Word of the day

May 6, 2014

Kine –  cows collectively.


NIght flights for Queenstown Airport

May 6, 2014

Queenstown airport has the go-ahead to begin night flights.

Currently the airport only allows flights to take off and land during daylight hours, thanks to its size and configuration as well as the terrain of surrounding mountains.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says the airport will have to undergo changes before the night-time flights are permitted, including widening the runway from 30m to 45m and adding extra lights to the runway, taxiway, approach and off-airport areas. The changes will also include specialised training for crew and pilots.

“Queenstown Airport Corporation and operators have shown a willingness to improve infrastructure and develop operational procedures to gain this approval,” says CAA director Graeme Harris. . . .

Had the people who decided the airport’s location been able to look ahead and see how the town, and surrounding area, would grow, the airport would almost certainly have been put somewhere else.

The rapid growth in the Queenstown Lakes District’s permanent population and tourism has boosted travel in and out of the area.

A lot of  people from North and Central Otago and Southland also use Queenstown in preference to Invercargill, Dunedin, Timaru and Christchurch airports.

Not allowing night flights is frustrating for business people who have to finish work in for example, Wellington or Auckland, earlier or stay there overnight.

The decision to allow night flights is good news for all travellers, be they coming and going for business and pleasure.

It might not be so welcome for the people who live in the flight paths.


Rural round-up

May 6, 2014

Growing US dairy industry shouldn’t be ignored:

Dairy farmers are being urged not to ignore the growing United States dairy industry as it starts to muscle in on this country’s traditional export markets.

The US is now New Zealand’s second biggest dairy competitor.

David McCall from DairyNZ says large-scale farms with feedlots of up to 30,000 cows makes for a much cheaper operation.

He says that, until recently, most American dairy products were consumed domestically, but that’s now changing.

“They’ve made some changes to set up their dairies and some of their processing factories directly to produce export product, is one thing that they’re doing. And they’re producing the sort of products now that Chinese and other markets are demanding. . .

Forest owners seek safety solutions:

Forest owners and contractors say they aren’t sitting on their hands while an independent review panel carries out its investigation into the high death and injury toll from forestry accidents.

They have responded to strong Council of Trade Union criticism of safety standards by urging the umbrella group to take any evidence backing its concerns to the review panel.

Forest Owners Association president Paul Nicholls says the panel will need input from everyone in the forestry sector to come up with practical solutions to improve work safety.

He says steps to reduce the accident rate had started years before the review was launched in March and those are continuing while the review panel and the Coroners Court carry out their investigations. . .

 NZ to join foot & mouth exercise in Nepal:

A New Zealand team of vets and industry representatives will go to Nepal later this year to get first hand experience of dealing with foot and mouth disease.

It’s part of a new agreement between New Zealand and Australia to work together more closely on measures to combat this livestock disease.

Primary industries minister, Nathan Guy said a team of about 10 New Zealanders will be join an Australian foot and mouth training programme in Nepal, which is one of the countries battling the disease.

“It makes sense for us to be working closely with Australia because they know as a pastoral based economy that it would cause a huge amount of damage to the Australian economy if they ever got FMD and the same here in New Zealand. . .

Horticulture now 8% of New Zealand’s exports:

.Horticultural products now account for 8% of New Zealand’s total merchandise exports, according to the latest edition of the industry publication Fresh Facts.

In the year to 30 June 2013, the horticulture industry generated more than $3.6 billion in export revenue, with the major products being wine ($1.2 billion) and kiwifruit ($934 million). The biggest gains were seen in onion exports, which increased by 47% over 2012 values to a total $90 million, and apple exports, which increased by 40% to $475 million.

Total produce from the horticultural industry was valued at $6.7 billion, including $770 million of domestic spend on New Zealand grown fruit and $1.09 billion on vegetables.

“The success of New Zealand’s horticultural exports has been founded on a keen understanding of market needs and a passion for delivering high quality product that commands a healthy premium,” says Plant & Food Research CEO Peter Landon-Lane. . .

China temporarily bans British cheese imports:

China has temporarily banned imports of British cheese after the country’s food inspectors complained about hygiene standards at an unnamed UK dairy.

The Chinese officials were reportedly dissatisfied with its maintenance and storage, raw milk transport temperatures and air sanitisation.

