Williams vs NZ First

29/08/2014

Soon to be former-New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams is taking his party to court:

New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams is taking legal action against his party for dropping him as an electorate and list candidate for the general election.

Mr Williams who was ranked number three on the list in 2011, was removed from the list when it was published on Tuesday.

The MP says he has instructed his lawyers to file papers in the Auckland High Court seeking declarations that the New Zealand First Party breached its constitution when it determined its party list.

He believes he has been mistreated by the party and will ask for an urgent hearing following the election on 20 September. . .

He could be doing the country a favour.

Electoral law requires party to use democratic processes in their selections.

Doing what the leader wants, which is what is what most suspect NZ First’s approach, doesn’t fit the usual understanding of democratic.


Word of the day

29/08/2014

Hoggin – a mixture of sand and gravel, used especially as hard core in road-building; a finely sifted gravel containing enough clay binder for it to be used in its natural form for making paths or roads.


How’s your vocab?

29/08/2014

How’s your vocabulary?

25/30 – would have been 27 if I’d followed my instinct.

 


Rural round-up

29/08/2014

Synlait Milk receives MPI approval:

Synlait Milk has received approval of its Risk Management Programme from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for its dry blending and consumer packaging plant.

The approval enables Synlait Milk to now pack and export retail-ready product from its manufacturing site, having met the New Zealand food safety requirements of the Animal Products Act 1999.

The only exception is for exports of finished infant formula to China. Documentation required to support Synlait Milk’s application for registration as an exporter of finished infant formula to China was sent to the Chinese regulatory body today by MPI. . . .

Beef + Lamb NZ expenditure on overseas promotion under review – Allan Barber:

Next year sheep and beef farmers will have their five yearly referendum under the Commodity Levies Act when they get to vote on whether they wish to continue funding Beef + Lamb New Zealand as their industry good body.

It was a fairly close run thing last time and actually resulted in the motion to continue with wool promotion being defeated, although this is now back on the agenda. However there is obviously some nervousness about the likely outcome of the next referendum, although this may be unfounded if farmer returns continue to be positive

One element of B+LNZ’s activity which tends to provoke debate among farmers is the use of funds for overseas promotion. Within the last 20 years, and especially more recently, there has been an agreement within the meat industry that promotion should be jointly funded by MIA members and B+LNZ. . .

Westland farmers braced for hard season:

Farmer-shareholders of the dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, will be watching spending very closely as the country’s number two dairy cooperative has cut 60 cents per kilogram of Milksolids (kg/MS) to a range of $5.40 – $5.80 kg/MS before retentions.

“Given Fonterra’s hold on its benchmark payout forecast, this isn’t exactly the best news to go into spring with,” says Renee Rooney, Federated Farmers West Coast Dairy Chairperson.

“The fact the world produced seven billion litres of milk for export in the first half of 2014 isn’t a secret and hasn’t happened overnight, so this further revision is disappointing. . . .

TNZ and NZ Winegrowers sign MOU:

Tourism New Zealand and New Zealand Winegrowers have today announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly promote New Zealand as a visitor destination and premium wine producer internationally.

The two-year MOU will see the organisations formalise their activity to enhance both brands, ultimately driving more visitors to New Zealand and increasing the sales of New Zealand wine in key markets.

The MOU was jointly signed by Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler and Phillip Gregan Chief Executive Officer for New Zealand Winegrowers, at the wine organisation’s annual conference in Blenheim.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says that the MOU will see both parties work together to leverage and enhance each other’s international profiles. . .

 

Possum-fur yarn makes double debut at NZ Fashion Week

Wellington yarn maker, Woolyarns New Zealand were rapt to find out this week two designers, Zambesi and Maree MacLean, are featuring their luxury possum fur product, Perino in collections for New Zealand Fashion Week 2014.

Up until now the luxury yarn has been used exclusively in the tourist market. Woolyarns NZ Marketing manager Jimad Khan says the move into high fashion is an exciting development for the company.

Both Zambesi and Maree MacLean are using the top-end yarn as features in their New Zealand Fashion Week collections.

“Zambesi is very keen to source local, sustainable product and on being approached by Woolyarns New Zealand got excited by the idea of possum yarn,” says Zambesi designer Dayne Johnston. . . .

