Word of the day

September 24, 2014

Onolatry – worship of donkeys or asses.


Rural round-up

September 24, 2014

Beef surges to record on US demand for hamburgers, outlook upbeat – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Prices for beef used in hamburger patties in the US are likely to hold at elevated levels after surging to a record in the past year as drought-ridden American farmers rebuild their herds, boding well for kiwi farmers, an analyst says.

The price for US imported 95CL bull beef, the raw ingredient for meat patties, has surged 59 percent to US$3.18 a pound in the past year, according to Agrifax data. In New Zealand dollar terms, the price is at $8.37 per kilogram, beating the previous record of $6.60/kg in 2001.

“It has just been rocketing up very sharply. It is well into record territory now,” said Nick Handley, senior sheep and beef analyst at Agrifax. “If prices can stay anywhere near these levels, it’s extremely positive for New Zealand because you expect a lot of that to flow through to New Zealand processors and New Zealand farmers.” . . .

Time right for large irrigation schemes:

Farming and irrigation lobby groups are eager for the new Government to change environmental rules and get large-scale irrigation schemes up and running.

Lobby groups Federated Farmers and Irrigation New Zealand say the time is right, with the National Party being re-elected by a handsome margin for the Resource Management Act to be reformed.

Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Andrew Curtis said today that proposals by Labour and the Green parties to tax water did not find favour with irrigators, and National’s resounding win on Saturday gives them more confidence.

Mr Curtis said Irrigation New Zealand wants to see changes to the RMA. . .

Farmers Disappointed with Milk Price Drop, Cautious Approach Required:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown said Farmers will be disappointed following the Co-operative’s latest drop in its 2014/15 forecast farmgate Milk Price to $5.30 per kg/MS.
The Co-op also announced an estimated dividend range of 25-35 cents per share.

Mr Brown: “Even though Farmers are aware of the prevailing market conditions and the effect they have on the price they receive for their milk the announcement will add to the challenges being faced on-farm.

“It is in these seasons that Farmers will want to receive the full benefit from the integrated supply chain that their Co-op provides. . .

Great Result for Farmers Following Challenging Year for Co-Op:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown said the 2013/14 season was one of real complexities for the Co-operative yet produced a great result for Farmers.

Mr Brown: “The farmgate Milk Price of $8.40 per kg/MS has come on the back of a season in which good production was supported by strong demand and high prices.”

“This will be very well received by Farmers.”

Mr Brown said it was important to recognise that the same factors which positively affected the farmgate Milk Price, such as the demand for milk powders, contributed to the challenges faced by the business in terms of profit as evidenced by the Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) figures. . .

 Couple give their farm to university – Jill Galloway:

It was a time for celebrating.

After 10 years, Bulls-Marton farm owners Jim and Diana Howard found they could work with Lincoln University and it had a deal with local iwi Ngati Apa.

It had not been for lack of trying to find a like-minded partner.

But now it has come together – a demonstration farm that local farmers can look over the fence at, and get good ideas, as well as a farm to train people in sheep and beef and cropping.

That was what the Howards wanted and they have given their farm to the Lincoln Westoe Trust. . .

Candidates for Fonterra Board of Directors’ Election Confirmed:

Candidates for the Fonterra Directors’ Election were announced by the Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp today following the completion of the Candidate Assessment Panel (CAP) process.

This year there are six candidates standing for the Board of Directors. They are Gray Baldwin, Leonie Guiney, David MacLeod, John Monaghan, Garry Reymer and Grant Rowan.

As in previous years, the CAP process was available to assess the capabilities, experience and qualifications of Director candidates and provide Fonterra shareholders with more information to help in making an informed vote. While the CAP process is open to all Director candidates, it is not compulsory. This year all candidates went through CAP. . .

 

Pahiatua Company Announced as New Zealand Innovators Awards Finalist:

Pahiatua company, DTexH2o, has been named as a finalist in the Innovation in Agriculture & Environment category of the prestigious New Zealand Innovators Awards.

The company’s innovative product, DTexH2o, is an in-line electronic probe that detects the difference between milk and water in the cowshed milk line.

Founders of the company, Graeme and Alison Franklin, said the DTexH2o uses an alarm to stop farmers spilling milk down the drain or getting water in the milk vat during wash-down.

“When a farmer washes-up the milk line, water is pumped through the pipes, pushing the last milk through into the vat. The farmer must manually turn the valve to re-route the water to stop it going in the vat,” Alison said. . .

New Chairman Excited by Gimblett Gravels Opportunities:

Less than a week into his role, new Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association (GGWA) Chairman, Gordon Russell, is already working on plans for GIMBLETT GRAVELS future success.

Esk Valley’s Senior Winemaker, Gordon says, “I am honoured to become Chairman of this talented group of growers and wine producers. I would like to carry on the work of outgoing Chairman, Tony Bish of Sacred Hill, whose strategic direction and dedication over the last two years has significantly raised the profile of GIMBLETT GRAVELS wines, both in New Zealand and on the international stage. . .


Five more from here

September 24, 2014

Tourism New Zealand ahs launched  its 5X1NZ stunt video featuring extreme athlete Chuck Berry completing five adrenalin-fuelled activities in one continuous go – all in one hour.


Anger at wrong target

September 24, 2014

Where does this anger come from?

. . . Two windows were broken at National MP Michael Woodhouse’s central Dunedin office early on Sunday and lit Molotov cocktails were found outside the National Party office in Invercargill.

A brick was thrown at a picture of Mr Woodhouse in the window at the Princes St office. A window on the Jetty St side was also broken.

The vandalism was ”unfortunate and unnecessary”, Mr Woodhouse said yesterday.

”It coincided with some serious disappointment and disgruntlement that some might have had after Saturday night. But I certainly don’t think it has been anything to do with [any] political party.”

”I want to know my staff feel confident in going to work,” he said. 

This was an act of vandalism which wasn’t necessarily politically motivated but posts and comments on blogs and comments on news websites indicate real anger from the left.

University of Otago politics lecturer Dr Bryce Edwards said he expected the ”political temperature to heat up in this term”.

There was a ”huge amount of emotion” among those on the political Left after National’s sweeping election victory, ranging from ”demoralisation to anger to incredulity”, he said.

”[The vandalism] shows a very exaggerated and extreme outcome of how many on the Left are feeling, but it doesn’t typify it.”

Mr Woodhouse was the victim of those ”lurching for a target to express their disappointment at”, Dr Edwards said.

Demoralisation is understandable but the anger and incredulity show a distinct lack of insight.

I cried when it became obvious how badly National was going to be defeated in 2002 and I cried more the next day.  I was very upset but I wasn’t angry nor was I surprised.

It was obvious well before the election that National hadn’t learned from its defeat in 1999,  nor had it learned how to run campaigns under MMP. On top of that caucus was divided, had too many MPs who were part of the government that lost the previous election and it wasn’t looking like a government in waiting.

We hadn’t earned a win.

These were all factors in Labour’s loss on Saturday. It could have learned from the mistakes National made in the run-up to the 2002 election but it didn’t.

They hadn’t learned from their defeats in 2008 and 2011, they didn’t run a cohesive party vote campaign, there are too many old and too few new MPs and they haven’t looked like a government in waiting.

Anger is part of grief but if, as Edwards says, the left is angry they shouldn’t be targeting that at National for winning. They should be looking inside to understand why they lost.


NZ 2nd for international tax competitiveness

September 24, 2014

New Zealand is ranked second in the Tax Foundation’s International Tax Competitiveness Index (ITCI).

The Tax Foundation’s International Tax Competitiveness Index (ITCI) measures the degree to which the 34 OECD countries’ tax systems promote competitiveness through low tax burdens on business investment and neutrality through a wellstructured tax code. The ITCI considers more than forty variables across five categories: Corporate Taxes, Consumption Taxes, Property Taxes, Individual Taxes, and International Tax Rules.

The ITCI attempts to display not only which countries provide the best tax environment for investment, but also the best tax environment in which to start and grow a business.

