Political story of the day

June 17, 2014

The round-up of political stories while Politics Daily is taking a break seemed  like a good idea but it was taking too much time.

Instead, I’ll feature a political story of the day and welcome you to add others.

My pick won’t necessarily be the most important one, it can, as today’s does, raise a point no-one else does.

The story on this morning’s Herald-DigiPoll survey said Internet Mana would have two seats.

Over at Stats Chat Thomas Lumley reminds us of the margins of error:

. . . That’s probably 9 respondents. A 95% interval around the support for Internet–Mana goes from 0.6% to 2.4%, so we can’t really tell much about the expected number of seats. . .

 

A small change in a small number can appear to be far more significant than it is.


Word of the day

June 17, 2014

Metagrobolize – to baffle, confound, disturb, mystify, puzzle.


Rural round-up

June 17, 2014

New $65m high-security biocontainment lab:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says a new $65m high-security biocontainment laboratory announced in Wallaceville today is another demonstration of the Government’s commitment to biosecurity.

“The new facility will replace the existing high security laboratory and continue more than 100 years of animal disease diagnostics at the site,” says Mr Guy.

“The existing laboratories and skilled personnel have an essential role in responding to disease outbreaks, protecting public health and providing international trade assurances about New Zealand’s animal disease status. . .

Agritech companies debut at the World Dairy Expo & Summit China:

 Seven companies joined New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) at the 12th World Dairy Expo and Summit in Xi’an, China, over the weekend.

The World Dairy Expo and Summit is the premier annual event for China’s dairy industry, attracting thousands of visitors from across China and around the world including professionals in dairy production and cow breeding, buyers, government officials, experts and media.

With an exhibition area of 25,000sqm, the Expo focuses on the entire dairy production chain, from breeding and farm facilities to processing and packing equipment, ingredients, and dairy products.
NZTE’s Trade Commissioner in Beijing, Liam Corkery, says that the Expo is an opportunity for New Zealand companies to present their solutions to potential customers in China that are actively looking for farming and milking systems expertise and technologies. . .

Taranaki bags Maori farming award:

A Taranaki dairy farming operation has won this year’s top Maori farming award, the Ahuwhenua Trophy.

Te Rua o Te Moko Ltd which runs 500 cows on a 170-hectare farm near Hawera, was one of three finalists for the award.

The farm trust’s chair Dion Maaka said it stood out because it was an amalgamation of four separate Maori trusts, representing more than 1000 landowners, who had successfully combined their small uneconomic blocks into one larger and more viable dairy farming operation. . .

A thousand owners share dairy delight:

An award-winning Maori dairy farming operation says its ownership structure provides a successful model for others to follow.

Te Rua o Te Moko Ltd, based in southern Taranaki, has won this year’s top Maori farming award, the Ahuwhenua Trophy.

It runs 500 cows on a 170-hectare farm near Hawera. . .

Lincoln University drives into the rough – Keith Woodford:

Lincoln University is New Zealand’s land-based university, with a special focus on agriculture and related industries. In recent years, the University has been facing hard times. This is despite the resurgence of New Zealand’s agricultural industries, and the export dominance of agri- food products.

This year the situation at Lincoln has reached crisis point. The University has been shedding academic and other positions in an attempt to balance the books.

The current shedding of staff involves a net decrease of 53 staff through a combination of voluntary redundancies, enhanced early retirements, and compulsory redundancies. Inevitably, the loss of staff is going to affect delivery capacity. The question now is whether Lincoln can survive in its present form. . . .

Fieldays looks at boosting footprint:

The organisation behind the national agricultural expo says it isn’t letting the grass grow under its feet after wrapping up this year’s event.

The organisation behind the national agricultural expo says it isn’t letting the grass grow under its feet after wrapping up this year’s event.

More than 900 exhibitors took up 50 hectares of space at the giant agricultural showcase this year, including 28 new large outdoor sites. . . .

Going ‘nuts’ for Mediterranean diet – Ashley Walmsley:

A MEDITERRANEAN diet could be the key to better health and increased nut sales according to an international researcher.

Professor Jordi Salas-Salvadó, chairman of the INC World Forum for Nutrition Research presented nut health information at the 33rd World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress, in Melbourne last month.

The Congress saw nearly 900 guests from Australia and overseas come together to talk about the current state and future of global nut consumption. . .

 New Zealand wine industry gets WiSE

A world leading sustainability scorecard and reporting tool is being launched to New Zealand wineries and grape-growers today. WiSE (Wine Industry Sustainability Engine) will be used by around 2000 wineries and vineyards from Northland to Otago. It will record and manage winery and vineyard activities to ensure they meet international sustainability standards required by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.

The New Zealand wine industry is already seen as a driving force in sustainability with over 94% of the vineyard producing area certified under an independently audited sustainability programme, and WiSE is set to bolster this reputation. . .

Canterbury Butchers Carve up the Competition:

The Alto Young Butcher and Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year is well underway with the Upper South Island Regional held yesterday in Christchurch.

Jeremy Garth of New World Woolston, Christchurch and Timmy Watson from Ashburton’s Allenton Meat Centre, drew a tie in the hotly contested Alto Young Butchery regional.

Competenz Butcher Apprentice regional winner Rowan Lee of Pak’ n Save Riccarton, Christchurch demonstrated he was a cut above the rest in yesterday’s competition, joining the two young butchers in the next stage of the competition. . . .

New acne cream brings new meaning to ‘adding value to dairy’:

Hamilton company, Quantec Personal Care, believes Cleopatra may have been onto something when she bathed in milk.

The research focused company has developed a clinically-proven anti-acne cream whose active, patented ingredient is derived from New Zealand cow’s milk.