Spark brings high speed mobile broadband to rural New Zealand:

Spark New Zealand announced today that it has begun its rollout of 4G services on the recently acquired 700MHz spectrum in the Waikato, enabling 12 sites with 4G in the region.

Following a successful trial earlier this year Spark, in conjunction with Huawei Technologies has now livened up sites with 4G in Te Aroha, central Hamilton, Morrinsville, Mystery Creek and other surrounding areas in the Waikato – allowing customers to access high speed mobile broadband over the 700 MHz spectrum.

Spark Networks Chief Operating Officer, David Havercroft, said: “Today marks the start of an accelerated rollout of 4G services to regional New Zealand. Over the next few months we’ll continue to widen our 4G footprint in the Waikato region, including the Coromandel, and will bring this technology to existing sites by February 2015. . .

Finally, a cloud based solution even the number crunchers can get excited about:

Xerocon Australia 2014 proved to be the perfect launch pad for iAgri, the agri-add on partner for Xero’s farm accountancy solution.

With more than 1,300 delegates cramming into the Dome in Sydney to hear the latest news from Xero and check out the latest add-ons and services from 82 exhibitors, the Canterbury based farm software company was one of the real winners.

iAgri CEO John Lay says there was a huge degree of interest in the product. “Farming is as important in Australia as it is in New Zealand so we fielded a lot of enquiry. Plainly, a lot of the accountants and bankers, many of whom had travelled from all over Australia specifically to view the iAgri add-on, have been waiting for a comprehensive solution like this to take to their clients and they were super excited – about as excited as an accountant can get anyway.”  . . .

 


National working for and in the south #23

29/08/2014

Fantastic Fact # 24:


Friday’s answers

29/08/2014

Thursday’s questions were:

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?

Points for answers:

Willdwan got 4.

Andrei got 4 with bonuses for the full answer to #4 and the music.

J Bloggs also got 4.

Answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


National working for and in the south #24

29/08/2014

Fantastic Fact # 24:


There’s hope

29/08/2014

Two school boys have won a change of policy at their school:

. . . The Waikouaiti School board of trustees has thrown out one of its longstanding school rules after two of its pupils presented a convincing case to the board.

Tamati Sagar and Aaron Jones (both 10) love climbing trees, but the practice is banned for safety reasons.

The duo surveyed all the school’s parents and found about 90% of them were in favour of allowing their children to climb trees during break times.

The boys prepared a pie chart on their findings and presented it to the board of trustees and school staff.

Board members were so impressed they relaxed the school rule three weeks ago, and children are now enjoying the freedom to climb trees in the playground. . . .

There’s a fine line between being safe enough and too safe.

When life gets too safe it becomes more dangerous because people stop taking responsibility for themselves.

These two boys, with the support of most parents, board and staff, have done their schoolmates a favour allowing them to take acceptable risks.


Labour’s housing policy shambles

29/08/2014

Labour chose the wrong couple as the poster children for its housing policy:

David Cunliffe is backing the party’s choice of a couple used as a case study for Labour’s housing policy, after the pair conceded they weren’t actually looking to buy.

The Labour party leader and the party’s housing spokesman Phil Twyford confirmed Labour’s KiwiBuild policy at a housing development in Hobsonville yesterday with a young couple who Mr Cunliffe said would benefit from the policy. . . .

Ms Leigh said they were currently living with her parents and although they had “had a look at houses in the Auckland area” she conceded they weren’t actively in the market to buy.

“We haven’t actively been looking for a home to buy in the near future – that’s definitely not our goal – our goal is to have a home in a few years. We’re trying to start a family.” . . .

Patrick Gower wasn’t impressed either:

Labour’s campaign is listless, meandering and shambolic.

The media with him say it’s a bit of a shamble and have been reporting on it.

Reporters are doing stories about Cunliffe having curry for lunch and there are even whispers from the press pack that Cunliffe is taking naps, but I asked him straight up yesterday and he said “no”, no nana-naps, only the odd bit of kip while in the car (which isn’t a crime). 

I took a look at Cunliffe’s campaign myself in Hobsonville yesterday.

Hobsonville quickly turned into campaign trail bizarro-world.

Cunliffe was out there to counter-attack on housing after Key trotted to the very same streets earlier in the week.

Cunliffe and housing spokesperson Phil Twyford re-announced the party’s Kiwbuild policy, saying Labour could build a $485,000 two-bedroom terraced house for $360,000 because of economies of scale.

But they didn’t have a house as an example, they were just standing on the street.

Twyford was saying there were heaps of examples of the $485,000 homes in Hobsonsville, but he didn’t know where they were and never got back to me with an address.

I can tell Twyford where one is – it’s just around the corner, a $450,000 two bedroom – I know because Key took us there on Monday.

Then they rolled out two first home buyers, Harrison and Jordy, who bagged National’s Homestart policy.

But under questioning they weren’t first home buyers at all, they weren’t even looking.

In fact they wouldn’t even buy a house under Labour’s policy.

Then it turned out that they were members of the EPMU, and they stopped answering questions when asked if they voted in Labour’s leadership campaign last election.

And despite the policy being around since David Shearer was leader, Labour still couldn’t come up with simple lines like when the first house will be built.

Then media weren’t allowed any more questions about the news of the day, Cunliffe had to “have a briefing” – for the uninitiated, this is unusual, as reporters usually just ask all the questions in one stand-up. 

Cunliffe then went off on a “walkabout” which is what politicians do when campaigning, you shake a few hands and the cameras follow.

But there was nobody on the street, Cunliffe eventually turned around and came back again.

Then Cunliffe jumped in the Crown limousine which went for a cruise around the block using up taxpayer petrol so he could have his briefing. . .

The media stands around on the side of the street waiting. . .

Labour looks disorganised.

I will give Labour this free advice: Cunliffe won’t get to be Prime Minister by wandering aimlessly around a Hobsonsville cul-de-sac.

The party’s in a cul-de-sac, driven there by internal dissent, poor organisation and shambolic policy.

Labour chose the wrong couple and they’ve got the wrong policy:

New Zealanders can have no confidence in Labour’s housing policy when they can’t explain how it would work, when its housing spokespeople say different things and the announcement is a shambles, National’s Housing Spokesman Dr Nick Smith says.

“KiwiBuild is a joke because Labour has no idea how it would build 10,000 homes a year, cannot explain how they would pay for it and they still have not worked out who would be eligible for the homes,” Dr Smith says.

“Launching the policy in Hobsonville only served to highlight Labour’s previous failings.

“Labour in government announced a 1600-home development on this land in 2002, but by 2008 had no planning approved, no resource consents, no infrastructure built nor a single house constructed.

“If they couldn’t build 1600 houses in six years, how can they promise 10,000 a year now under KiwiBuild?

“Hobsonville is progressing at pace under National’s Special Housing Area, with 444 built and sold and another 350 to be completed this financial year.

“KiwiBuild keeps changing. In November 2012, it was 100,000 three-bedroom standalone homes costing under $300,000 each. In 2013, it had become two-bedroom townhouses for $300,000 and up to $550,000 for standalone four-bedroom houses. Today they are saying two-bedroom terraced houses for $360,000.

“Housing Spokesperson Phil Twyford says the houses will be paid for when built. Associate Housing Spokesperson Poto Williams says they will rented with a later first right to buy.

“Three years from now, under Labour’s numbers they would be lucky to deliver even 7000 homes.

“National’s policies address land supply, council development charges on sections, building materials costs, and help for first home buyers with a deposit and loan. This is the way forward to help more New Zealanders realise the dream of owning their own home.”

If Labour’s policy is this confusing it’s no wonder they couldn’t find anyone who could represent those who will benefit from it.

Contrasting with that is National’s policy which will help people help themselves.

Photo: Over the next five years we’ll help 90,000 New Zealanders into their first home. ntnl.org.nz/1BQ94dK #Working4NZ


Canty dairy compliance continues to improve

29/08/2014

Good news for farming and the environment:

Canterbury Regional Council says it is pleasing no dairy farms had to be prosecuted for a lack of compliance with environmental standards this year.

Council officers visited more than 1000 dairy farms in Canterbury and found over 70-percent fully complied with the conditions of their dairy effluent consents.

Seven abatement and 13 infringement notices were issued. . .

This is the result of a lot of hard work by farmers and their advisors:

Canterbury’s dairy farmers 72 percent full effluent compliance result, with no prosecutions, for the 2013/14 season shows they are taking their responsibilities seriously and the hard work is paying off.