Key Findings:

The ITCI finds that Estonia has the most competitive tax system in the OECD. Estonia has a relatively low corporate tax rate at 21 percent, no double taxation on dividend income, a nearly flat 21 percent income tax rate, and a property tax that taxes only land (not buildings and structures).

· France has the least competitive tax system in the OECD. It has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the OECD at 34.4 percent, high property taxes that include an annual wealth tax, and high, progressive individual taxes that also apply to capital gains and dividend income.

· The ITCI finds that the United States has the 32nd most competitive tax system out of the 34 OECD member countries.

· The largest factors behind the United States’ score are that the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world and that it is one of the six remaining countries in the OECD with a worldwide system of taxation.

· The United States also scores poorly on property taxes due to its estate tax and poorly structured state and local property taxes

· Other pitfalls for the United States are its individual taxes with a high top marginal tax rate and the double taxation of capital gains and dividend income

Taxes are a crucial component of a country’s international competitiveness. In today’s globalized economy, the structure of a country’s tax code is an important factor for businesses when they decide where to invest. No longer can a country tax business investment and activity at a high rate without adversely affecting its economic performance. In recent years, many countries have recognized this fact and have moved to reform their tax codes to be more competitive. However, others have failed to do so and are falling behind the global movement.

The United States provides a good example of an uncompetitive tax code. The last major change to the U.S. tax code occurred 28 years ago as part of the Tax Reform Act of 986, when Congress reduced the top marginal corporate income tax rate from 46 percent to 34 percent in an attempt to make U.S. corporations more competitive overseas. Since then, the OECD countries have followed suit, reducing the OECD average corporate tax rate from 47.5 percent in the early 1980s to around 25 percent today. The result: the United States now has the highest corporate income tax rate in the industrialized world.

While the corporate income tax rate is a very important determinant of economic growth and economic competitiveness, it is not the only thing that matters. The competitiveness of a tax code is determined by several factors. The structure and rate of corporate taxes, property taxes, income taxes, cost recovery of business investment, and whether a country has a territorial system are some of the factors that determine whether a country’s tax code is competitive.

Many countries have been working hard to improve their tax codes. New Zealand is a good example of one of those countries. In a 2010 presentation, the chief economist of the New Zealand Treasury stated, “Global trends in corporate and personal taxes are making New Zealand’s system less internationally competitive.”1

In response to these global trends, New Zealand cut its top marginal income tax rate from 38 percent to 33 percent, shifted to a greater reliance on the goods and services tax, and cut their corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 30 percent. This followed a shift to a territorial tax system in 2009. New Zealand added these changes to a tax system that already had multiple competitive features, including no inheritance tax, no general capital gains tax, and no payroll taxes.2

In a world where businesses, people, and money can move with relative ease, having a competitive tax code has become even more important to economic success. The example set by New Zealand and other reformist countries shows the many ways countries can improve their uncompetitive tax codes.3 . . .

Voters rejected the five new taxes a coalition of the left would have imposed on us and this confirms their wisdom.

Labour in the UK has yet to learn that:

Responding to Labour’s plans to introduce a number of taxes and increase spending on the National Health Service, Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“This was sixth form socialism of the most uninspiring kind. It is lazy and dangerous to implement populist measures that won’t raise the money politicians promise. Windfall taxes will hurt pensioners who rely on stable returns for a comfortable retirement, sin taxes hit the poorest hardest, and a Mansion Tax would be a vindictive gesture that will eventually find its way down the property ladder to hit much less expensive homes, too.

“If we want more money for essential services and cancer drugs in the NHS then there must be a serious and sustained war on wasteful spending, alongside a rigorous reassessment of priorities.”

A competitive tax code is an important ingredient in economic success.

Parties which think more taxes are the answer have asked the wrong question.

 

 


Nothing positive or progressive

September 24, 2014

Sir Bob Jones on Labour:

. . . Most of all they should embrace the modern age and recognise that social and economic salvation and uplifting the underclass does not simplistically lie in ever increasing taxes on the industrious and thrifty and their transfer to the indolent. There’s nothing positive or progressive about that. . .

Throwing money at problems didn’t work when Labour was last in government.

National’s policy of careful targeting of help at those in  most need and where it will do most good is working.


