Moooving to beat of Royals

August 5, 2014

A video of a Kansas farmer playing Lorde’s Royals to his cows has become a YouTube hit:

. . . Kansas local Derek Klingenberg plays the song on a trombone to grab the cows’ attention and a video shows them clamouring to get in on the action.

In a post on Facebook Mr Klingenberg said there was “something wonderful” about playing an instrument in the middle of a prairie to 380 heifers. . .


Word of the day

August 5, 2014

Flocculent –  having a loosely clumped texture; having or resembling tufts of wool; covered with a soft, woolly substance; consisting of or containing loose woolly masses;  containing, consisting of, or occurring in the form of loosely aggregated particles or soft flake.


Rural round-up

August 5, 2014

Farmprint a form of insurance – Sally Rae:

Stock rustlers beware. Mosgiel-based company Oritain is using its pioneering approach to scientifically certify the origin of food products to help address the multimillion-dollar issue of stock theft.

The company, which is based at Invermay, uses an ”origin” based system, identifying the naturally occurring chemical properties of food products, which were influenced by the soils and environment in which they were produced.

It works with food producers throughout New Zealand and around the world to protect their brands and reputation – and now it is using the same system to protect farmers’ stock. . .

Enjoying role helping select merino genes – Sally Rae:

Anna Vaughan got ”hooked” on merino sheep while undertaking work experience at Lake Coleridge Station, in the Canterbury high country, during her university summer.

Now, Miss Vaughan (31) is combining her passion for the breed and for farming with her work as genetics project manager for the New Zealand Merino Company (NZM), where she is heavily involved with its central progeny test (CPT).

Miss Vaughan is from a farming background – her parents were dairy farmers – but her last four secondary school years were spent at Te Anau, where they managed a sheep and beef farm for Landcorp. . .

Three generations growing veges – Kay Blundell:

The third generation of Gordon Sue’s family is tilling the soil and growing vegetables in Horowhenua, catering for growing demand from supermarkets throughout the North Island.

Sue’s great-grandfather came from China in the 1860s to dig for gold. When that was elusive he turned his hand to growing vegetables.

Sue’s father was born in Alexandra, Otago, went back to China and moved to Wellington where he ran a greengrocer’s shop before he and his wife moved to Levin when Sue was a 1-year-old.

Since then the family has made a “comfortable living” market gardening. . .

New machine age for Japan’s ageing farmers:

New types of agricultural machinery with functions and designs that differ from conventional tractors and rice planters are attracting new attention in Japan.

They include high-tech machines for assisting elderly farmers whose physical strength is weakened. Machines with designs intended to attract young people are also being released.

Agricultural machinery makers are trying hard to expand the domestic market for the new styles of products.

The average age of farmers in Japan reached 66.2 in 2013. For agricultural machinery makers, how to support farmers with waning physical strength is an important challenge. . . . . .

Commodity prices drive rural appetite – Larry Schlesinger:

RURAL property investors are ­paying close attention to commodity prices as appetite improves for ­agribusiness investments.

In its latest Rural and Agribusiness report, Colliers International said many agriculture regions had passed their ­bottom points and that a positive ­agricultural commodities outlook was “key” for the sector.

Commodity prices reflect supply and demand market dynamics. Rising ­commodity prices often act as leading indicators of rising property values provided the outlook is also favourable in terms of interest rates, rainfall outlook and water availability. . .

Oceania Dairy Factory Receives First Milk:

Oceania Dairy’s new $214 million Glenavy milk processing plant received its first intake of milk from South Canterbury and North Otago farmers today.

The milk will be used for the next stages of the plant commissioning as the 14 -month construction programme draws to its conclusion. The initial plant testing has been completed using water. The final six weeks of commissioning and performance testing will now be undertaken with milk before the final handover of the factory from construction to production by the middle of September

“This is a landmark day for Oceania Dairy Limited, for our supply farmers and for the district,” said Aidan Johnstone, Chief Executive Officer for Oceania Dairy.

“The factory represents a significant investment by Oceania’s owners, Yili, that will have an ongoing impact on the rural economy of the region. . .

Rural TV

We had a massive weekend in Wanaka smashing the boots on the D-floor to the ultimate NZ country - this guy had a birthday & his pals throw him a party - hope you all had a good one!


High Heels in the High Country

August 5, 2014

This episode of CTV’s High Heels in the High Country features Linda Blake of Southern Alpaca and Tracey Robinson of Cosy Toes.


Fantastic facts about the south # 47

August 5, 2014

Fantastic fact # 47:


Gang busters

August 5, 2014

 An all of government plan is aiming to tackle gangs:

Police and Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says the Government is taking action to tackle and prevent gang crime, to reduce the harm it causes to families and communities.

For the first time, a multi-agency approach involving intelligence-gathering, enhanced law enforcement, prevention, intervention, rehabilitation and reintegration will be adopted to address New Zealand gangs and transnational crime groups. 