The company believes this breakthrough skincare product, marketed under the Epiology brand, is a world first in its category and represents an entirely new approach to improving acne and problem skin.

Quantec founder and Managing Director, Dr Rod Claycomb, explains, “The bioactive enzymes and proteins found in our Epiology anti-acne cream are essentially the same active enzymes and proteins that all mammals produce to protect themselves from potentially harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. . . .

 


Need to enrol to vote

June 17, 2014

The Electoral Commission stand at Fieldays was busy encouraging people to enrol to vote.

It’s not hard to do, even if you’re overseas:

Are you a Kiwi living overseas? Have family living overseas? Find out how you can enrol and vote from anywhere in the world this election at www.national.org.nz/overseas.

Enrolling doesn’t compel you to vote national, of course, but it’s the best option for those wanting a country worth staying in or coming home to.


St Paul’s prepares teens for ag careers

June 17, 2014

An independent school in Hamilton is responding to the needs of the agricultural sector by pioneering courses specifically designed for careers in agri-business.

St Paul’s Collegiate School is running agribusiness courses at NCEA level 2 and level 3.

The assistant headmaster responsible for academic programmes, Peter Hampton, says these will be the first structured programmes in New Zealand secondary schools that promote careers in agribusiness.

He says the courses are designed to attract students capable of going on to tertiary study.

“There’s a gap at the senior level where the tertiary capable students are and figures that we have done in conjunction with DairyNZ and Beef and Lamb show there are round about 1200 graduates are required for the sector each year and currently there are about 250 coming out of our universities”. . .

This is a brilliant idea and well over-due.

Agribusiness – farming and the businesses which service and supply them, are already finding it difficult to recruit good staff.

One reason for that is because since the ag-sag of the 80s agribusiness in general and agriculture in particular, weren’t seen as good career options.

That was wrong then and is even more so now.

But if agriculture is to reach its potential it needs good staff and St Paul’s’ programmes will make its pupils aware of the options and prepare them for careers in jobs which are waiting for them.


Another Labour policy lacks details

June 17, 2014

Labour has confirmed it will make KiwiSaver compulsory – without details and with exceptions:

. . . Under Labour’s policy, all employees not already in the scheme would be automatically enrolled on October 1 next year. Students and beneficiaries would be exempt.

Low income earners would also be exempt – but the details of the minimum threshold will be subject to consultation, Mr Cunliffe said.

The elephant in the KiwiSaver room that no-one mentions is that in a few decades there will be significant inequality amongst retirees – those with KiwiSaver and those without.

The poor are least likely to have KiwiSaver accounts and making it compulsory for everyone else will merely compound that.

Labour expects auto-enrolment would bring a further half a million people into the scheme.

“Most of those are low income earners who are missing out on getting their fair share of government contributions”, Mr Cunliffe told reporters at Parliament this morning.

“These workers will have higher incomes after Labour raises the minimum wage and the ramp up of their employee contribution will be slower.” . . .

Raising the minimum wage will do little for most people because any increase will be cancelled out by reductions in Working for Families and other assistance such as accommodation supplements.

Increasing employer contributions will also have a depressing impact on wages and job opportunities and also threaten job stability.

Adding costs to employment without increasing productivity would mean businesses would have to charge more for whatever they sell which would flow through to inflation.

The alternative would be to absorb the cost which would reduce profits. That in turn could threaten viability and would reduce their ability to invest more in their business and their staff.

This policy would leave most workers with left in their pay packets – without Labour’s other daft idea of altering KiwiSaver rates to control inflation.

Saving is good, but many people would be better paying off a mortgage or other debt than putting more in KiwiSaver.

But the worst of this policy is, like so many others of labour’s – is its vagueness. Once more the party shows it doesn’t do details.

Spin doctors don’t do numbers, but the Treasury secondee the party sacked would have.

A policy without details isn’t really a policy, it’s just a vague idea of what the party might or might not do should it get into government.


Farmers acting for good of nature

June 17, 2014

The number of landowners who have put in place covenants on parts of their land for the good of nature is set to pass 4000 for the first time.

It is a great untold story of New Zealand landowners, mostly farmers, taking a selfless stand for good, said Mike Jebson, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth II Trust. It works with private landowners, who make a contribution to conservation, including those making covenants to perpetually protect parts of their land.

Jebson spoke to the Sunday Star-Times after Labour sought to make political capital out conservation money being spent to eradicate pests from Great Mercury Island, owned by Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite.

The Government, which says endangered species don’t care who owns the land they live on, funds the QEII Trust. At the end of June last year, the trust had 3803 registered covenants and the number was rising fast.

“We are just shy of 4000 registered covenants. That milestone will be coming up in the next 12 months. It’s a huge achievement,” said Jebson, who is due to announce new large covenants in coming weeks.

The area covered by the covenants is the size of three national parks, the Aoraki/Mt Cook, Egmont/Taranaki and Abel Tasman national parks, he said.

“It should be part of the New Zealand story because a lot of our covenants are on working farms,” Jebson said.

A lot was heard about farmers and dirty dairying but almost nothing of their conservation efforts, he said.

“This is an untold story of New Zealand farmers and other landowners, which is helping to give real substance to New Zealand’s clean, green international image,” Jebson said in the trust’s last annual report. . .

Farmers who covenant their land do get help with fencing and pest control but it doesn’t cover all their costs and it doesn’t compensate for the loss of earnings from retired land.

However, they do it as good stewards of the land, understanding the importance of protecting native species and leaving an enduring legacy for future generations.

You can read more about the trust on its website.


%d bloggers like this: