Rural round-up

October 30, 2014

The rising star of beef – Keith Woodford:

With so much focus on the current dairy downturn, it is easy to miss the rising star of beef. This year beef prices have been hitting record highs, both in US and NZ dollars. Young steers and bulls are fetching anywhere between $1100 and $1600 at slaughter, depending on weight and category.

The key driver has been demand for hamburger beef from the United States. Demand from China has also been increasing.

The New Zealand Meat Industry Association has reported beef exports of 380,000 tonnes earning $2.2 billion dollars for the year ending June 2014. Since 2001, these exports have fluctuated between about 325,000 tonnes and just over 400,000 tonnes with no clear trend. Cull cows from the dairy industry have been contributing an increasing proportion of total production. . .

Launch of renewable energy initiative in Southland:

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges has today welcomed the launch of New Zealand’s first region-wide wood energy heat hub that will help fuel the Southland economy.

Wood Energy South is a joint initiative between the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Venture Southland that will partner with local businesses, schools and healthcare facilities to help them convert to cleaner, renewable wood burning technology.

“Southland’s strong forestry and wood processing industry creates a rich source of wood fuel for the region. This project will help local businesses realise the renewable energy potential in their own back yard. . . .

Lee Valley Dam must be affordable:

Federated Farmers is urging the Government to support the Tasman District Council’s (TDC) Waimea Dam Project to prevent the critical shortage of water for urban and farming development.

“It’s not a matter of whether the dam goes ahead, it is how it goes ahead,” says Martin O’Connor, Federated Farmers Nelson provincial president.

“We are living in a catch 22, because the build is likely to cost irrigators $520 per hectare and increase rates by 11 cents per cubic metre a year, but our rural and urban communities cannot survive without it. . .

 Testing the mobile cow shed – Milking on the Moove:

It’s been a busy month testing out the mobile cowshed. I took this video about a month ago & I have only now found the time to put it up. I’ve been getting a few requests for a video.

It’s just a quick look at how the system works. I’m still in the testing phase & we are ironing out all the little issues. 

At the moment I’m only milking 8 cows & the neighbours are taking the milk to feed to their calves.
I can’t start selling our milk until I have been approved by the ministry of primary industries. That journey is turning out to be a bit of a drama, but I’ll write about that another day. . . .

Sanford takes on KiwiNet Business Challenge to uncover new processing technologies for mussels:

Sanford Limited is taking on a KiwiNet Business Challenge to uncover novel proposals for high-speed automated technologies that will help it process its current daily rate of 1.5 million mussels. Today, researchers at New Zealand’s public research organisations will be pitching ideas to improve mussel processing in Nelson at the Aquaculture NZ Research Workshop in a bid to win $5,000 of prototype development funding and the opportunity to work with Sanford to develop their solution for commercial application.

Sanford’s Aquaculture Manager Ted Culley says, “Processing as many molluscs as we do presents all sorts of challenges. This a great opportunity for us and others in the aquaculture industry to uncover some novel ideas with commercial potential. While we’re looking for a winning idea, we’re keen to investigate all good ideas, so we may end up with more research projects.” . . .

New fund to assist the growth of New Zealand dairy farming:

Dairy farmers looking to grow their family business will soon have access to a new source of funding, with the launch of an innovative new investment vehicle, the NZ Dairy Farming Trusts.

The Trusts – a joint venture between New Zealand farm investment company MyFarm Limited and German alternative-fund manager Aquila Capital – is seeking to raise up to $100 million from international and domestic wholesale investors. **

The initiative is aimed at providing the New Zealand dairy industry with much needed new capital in order to realise its economic potential. The fund plans to lend money at interest rates tied to milk and land prices, providing dairy farmers with alternative to taking on equity partners. . . .

Ballance moves to science specialisation:

With New Zealand farming systems as diverse as farmers themselves, Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ Science Extension team is making the shift to specialist roles to better support the changing requirements of farmers working with different climates, topography, soil types and farm types.

Science Extension Manager Ian Tarbotton says knowledge about soils, fertiliser, forages and nutrient budgets is fundamental to support farmers in reaching their goals, and the demand for more specialised knowledge is growing rapidly.

“We have two driving factors. First, higher environmental demands mean farmers are now working within tighter controls around nutrient management and protecting water quality. There is no one simple solution for each farm and it is not just a case of managing fertiliser. Feeding regimes, stocking rates, stock movements and soil types all have an influence and they will vary from farm to farm. . .