“The crime rate is at a 35-year low, recorded crimes have fallen by over 20 per cent in the past four years, and reoffending is down by over 12 per cent, so the time is right to focus on tackling gang crime, which causes disproportionate harm in our country,” says Mrs Tolley. 

“We want to ensure that Police and other agencies have the tools they need to hold gangs to account, while breaking the cycle of offending by preventing young people from joining these organisations, and helping current members to exit gang life.

“As gangs continue to expand and adapt, law enforcement and legislation needs to be strengthened, while we also require a long-term plan to address what is a complex issue, to halt the intergenerational grip which gang life has on families, and to reduce the number of victims, both within these families and in the wider community.” 

Known members of gangs comprise 0.1 per cent (4,000 people) of the population aged 17 and over, but in 2013 were responsible for 25 per cent of homicide related charges and in the first quarter of 2014 have been charged with:

34 per cent of class A/B drug offences

36 per cent of kidnapping and abduction offences

25 per cent of aggravated robbery/robbery offences

26 per cent of grievous assault offences

These gang members average 53 offences in their lifetime, and the 50 members with the highest number of charges average 229 charges each.

Almost half of serious offences by gang members are family violence related and, from a 2013 sample of 50 high risk gang members, 74 per cent of gang children have been abused or neglected on multiple occasions.

“The emotional cost to the victims of gang crime and to those affected by gang family violence is huge, as is the cost to the taxpayer, and we believe a new approach will be more effective in reducing the harm caused by gangs,” says Mrs Tolley.

Those are very compelling reasons for tackling gangs.

The whole of Government action plan addresses the issue through four initiatives:

A multi-agency Gang Intelligence Centre led by Police to collect and combine intelligence on real-time gang activity to support investigation, prevention and enforcement, while also identifying vulnerable children and family members who may need social service support. It will also identify young people at risk of joining gangs, so that agencies can target interventions to help steer them away from gang life.

Start at Home: a programme of work to refocus existing social initiatives, and develop some new programmes, to address the intergenerational nature of gang life, to support families and members turn away from the gang lifestyle, and to help support communities where there is a large gang presence, by reducing gang tension. It will also include enhanced prisoner reintegration and rehabilitation programmes by Corrections targeted at gang members, with access to violence and addiction services and support to access training, education, employment and housing, possibly in new locations away from gang life. Safety planning and support will also be provided to women with gang connections at risk of family violence on release from prison.

Gangs do not need to be a fact of life in New Zealand. Breaking the cycle of gang life starts at home. ntnl.org.nz/1qK8C9u #Working4NZ

Two multi-agency Dedicated Enforcement Taskforces will be established. The Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Border Protection Taskforce will target drug trafficking networks to disrupt new gangs attempting to enter New Zealand and restrict and monitor international gang travel. The Criminal Asset Confiscation Taskforce will strengthen asset recovery efforts, prevent financing of crime and target profits received from crime.

Strengthen legislation: The Sentencing Act will be amended to allow courts to stipulate 24-hour GPS monitoring on high-risk gang affiliates following release from a prison sentence of two years or less, as part of their conditions of release or sentence. This will prevent them from associating with other members at gang headquarters or places where gangs congregate. It will also provide intelligence on their activities. The proposed changes to the Sentencing Act were recently announced to allow for 24-hour GPS monitoring of high-risk domestic violence offenders.

Other legislation will also be reviewed. Officials are to provide advice by the end of the year on options around Firearm Prohibition Orders (FPOs), which could prohibit serious gang offenders from possessing or obtaining firearms, and also penalise anyone who knowingly supplies firearms to someone subject to an FPO. Police and the Ministry of Justice will explore Interim Freezing Orders on bank accounts and cash, and possible unexplained wealth laws, for those convicted of drug trafficking or similar offences. To prevent and disrupt drug trafficking within New Zealand and between the North and South Islands, Police and Justice will investigate a pilot of drug detector dogs at key domestic ports (maritime and air).   

“This is a comprehensive plan and Government agencies will have an important role to play in the years ahead,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Gangs don’t need to be a fact of life in New Zealand. They are criminal organisations, and inflict serious harm on anyone who comes into contact with them.”

We will empower courts to make our communities safer with 24-hour GPS monitoring of high-risk gang members out of prison, deterring them from associating with other gang members or visiting gang headquarters. ntnl.org.nz/1qK8C9u #Working4NZ

Q and As:

What is the cost to New Zealand from gang activity?
Apart from the harm they cause communities, Police analysis of just one gang family showed that over three generations they had 423 victims, costing the taxpayer around $5 million in justice costs and benefits costs.

Corrections estimates the proportion of gang members in prison has increased from 15 per cent to around 28 per cent over the past eight years, with each prisoner costing the taxpayer approximately $100,000 each year.

Gang members reoffend at twice the rate of non-gang offenders, so are more likely to return to prison.

What is the cost to families?
Five out of nine child deaths in New Zealand between 2009 and 2012 involved step fathers with gang connections.