“Firstly, I would like to congratulate the 1093 dairy farms in Canterbury that have made this happen,” says Jessie Chan-Dorman, Federated Farmers mid-Canterbury Dairy Chair.

“Farmers have really stepped up and are making adjustments to meet conditions in their effluent consents. Whilst we are not at 100 percent full compliance yet, we are seeing a positive trend with a reduction in the level of non-compliance.

“This has by no means been easy, but there has been a lot of investment by farmers, and support through industry initiatives, such as the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord and the Canterbury Dairy Effluent Group, which have pooled resources to help drive change within the industry.

“The proof is in the pudding, where farmers have been much more proactive and meticulous in understanding and adhering to the conditions in their effluent consents.

“Effluent compliance is not a one day a week job; it is seven days a week 52 weeks of the year, so full compliance for 2013/14 being 32 percent higher than in 2008 is a huge feat. We are pleased to see the positive trend.

“We are moving to the next step now with effluent where it is not just about compliance. There are economic benefits on-farm if we can use effluent wisely as a nutrient source.

“Now that we have better outcomes with our use of effluent, the next challenge for Canterbury dairy farmers will be nutrient management, especially in the face of the Land and Water Regional Plan and the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

“I know we will see continued improvement if we are to reach realistic targets and time frames,” concluded Mrs Chan-Dorman.

This confirms my observations of a change in attitude and practice by farmers to ensure they are doing all they can to protect and enhance the environment.

There’s been a lot of work done to ensure compliance with effluent consents and reduce leaching of nutrients and all the farms in our area have fenced waterways and carried out riparian planting.


August 29 in history

29/08/2014

708 Copper coins were minted in Japan for the first time.

1350  Battle of Winchelsea (or Les Espagnols sur Mer): The English naval fleet under King Edward III defeated a Castilian fleet of 40 ships.

1475  The Treaty of Picquigny ended a brief war between France and England.

1526  Battle of Mohács: The Ottoman Turks led by Suleiman the Magnificent defeated and kill the last Jagiellonian king of Hungary and Bohemia.

1632 John Locke, English philosopher, was born (d. 1704).

1655 Warsaw fell without resistance to a small force under the command of Charles X Gustav of Sweden during The Deluge.

1758  The first American Indian Reservation was established, at Indian Mills, New Jersey.

1786  Shays’ Rebellion, an armed uprising of Massachusetts farmers, began in response to high debt and tax burdens.

1809 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American physician and writer, was born (d. 1894).

1831  Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction.

1833 The United Kingdom legislated the abolition of slavery in its empire.

1842 Treaty of Nanking signing ended the First Opium War.

1862 Andrew Fisher, 5th Prime Minister of Australia, was born (d. 1928).

1869  The Mount Washington Cog Railway opened, making it the world’s first rack railway.

1871  Emperor Meiji ordered the Abolition of the han system and the establishment of prefectures as local centers of administration.

1876 Charles F. Kettering, American inventor, was born (d. 1958).

1885  Gottlieb Daimler patented the world’s first motorcycle.

1898 The Goodyear tyre company was founded.

1903 The Russian battleship Slava, the last of the five Borodino-class battleships, was launched.

1907 The Quebec Bridge collapsed during construction, killing 75 workers.

1910  Japan changed Korea‘s name to Chōsen and appoints a governor-general to rule its new colony.

1911  Ishi, considered the last Native American to make contact with European Americans, emerged from the wilderness of northeastern California.

1914 New Zealand forces captured German Samoa.

NZ force captures German Samoa

1915 US Navy salvage divers raised F-4, the first U.S. submarine sunk by accident.

1915 Ingrid Bergman, Swedish actress, was born (d. 1982).

1915 Nathan Pritikin, American nutritionist, was born (d. 1985).

1918  Bapaume was taken by New Zealand forces in the Hundred Days Offensive.

1923 Richard Attenborough, English film director, was born (d. 2014).

1924 Dinah Washington, American singer, was born (d. 1963).

1929 Thom Gunn, British poet, was born (d. 2004).

1930  The last 36 remaining inhabitants of St Kilda were voluntarily evacuated to other parts of Scotland.

1943  German-occupied Denmark scuttled most of its navy;Germany dissolved the Danish government.

1944  Slovak National Uprising – 60,000 Slovak troops turned against the Nazis.

1949  Soviet atomic bomb project: The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, known as First Lightning or Joe 1, at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.

