Word of the day

February 14, 2014

Kilig  (Filipino) – to shiver with delight when something romantic or cute happens; the rush or inexplicable joy one feels after seeing or experiencing something romantic.


Rural round-up

February 14, 2014

Stars align for NZ foresters as ‘wall of wood’ comes on stream, prices reach record highs – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand forest growers, long overshadowed by booming returns from the dairy industry, look set to cash in on record prices for logs as they prepare to harvest trees planted in a flurry of activity two decades ago.

Forestry plantation activity in New Zealand jumped between 1992 and 1998, as a surge in Asian log prices lured investment syndicates to the sector. Radiata pine, which makes up about 90 percent of the nation’s plantations, are typically felled between 26 and 32 years, meaning the “wall of wood” will start being harvested from about 2018, according to government figures.

Rising prices for forestry products, the nation’s third-largest commodity export, have been overshadowed in the past year by a rapid rise in the fortune of dairy products, with overseas sales of milk powder, butter and cheese worth more than three times as much as sales of logs and wood. Still, forestry has been the quiet achiever, with the ASB New Zealand forestry index and the forestry sub-group of the ANZ Commodity Price Index touching record highs in January. . .

Forestry’s Good Returns Attract Investment Interest:

With forest products exports continuing to enjoy a run of high commodity prices there is plenty of attention worldwide on the robust returns delivered from forest resources. So it’s timely that New Zealand and Australia are soon to host a major forest investment and market outlook conference series. The event in it’s third year is popular with forest company CEOs and financial sector leaders for it’s insight.

One of the keynote speakers headlining the FIEA event is Kevin Mason, Managing Director and Senior Analyst of ERA Forest Products Research (www.ERA-Research.com), a Canadian-based independent research firm that covers the global forest products sector.

“We focus first and foremost on understanding the commodity side of the market,” says Mason, “as trends in the underlying commodities far outweigh managerial abilities, or the lack of.” . . .

Bog Roy story one of challenges down through generations – Ruth Grundy:

It is fair to say farming Bog Roy station has put each generation of Anderson family to the test.

It is also true to say their dogged determination to face down the challenges thrown at them is testament to their love and vision for the land.

Dave Anderson is the fourth Anderson generation to take on the high country run. . .

New Horticulture Industry Initiative Helps Combat Labour Shortage:

A new ‘hands on’ initiative, which brings the classroom into the orchard, is helping combat the labour shortage in the horticulture industry.

The Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), Work and Income and local iwi have teamed up with John Bostock, owner of JM Bostock Ltd, to help get people off the unemployment benefit and into permanent employment.

The partners have worked together to establish an EIT level three sustainable fruit production course, which has both theory and practical modules. The theory mirrors the orchard cycle to enhance the student’s learning. In 2014 the programme will start earlier in the year to better coincide with orchard practice. . .

Mutton export values jump:

Mutton exports from New Zealand rose significantly in the first quarter of this season.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand has released statistics for lamb, mutton and beef exports for October, November and December 2013 – the first three months of the 2013-14 meat export season.

While there was little change in the volume and value of beef and veal exports compared with the corresponding period last season, mutton exports were up 16.3% in volume and 22% in total value.

The average return increased by 4.9% to $5200 FOB per tonne, Beef and Lamb said. . .

Proving deer viable satisfying outcome :

Canterbury farmer Sam Zino is well on the way to showing that deer farming is a viable alternative.

The region’s deer focus farm facilitator, Wayne Allan, said Mr Zino had achieved most of his goals and had increased production and profit at a time when the venison price was falling.

Mr Zino and his brother, Mark, were selected as the North Canterbury deer focus farm in 2011 for three years. At the time, Mr Zino said he wanted to demonstrate that deer farming was profitable.

”What Sam has shown is that if you’re smart about it and you take a planned approach then deer farming can be a highly economic land-use option,” Mr Allan said. . .

Land values could have started to enter over heated territory when assessed against historical returns – Jeff Smith:

The dairy land price paid per kg of milk solids has broken through the $40/kg mark and it is being predicted to keep on climbing with land value rising by up to 9% in the coming year.

At an average of $41.50/kg, this is a 12% lift on the post global financial crisis average of $37.

Commentators in the February ANZ Agri Focus say looking back through history, the $40/kg  has been an important psychological level.

It also suggested land values could have started to enter over heated territory when assessed against historical returns. . .

 


Friday’s answers

February 14, 2014

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.?

2.  What was the film in which Shirley Temple sang The Good Ship Lollypop?

3.  What do uncopyrightable and subdermatoglyphic have in common?

4. What’s the longest English word with a single vowel?

5. What’s the last book you read?

Points for answers:

Alwyn got four.

Andrei got three.

J Blogg got four.

Answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


Fewer than half preprared

February 14, 2014

Only 22% of New Zealanders believe they have the basic essentials to get through a natural disaster and only 17 % had better than basic preparations.

Figures from the 2012 New Zealand General Social Survey show the proportion of people with basic preparations (a three-day supply of food and water, and a household emergency plan) is up from 17 percent in 2010.

“Unsurprisingly, the region with the highest level of basic preparation was Canterbury – 40 percent had basic preparations, up from 28 percent in 2010,” General Social Survey manager Philip Walker said.

“Marlborough (36 percent) and Hawke’s Bay (30 percent) also had high proportions of people who were basically prepared.”