55 per cent of gang members are dependent on welfare. 61 per cent have outstanding child support owing. 71 per cent of clan labs have links to organised crime, and children were found at 33 per cent of drug dealing houses uncovered in 2013.

So our plan to crack down on gangs and help vulnerable families is another tool in the arsenal to fight the drivers of misery in society – like poor education, family violence, crime, welfare dependency and hopelessness.

If things don’t change, then imagine the wasted human potential and community harm that might arise. We want to change the life course of these kids, who’ve already had such a difficult start in life. Because if we don’t, they have a high chance of heading down the path to state care, crime and welfare dependency.

Which agencies are involved in this plan?
Police, Corrections, Justice, the Ministry of Social Development, Education, Health, Te Puni Kokiri, Housing New Zealand, Inland Revenue and Customs.

How will this tie in with existing programmes?
This is much wider than a law and order issue. Families identified as needing support will be able to benefit from Government programmes such as Whānau Ora, Children’s Teams, Social Sector Trials, our recently announced Family Violence package, Neighbourhood Policing Teams, the Youth Crime Action Plan and our initiatives to reduce reoffending. We want to prevent gang activity and reduce crime and violence in families and communities. We also want to offer young people an alternative to gang life.

What’s different about this idea?
If we want to bring the crime rate down even further, and make communities safer, then we have to tackle the offending which is more difficult to reduce. We want to see fewer victims of gang crime, including fewer victims within gang families. The reality is that we can’t arrest our way out of this issue, so law and order is only one part of the answer.

For the first time we have brought Government agencies together to help gather and share information, and ensure there is a collaborative approach to dealing with gangs, supporting the families of gang members, and putting in place some long-term approaches to this issue.  

What are the timeframes and cost?
The Gang Intelligence Centre and Taskforces will be funded through Budget 2015 and established by December 2015. Funding of around $1.6 million over two years is required for the Intelligence Centre and detailed costing work for the taskforces is currently underway.

Other work is expected to be funded from baselines.

What other work is taking place in prisons?
Gang members have been able to access the huge increase in places on addiction, rehabilitation, education and skills programmes over the past three years. Corrections will work more closely with these gang members to encourage them to access and benefit from rehab. The Department is also focusing on improving their identification of gang affiliates, as well as protecting prisoners from gang intimidation and recruitment.  

What initiatives will be introduced through the Start at Home programme?
In addition to existing programmes, agencies will work with local government, community providers, local businesses and iwi to develop local initiatives, alongside the work already being done by Neighbourhood Policing Teams. This could include community events with access to recreational activities and health and education services. It could also include schemes similar to the Community Garden in the Gisborne area, where women from gang families were supported with access to education, skills, budgeting and social services.  http://www.tenone.police.govt.nz/tenone/June14News2.htm

These events and activities are the drivers for agencies to offer support through a range of measures.

How will success be measured?
Reductions in crime, especially violent crime, will be measured as part of the Better Public Services targets – the plan will also be continuously reviewed by Police. The Gang Intelligence Centre will be gathering up to the minute information which should give Police important intelligence on the effect these initiatives are having. As well as crimes committed, this will also include successes on steering young people away from gang life, who had been identified as being at risk. Through the close working relationship between agencies in this dedicated unit, it will also gather information on how violence towards wives, partners and children within the gang families is being dealt with and prevented, and what additional action and support is required.

 Gangs have been a blight on too many communities for far too long.

This gang-busting approach will reduce crime and the harm it does to its victims which include families of gang members.


Give with one hand, take with other

August 5, 2014

Labour has come up with similar ideas on youth employment to National with a much higher price tag:

The Labour Party’s skills and training policy for young people largely follows the Government’s ideas, only with a more expensive price tag, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says.

“National has a very comprehensive programme for young people and has introduced the Youth Guarantee, Trades Academies, Maori and Pasifika Trades Training Initiatives, Vocational Pathways, New Zealand Apprenticeships, the Apprenticeship Reboot, the Youth Services programme and the Flexi-wage wage subsidy,” Mr Joyce says.

“Under National, the 15-19 year old NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) rate is already down to an average of 8.2 per cent over the last year which is similar to before the Global Financial Crisis. Our comprehensive set of youth training programmes will get it down further as the economy recovers.”

Mr Joyce says the only substantive change Labour seems to be suggesting is to swap out Military Style Activity Camps for Conservation Corps.

“Labour is proposing to take the most serious, hard core repeat youth offenders on bushwalks,” Mr Joyce says.

“Other than that, Labour’s policy is an almost exact mimic of what the Government’s already doing, except Labour would re-brand some of it and spend an extra $183 million paying for it.

“This is becoming a pattern for Labour. In these key policy areas, they simply haven’t been doing the work so they don’t know what is already going on.”

Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows says Labour’s proposals to scrap Military Style Activity Camps (MAC Camps) without any alternative plan show they are prepared to turn their backs on serious youth offenders.

