Compare and contrast

May 15, 2014


Word of the day

May 15, 2014

Surplus – an amount of something left over when requirements have been met; amount of an asset or resource that exceeds the portion that is utilised; an excess of production or supply over demand; more than what is needed or used; excess; the excess of assets over liabilities accumulated throughout the existence of a business, excepting assets against which stock certificates have been issued; excess of net worth over capital-stock value;  agricultural produce or a quantity of food grown by a nation or area in excess of its needs, especially such a quantity of food purchased and stored by a governmental program of guaranteeing farmers a specific price for certain crops.


Dirty SMOG

May 15, 2014

Labour has earned itself the description of the nasty party through the predilection of some of its MPs to resort to personal abuse.

Unfortunately at least one member of its would-be coalition partner, the Green Party,  is learning from that bad example:

That’s a SMOG – social media own goal – and like the other form of smog it’s dirty.

 


Surplus albeit small

May 15, 2014

It might be small, but Finance Minister Bill English has delivered on his promise to return the government accounts to surplus:

. . . It’s a privilege to deliver the National-led Government’s sixth Budget.

It’s a particular privilege because this is the first Budget in six years to focus on managing a growing economy rather than recovering from a domestic recession and then the global financial crisis.

A growing economy supports employment and higher wages. It provides opportunities for families. And it pays for public services that New Zealanders rely on.

Budget 2014 looks ahead to build on the hard work done by every New Zealand household and business over the past five years.

New Zealand is in a good position.

We’ve made significant progress in recent years to deliver more jobs and higher incomes.

New Zealand is one of the first developed countries to return to normal economic conditions, with a recovery led by the private sector.

Businesses are investing, wages are rising faster than inflation and our export sector is posting record results despite the headwinds of disruption in international markets and a high exchange rate.

Public agencies are working better for New Zealanders and getting better results.

On most indicators that matter, we’re moving forward as a country.

If we lock in the hard-won gains we’ve made, there’ll be many opportunities over the next decade to improve our economic fortunes and secure a brighter future for New Zealand families.

Each year, millions more consumers in the Asia-Pacific region are becoming affluent enough to want, and afford, the goods and services New Zealand produces.

Mr Speaker,

Our challenge is to muster the capital, the people and the skills to take advantage of this historic change in our prospects and lift the aspirations and prospects of every New Zealander.

That requires sticking to our course, with careful stewardship of public money, with sound, proven economic policies and with a determined focus on results from public services.

Budget 2014 shows a return to fiscal surpluses.

There will be a small surplus next year, and increasing surpluses are forecast over time. The Budget also shows the economy continuing to build momentum, with employment continuing to grow and wages continuing to rise.

But these are just forecasts and there is a lot of work to do to make them a reality.

What matters to people and families across New Zealand are the opportunities created by a sustainable economic recovery.

So an important part of this Budget is lifting New Zealand’s capacity to sustain higher levels of economic growth for longer, grow incomes and support jobs.

And what also matters to people and families is that the Government will support them when they need assistance. . . .

Other Budget highlights include:

Photo: Investing almost $500 million more in the well-being of New Zealand's children and families is at the heart of new spending in the Budget. http://ntnl.org.nz/1sPTNUX
Details of that are here and more Budget details are here


Tax Tracker

May 15, 2014

The Maxim Institute is launching a free Tax Tracker web app at 6:00 this evening.

. . . The plan? An easy to use, mobile compatible tool giving New Zealanders a much-needed sense of scale in one click.

Simply enter a salary figure, hit ‘GO,’ and find out how much income tax you will pay this year, and how the Government plans to use it with an instant, individualised “tax receipt” based on today’s hot-off-the-press numbers.

What’s new? We’ve added a feature to this year’s Tax Tracker where you can toggle to compare how Government spending has changed on your tax receipt between the 2013 Budget and today’s new figures. . .


Rural round-up

May 15, 2014

NZ renews efforts to restore beef, farm commodity volumes in Indonesia with WTO complaint – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand has made its second complaint in as many years to the World Trade Organisation about import restrictions and red tape in Indonesia that led to an 80 percent slump in exports of beef and horticultural products.

New Zealand and the US originally teamed up to initiate legal proceedings against Indonesia via the WTO in August last year. That complaint didn’t proceed beyond the consultation stage because Indonesia subsequently changed some of its measures, which under WTO rules meant a new application had to be made.