In Wellington, 29 percent of people were prepared while around one-quarter of people in the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne region had basic preparations.

“The regions with the lowest rates for basic preparation in 2012 were Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Otago, and Southland. They all had less than one-fifth of people prepared,” Mr Walker said.

Nationally, 17 percent of people had better-than-basic preparations for a natural disaster – they also had a torch, portable radio, spare batteries, first aid kit, and essential medicines, on top of a three-day supply of food and water and a household emergency plan. This figure was up from 12 percent in 2010.

Approximately one-third of New Zealand households had an emergency plan in 2012. This has increased steadily from approximately one-quarter of households in 2008. . .

It’s rare that neither my farmer nor I is in town more than once a week but we could easily get by for more than that if we had to. We’ve got enough ponds and streams for water and a fire on which to boil it to ensure it’s potable and we always have torches, spare batteries and a first aid kit.

The portable radio is a bit too portable and tends to wander but it’s generally not too far from home. If all else failed we’d be able to use a radio in a car, ute or tractor to catch up on emergency broadcasts.

That fewer than 40% of people have at least basic preparations for an emergency could be a reflection on the way they live these days – fewer have vegetable gardens and many shop for what they need day by day.

But how hard is it to have basic or better than basic preparations?

If you’re very poor it would be difficult to have little if any more than you require for immediate needs.

But is it asking too much for other people to have enough spare to be self-sufficient for three days?


The manufactured crisis

February 14, 2014

Remember the manufactured manufacturing crisis the opposition spent so much of their energy and our money on last year?

The news on it is bad for them but very good for the rest of us:

New Zealand’s manufacturing sector started 2014 on a healthy note, according to the latest BNZ – BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI).

The seasonally adjusted PMI for January was 56.2 (a PMI reading above 50.0 indicates that manufacturing is generally expanding; below 50.0 that it is declining). The sector has now been in expansion for 16 consecutive months, with the last six months also averaging 56.2.

BusinessNZ’s Executive Director for Manufacturing Catherine Beard said that despite the usual seasonal effects of Christmas and the holiday season, the sector has begun the way it finished off 2013.

“Positive comments from manufacturers revolved around a growing confidence by consumers, further gains in building construction and continued high levels of new orders, both domestically and offshore. In particular, the metal product sector is currently benefitting from the strong residential construction boom, which will no doubt continue for some months to come.”

BNZ Economist Doug Steel said it would be easy to understand if the PMI had lost a bit of heat in January, given the hefty lift in the NZD/AUD exchange rate. But the PMI has barrelled on, as domestic demand strengthens. . . .

This provided the opportunity in Question Time yesterday:

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Of the 16 different industries measured by the household labour force survey, employment rose in 11, including manufacturing, which does debunk another myth often heard around this building. There is no doubting that the high New Zealand dollar is a challenge for exporters, but the January Performance of Manufacturing Index, which was released today, shows manufacturing has now been in expansion for 16 consecutive months, which is, weirdly, precisely the exact same time since the Opposition announced the start of its inquiry into a manufacturing crisis. I quote from the Performance of Manufacturing Index today, which says that manufacturing punched above its weight regarding job growth in 2013. It accounted for 13.5 percent of jobs added in the New Zealand economy overall last year, which is more jobs than were added in Australia in the same period. . .

There is a cloud on the horizon though:

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: . . .  The Government has more than 350 initiatives under the Business Growth Agenda that are helping businesses grow, because that is how employment grows. I contrast this with policies that would put a chill on industries, that would cause their hiring intentions to freeze, and companies themselves might not even survive—for example, if you nationalise the electricity industry or double the cost of the emissions trading scheme on households and businesses, or if you impose new taxes on every single business in the country. . . .

The left demonise business without realising its the goose that lays the golden eggs of employment and economic growth.

The recovery is real but it’s not yet robust and a change of government with policies that would undermine business confidence could easily reverse the hard-won progress that’s being made.

 

 

 


LabGreen power play threatens renewable energy

February 14, 2014

There’s another flaw in the LabourGreen power play  – it would threaten investment in renewable energy:

Labour and the Greens have jointly proposed scrapping the wholesale energy market in favour of a single state-operated buyer of electricity, called NZ Power, claiming the move would save hundreds of millions of dollars on consumer power bills.

Today Mark Binns, chief executive of Meridian Energy, told the commerce select committee that while a lack of detail meant it was hard to properly analyse the plan, Meridian believed it would favour thermal generation over renewable plants such as wind farms.

“Our view is it would potentially impact on renewables because it would make thermals, particularly gas plants – which are easier to consent and easier to put in place quickly – more viable in that environment,” Binns told MPs..

“If you have a central buyer, the Crown has the responsibility for deciding the next wind farm or other power that is required, and wind farms take between five and 10 years to consent.

“Why would we keep investing in developing renewable options, given the uncertainty around central buyer?

“The reality is it’s much easier for someone like Todd Energy to basically get a piece of land with gas to the front door, and strap on a jet engine to a lump of concrete and generate electricity.” . . .

Questions over the economic credibility of Labour and Green policies aren’t new but there’s more than a little irony in this very serious question over the environmental impact their power play would have.


Stopping Time

February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day.stoppingTimePrLg


Today, for some reason, I see how short our lives actually are & how often I forget to look in your eyes & stop time entirely & say, You have made this life for me.

 ©2014 Brian Andreas at Story People.

Published with permission.


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