The camps, established by the National Government in 2010, take up to 40 of the most serious and persistent young offenders each year.

“Military Style Activity Camps were created to help serious young offenders get back onto the right track before they end up in jail,” says Mr Borrows.

“They are not ‘Boot Camps’, but place intensive support around the young offenders, including the discipline and positive role-modelling provided by the New Zealand Defence Force as well as education, rehabilitation, drug, alcohol and anger-management counselling.”

The most recent results show 79 per cent of MAC graduates reduce their rate of offending.  Of those who do reoffend in some way, 81 per cent offend at a less serious level, including a 53 per cent reduction in violent offending.

“No reoffending is acceptable, but anyone who thinks they have a magic solution to stop these young people offending entirely is dreaming,” says Mr Borrows.

“These are some of our most serious young offenders, so any reduction in their future offending means fewer victims, and is a huge success.”

MAC Camps are part of the broader success in reducing youth crime, which has fallen by 30 per cent since June 2011, already ahead of the Better Public Services target of 25 per cent by June 2017.

“The National Government is serious about reducing youth crime, and our policies, including MAC Camps, are delivering tangible results,” says Mr Borrows.

“Labour’s promise to scrap them, without any alternative for these young people, shows they have already consigned them to a life of crime, prison, and creating victims.  Labour might be willing to give up on these kids, but we won’t.”

He added in a Facebook post:

. . . Either they want to cut MAC and give up on these young offenders; or they want to give them a machete and send them off into the bush, with no regard for their complex health, rehabilitation and education needs, or for public safety. Complete madness either way!

Labour’s policy is here and while it says what it will give, it omits what it will take.

They are promising a $9100 subsidy to employers to take on an apprentice.

Employers who take an apprentice straight from the dole queue, with no 90-day trial, they have to pay them the higher minimum wage Labour will impose $16.25 an hour – or higher if a National Award applies.

The minimum wage of $16.25 immediately wipes $4160 off the subsidy.

Employers who are contractors working on Government projects, such as roads, would have to pay the new apprentices a Living Wage of more than $18 an hour.

That would cost more than $12,000 a year – a lot more than Labour’s subsidy.

Employers would have to pay more in KiwiSaver contributions and also face higher and more taxes under Labour – including one on capital gains when they sold their business.

This is typical of Labour – giving a little with one hand but cancelling it out by taking more with the other.


Cunliffe yeah-nah on Mana

August 5, 2014

Last week David Cunliffe refused to rule out working with Internet Mana.

Last night TV3 reported the Labour Party had told Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis to shut down a website aimed at his rival for the seat, sitting MP and Mana leader Hone Harawira.

But this morning Cunliffe told TV1’s Breakfast: (@ 2:28)

“. . . We’ve ruled out working with Mana in government  as well. I’ve said yesterday, I’ve said before Mana will not be part of a government I lead fullstop.”

Has he or has he not ruled out Mana?

If he has why is Davis being told to pull his head in – and his website off-line – and why isn’t Labour supporting its candidate in Te Tai Tokerau?

A strong campaign there would unseat Harawira and Mana would go with him in spite of the millions of dollars Kim Dotcom is throwing at it.

While Labour is yeah-nahing about whether or not it will work with Mana and whether or not it wants to win the seat, Davis is in no doubt.

He posted on Facebook last night:

I was on 3 News tonight because my campaign team had a look at a proposed website designed to take down Kim Dotcom and stop him from buying the seat of Te Tai Tokerau with his $3million dollars.
We explored this concept, debated it, then along with the Labour Party hierarchy decided it wasn’t in line with our Vote Positive messages and ditched it.
It was all about Kim Dotcom.
This is the same Kim Dotcom who donated $50,000 to far-right wing disgraced politician John Banks.
This is the same Kim Dotcom who said the police turning up at his front door was as bad as the suffering Maori have endured for close to two centuries.
This is the same Kim Dotcom had nothing to do with Maori until he found a way to take advantage of some to try to keep himself out of an American jail.
This is the same Kim Dotcom who’s garage is bigger and flasher than 99% of homes in Te Tai Tokerau, and still cries ‘poor me’.
This is the same Kim Dotcom, who if he really cared about the people of Te Tai Tokerau, would have got out with all the Labour volunteers after the floods and storms and distributed food packages to those who needed them instead of staying tucked up in the mansion.
This is the same Kim Dotcom who turned up to hui up north in a limousine while kaumatua and kuia rode in a rattly bus.
This is the same Kim Dotcom whose interference in Te Tai Tokerau politics was described as a disgrace to over 300 people at the Ngati Hine hearings in Pipiwai yesterday.
I make no apologies about looking at a website that asked the public to donate $5, $10 or whatever they wish to koha, to bring down a fake.
I’m just an ordinary Maori living up north trying to stop the biggest con in New Zealand’s political history from being pulled against my whanau, my hapu, my iwi.
I make no apologies if there’s another Maori politician in the north feeling pretty sensitive about all the criticism he’s copping from hapu throughout Te Tai Tokerau because of the con job.
I’m prepared to cop the criticism from him because it’s just the price a person pays when he stands up for his people and his principles.

