Rural round-up

September 11, 2014

Farming for the future – Patrick O’Boyle:

Agriculture is the national breadwinner, accounting for 12 per cent of our GDP. But, making up nearly half of our greenhouse gas emissions, it is also a major reason we have struggled to meet the challenge of bringing down our emissions. For Patrick O’Boyle, the way out of this tight spot is not to demonise our farming communities, but to recognise that progress comes when we work together.

Dairy, and meat and wool. These have been the livelihood of my family. Our history of living in the land spans a large part of the North Island and involves a significant contribution to these two industries. We now live on a sheep and beef farm in the Wairarapa, where we operate a successful farming business.

My connection with the land has always been deeply seated in certain values: a respect of the land and animals, personal responsibility, and an ambition to succeed. As farmers, we see ourselves as caretakers, and with this comes a responsibility to make effective use of the land and hand it on to the next generation. . . .

Patrick O'Boyle's photo.

South Island needs rain – Stephen Bell:

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues.

It had not got to the adverse event stage but farmers needed rain soon, Federated Farmers adverse events spokeswoman Katie Milne said.

Farmers on the West Coast were starting to get a bit desperate. Some had used up their winter feed reserves and weren’t looking too flash.

A few farmers were finding it tough with lower pasture cover after the Easter windstorm and a series of frosts. . .

Strong contenders for Enterprising Rural Women Awards 2014:

Seventeen exciting and innovative businesses are in the line up for the Rural Women New Zealand Enterprising Rural Women Awards 2014.

“This is the sixth year we’ve run the Enterprising Rural Women Awards,” says Rural Women National President, Wendy McGowan. “It’s encouraging to see the diversity of businesses being run by women in rural areas and the significant contribution they make to the wider economy.

“Each year we see an greater sophistication in the marketing and presentation of rural businesses that enter the awards.

“As broadband slowly rolls out into rural communities it is increasing business opportunities and levelling the playing field for rural enterprises, even when operating from remote locations. . .

 The glamorous face of farming – Genevieve Barlow:

THERE they were, two glamorous women in heels high enough to fall from, babbling about agriculture, and the power of art to promote farming.

The younger one, Hannah, wore silver shoes. Her mentor, Lynne, wore red ones. We were in the city so, yes, there was occasion to dress up but boy were these women relishing their glitzy shoe-wearing moment. Their sartorial chutzpah in the shoes department nearly blew me off my flat-heeled boots.

So what do farmers look like these days? Yesteryear’s straw-chewing, Akubra-wearing, down-on-his-luck laconic type, while romantic, no longer tells the story in full.

That’s what these glam gals were out to prove.

They walk into classrooms and public places sometimes looking more like they’re lining up for the red carpet (in the shoe department, at least) than a talk about cows and farms. . . .

 

 

Blanket Bay named in Andrew Harper’s Top 20 International Hideaways:

Luxury lodge Blanket Bay has again received a prestigious accolade – named as one of the world’s Top 20 International Hideaways in the famous Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report.

Blanket Bay, near Glenorchy, was ranked 16th in the just-released 2014 list of favourite hotels, resorts and lodges, as voted by Hideaway Report readers. The Hideaway Report is an internationally-recognised source of information about luxury travel.

The Andrew Harper website describes Blanket Bay as a “splendid sanctuary along the shores of Lake Wakatipu with a majestic backdrop of snowcapped peaks; a scenic 45-minute drive from Queenstown”.

New Blanket Bay General Manager Brent Hyde says the award rightfully belongs to the Blanket Bay team under the direction of previous General Manager Philip Jenkins, but he’s delighted with the continued recognition of the outstanding property. . .

 


How good’s your English?

September 11, 2014

How good is your English?

10/10 but I had to think about the spelling in #9.


National working for and in the south #10

September 11, 2014

Fantastic Fact # 10:


Thursday’s quiz

September 11, 2014

It’s your turn to ask the questions.

You don’t have to follow my five-question format.

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

 


National working for and in the south #11

September 11, 2014

Fantastic Fact # 11:


Water tax ludicrous and detrimental – IrrigationNZ

September 11, 2014

IrrigationNZ says the Green party’s water tax is ludicrous and detrimental:

. . . “Introducing a water tax will be ludicrous and detrimental for the country,” says Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ CEO. “The only robust and long term solution to restoring waterways is on a case-by-case basis engaging local communities to find solutions.”