Fonterra drops payout, ups dividend

September 24, 2014

Fonterra has dropped its forecast payout for this season but increased the forecast dividend:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today reduced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season from $6.00 to $5.30 per kgMS, and increased and widened the estimated dividend range from 20-25 cents per share to 25-35 cents – amounting to a forecast Cash Payout of $5.55-$5.65 for the current season.

Chairman John Wilson said the lower forecast Farmgate Milk Price reflected continuing volatility, with the GlobalDairyTrade price index declining 6 per cent in the past two trading events.

“The market is currently influenced by strong milk production globally, the impact of Russia’s ban on the importation of dairy products, and the levels of inventory in China. Some relief has been provided by exchange rates, with the NZ dollar recently showing some signs of falling against the US dollar.

“Under the current market conditions, there is further downside risk.  However, the forecast reflects expectations that prices will increase in the medium term,” Mr Wilson said.

Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the estimated dividend range reflected the positive impact of a lower forecast Farmgate Milk Price on product margins but also significant volatility in commodity prices.

“A lower forecast Farmgate Milk Price reduces input costs in our consumer and foodservice businesses. In turn, we do expect to deliver increased returns as a result of a recovery in margins on our products.

“In addition, stream returns for Non-Reference Commodity Products such as cheese and casein are currently making a positive earnings contribution, but it is still very early in the financial year.

“With volatility in commodity prices, a wide range of outcomes are possible in relation to stream returns. The wider dividend range reflects this volatility, and at this stage of the financial year, it is not realistic to be able to accurately forecast the final result for the year within a narrower range.”

Mr Wilson said that the forecast Farmgate Milk Price remained reliant on increasing dairy prices in the medium term.

“The forecast Farmgate Milk Price is reduced based on current estimates of future pricing. There remains significant volatility in international dairy commodity prices and given this, this forecast is our best judgment at this time.

“As always, we recommend caution with regards to on-farm budgets in this environment of continuing uncertainty.”

The news wasn’t all bad. Fonterra confirmed a record payout for last season:

Fonterra Co-operative Group announced today a final Cash Payout of $8.50 for the 2014 year for a 100 percent share-backed farmer, comprising a Farmgate Milk Price of $8.40 per kgMS and a dividend of 10 cents per share.

Chairman John Wilson said that the Cash Payout to the Co-operative’s 10,500 farmer shareholders was the highest ever made since Fonterra’s formation in 2001.

“The Farmgate Milk Price on its own represents an injection of more than $13.3 billion to the New Zealand economy for the season.

“It is a strong result, reflecting the determination of our farmer shareholders to lift on-farm performance, matched within the business by a focus on driving revenue.

“Our farmers took advantage of good conditions to produce 1,584 million kgMS, eight percent more than last season, to make the most of the good prevailing prices early in the season.

“North Island volumes were up nine percent at 969 million kgMS, while the South Island delivered a seven per cent rise in volumes to 615 million kgMS.

“A very good spring saw our farmer shareholders achieve record milk production through an extended peak, stretching our production capacity for powders. This led to early impacts on stream returns from the less valuable products we were forced to make.”

Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings said the Co-operative had come through a very demanding year.

“We have continued to stay on track with our strategy, focusing on securing the best returns to our farmer shareholders.

“We achieved record revenue of $22.3 billion for the year, a direct result of the focus on achieving the highest possible revenue line that is good for the Farmgate Milk Price.

“Constrained margins in our foodservice and consumer businesses and on non-milk powder products were the knock-on effect, contributing to a 27 per cent rise to $19.8 billion in the cost of goods sold. However, we maintained our focus on efficiency and achieved a two per cent reduction of $46 million in our operating costs.

“Our higher cost of goods sold, along with higher interest and taxation, saw our net profit after tax decline by 76 per cent to $179 million.” . . .

The cut in this season’s forecast was expected and last season’s record payout will be some compensation.

However, the reduced payout will impact not just on farmers but the people and businesses who service and supply them and the wider economy.

When the price goes up there’s always calls from the left for farmers to subsidise consumers.

There won’t be a call to subsidise farmers now the price has gone down, nor would we want it.


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