Davis is quite sure he wants to win the seat, and on current polling he’d have to if he wants a seat in parliament because his list placing isn’t good enough win a seat that way.

But it’s difficult to know whether his leader and his party are as keen.

The only thing we can be sure about  is that Labour is unsure.

It’s as confused and divided about this as it is about its campaign, its direction and its leader.


Labour tries to out-Winston Winston

August 5, 2014

Labour has forgotten that is trying to out Winston-Winston Peters on sales of land to foreigners:

The next Labour Government will keep rural and residential land in Kiwi hands, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“New Zealanders are sick of seeing their farms and homes sold to overseas buyers with the profits and opportunities going offshore. No overseas person has the right to buy our land.

The opportunities stay here where the land is, so do the jobs which go with it.

The profit is only what’s left after costs – including the purchase price, wages, repairs and maintenance, development and tax – are paid.

A friend is New Zealand manager for overseas investors who own several farms. That company reinvests all its profit in the farms and adds more money from other investments elsewhere for development which includes a very expensive experiment with organic farming.

Their money is making the farms better and they are putting far more into the country than they are taking out.

“In all but the rarest of cases, sales of rural land to overseas buyers will be banned. Non-resident investors will also be banned from buying existing Kiwi homes.

What will those rarest cases be and who will decide?

“Changing who owns what already exists does nothing to increase New Zealand’s output. It just sells off New Zealand’s profit stream and kills off the Kiwi dream of owning our farms and homes.

It could increase New Zealand’s output if the investment improved production.

“Labour will reverse the current approach so that overseas buyers of rural land will have to prove they will create more jobs and exports than any New Zealand investor. Given New Zealanders are among the best farmers in the world it is an extremely hard hurdle to get over.

The hurdles overseas must leap are already very high and include the creation of jobs.  Among other conditions local buyers don’t have to meet but foreigners do is allowing public access.

New Zealand farmers are very good but they often lack the capital to be even better.

“This will ensure our farms are not priced out of the reach of New Zealanders.

If that is the case it would also mean the vendor gets less to invest elsewhere.

“We will also limit the discretion of the minister to ignore recommendations from the Overseas Investment Office.

“Labour will also restrict sales of residential homes to any non-residents unless they intend to move here, helping to keep the Kiwi home ownership dream alive, especially for young New Zealanders currently locked out of the housing market.

“The National Government is ignoring the legitimate concerns of New Zealanders about New Zealand land and houses being sold to overseas interests.

These concerns are largely based on emotion rather than facts.

A very small proportion of farm land is owned by foreigners and the problems with housing are largely a result of planning restricting the supply in Auckland and the earthquakes in Christchurch.

“Instead of accusing New Zealanders of being xenophobic, John Key and Steven Joyce should respect New Zealanders’ desire to keep New Zealand land in New Zealand hands,” David Parker says.

The accusation of xenophobia is because the protest is loud when it is a Chinese buyer and quiet to non-existent when it is from other countries like the USA, Britain, Australia or Germany.

Wee parties can get away with outrageous policies because they can always use the excuse they didn’t have the numbers to get them enacted.

The bigger parties are usually more circumspect.

Labour has forgotten this in trying to out Winston Winston Peters with this dog-whistle to the xenophobic.

It is also ignoring the benefits from the sale:

Stevenson Group, the concrete, quarrying and engineering firm that owns Lochinver Station, ran an extensive tender before agreeing to sell the 13,843 hectare farm to Shanghai Pengxin and says it will reinvest the funds in other businesses. . .

 The Stevenson family has owned Lochinver for 60 years but started as a drain-laying business in 1912, expanding into quarrying and construction in the late 1930s, and making concrete blocks from 1946. The original 5,260 ha Lochinver farm was acquired in 1958 and the family expanded to 16,595 ha “breaking the wild country into farming land” with “an enormous amount of hard work.”

“Farming is not the core business of Stevenson Group,” chief executive Mark Franklin told BusinessDesk. The company is freeing up capital to invest in other businesses such as expanding its Drury quarry, he said.

Franklin said the company had “really intensive discussions with lots of people both domestically and internationally. You can be very clear, anyone who was interested, I have spoken to.”

While Lochinver has a rateable value of more than $70 million, the purchase price hasn’t been disclosed. Still, Franklin said Pengxin’s offer wasn’t necessarily the highest on price alone and his company had considered a range of factors including retention of workers and the future of the property. Lochinver was more a farm enterprise than a farm. “In New Zealand a lot of people own farms but this is part of a supply chain.”

He said Pengxin had a long-term strategy to build a vertically integrated business.

The value in the property was “in its ability to grow a lot of grass,” which made it attractive for both dairy support and wintering stock, he said. Sheep farming was likely to remain a core part of the business. . .