In the new complaint, lodged on May 8, New Zealand and the US cite Indonesia’s “unjustified and trade-restrictive” licensing requirements on imports, “unreasonable and discriminatory” pre-shipment rules and insufficient published details of how the restrictions work. . .

New rules ‘threat to young farmers‘ – Neil Ratley:

The new dairy farm plan change could force families who have farmed sheep and beef for generations off their land, a Southland Federated Farmers boss says.

Plan Change 13, which came into force in March, requires all new dairy farms to obtain resource consent from Environment Southland before becoming operational.

Since being introduced, more farmers than previously had applied to convert their farms to dairy and none had been turned down, Environment Southland says.

Despite this, Federated Farmers Southland president Russell MacPherson again voiced his concerns about Plan Change 13 at the organisation’s annual general meeting last week.

He said it would be harder for family farms to stay in the family under Plan Change 13. . .

$15,000 fine for quad bike breach:

A Marlborough farmer has been fined $15,000 for carrying a child on a work quad bike in what is believed to be the first prosecution of its kind.

Herd manager Rangi Holmes was on Wednesday sentenced at the Nelson District Court on two charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, which prohibits the carrying of passengers on quad bikes used for work, and requires quad bike riders to wear helmets.

WorkSafe New Zealand inspectors said they saw Holmes riding a quad bike in the Rai Valley carrying his two-year-old child in front of him on the bike at least five times during a 20-month period from February 2012. Neither was wearing a helmet. . .

How should dairy farmers react to sensitive issues? – Pasture to Profit:

 The public all have strong opinions about on-farm issues of Animal Welfare, Water Quality and TB. Individual Dairy farmers and Rural Professionals need to take a Public Relations leadership position.

Social Media provide powerful tools to take a lead position. We need to make the running and not be forced to play catch-up on sensitive social issues. Defending the indefensible is not very smart. How should farmers respond to Ugly public stories in the media?

I don’t think angry rejection is the right response to these stories in the press. Letters of denial usually imply a cover up. Best to agree with the outrage, then state very firmly that these incidents are totally unacceptable. We must engage with those who are upset and seek a joint understanding and find community agreed solutions.  . .

Food and Beverage reports released:

Three Food and Beverage reports were released on 8 May and showcase the key factors driving New Zealand’s food exporting success: high-quality ingredients, disease-free status, comprehensive network of free trade agreements, world-leading business environment, and strong food science capability.

The 2014 edition of the Investors’ Guide to the New Zealand Food and Beverage Industry shows that New Zealand’s food and beverage industry is well positioned for substantial growth, with exports on track to double in value in the next 15 years to US$40 billion.

The Food and Beverage Overview Report complements the Investors Guide with profiles of the top 50 food and beverage companies operating in New Zealand. Collectively these generate revenues of $42 billion. . . .

The Red Meat Profit Partnership gets down to business:

The Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) has reached its first milestone of being fully established as a limited partnership and has appointed a board of directors.

The RMPP is a red meat sector and government collaboration designed to boost sheep and beef farmer productivity and profitability. It draws together nine industry partners who are co-funding the programme along with the Ministry for Primary Industries through its Primary Growth Partnership (PGP). They include Alliance Group, ANZCO Foods, ANZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (representing sheep and beef farmers), Blue Sky Meats, Greenlea Premier Meats, Progressive Meats, Rabobank and Silver Fern Farms. . .

New way to cut out timber fumigation:

New techniques spearheaded by the Ministry for Primary Industries have led to some timber exports heading to Australia without first having to be fumigated with the ozone-depleting gas methyl bromide.

Australia wants to keep the burnt pine longhorn beetle that’s found in New Zealand, out of its country and until recently all sawn timber had to be fumigated during the summer flight season of the beetle.

Ministry director of plants, food and environment Peter Thomson says a successful trial has shown the Australians that other methods can be applied to keep the beetle out.

“With this alternative, timber exporters or wood product exporters are able to keep their product in a secure area that will exclude those beetles.

“And as long as they process their product and pack it into containers in a way that excludes the beetle from being able to get in there during the process then they’re free to ship under this new system,” said Mr Thomson. . .


Thursday’s quiz

May 15, 2014

It’s your turn to ask the questions again.

You don’t need to ask a specific number nor do you need to follow the format I usually do.

Anyone who stumps us all will win an electronic batch of shortbread.


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