However, the dairy they visited does not export its produce to China.

UK farming minister George Eustice has called for restrictions to be lifted “as soon as possible”.

“British cheese is the best in the world and produced to the highest safety and quality standards, so it is disappointing that China have put a temporary block on cheese imports,” he said. . .

Farm Environment Trust Assembles Top Panel for National Winner Judging:

The New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust has welcomed two new judges to the panel responsible for choosing the National Winner of the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Comprising six people with a broad range of skills and experience, the National Winner judging panel will select the next holder of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy from the ten regional Supreme winners of the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA). The winner will be announced at a National Sustainability Showcase in Christchurch on June 26.

The 2014 National Winner judging panel is chaired by Simon Saunders, deputy chair of the NZFE Trust, and includes Jamie Strang, BFEA National Judging Coordinator, Warwick Catto, Head of Research and Environment, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, and Paul Lamont, Regional Manager, Rabobank. Newcomers Charmaine O’Shea and Bruce Wills have joined the panel this year. . .

Snow Sports NZ and Cardrona Alpine Resort Sign Partnership Agreement:

Snow Sports New Zealand and Cardrona Alpine Resort Limited have signed a Partnership Agreement which will see Cardrona become the official resort partner of Snow Sports NZ, the naming rights sponsor of the New Zealand Park and Pipe Team and the naming rights sponsor of the NZ Freeski & Snowboard Junior National Championships.

Cardrona Alpine Resort and Snow Sports NZ have a positive long-standing partnership and the national freeski and snowboard team do all of their halfpipe and slopestyle training at the resort throughout the southern hemisphere winter. Cardrona also hosts key events such as the NZ Freeski Open, NZ Winter Games and an international spring training camp after the resort closes to the public.

The purpose of the formal agreement is to recognise the growing importance of the partnership and cement the relationship. A four year term has been agreed, subject to satisfactory annual review, during which time Cardrona will be recognised as the official resort partner of the NZ Park and Pipe Team and the team will be called the Cardrona NZ Park and Pipe Team. . .

Sanford agrees to buy assets of Greenshell NZ, Greenshell Investments from receivers:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, the listed fishing company, agreed to buy the assets of Greenshell NZ Limited and Greenshell Investments from the receivers of the mussel farming and processing group.

No price was disclosed in a statement from Sanford. Chief executive Volker Kuntzsch said the assets “were a strategic fit for Sanford’s aquaculture business as they allow for improved supplies from a wider geography.”

Receivers Brendon Gibson and Grant Graham of KordaMentha were appointed last November by Rabobank after depressed prices for the shellfish over a number of years culminated in a “significant” operating loss in 2012. . .

 


Whoops

May 6, 2014

Our niece, who’s using our car while she’s home from overseas, had noticed an unusual noise coming from near one of the rear wheels.

She booked the car in for a check-up, took it in on Friday, locked it and gave the key to the receptionist.

A few hours later we got a phone call – a mechanic had unlocked the car, checked something, left the key in it and gone to do something else. When he got back the car had gone.

No-one at the workshop had seen anything untoward but the logical conclusion was it had been stolen so they reported it to the police.

A couple of hours later we got another call.

The car was on the back of a transporter en route to Christchurch.

The transport driver had called in to pick up a light blue Toyota Camry and had been given the key, with the registration number attached.

He’d ignored the information about the model and registration and gone for the colour instead – a light blue Toyota Corolla, found another key on the seat, used it to start the car,  loaded it onto the transporter and headed north.

We got a phone call yesterday afternoon to tell us the car had been returned, the source of the noise found and fixed and our niece had picked it up.

She reported when she went to get it, the car had been locked and the key was in the office.

Methinks they’ve reviewed their practice of leaving keys in cars while in the yard even though this time it was an honest mistake and not a theft.


Increased productivity only way to increase wages

May 6, 2014

Richard Prebble is unimpressed by Labour’s monetary policy:

. . . David Cunliffe claimed to a financially illiterate press gallery that if government compels workers to save 8% of their salary “wages will rise, the cost of housing will be lower, rents will fall, employment will increase and interest rates will come down”.  We are surprised he did not promise a chicken in every pot.  It sounds like Social Credit. There is only one way to increase wages and that is to increase productivity.  . .