The owner gets a large amount of money to invest in its core business, the new owner will bring money into the country, spend more on running and improving the property which will require employing locals and using local goods and services.

Federated Farmers which supports foreign investment in general has some concerns over the sale of Lochinver.

While Federated Farmers supports positive overseas investment into New Zealand’s farming system, it is concerned the potential sale of Lochinver Station to Shanghai Pengxin Group Co. Limited, may not provide sufficient benefit to New Zealand.

“Since there is no requirement to publicly notify applications to the Overseas Investment Office, Federated Farmers is frankly uneasy about the potential sale of Lochinver Station to Shanghai Pengxin,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers President.

“New Zealand absolutely needs foreign investment but it has to be of benefit to the local and national economy. 

“That is why a ‘substantial and identifiable benefit’ test was incorporated into the overseas investment decision tree, further bolstered in 2012 by a High Court decision adding a “with and without” counterfactual test. 

“This was to ensure any investment, such as the one being proposed, has benefit over and above just making a farm work better.  Since Lochinver Station is highly regarded in farming circles there must be something very special and we are keen to know what that is. . .

He might be reassured by a speech Prime Minister John Key made to Federated Farmers in 2010:

. . . I want to take this opportunity to outline the Government’s position on overseas investment and talk about the changes we are making to the approvals regime.

In summary, we recognise the huge contribution that overseas investment makes to Kiwi jobs and Kiwi incomes.

New Zealand benefits from openness, both in trade and in investment.

However, New Zealanders have legitimate concerns about some aspects of overseas investment, particularly when it comes to land.

I share those concerns.

Good policy is a matter of striking the right balance.

We have reviewed the rules around overseas investment. For the most part, we think those rules are appropriate and the overall legislation is sound.

However, we have made a few adjustments to the approvals regime and given ministers increased flexibility to consider a wider range of issues when assessing proposed investments. . .

What I want to say first is that you, as individual farmers, and as members of Federated Farmers, have been right in the middle of recent debates about overseas investment, because a lot of those debates have been about land.

I’m sure that between you, you have some strong views and quite possibly some mixed views about overseas investment.

Unfortunately, much of the debate in recent months has been stirred up by politicians who are more concerned about getting on the news than they are about well-thought-out policy.

We are likely to see more of this tub-thumping and political posturing in the lead-up to next year’s election.

Politicians who were unwavering advocates of trade and investment when they were in government have somehow turned into defenders of Fortress New Zealand while in opposition.

Their views appear to have changed 180 degrees, for the sake of politics.

That is a shame, because at stake here are New Zealand jobs, New Zealand incomes, and New Zealand futures.

The reason we allow investment to flow between countries – both into New Zealand and out of New Zealand – is because it benefits New Zealanders.

We don’t do it for any other reason – we do it because we benefit from it.

In particular, overseas investment in New Zealand creates jobs, boosts incomes, and helps the economy grow.

Overseas capital can make things happen here that wouldn’t otherwise happen, grow businesses that wouldn’t otherwise have the means to grow, create jobs that otherwise wouldn’t exist, and pay wages that are higher than they would otherwise be.

Overseas capital makes New Zealand a vastly more productive country.

So there is absolutely no way we could enjoy the standard of living we do without overseas investment.

And part of that standard of living is being able to afford the education, law and order, and health services that our families want.

A recent study concluded that overseas investment in New Zealand lifted national income by around $5 billion between 1996 and 2006. That is an estimate of the return to New Zealand from overseas investment, over and above the cost of paying interest and dividends on that investment. . . .

He gave examples from the wine industry.

Since the year 2000 the number of wineries in New Zealand has almost doubled, and the industry directly employs 6,000 people.

This expansion of the wine industry into one of our most important export industries has largely happened because of overseas investment.

That investment has not just been into big producers, like Montana, but smaller wineries like Craggy Range, Sacred Hill, Dry River and Te Awa.

Overseas investment has allowed the industry to grow exponentially, and also develop from being a small and family-based sector into a more capital-intensive and technologically-advanced industry with real global connections.

Overseas investment also plays a positive role in New Zealand agribusiness, providing a vital source of capital for ongoing expansion and growth. PGG Wrightson, Synlait, CRV Ambreed and Anzco are good examples of such investment. . .

He also pointed out investment is a two-way street.

New Zealand businesses and individuals are themselves investing abroad.

There has been considerable investment, for example, by New Zealand dairy farmers in overseas farms. Fonterra, of course, has processing facilities in a number of different countries.

A free flow of investment also allows New Zealanders to diversify their savings across different countries and different industries. Most of the savings that are in the Super Fund, for example, and in many KiwiSaver funds, are invested overseas.

In fact, the total amount of equity investment into and out of New Zealand is surprisingly balanced. According to the latest figures, New Zealanders have around $53 billion of equity invested abroad while overseas investors have $61 billion of equity in New Zealand.

So international flows of investment – both into and out of New Zealand – are very important for our standard of living. . .

Then he addressed concerns about foreign investment:

I’m sure most people have these concerns from time to time, because as New Zealanders we have a very real and very profound sense of attachment to the land.

For one thing, our economy is based on agriculture so we recognise and respect that the land has an important economic value.

We also have a strong tradition of aspiring to own land – our own house, section, lifestyle block, farm, or block of native bush. We are not entirely comfortable as tenants – we want to put our roots down and call some place our own.

We also value outdoor pursuits – tramping, hunting, fishing, camping and picnicking – and even when we don’t do those activities, we like the fact that we could if we wanted to.

Our tourism marketing is very focused on New Zealand’s natural beauty, and we’re proud of it.

I have recently said myself that we don’t want to end up in a position where New Zealanders are tenants in their own country.

So I think the fact that people are concerned with overseas ownership is perfectly legitimate.

But we should be careful not to let those concerns get out of hand.

For a start, about a third of New Zealand – including our most iconic land – is protected by being in the conservation estate. So no-one from overseas can come in and buy Mt Taranaki or the Franz Josef Glacier, for example.

Second, it is a simple fact that land can’t change nationality. People can change nationality, of course, and factories can be relocated overseas. But a piece of land in New Zealand will always be here in New Zealand.

Because it will always be here, the use of that land will always be subject to New Zealand laws and regulations. And ultimately we as New Zealanders get to determine what those laws and regulations will be.

Third, and contrary to what some people might think, there hasn’t been an acceleration of overseas sales in recent years.

In fact, as at a couple of days ago, only 11, 203 hectares of land has been sold so far this year. That is certainly well below the peak of 380,000 hectares that were sold in 2006.

Fourth, the issue of whether businesses and properties are owned by New Zealanders or people from overseas, is for the most part, squarely in our own hands.

What I mean is that no-one can be forced to sell their business to an overseas investor, just as no farmers can be compelled to sell their land to foreigners.

Obviously with mortgagee sales or receiverships things get a little more complicated but, in general, people who feel very strongly that New Zealand-based assets should remain in New Zealand hands are free to sell only to New Zealanders.

The problem is that it’s people who don’t own the land who are complaining and wanting to dictate to whom the owners can sell.

Moreover, New Zealanders can always buy land and other assets back. What makes that difficult isn’t the rules around overseas investment, it is the fact that New Zealand has a poor savings record and therefore a relatively small stock of capital available for investment.

If, as a country, we saved more, we would own more of the assets in New Zealand, including land, as well as being less in debt to overseas lenders.

Finally, there are specific safeguards contained in the Overseas Investment Act and in the regulations which the government makes under that Act.

Over the past year or so the Government has been reviewing this system of rules, to make sure we have got the balance right between three key objectives:

welcoming desirable investment, in recognition of the benefits it brings for New Zealanders

providing a stable investment environment, where the rules are settled and everyone is clear about what they are; and

addressing public concerns about overseas investment, particularly in regard to land.

This review has come to three conclusions.

The first conclusion is that the Overseas Investment Act is a fundamentally sound piece of legislation.

The Act makes it clear that it is a privilege for overseas people to own or control sensitive New Zealand assets.

In particular, it lays out that foreign investment in land is only acceptable if it substantially benefits New Zealand, according to a range of factors which include, among other things:

  • the creation of new job opportunities in New Zealand
  • the introduction into New Zealand of new technology
  • increased export receipts for New Zealand exporters
  • the introduction into New Zealand of additional investment for development purposes
  • increased processing in New Zealand of New Zealand’s primary products
  • protection of native bush and other indigenous vegetation; and
  • protection of game species and walking access.
  • In addition, farm land has to be offered on the open market so that New Zealanders can bid for it as well.

These are very stringent criteria.

In fact, these are the very same criteria that Phil Goff was trying to pass off as brand new policy a few weeks ago. I welcome his endorsement of the current provisions of the Overseas Investment Act which, of course, was passed by his government back in 2005. . .

The third conclusion we came to was that a couple of additions should be made to the existing rules.

These additions would make sure that all public concerns about overseas investment, both now and in the future, could be covered off under the rules.

So the Government is adding two more factors that ministers must consider when they assess the benefits of a proposed overseas investment in New Zealand land.

The first new factor is very wide-ranging and looks at whether New Zealand’s economic interests will be adequately promoted by overseas investment.

This will allow ministers to consider, for example, whether any of our key exports are in danger of being controlled by an overseas entity, or whether there are non-commercial motivations driving a proposed overseas investment.

The second new factor is a “mitigating factor” which looks at whether the investor has a meaningful commitment to New Zealand involvement in the running or oversight of the investment.

That could include, for example, part ownership with New Zealanders, appointing New Zealanders to the board, or listing on a New Zealand exchange.

These two new factors will be weighed up alongside all the existing factors when ministers consider applications for investment.

We are also going to outline the Government’s policy on foreign investment more clearly by amending the Directive Letter issued to the Overseas Investment Office.

This will make things clearer for both the Office and for overseas investors.

