Word of the day

May 9, 2014

Thaumaturgist – sorcerer: one who practices magic or sorcery; a worker of wonders or miracles; magician.

Rural round-up

May 9, 2014

Solid Energy sells farms – Collette Devlin:

Solid Energy has sold its Southland dairy farms, but the state-owned company is yet to release the price it got.

About 2,000 hectares of the Eastern Southland rural property was sold by tender.

The properties included three dairy farms, two dairy support or conversion farms, and four properties considered as dairy support farms.

The farms, ranging from 33ha to 399ha, were within a 5-kilometre radius between Mataura and Gore.
Solid Energy bought the properties to secure access to the large lignite coal resource in the district, but no longer required the land. . .

Robo cows ready for milking – Diane Joyce:

Robots will be milking cows in Havelock North by early next year, and everyone will be able to stop in and see for themselves how it works.

Dairy farming could become a substantial earner for Hawke’s Bay if the latest robot technology is taken up by farmers, says the man behind the plan, Michael Whittaker.

A state-of-the-art 3500 square metre dairy barn is being built, in which the cows will decide how often they want to be milked and how often they want to head outside into the sunshine. For the 120 cows there will be two “self-milking” bays, to which the cows can wander whenever they chose. . .

Steady rise in milk prices over 50 years – Andrea Fox:

The milk price paid to dairy farmers has increased by an average of 11c a kilogram of milksolids a year over the past 50 years, new analysis by DairyNZ shows.

For DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman that was one of most interesting findings of the industry organisation’s economic survey for 2012-13, which also marked 50 years of economic analysis of key financial data from dairy farmers.

“That the milk price has continued to increase is not a recent phenomenon, although in the last 25 years it has shown more volatility and even increased volatility in the past six or seven years,” Newman said.

The trend had implications for farmers around risk management and how to manage changing prices, he said.  . .

MBIE’s dairy farm employee position statement positive:

With the employment practices of dairy farmers in the media spotlight, the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Labour Inspectorate’s newly released position statement, is to be followed up by both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ.

“Dairy farmers can expect a joint Industry Best Practice Guidance note next week,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers employment spokesperson.

“Both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ endorses MBIE’s common sense position statement, which not only reminds employers about the Minimum Wage Act 1983, but reminds them ‘seasonal averaging’ has gone the same way as 245-T. . . .

Scales’ target continued growth – Alan Williams:

Apple grower Scales Corporation expects to lift production every year until about 2020 to take advantage of increasing demand in Asian and Middle East markets.

Apple consumption was growing strongly in big-population markets such as Thailand, China, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates, and was growing in India, chief executive Andy Borland said.

Scales subsidiary Mr Apple had been steadily replanting its Hawke’s Bay orchards with redder, sweet varieties such as Gala, NZ Queen, and Fuji, Borland said.

It was getting the increased production now and that would continue, because apples took 5-7 years to reach production peak, he said. . .

Tasked to wake sleeping giant – Alan Williams:

Nick Berry is off to work for the opposition, but he has never seen it that way.

In his 30 years in Fonterra’s retail store business RD1, it was always RD1 as a dairy specialist and PGG Wrightson a sheep-and-beef farm supplier.

“We didn’t see Wrightson as a real competitor. It was more CRT and Farmlands as the competitors,” Berry said.

Because of that background it isn’t such a big wrench that he’s going now to help Wrightson build its supply network to dairy farmers.

“We spoke of it as more of a sleeping giant, with its 100-plus stores, and I’ll be happy to help it grow,” he said. . .

Dairy future bright but . . .

May 9, 2014

New Zealand’s dairy sector has a bright future, but important challenges need to be managed to ensure it retains its dynamism.

That’s the view of Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler:

Mr Wheeler told the DairyNZ conference in Hamilton that the dairy sector makes a vital contribution to the New Zealand economy.

“Dairy exports make up almost a third of New Zealand’s annual merchandise exports, animal numbers and prices have increased and on and off farm productivity growth has been impressive.” . .

“The Reserve Bank considers that the exchange rate is overvalued and does not believe its current level is sustainable. . .

“If the exchange rate remains strong, it is likely to be reflected in continued low or negative tradables inflation. In such circumstances, the high exchange rate, along with new economic data, will be a factor in our assessment of the extent and speed with which the Official Cash Rate needs to be raised.” . . .

He’s saying that interest rates might not increase as far or as fast as predicted.

Mr Wheeler said that dairy debt almost trebled over the past decade, and currently stands at $32 billion.

“It is concentrated among a small proportion of highly leveraged farms with around half of the dairy debt being held by only 10 percent of dairy farmers”.

Despite the prosperous outlook for the dairy sector, Mr Wheeler warned that even the most dynamic enterprises can lose competitiveness and suffer losses in market share, so there are important challenges to manage.

“On the external front these include the oscillations in global dairy prices, increasing competition from other international suppliers, the risk of slower growth in China, and the need to continue diversifying our export markets, including positioning for the enormous longer term opportunities in the Indian market. On the domestic front, dairy farmers are conscious that high dairy prices can turn around quickly and will need to continue managing their cash flows and borrowings in a prudent manner.”