IrrigationNZ agrees with the Green Party and with the National Party that stock must be excluded from waterways, riparian margins established and nutrients and contaminants need to be managed.

In addition, pest plant and fish species also have to be controlled to restore the natural habitat and most importantly – water storage and irrigation infrastructure needs to be developed within limits.

“If irrigation becomes too costly fewer farmers will implement it and water storage infrastructure will not be developed,” says Nicky Hyslop, IrrigationNZ Chair. “It would be foolish for New Zealand not to capture its most valuable resource, the world’s most valuable resource, just for the sake of punishing farmers.”

IrrigationNZ would like to re-iterate the following points:

• A water tax will lead to increased food prices and is inflationary

• In no other country in the world is there an irrigation tax

• In all other countries irrigation is considered a socio economic tool and is funded centrally

• The Green’s policy called: Smart Farming for Clean Rivers – ignores that some of the most polluted waterways are urban ones due to sewerage problems

• A water tax on irrigators is not equitable, all users if water, industrial and hydro electricity plants should be included

• A water tax as Green and Labour want to implement will not prevent land intensification – it will instead encourage it – farmers will have to seek higher returns to justify the increased cost of their water

• The water policies do not define what kind of ‘irrigation’ is taxable, or what size of water take is taxable

• A water tax will reduce money available for farmers to continue mitigating environmental impacts through new technology and nutrient management systems

• Irrigators are already spending billions of dollars of private investment improving our waterways

IrrigationNZ is committed to finding a way for New Zealand to develop sustainably managed irrigation schemes within acceptable environmental limits.

“Water is our most valuable renewable resource and we believe that irrigation in New Zealand is essential to protect against climatic variations and to enhance the country’s ability to feed its population and to contribute to feeding the world,” says Mr Curtis.

The Green policy is anti-farming, anti productivity and will penalise the majority of irrigators who farm responsibly to clean up after the minority who don’t.

 


Subbies’ payment to be protected

September 11, 2014

Subcontractors owed money are to get better protection for payment for work done in changes to the Construction Contracts Act approved by Government, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“It is unfair that electricians, plumbers, painters, plasterers, tilers and other subcontractors can miss out on being paid when contractors or developers use retentions money inappropriately. We are going to change the law and require retentions to be held in trust to help ensure contractors and their subcontractors get paid for the work they do,” Dr Smith says.

Retentions are payments withheld by the developer and main contractor from subcontractors so as to ensure any faults or repairs to work done can subsequently be put right. An issue arises when the developer or main contractor puts this money at risk by using it as working capital or for another project which then fails, leaving the subcontractor unpaid.

The law change will mean the developer or main contractor has a fiduciary duty to the subcontractors to hold the money in trust. The issue was highlighted with the collapse of Mainzeal where about $18 million of subcontractors’ retention money was lost for many small subcontracting businesses.

The Government has given drafting instructions for a supplementary order paper to the Construction Contracts Amendment Bill currently before Parliament. The changes will impose a trust obligation on retention moneys, prevent the money from being used for other purposes, and impose penalties where the funds for purposes not related to the specific project.

It will also provide for a default rate of interest prescribed in regulations to be applied to late payment of retention payments and clarify that the ban on ‘pay when paid’ also applies to retentions. The amendments will be introduced to the existing Construction Contracts Amendment Bill currently before Parliament.

“We have not opted for a model of requiring retention funds to be put into a separate bank account or lawyer’s trust fund as some have advocated because the compliance cost is too high. Putting a trust obligation into the law makes plain these moneys are not to be used inappropriately and should take priority over other creditors in the event of liquidation,” Dr Smith says.

“The proposals have been developed in consultation with the construction sector including subcontractors, who wish to have a flexible approach to compliance that would work across the sector.

“These changes will provide improved certainty and stability in the construction sector without excessive compliance costs. It ensures that in building contracts, the risks are carried by the developer and the principal contractor rather than by subcontractors who are less well-informed of the viability of a particular development.

“New Zealand is on the brink of the largest construction boom in 40 years according to the latest National Construction Pipeline Report, with construction activity set to grow to $32 billion per annum. This law change is about ensuring the billions held in retentions is responsibly managed.

“The changes will be welcomed by thousands of mum and dad subbie businesses and their employees across New Zealand, as it gives them greater security that they will get paid for the work they do,” Dr Smith concluded.

Subbies are usually small businesses and are at the mercy of main contractors who sometimes use retentions from one job to finance the next.

This measure lowers the risks for the subbies.

 


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