1958 Lenny Henry, British writer, comedian and actor, was born.

1958 Michael Jackson, American pop singer, was born (d. 2009).

1958  United States Air Force Academy opened in Colorado Springs.

1966  The Beatles performed their last concert before paying fans at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

1970  Chicano Moratorium against the Vietnam War. Police riot killed three people, including journalist Ruben Salazar.

1982  The synthetic chemical element Meitnerium, atomic number 109, was first synthesized at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, Germany.

1991 Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union suspended all activities of the Soviet Communist Party.

1991  Libero Grassi, an Italian businessman from Palermo was killed by the Mafia after taking a solitary stand against their extortion demands.

1996  Vnukovo Airlines Flight 2801, a  Tupolev Tu-154, crashed into a mountain on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen, killing all 141 aboard.

1997  At least 98 villagers were killed by the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria GIA in the Rais massacre, Algeria.

2003 Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, the Shia Muslim leader in Iraq, and nearly 100 worshippers were assassinated in a terrorist bombing, as they left a mosque in Najaf.

2005  Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, killing more than 1,836 and causing over $80 billion in damage.

2007 – 2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident: six US cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads were flown without proper authorization from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Bae.

2012 – The opening ceremony of the Summer Paralympic Games was held in London.

2012 – At least 26 miners were killed and 21 missing after a blast in the Xiaojiawan coal mine, located at Panzhihua in Sichuan Province, China.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


And the winner . . .

28/08/2014

. .  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

28/08/2014

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

28/08/2014

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

28/08/2014

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

28/08/2014

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

28/08/2014

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

28/08/2014

Fantastic Fact # 25:

 


Grow garden not pie

28/08/2014

Slicing or growing the pie is a popular metaphor in discussions on the economy.

Keith Hennessey has a better one. He likens the economy to a garden:

The most common metaphor for debates about growth and income distribution is that of the economy as a pie. Some focus their policy efforts on economic growth and efficiency: making the pie bigger. Others emphasize policies that increase equity and redistribute income: how shall we cut up the pie and distribute its slices, whatever its total size?

We learn early in introductory economics that there is a big tradeoff between these two goals of equality and efficiency. Higher marginal tax rates allow for more income redistribution but create disincentives to work, save and invest and thereby reduce economic growth. Policymakers try to optimize, but at the end of the day someone has to decide whether faster economic growth or increased equity is the higher priority. . .

A flower garden is a better metaphor for looking at economic growth and income distribution. A flower’s growth depends on the individual characteristics of that type of flower and that particular seed. It also depends on common factors shared with other flowers in the same garden (e.g., the local climate, pests, the skill and diligence of the gardener) as well as its particular advantages relative to other flowers (better sunlight, soil, and water in this part of the garden than that part over there).  Although there is some interdependence, the rapid growth of a sunflower at one end of the garden largely does not come at the expense of a struggling tulip at the other end. The sunflower may have advantages the tulip does not, even unfair ones, but the fast-growing sunflower is not “taking growth” from the slow-growing tulip.

Flowers will grow at different rates for a variety of different reasons. Policymakers should focus their energies on absolute growth rates rather than relative ones. It’s not a problem that some flowers are growing faster than normal, unless (a) that growth is indeed coming at the expense of other flowers, or (b) that more rapid growth is because the gardeners are neglecting the tulips to help the sunflowers grow faster.

The role of policy makers is to provide good law to ensure competition is fair and that businesses face their share of external costs, it isn’t to interfere in the market.

In the same way it makes more sense to think of economic growth as the sum of the unequal income growths of tens of millions of separate individuals, rather than as a single growing pie to be divided. Any particular individual’s income growth depends on his innate talent, education, and skills, his effort and diligence, and some degree of luck. It also depends on common factors such as the health of the local, regional, national, and world economies, as well as shared resources like transportation and communications infrastructures and a stable and predictable system of law, property rights, and government rules.