Another threat is political.

A LabourGreen government would add to costs through the imposition of new taxes, increased compliance and other anti-business, anti-farmer and anti-growth initiatives.

Friday’s answers

May 9, 2014

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: Women’s Liberation is just a lot of foolishness. It’s the men who are discriminated against. They can’t bear children. And no one’s likely to do anything about that. ?

2.  Where was Plunket founded and by whom?

3. It’s too easy  in French, nonna in Italian, abeula in Spanish and kuia in Maori, what is it in English?

4. How many grandchildren does Queen elizabeth have and what are the names of three of them?

5. Does mother know best?

Poonts for answers.

Andrei got three and a half, and a thank you for participating.

The post wasn’t inspired by news, just Mothers’ Day on Sunday and my mother-in-law would have been 102 yesterday.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

National selects Misa Fia Turner in Mangere

May 9, 2014

National Party members  has selected Misa Fia Turner as their candidate in Mangere:

“Fia has a strong record of working hard for the people of Mangere. This election our communities have a chance to gain a strong voice in the National Party and to support a National Government that is focussed on the things that matter,” said Electorate Chair Dan Purcell-Lokeni.

Ms Turner says Labour has taken the support of South Auckland communities for granted and it’s time for a new voice in Mangere.

“Labour no longer represents the values that are most important to our families and communities,” said Ms Turner.

“Mangere communities want more jobs, better education, and our crime rate to keep falling. We want to see our hard work rewarded and create better opportunities for our children and grandchildren. It is with National not Labour that we can achieve this.

“I will be seeking the support of our communities to give Mangere a fresh, strong voice in John Key’s National Party, and to return another National Government that will keep working hard for all New Zealanders after the election.”

Misa Fia Turner was born and raised in Samoa, and has lived in Mangere for nearly twenty years. She is a mother of four and grandmother of three.

She is the co-founder and Clinical Manager of ‘Malu I Uo Faatuatua Family Relationship Services, providing counselling, family therapy, clinical and cultural supervision, facilitation and mediation, training and mentoring. She is also Clinical Practice Manager for Genesis Youth Trust, a Police Youth Development Programme working with youth at risk and families with a focus on reducing youth crime and re-offending.

Amongst a wide range of community activities, Ms Turner is an active church leader and a member of the South Auckland Family Violence Prevention Network. She is a past member of the Whanau Ora Pacific Partners Group and Pacific Island Advisory Committee for the former Manukau City Council.

Surely even its detractors can no longer accuse National of being male, pale and stale.

Not, I hasten to add, that there is anything wrong with men of any complexion.


The value of work

May 9, 2014

The facts are unequivocal: children brought up in  families where at least one parent is working generally do better than children in families on the same income from a benefit.

That doesn’t mean that every child in a working family does well, nor that every child in a beneficiary family doesn’t.

It does mean that the chances of doing better, in social and financial terms, are greater in working families than beneficiary ones.

It does mean that there’s more than a monetary value to work and more than the income to lose by not working.
Photo: 84,000 more Kiwis in work over the past year.  http://bit.ly/1iVcOn0

This is why National is determined to help people who can work to do so, and why 84,000 more jobs added to the economy last year is cause for celebration.

Buying access

May 9, 2014

Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor points out the integral part unions play in the Labour Party put it on very shaky ground when it criticises National’s fund-raising activities.

We have been hearing a lot from the Opposition members today around “Cabinet clubs” and their great concern about what might somewhat transparently be happening in the Government over here. Well, I have been fascinated, as they have talked about money and influence and access, to think about what is the world’s largest “Cabinet club”. Ladies and gentlemen, the largest “Cabinet club” of money and influence and access is the unions—the unions that behold that crowd opposite every day. Do you know what makes it worse? Do you know what makes it even worse? The constitution and structure of the New Zealand Labour Party allows the unions—the unions of New Zealand—to decide who the Labour Party leader is, and, God forbid, who could be a Labour Prime Minister. That is buying access. Do you know what makes it even worse? Even worse is that the unions are taking the money from the pockets of hard-working New Zealanders, particularly in the civil service. I remember it well. They take money from hard-working Kiwis, push it on to their union hacks, and then pass it on to the hacks who sit on the other side of this House. . .


. . .  I will not continue on this line of vitriol per se, but I think the reminder is there: if the party opposite wants to talk about money and it wants to talk about access and it wants to talk about influence, then it must begin and end with a conversation about the Labour Party and the role of the unions. I go back to that other point that it is money taken from hard-working, ordinary Kiwis, channelled through the system. Once again, you see it in the constitution of the Labour Party, which gives effective majority control to the unions to decide the leadership. That is just shocking. . .

Unions get more voting power in Labour than individual members.

They give money to the party and get more than access and influence. They get policy wins in return, and in Labour’s last term they also got public money.


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