves across the Tasman because of the aggressive Buy Australia campaign, says an organisation promoting local goods.

Buy NZ Made executive Scott Wilson says big Australian supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths are “systematically removing New Zealand-produced goods from their house brand labels simply for being non-Australian”.

Mr Wilson says frozen foods, cheese and fresh vegetables are among products affected.

“We have no intention of taking a protectionist stance by suggesting people avoid products that aren’t New Zealand made,” he said.

New Zealand supermarkets aren’t copying the Australian strategy – and given one is Australian-owned, it’s unlikely to. But there’s a very fine line between saying buy Kiwi-made and don’t buy imported goods.

. . . Prime Minister John Key addressed the issue today, which he says is against the spirit of trade relations with New Zealand.

“Even if it’s legally not [a breach of CER], it’s arguably a breach of the spirit of CER, and we’re going to be raising that with Tony Abbott,” says Mr Key.

“The whole spirit of CER is an integrated Australasian market, and we feel that the big companies in Australia should actually observe that. We can always retaliate but their market’s five or six times bigger than ours, so that doesn’t help us much.” . . .

Labour is huffing and puffing about the issue, but what would they do if Tony Abbott tried to tell supermarkets here what to do?

It is a contravention of the spirit of CER which has created a free market between Australia and New Zealand.

But removing tariffs is a government decision, it doesn’t impose requirements on businesses to buy imported goods or stop them only buying local produce.

New Zealand producers could organise a boycott of Australian-owned supermarkets here but there’s little else they can do.

The Aussie supermarkets are trying to sell the scheme as being better for customers and producers but it won’t be in the long run.

Australian customers will have less choice when they shop and that could eventually lead to having to pay higher prices.

They will  also less certainty of supply when, for example droughts or floods, affect production. When supply drops, prices rise.

Producers will find themselves locked into contracts as the weaker partner which will eventually lead to them having to accept lower prices.

There are good things to be said for buying local, and I do it when I can if there’s little difference in price and quality.

But that’s my choice and the Aussie supermarkets are taking that choice away from their customers.

There are also many good things to be said for free trade, for customers and producers who will be the losers if the supermarkets continue to swim against that tide for their own ends.

There is a lesson in this for the Buy NZ Made campaign too – it’s arrant hypocrisy to say buy local here but not there.


Still work to do

February 7, 2014

In his Waitangi Day speech, Prime Minister John Key reflects on what the government has done for Maori and acknowledges there’s still work to do:

E nga Rangatira

E tau nei ki Waitangi

Tena koutou

Tena tatau katoa

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Waitangi Day is a special day for New Zealanders. It’s a day when we reflect on the history of our young country, and it’s a day when we think about what we want for New Zealand’s future.

We come together here each year to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Treaty is more than a document which created a new nation.

The settlement process which springs from the Treaty gives iwi the ability to move beyond seeking redress for past wrongs and instead look forward to seizing future opportunities.

I’m pleased to say virtually all iwi willing and able to settle, are engaged with the Crown.

That’s a big achievement.

And it has been the fruit of a lot of hard work since we came into government in 2008.

During that time, we have worked constructively with our partners, including the Māori Party, to help Māori succeed across a number of areas, like the settlement process.

But we have also seen Māori success bloom in educational achievement and industry training, and we are seeing better health outcomes.

The Māori Party has played a large part in this. And I would like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to my Ministerial colleagues, Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples, for their unstinting and passionate work. They will leave an enduring legacy following their move away from politics.

The Maori Party has brought a rich dimension to this Government for two terms.

Their say in the governance of our country is one of the reasons why the Crown and iwi have met so many goals together over the past five years.

Together with the Māori Party, we have lifted Maori participation in early childhood education to over 92 per cent. That means the vast majority of Māori children are entering primary school with a solid foundation for learning.

Under this Government, more Māori children are staying in school longer, and gaining NCEA level 2, than ever before.

We are pouring money into Māori and Pasifika trades training – $43 million last year.  And our Youth Guarantee provides fees-free places for 16- to 19-year-olds to study at tertiary institutions, and at trades and services academies.

And of the 9,000 Youth Guarantee places available last year, around 4,000 went to Māori.

More Māori are coming out of wānaga, polytechs and universities with bachelor’s degrees or higher, so they are well-placed to move into better, higher-paying jobs.

It’s a similar story in health.

Together with the Māori Party, we have almost doubled the immunisation rate for Māori two-year-olds. It’s now over 90 per cent, up from 59 per cent in 2007.