Governments tinkering with monetary policy which Labour proposes would do absolutely nothing to increase wages, and would definitely cut take-home pay regularly.

The only way to get sustainable increases in wages is with policies which give the people who employ themselves and other people the confidence to invest in and grow their businesses, increasing productivity and therefore their ability to pay higher wages.

Knowing your staff won’t have certainty about their take home pay because it could go down every six weeks will not do that.


Nat voters non-voters

May 6, 2014

One of Labour’s strategies for winning this year’s election is to motivate the million or so people who didn’t vote.

That’s obviously based on the assumption that most of those non-voters would have voted for them, or at least one of their potential coalition partners.

A Kiwiblog reader has done some analysis which suggests many of the non-voters were National voters and concludes:

. . . Contrary to “received wisdom” it was National that suffered from the reduced turnout in 2011. Additionally, the NZ First vote was boosted primarily by defections from National. Uncontroversially, it is confirmed that Conservative votes came overwhelmingly at National’s expense.

My theory that the above phenomena were a result of complacency in the face of the widespread expectation of National waltzing home with a win remains only a theory. But it is one that fits the facts quite well.

However, it seems to me that if true, the greatest danger for National in 2014 is, again, complacency and a failure of potential supporters to vote for the party (whether by staying home or by risking a vote for other parties that may not meet the threshold criteria or may not support National after the election).

There is absolutely no complacency in National.

As Deputy leader and Finance Minister Bill English warned on Sunday, there is a very real risk that Labour and whoever it needs to get at least 51% of the vote, could win.

Last election’s 47% support was a very good result, but it won’t be enough to guarantee a National-led government this time.

National has a good record, but voters wont vote on what’s been done, they’ll vote on what they can believe will happen in the next term.

The Opposition hasn’t come up with anything workable that will make a positive difference to most people yet.

But there’s still a danger they could cobble together a coalition unless National convinces even more people to support them than voted for them three years ago.


Cheaper loans, better budgeting

May 6, 2014

The government announced two initiatives which will help people manage their money better.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced today a new community finance partnership that will see interest free and low interest loans made available to New Zealanders who need them.

The Government is partnering with Bank of New Zealand, Good Shepherd NZ and The Salvation Army to develop a finance initiative that will offer people on low incomes affordable and sustainable credit. Good Shepherd will bring many years of delivering community finance programmes in Australia to the table.

“People on low incomes are vulnerable in their credit options with many tempted by easy finance. The initiative will see sustainable loans available for some people that might not otherwise be able to service a loan with high interest rates and hidden fees,” says Mrs Bennett. 

Beginning with a one-year pilot, BNZ is committing $10 million to the initiative for up to five years that provides a real alternative to loan sharks and pay day lenders.

Today’s announcement honours commitments made in last year’s Budget to boost practical support for people on low incomes.

Mrs Bennett says this is the latest in a string of initiatives by the Government to help people access everyday necessities.

“We’re already helping beneficiaries and people on low incomes buy whiteware and more children are being fed in schools. Now we’re focused on increasing the wellbeing of families by assisting them to avoid unscrupulous lenders and their crippling interest rates,” said Mrs Bennett.

Loan sharks and pay-day lenders pray on the poor.

This initiative will give people a safer and much more affordable alternative to the usurious loans they resort to now.

The government also announced new operating funding of $22 million over four years for non-government organisations delivering community budgeting services to families.

“Budgeting services are providing critical help to thousands of Kiwis who are able to make a real difference in their lives with new money management skills,” Mrs Bennett says.

“This new investment sees baseline funding rise by 61 per cent from $9 million a year to $15 million a year by 2015/16 and will ensure the services are able to keep up with demand.

“Being able to manage your money is vital to be able to improve your living standards. 

“This Government is committed to helping people to help themselves. It’s far better for people to learn and develop budgeting skills and avoid being caught in a constant cycle of bills and debts.

“Budgeting services have helped to reduce repeat hardship assistance requests. The work of providers in this sector deserves our recognition and support,” Mrs Bennett says.

Sustainable loans and budgeting advice are two great initiatives to help people manage their money.

It’s not only poor people who have problems budgeting.

Apropos of that a suggestion from the Young Nats at National’s Northern conference at the weekend for financial literacy education has merit.

 

Photo: Northern Young Nats have pushed for a policy of financial literacy education in schools. What do you think?


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