Word of the day

March 18, 2014

Waulk – to cleanse cloth to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and make it thicker; to shrink, matt and thicken cloth, specifically woollen, by beating.


10 words to live by

March 18, 2014

Conversation with Jim Mora on Critical Mass this afternoon was sparked by:

Ten words everyone should live by at MindBodyGreen.com


Rural round-up

March 18, 2014

New staff to boost border security:

26 New Ministry for Primary Industries border staff begin training in Auckland today as part of a programme to beef up frontline resources, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“Close to 125 new quarantine inspectors have joined MPI in the last 18 months and this is another big boost in resources.

“The 26 new staff will graduate around the middle of this year and will be posted around New Zealand.

“While there is increasing use of technology and intelligence to protect our border, we still need people on the frontline.

“Biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister because it is so important in protecting our economy. We know that unwanted pests and diseases can have devastating effects on our farmers and growers. . .

Clover root weevil under attack in Southland – Sally Rae:

An industry-wide effort is under way in Southland to combat the damaging clover root weevil, whose economic damage has been measured in hundreds of millions of dollars nationwide.

Clover root weevil (CRW), identified by distinctive U-shaped notches on clover leaves, was discovered in the Waikato and Auckland in 1996 and has now spread as far as Southland.

A project, involving AgResearch, Beef and Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ and Environment Southland, which has been releasing parasitised clover root weevils on Southland farms, is being accelerated. . .

Fonterra Chairman Visits New $126m UHT Milk Processing Site:

Fonterra Chairman John Wilson visited Fonterra’s new $126 million UHT milk processing site at Waitoa on the weekend.The site is in its final stages of testing before commissioning Anchor UHT milk and cream products at the end of this month.

Mr Wilson said he was impressed with how quickly it had taken the site to get to this stage with construction completed in 12 months.

“It was great to get the chance to visit and meet the team who have brought our Waitoa site to life. There is a real sense of pride from the team on the ground.  . . .

History repeats itself in Northland:

David Kidd is the fourth Grand Finalist to be named in the 2014 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

The thirty year old sheep and beef farm manager of Shelley Beach took first place at the Northern Regional Final at the Kaikohe Showgrounds over the weekend, Saturday 15 March.

Thirty years after Mr Kidd’s father, Richard Kidd, became a Grand Finalist David is following in his footsteps. Richard placed third (on count back) in the 1984 Timaru Grand Final representing the Northern Region. “I don’t remember it, but I was at that Grand Final and it was my first Young Farmers experience,” said Mr Kidd. . .

Meet Dr Sunday – Alice Roberts:

A doctor living in rural Queensland says it’s the patients who have kept him in town for the past decade.

Dr Sunday Adebiyi has been a general practitioner in Dysart for 10 years.

He says it’s the friendships you strike up in regional areas that make the job worthwhile.

“I have some very, very good patients and I think about them and they think about me, they are concerned about my welfare and how I’m going,” he says.

“So with such people it would be very difficult to let them down. . .

Rabobank business alumni tour successful South Island farms:

More than 80 New Zealand and Australian farmers toured South Island farms last week as part of Rabobank’s Business Management Programme alumni tour.

They visited a deer operation, an intensive indoor robotic dairy operation and a mixed cropping and birdseed business, which was currently undertaking a dairy conversion.

They also visited North Otago dairy farmer Rogan Borrie’s four properties near Oamaru.

Borrie, a fifth-generation farmer, completed Rabobank’s Farm Managers Programme in 2007.

He said it was a rewarding experience to share the developments and technology introduced on-farm.

“We showed the tour our new computerised irrigation scheme with pivot and fixed grid sprinklers that we have recently installed in order to reduce labour time and energy and improve water efficiency,” he said . .


Labour productivity improving

March 18, 2014

The good news continues:

Labour productivity increased 2.1 percent in the March 2013 year, Statistics New Zealand said today. This is higher than the average annual rate of 1.6 percent for the 17-year period since 1996, when the series began.

“The 2.1 percent increase in labour productivity was driven by both an increase of 1.2 percent in multifactor productivity and a 0.9 percent growth in the amount of capital available per worker,” national accounts manager Michele Lloyd said.

Labour productivity measures the quantity of goods and services (output) produced for each hour of labour. The latest figures show that 100 products could have been produced in one hour of labour in 1996, compared with 132 in one hour of labour in 2013.

In the March 2013 year, multifactor productivity, which measures how efficiently goods and services are produced in the economy, grew 1.2 percent. This was because outputs (goods and services) grew faster than the inputs (hours of labour, and capital, like land and buildings) used to produce them. Growth in this area shows more efficient production and is often associated with technological change, organisational change, or economies of scale. 

From 1996 to 2013, labour productivity grew more in Australia than in New Zealand, up by an average of 2.1 percent and 1.6 percent per year, respectively. Over the same period, Australia’s annual average output growth was also higher, at 3.5 percent compared with 2.6 percent in New Zealand. 

Productivity is regarded as key to increasing New Zealand’s standard of living and is a major driver of gross domestic product – the main indicator of economic activity. Productivity statistics cover approximately 80 percent of the economy and exclude government administration and defence, health, and education.

Productivity  is one of the positive indicators which has been lagging.

The improvement means production is more efficient and that an important ingredient in economic growth.


How not to write a media release

March 18, 2014

A good media release should answer all the appropriate ws – who, what, where, when, why and how.