We have made visits to the doctor free for under-sixes.

And nearly one in three New Zealanders – including many Māori – can now go to the doctor at a reduced rate.

Our economy is gathering steam.

We’ve got one of the fastest-growing economies in the developed world.  Last year, 17,000 people came off a benefit.

And each week, 1500 New Zealanders come off a benefit and get a job.

That brings me to Māori economic development.

The centrepiece of our work on Māori economic development is reforming Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.

The Ministry of Primary Industries has estimated that, if we can make this land work for Māori, it will be worth up to $8 billion for the Māori economy and will create at least 4000 jobs over the next 10 years.

Given those incredible possibilities, it’s well worth the effort.

Together with the Māori Party, we have worked constructively with the Iwi Leaders Group on issues like freshwater and the Resource Management Act.

We don’t always agree on everything, but we do have a shared sense of purpose and we have mutual respect.

And for the past five years iwi have presented a range of commercial proposals to government, ranging from their interest in purchasing part of Housing New Zealand’s housing portfolio, to investing in major infrastructure developments, and buying shares in the Government’s share offers.

So I am proud of what this National-led Government, with the support of the Māori Party, has achieved for iwi.

Treaty settlements

Ladies and Gentlemen.

The Treaty settlement process has been accelerated under this Government

And it’s happened because we believe it is in everyone’s interests to increase the pace of that process.

We came into office in 2008 saying that we would do our very best to secure just and durable Treaty settlements by 2014. That date was not a deadline but a best endeavours goal.

Since National embedded the Treaty settlement process, 67 deeds of settlement have been signed and our Government has signed 41 of these in the past five years.

That’s a remarkable acceleration of the pace the process was lumbering along at when we came to office in 2008.

At that time, it was calculated that if settlements continued at the rate at which they were then occurring – which was 1.6 settlements a year – we’d still be signing them in 2048.

Progress since 2008

So let me highlight some of our achievements over the past five years.

I want to start off with Ngāti Haua. In 2008, there had been no negotiations with that iwi.

We have now concluded a deed of settlement with Ngāti Haua, and I want to mention them because of what they have achieved.

Some of their representatives told Bill English and Chris Finlayson that they wanted to negotiate their deed of settlement within six months.

No-one believed it was possible. But it happened – under this government.

Let’s look at iwi a little further south of here.

In Tāmaki Makaurau through to Hauraki, nothing was happening when we came into office.

In 2006 the Crown had been severely criticised by the Waitangi Tribunal for the way it had negotiated the Ngāti Whātua o Orakei settlement.

Everything was on hold.

So we started negotiations throughout the entire rohe from Tāmaki through to Hauraki. We have now signed deeds of settlement with three iwi, as well as the Tāmaki Collective settlement.

Later in the year, we intend to have signed deeds of settlement with another Tāmaki iwi, as well as with at least 11 of the 12 Hauraki iwi and two collective agreements.

In the Waikato, the much-heralded Waikato River deed had been signed with Waikato-Tainui when we came into office.

But it was a flawed negotiation and we had to start it again.

We re-signed with Waikato-Tainui and concluded settlements with Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Maniapoto in relation to the Waipa River.

When we came into office, the Whanganui River negotiation was going nowhere, having been unilaterally stopped by the Crown under the previous government.

So we started working very hard to negotiate a river settlement with Whanganui iwi, and we hope to initial a deed of settlement this month.

In 2008, terms of negotiation had been signed with Ngāi Tuhoe but that was the extent of it.

This has been a hugely significant negotiation – and the deed of settlement was signed last year.

I expect the legislation will be passed through its final stages in the next few months.

My government is very proud of this settlement with Ngāi Tuhoe.

Let’s move on to Tauranga. Again, it was the same story – nothing was happening when we came into office.

But we have now signed deeds of settlement with three iwi in the region. Further negotiations are underway with a view to securing the signing of the collective settlement.

This government has now negotiated all the deeds of settlement with the iwi at the top of the South Island. Settlement legislation giving effect to those deeds will be passed by Parliament within the next month.

And that’s not all.

The Crown has settled with several iwi on the East Coast of the North Island.

Taranaki iwi have picked up the challenge and we are on the verge of signing deeds of settlement with three iwi there.

And we are negotiating with iwi throughout Central Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and the Chatham Islands.

More deeds of settlement will be signed, and more Treaty legislation passed, before the year is out.

So I am proud to stand by our record on Treaty settlements.

Among those settled iwi, a new generation has been freed from a legacy that has been handed down for decades – in some cases, more than 100 years.