The principal economic challenges are to maximize the growth potential of the entire economy/garden and to maximize the opportunities for those individuals/flowers struggling to succeed/grow. And just as a gardener should spend more time tending to the parts of his garden that are struggling, policymakers should devote greater effort to maximizing opportunities for those at the bottom of the income distribution to improve their lot. In the long run this means things like improving elementary and secondary education, expanding free trade, and reducing the growth burden of regulations, government spending, and debt. In the short run it means getting the incentives right so that those on means-tested government assistance don’t face exorbitant marginal effective tax rates from poorly designed income phase-outs.

Benefits should be to support those who need it while they need it, not a disincentive to people who can help themselves to do so.

The flower garden metaphor has one final advantage over the pie metaphor. A pie does not exist without a baker, whereas flowers grow naturally. The growth comes from the flowers, facilitated but not created by a good gardener. In the same way policymakers and elected officials neither “create jobs,” nor “increase economic growth.” Smart policymakers create the conditions under which private firms create jobs and in which millions of individuals combine their separate efforts to create economic growth. The origins of economic growth are in the private sector, not the public.

In an area of economic policy as complex as this, a good metaphor matters and can influence policy. Policymakers should create the conditions under which the whole economy can grow as rapidly as possible, and should devote particular effort to maximizing the potential for those most struggling to succeed. Let’s not fight about dividing up the pie, but instead work to help the whole flower garden, and all the flowers in it, to blossom.

 The garden is a healthier, more attractive and natural  metaphor than the pie and provides a much better picture of good economic management.

The election gives us a choice between the National gardeners who respect the ability of businesses and individuals and understand the conditions which will help them flourish and the Labour/Green/NZ First/Internet Mana who don’t.

Hat tip: AE Ideas


Free trade fairest

28/08/2014

Prime Minister John Key says free trade will lift kiwi incomes:

National today released a set of policies that reinforces the Party’s commitment to openness with the world as the path to lift New Zealanders’ incomes, in contrast with opposition parties that want to isolate us from the rest of the world.

“New Zealand’s economic prosperity relies on selling our goods and services to the rest of the world,” says National Party Leader John Key.  “The fewer barriers there are for our exporters, the better off New Zealanders will be.”

“That is why as Prime Minister I have been working hard on behalf of New Zealanders to crack open more doors to free trade, alongside Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Trade Minister Tim Groser.

“This includes pushing for a high-quality free trade agreement under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes economic giants like the United States and Japan.

“The choice for voters in this area, like so many others, is stark.

“The Greens want to end free trade and Labour, riven by caucus division, is very confused about what it wants after previously being in favour of free trade.  The Dotcom party, of course, is totally opposed to free trade.

“There can be no doubt that this combination in government would damage the cause of New Zealand’s exporters and damage New Zealand’s economic prosperity.

“Raising barriers to the rest of the world and halting the momentum of trade agreements with key markets like the US, Japan and Korea, would be disastrous,” says Mr Key.

“Our policy to encourage free trade is one of the most important ways we can become more prosperous.

“Trade agreements allow New Zealand companies to access big international markets as if they were part of New Zealand’s domestic market.  For a small country they are hugely important.”

Mr Key made the comments at the opening of the New Zealand Winegrowers conference in Blenheim today as National released its Trade, Foreign Affairs and Tourism policies.

“The wine industry is a leading example of New Zealand companies thriving on the world stage,” says Mr Key.

“The policies we are releasing today show our commitment to remaining open to trade with the world, having an independent foreign policy, and encouraging and supporting our crucial tourism industry.

“Should National have the privilege of forming a government after the election, I would continue as Minister of Tourism, working hard to promote New Zealand as a tourism destination,” he says.

Mr Key also announced along with Education Minister Hekia Parata that the National Government has decided to create a $10 million fund over five years to increase the provision of Asian languages in schools.

“These policies together demonstrate National is committed to seeing New Zealand remaining open to the world, continuing to generate economic prosperity through good relations with other countries, and lowering barriers to trade.”

New Zealand would not be where it is economically or socially if it wasn’t for the free trade agreements negotiated by successive governments.

Until recently National and Labour have had a reasonable degree of consensus on the importance of free trade.

That is no longer the case.

Labour is back tracking on its commitment to open borders and it would be dragged further back if it needed the support of the Green, New Zealand First and Internet Mana parties to govern.

Only a National-led government will guarantee continuing focus on free trade and the economic and social benefits which come from that.

 


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