So in conclusion can I stress that we allow overseas investment to flow between countries – both into New Zealand and out of New Zealand – because it benefits New Zealanders.

With the appropriate checks and balances in place, this investment is good for jobs, wages and growth.

After reviewing the overseas investment regime, and making some amendments to it, the Government is satisfied that we do now have the appropriate checks and balances. . .

National strengthened those checks and balances.

Foreign investors must jump very high hurdles and if they don’t meet the conditions imposed on them by the OIO – conditions which are strictly monitored – they cannot keep the property.

The Overseas Investment Office has yet to make its decision on the sale of Lochinver.

If it does approve the deal, the strict criteria it must apply, made stricter by National, will ensure that the benefits to New Zealand are greater than any which would come from the sale to a New Zealander.


August 5 in history

August 5, 2014

25 – Guangwu claimed the throne as emperor after a period of political turmoil, restoring the Han Dynasty after the collapse of the short-lived Xin Dynasty.

642  Battle of Maserfield – Penda of Mercia defeated and killed Oswald of Bernicia.

910  The last major Viking army to raid England was defeated at the Battle of Tettenhall by the allied forces of Mercia and Wessex, led by King Edward and Earl Aethelred.

1100 Henry I was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

1305 William Wallace, was captured by the English and transported to London where he was put on trial and executed.

1388 Battle of Otterburn, a border skirmish between the Scottish and the English in Northern England.

1583 Sir Humphrey Gilbert established the first English colony in North America, at what is now St John’s, Newfoundland.

1620 The Mayflower departed from Southampton on its first attempt to reach North America.

1689 – 1,500 Iroquois attacked the village of Lachine, in New France.

1716 The Battle of Petrovaradin.

1735  New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger was acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, on the basis that what he had published was true.

1763 Pontiac’s War: Battle of Bushy Run – British forces led by Henry Bouquet defeated Chief Pontiac’s Indians at Bushy Run.

1772 The First Partition of Poland began.

1858 Cyrus West Field and others completed the first transatlantic telegraph cable after several unsuccessful attempts.

1860 Carl IV of Sweden-Norway was crowned king of Norway, in Trondheim.

1861   The United States government levied the first income tax as part of the Revenue Act of 1861 (3% of all incomes over US $800; rescinded in 1872) to help pay for the Civil War.

1861  The United States Army abolished flogging.

1862 Joseph Merrick, the “Elephant Man” , was born (d. 1890).

1862 American Civil War: Battle of Baton Rouge.

1864  American Civil War: the Battle of Mobile Bay began – Admiral David Farragut led a Union flotilla through Confederate defenses and sealed one of the last major Southern ports.

1870 Franco-Prussian War: the Battle of Spicheren resulted in a Prussian victory.

1884 The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid.

1888  Bertha Benz drove from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in the first long distance automobile trip.

1901  Peter O’Connor set the first IAAF recognised long jump world record of 24ft 11¾ins.

1908 Harold Holt, 17th Prime Minister of Australia, was born(d. 1967).

1914  World War I: The German minelayer Königin Luise laid a minefield about 40 miles off the Thames Estuary. She was intercepted and sunk by the British light-cruiser HMS Amphion.

1914 In Cleveland, Ohio, the first electric traffic light was installed.

1925 Plaid Cymru was formed with the aim of disseminating knowledge of the Welsh language.

1930 Neil Armstrong, American astronaut, was born (d. 2012).

1940 World War II: The Soviet Union formally annexed Latvia.

1944  World War II: possibly the biggest prison breakout in history as 545 Japanese POWs attempted to escape outside the town of Cowra, NSW.

1944  Holocaust: Polish insurgents liberated a German labour camp in Warsaw, freeing 348 Jewish prisoners.

1949  In Ecuador  an earthquake destroyed 50 towns and killed more than 6000.

1957  American Bandstand debuted on the ABC television network.

1960  Burkina Faso, then known as Upper Volta, became independent from France.

1962 Nelson Mandela was jailed.

1963  The United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union signed a nuclear test ban treaty.

1964  Vietnam War: Operation Pierce Arrow – American aircraft from carriers USS Ticonderoga and USS Constellation bombed North Vietnam in retaliation for strikes which attacked U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.

1979   In Afghanistan, Maoists undertake an attempted military uprising.

1988 The Cartwright report condemned the treatment of cervical cancer.

Cartwright Report condemns cervical cancer treatment

1995  The city of Knin, a significant Serb stronghold, was captured by Croatian forces during Operation Storm.

2003  A car bomb exploded in Jakarta outside the Marriott Hotel killing 12 and injuring 150.

2010 – Ten members of International Assistance Mission Nuristan Eye Camp team were killed by persons unknown in Kuran wa Munjan District of Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan.

2010 – Copiapó mining accident  trapped 33 Chilean miners approximately 2,300 ft below the ground.

2012 – The Oak Creek shooting took place at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six people; the perpetrator was shot dead by police.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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