They can pursue their future with vigour.

With settlement comes new leverage and a new status.

Great success stories are emerging from those who see the post-settlement environment as a chance to get on with the exciting, challenging and ultimately satisfying business of running their affairs in their own rohe.

Major players in both the public and private sectors want to form relationships with iwi authorities.

The investment decisions of settled iwi have the potential to create wealth, jobs and opportunity for iwi and their communities – and also for other New Zealanders and the wider economy.

That is just as it should be, and I would like to see more of those benefits flow into the economy up here, in the Far North.

Ngapuhi

So what has been happening here, in this part of the country?

In Te Hiku, negotiations were at a very early stage when we came to office. We have now concluded three out of the four deeds of settlement after almost four years of negotiation.

Tomorrow, Chris Finlayson will be at Cape Reinga signing a deed of settlement with Ngāti Kuri.

There has not yet been a settlement with Ngāti Kahu, but their position will be preserved while they decide whether they want to negotiate or walk away. The choice is theirs.

So now we come to Ngapuhi.

Together, we have made great progress. But there is still work to do.

This region needs economic stimulus. The Government is putting a lot of effort in, by encouraging minerals exploration, investing in agribusiness and by improving transport links.

However, the biggest injection will come when all iwi here willing and able to settle, do so. Iwi will be financially empowered. Several hundred million dollars would be injected into the local economy.

As an example, look at what Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu have done with their settlements.

Since those two iwi settled in 1995 and 1998 respectively, both iwi have grown their initial settlements of $170 million each into assets worth a total of over $700 million.

Throughout the country, iwi and hapu are discovering what they can achieve post-settlement. And the possibilities are empowering.

So I am very ambitious to see an agreement in principle with Ngapuhi signed this year. The Ministers of Maori Affairs and Treaty Negotiations will make a decision on a mandate very soon.

It is time for Ngapuhi to put aside their personal differences and unite to focus on the big prize.

A settlement will provide Ngapuhi the opportunity to play a key role in developing Northland and its economy.

My challenge to all Ngapuhi today is this: put aside your differences, look to the future, embrace the challenges that are before you.

The Crown is ready and willing to negotiate with whoever you choose as your representatives.

Get stuck into negotiations with energy and enthusiasm. I am keen to see the financial and commercial redress agreed this year, at least in principle.

If that can be done then I am prepared to look at some form of payment on account to incentivise people to act in a positive and progressive manner.

Crown-Maori Relationship

It’s all very well to reach Treaty settlements and say we can move on together. But governments will be judged not just by how they negotiate settlements but by whether they honour them, not only tomorrow but 25 years in the future.

We see settlements as establishing a new relationship between the Crown and Māori, as we move into a post-settlement environment.

For example, in the various settlements with Te Hiku iwi, a social accord was signed.

So, too, with Ngāti Whare. Under their deed of settlement, we are working with them on social issues.

These types of social accords show why Treaty settlements are worth the effort. It’s not just about money and commercial opportunities: it is also about establishing a new relationship with the Crown.

These arrangements also send a strong signal that the Crown understands it can’t solve Māori socio-economic disparity on its own.

The Crown needs to work more effectively to target its resources to Māori needs, and it is prepared to change the way it works with iwi and Māori community groups to achieve this.

This is the major challenge for both the Crown and Māori in what will soon be a fully- fledged post-settlement environment.

That’s why Chris Finlayson established a dedicated office to monitor settlements and ensure that all government departments honour the obligations undertaken by the Crown.

The Crown must keep its commitments.

Conclusion

Ladies and Gentlemen.

We should never forget the thread of generosity of spirit that runs through Māori history, from the arrival of Europeans through to the present day.

Māori welcomed settlers. They signed the Treaty of Waitangi in good faith. That led to the nation we now live in. And that’s what we remember every year on February 6.

That generosity of spirit persists. Settlements represent a fraction of what was actually lost. However, they let iwi move on and make a better future for their people. That is a better future for all of us.

So to Ngapuhi, I say: Let’s embrace that future.

Let’s work together to develop an enduring settlement, and one that will benefit your people for generations to come.

Thank you.

Northland is one of the poorest regions in the country.

Ngapuhi has been given a challenge. If they accept it and work constructively to conclude their Treaty settlement they will be able to help themselves and their region.

Settlements in other areas have shown what can be achieved and the sooner they settle the sooner they’ll be able to stop looking backwards, start looking forwards and move from grievance to growth as others have.

 


%d bloggers like this: