And the winner . . .

August 28, 2014

. .  of the award for being rude and interrupting goes to David Cunliffe in tonight’s TV1 leaders’ debate.

I wonder if Mike Hosking was too scared of being accused of bias to tell him to shut up?

The winner of the policy discussion was John Key.

The text poll gave the debate to the Prime Minister with 61%.

 


Word of the day

August 28, 2014

Psilocybin – a hallucinogenic compound of the alkaloid class, found in the liberty cap and related toadstools; a hallucinogenic crystalline solid, C 1 2 H 1 7 N 2 O 4 P, obtained from the mushroom Psilocybe Mexicana.

Hat tip: Rob Hosking


Decision still maybe

August 28, 2014

This afternoon’s Herald Digipoll has a different story from last night’s TV3 one:

New Zealand First, the Conservatives and Internet Mana are on the move up and Labour is still slipping, in the latest Herald DigiPoll survey.

That will be unwelcome news to Labour leader David Cunliffe as he prepares for his first face-off against Prime Minister John Key in the election campaign, at 7pm on One.

National is up fractionally and could still govern alone with 64 seats. Mr Key’s personal popularity is up 3 points to 67.8 per cent. . .

New Zealand First has broken the 5 per cent threshold and leader Winston Peters has leapt up the preferred Prime Minister stakes by 3.1 points to within striking distance of Mr Cunliffe, down 2.8 to 11.6 per cent.

Colin Craig’s Conservatives have risen 0.7 to 3.3 per cent and would not have MPs in Parliament at that level. . .

But the big mover in the DigiPoll survey is Internet Mana which is up by 1.3 to 3.4 per cent.

That would bring Laila Harre, Annette Sykes and John Minto into Parliament, assuming that leader Hone Harawira keeps his Te Tai Tokerau seat.

The Greens have fallen 2.3 point to 11.4 per cent although their support commonly fluctuates.

Labour appears to be on a steady decline from 30.5 per cent in June, 26.5 in July, 25.2 last week and to 24.1 in today’s poll.

If Labour mustered the support of New Zealand First, the Greens and Internet Mana, combined they would have 55 seats. . .

The full party vote results

(compared with last week)

National 50.7 (up 0.7)

Labour 24.1 (down 1.1)

Greens 11.4 (down 2.3)

NZ First 5 (up 0.7)

Maori Party 1 (up 0.3)

Internet Mana 3.4 (up 1.3)

Conservatives 3.3 (up 0.7)

Act 0.3 (down 0.3)

United Future 0.2 (down 0.2)

PREFERRED PRIME MINISTER

(compared with last week)

John Key 67.8 (up 3)

David Cunliffe 11.6 (down 2.8)

Winston Peters 8.2 (up 3.1)

Russel Norman 3.8 (up 0.3)

Both polls show the rise in support for NZ First, Conservatives and Internet Mana and continuing decline for Labour.

That combined with Cunliffe’s fall in popularity will put even more pressure on him in tonight’s leaders’ debate.

The difference in the polls indicates that for many people, the decision on who they’ll be voting for is still maybe.

 


Rural round-up

August 28, 2014

Fonterra to offer at least 20% premium for Beingmate shares in deal to drive Anmum sales – Jonathan Underhill:

 (BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group will offer a premium of at least 20 percent for a one-fifth stake in Beingmate Baby & Child Food as part of a $615 million investment in a partnership to drive baby food sales into China.

Fonterra will offer 18 yuan a share for Beingmate stock in a partial tender offer that will be supported by chairman Wang Zhentai, who will sell down his stake to about 33 percent in the transaction.

Based on Reuters data, Beingmate has 1.02 billion shares on issue, suggesting the offer values the Chinese company at 18,360 billion yuan and Fonterra would pay 3.67 billion yuan, or NZ$714 million to build a 20 percent stake. The shares last traded at 14.36 yuan before being halted from trading, according to Reuters data. . . .

New Zealand And International Investment Welcomed by Farmers:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown said today’s announced investments in New Zealand’s milk pools and a global partnership with China’s Beingmate were bold moves that would be welcomed by the Co-operative’s Farmers.

Mr Brown: “There is a direct link between the $555 million investment in the Lichfield and Edendale sites and the $615 million investment in the partnership with Beingmate in that both align with the Fonterra strategy of increasing the volume and value of our milk.

“The investment in New Zealand operations is a real positive and will optimise the Milk Price we receive by enabling our Co-op greater flexibility in deciding which products our milk goes into and when. . . .

 Fonterra news ‘as far from milk & disaster as the moon’:

Farmers will be breathing a huge sigh of relief with Fonterra’s benchmark forecast payout for 2014/15 being held at $6 per kilogram of Milk Solids (kg/MS), while other aspects of the announcement are a great boost of confidence in New Zealand agribusiness.

“This is as far from milk and disaster as the moon is,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“While this season remains a super trim one last season was definitely a silver top one.

“The milk price hold is good news given there’s been widespread speculation about it sliding below the $6 mark, however, we’re not out of the woods yet. We still advise farmers to err on the side of caution by budgeting in the mid-$5 payout range. . .

Major boost for Otago conservation projects:

Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner today announced $475,000 in funding for four Otago conservation projects.

Community Conservation Partnership Fund grants will be made to the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Landscape Connections Trust, Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group, and Herbert Heritage Group.

“The projects these groups are advancing align perfectly with the Department of Conservation’s goals of connecting more urban dwellers to conservation and working in partnership with others.

“The Orokonui Ecosanctuary is recognised as the flagship biodiversity project in the South Island and is achieving its aim of restoring the coastal ecosystem to pre-human state. . .

The long arm of health and safety gets longer – Andrew McGiven:

We’ve all heard about the Marlborough farmworker copping $15,000 worth of fines related to a quad bike.  Helmet use is in the Department of Labour’s (now Worksafe NZ) ‘Guidelines for the safe use of quad bikes.’  . 

While there’s been plenty of discussion about the fine what has slipped under the radar are other recommendations in the guide.  One is recognising dangerous areas on-farm and establishing ‘no-go’ zones in your health and safety plans. 

Another case, highlighted for us by Neil Beadle, a Partner at Federated Farmers’ legal advisors DLA Phillips Fox, rams home the bite of these recommended ‘no-go’ zones.  It involved a Mangakino sharemilker with an otherwise good record who tragically lost a farm worker when their quad bike flipped.  . . .

Beet crop ‘revolution for beef farmers’:

The growth in the use of fodder beet as a forage crop in the beef industry has been so rapid, that seed supplies for the coming growing season are expected to run out.

That is the prediction from Dr Jim Gibbs, a senior lecturer in livestock health and production at Lincoln University, who has done years of research on feeding cattle on what has become a revolutionary crop in this country.

Fodder beet is a bulb crop related to beetroot but can grow to huge sizes.

Dr Gibbs’ work was initially for the dairy industry, but the demand for fodder beet really exploded when he introduced it to the beef industry, and he says it has become the fastest growing forage crop by a long shot. . . .


Westland revises forecast payout down

August 28, 2014

Westland has revised its forecast payout for milk:

New Zealand’s second largest dairy co-operative Westland Milk Products has revised its payout prediction for the 2014-15 season to $5.40 – $5.80 per kilogram of milk solids (kgMS) before retentions, down from $6.00 – $6.40 announced in July.

Westland Chief Executive Rod Quin said the revised payout prediction is a response to the conditions that all New Zealand dairy companies are experiencing at the moment.

“While the season is only just underway, we have always maintained a monthly revision process to provide shareholders with the most up to date forecast possible,” Quin said. “The reduction is driven by the falls in prices across the globe and the continued high value of the New Zealand dollar.”

While last week’s dairy auction saw an overall price drop of just 0.6%, Quin noted that the skim milk powder price – which represents a substantial proportion of Westland’s production – dropped 12%. He said there was still lacklustre demand from China and stock levels in distributor and customer warehouses was reportedly high.

“Higher prices last season caused a growth in milk supply growth in Europe, the USA and New Zealand, giving customers more options.”

Quin said the reduced payout will cause farmers to review their budgets. He said Westland’s board and management were very conscious of the stress this will put on some suppliers.

“We’ll be monitoring the situation and working closely with shareholders to help ensure they have the resources and tools to manage their way through this,” he said.

 “Westland will also continue its strategy to grow its capacity to produce higher value nutritional products such as infant formula. Our traditional reliance on bulk dairy commodities such as skim milk makes us more vulnerable to the cyclical swings of the international dairy market. Our recently announced investment in a $102 million nutritionals dryer at Hokitika will give us the capacity to shift more of our production to this end of the market where profits are higher and opportunities to lift pay-outs are better.”

The medium to long term outlook for milk prices is firmer but this is a sensible response to short-term volatility in the market.

Fonterra dropped its opening forecast to $6 and the board made no change to that at yesterday’s meeting.

 


Thursday’s quiz

August 28, 2014

1.  Who said: “Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!””

2. What was the title of Robert Bolt’s play about Thomas Moore?

3. It’s too easy in French, in stagione Italian, estación in Spanish and wa in Maori, what is it in English?

4.  How does this sentence begin and where does it come from: . . . and a time to every purpose under the heaven?

5. What’s your favourite spring flower?


National working in and for the south #25

August 28, 2014

Fantastic Fact # 25:

 


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