Labour’s announcement of its candidate for Tukituki tells us the basic who,  Anna Lorck, for where and when she was selected.

It also tries to say how:

She was selected today from a field of three strong candidates to represent Labour.

Moira Coatsworth said today:

“A great crowd of Labour members attended today’s selection meeting. . .

That is trying to put a positive spin on Labour’s undemocratic selection process which gives more power to unions and head office than local members.

But the glaring omission from the release is answering anything about what the candidate’s background and credentials are.

The party has had a run of SMOGs – social media own goals – and now it’s failing to get an old-fashioned media release right.

A selection announcement is a golden opportunity to promote a new candidate but all this release did is put paint-by-number platitudes in her mouth.


How foreign investment works

March 18, 2014

Act leader Jamie White explains how foreign investment works:

. . . The value of a business depends on its expected future profits. The seller of a company is in effect swapping the profits she would have got over future years for a lump sum she gets today. The lump sum (the purchase price) represents the present value of the future profits.
When a foreigner buys a New Zealand business, all the expected future profits of the business come into the country in the purchase price. When the actual future profits then go out to the new owner overseas, there is no net loss.
In fact, the transaction must involve a net gain for New Zealand. This is because, if the purchase price were exactly equal to the present value of the expected future profits, the Kiwi owner would have gained nothing from the transaction and would not have sold. The Kiwi seller must have valued the purchase price higher than the future earnings. So the transaction creates a net gain to New Zealand. . .
His comment was prompted by a speech from Labour leader David Cunliffe.
If Mr Cunliffe does not understand this, then he learnt little from his days at the Boston Consulting Group. If he does understand it but still peddles the popular myth of profits lost overseas, well, that is even worse. 
The worse option is the most likely one. Cunliffe should understand economics.
In ignoring what he knows he’s just pandering to prejudice in the hope it will win some votes.

Farmers angry with AgResearch

March 18, 2014

AgResearch Chief Executive Dr Tom Richardson said last week’s meeting with farmers in Gore was constructive over plans to move scientists from Invermay to Lincoln was constructive.

The meeting was initiated by the Southern Texel Breeders and hosted by Beef + Lamb New Zealand.
Eighty seven people attended the meeting, of which about 50 were farmers.

“It was good to be able to speak to concerned farmers directly about our plans to deliver them better science and higher returns. It was a good wide-ranging discussion, and wasn’t solely focused on our reinvestment plans for AgResearch campuses,” says Dr Richardson.

“There was also discussion on government investment in science, industry support for science and how to take research forward.

“Regards our campus reinvestment plans, we understand the concerns of Southland and Otago farmers, and it was an opportunity to reinforce the fact we are not closing Invermay – in fact we’d like to increase the numbers of staff there who are dealing with on farm and regional environment issues.”

AgResearch’s Future Footprint plan will position the organisation for the long-term to deliver better science, more effectively, to New Zealand farmers, the pastoral sector and the New Zealand economy.

The Southern Texel Breeders passed a motion requesting an independent review of the plan, which will involve the co-location of scientists into science innovation hubs, allowing for a more effective collaborative approach to tackle national science ‘big issues’.

Dr Richardson says the plan will see $100 million reinvested to create modern facilities that are functional, adaptable and fit for modern science.

“Future Footprint will see us maximising the use of our facilities and specialist infrastructure to achieve better returns for AgResearch, our clients and the pastoral sector,” says Dr Richardson.

“We remain committed to find the best solution to continue to deliver the science all New Zealand farmers rely on to stay ahead of their international counterparts.”

Farmers aren’t convinced and they’re angry.

They pay levies which provide a good part of AgResearch’s funds and they want scientists to stay based where the bulk of sheep and beef farming takes place – in Otago and Southland.

Immigration Minister and Dunedin-based MP Michael Woodhouse isn’t convinced AgResearch has yet made its case for shifting scientists from Invermay to Lincoln.

As the debate about the merits of an AgResearch hub being established at Lincoln, Mr Woodhouse confirmed to the Otago Daily Times yesterday he had visited Invermay and talked to the staff.

There had been a fear that leaving just 20 scientists at Invermay to deal with farming services and animal services was a ”death spiral” number. But Mr Woodhouse had been ”assured” by AgResearch 20 was the absolute minimum number of scientists and it was hoped to lift the number to 50 scientists at Invermay in the future.

”We need to test that plan and make sure it is the right thing to do for New Zealand Inc and New Zealand agriculture. Can we be confident moving 50 scientists out of 80 from Invermay is better than moving the 30 from Christchurch to Invermay? I am not convinced AgResearch has met the test set them by Minister [Steven] Joyce.” . . .

The plan hasn’t met the farmers’ test.

Dr Andrew West tried to merge AgResearch and Lincoln when he headed AgResearch and failed. Farmers think he’s trying to achieve the same thing by another route now he’s vice chancellor of the university.

They wonder if the plan has more to do with shoring up Lincoln than what’s best for the industry.

AgResearch gets a lot of their money and they are worried that much-needed research will suffer from the loss of institutional knowledge and distance from the main concentration of sheep and beef production.

Whether or not the move goes ahead, one option for any spare buildings no-one has mentioned is as the headquarters for the Otago Regional Council.

The ORC has been looking for a new home and had expensive plans for one in the city. That was torpedoed but they still need a bigger base.

Invermay, with or without the current AgResearch staff, could be an option.


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