 

Ballance Ward B Election draws record field:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ call last month for director nominations for its Ward B has yielded 9 candidates hoping to replace Dean Nikora who resigned as a director ahead of taking up an international posting.

Ballance Chairman, David Peacocke, says he is delighted that Ward B shareholders have such a strong field of candidates to choose from and he believes that 9 is a record.

“The strong field indicates that we have shareholders who recognise this is an excellent opportunity to contribute to the governance of our co-operative, which is close to being a $1 billion business in terms of revenue. Having high quality candidates for director vacancies is vital to the success of our co-operative, and the response to our call for nominations has certainly achieved that. We have a very good mix with six men and three women seeking election. . .


Thursday’s quiz

October 30, 2014

1. Who said: Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.?

2. Who wrote the poem Dulce et Decorum Est and what is its final line?

3. It’s pays in French, paese in Italian, pais in Spanish and whenua in Maori, what is it in English?

4.  When  was New Zealand’s current flag officially adopted?

5. Do you want a new flag and if so what should it look like?


Immoral’s not illegal

October 30, 2014

Young men boasted about raping drunk teenagers on Facebook.

Police investigated but have decided not to lay charges.

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area.

Following a lengthy and complex investigation, charges are not being laid by Police at this time regarding 8 incidents involving 7 victims and 5 suspects.

The officer in charge of Operation Clover, Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus, says this is a carefully considered decision taking into account a range of factors:

“These include the evidential test as required under the Solicitor General’s prosecution guidelines. These state that there must be a reasonable prospect of conviction for police to initiate a prosecution. Other factors included the wishes of individual victims, the admissible evidence available, the nature of the offence and the age of the parties at the time of the offending.

A substantial review of the cases has also been undertaken by the Auckland Crown Solicitor, which has been taken into account by Police in reaching its decision.

“Throughout the investigation the priority was for the welfare and privacy of the girls involved, and ensuring that all support options were made available to them.

“We have emphasised to both the victims and suspects that there is no time limit for reporting sexual offending.

“This is an important message to potential victims who have decided not to seek police assistance at this time.” said Ms Malthus.

Detective Superintendent Andy Lovelock, who provided oversight of Operation Clover, says Police is taking the rare step of releasing the investigation overview report written by Ms Malthus:

“We are doing this to provide transparency and assist the public in understanding the complexities involved, plus the steps taken by the Operation Clover team.

“The investigation was a sustained focus for 12 months and I am satisfied that every investigative avenue available to the team has been fully explored.

“Should any further disclosures be made they will be assessed on a case by case basis and investigated appropriately.” said Mr Lovelock.

Investigation approach

Operation Clover commenced in November 2013 with support from Child Youth and Family (CYF), and the Auckland service provider HELP- Support for Sexual Abuse Survivors.

At its peak, the multi-agency team comprised over 20 staff, including 13 specialist police investigators.

Operation Clover adopted a mass allegation framework for the canvassing of all girls. Child Protection Protocols between Police and CYF were followed for girls under 17. The Adult Sexual Assault Investigation protocol was followed for girls over 17.

Canvassing phase

• 110 girls canvassed.

• 44 girls re-approached for clarification.

• 25 girls invited to provide formal statements.

• 5 girls provided formal statements.

Operation Clover began with an extensive analysis of social media. This identified girls who appeared to be engaged in online discussions that were cause for concern. As a result of this analysis and other referrals 110 girls were identified for follow up action.

Forty-four of these 110 girls were then re-approached to better understand the information or disclosures obtained.

This resulted in formal interviews being requested from 25 of the 44 girls. Following extensive consideration by these 25 girls and their parents/caregivers, the majority declined to engage in a formal interview process.

Formal complaints

• 8 incidents involving 7 victims were identified and investigated, including 2 of the complaints received prior to the commencement of Operation Clover.

While no offences were excluded, the principal offences investigated were:

1) Sexual Violation – Rape and Unlawful Sexual Connection. (S128B Crimes Act 1961)

2) Sexual Conduct with young person under 16 (S134 Crimes Act 1961)

Persons of interest and suspects phase

• 30 persons of interest identified as persons of interest.

• 5 males identified as suspects

In total 35 males were considered by Operation Clover. Persons of interest were those against whom formal complaints had not been received, however their behaviour was of interest and warranted further enquiry.

We want to be clear that the basis for interviews of the majority of these individuals was hearsay and rumour. There is little evidence in existence to accuse the majority of persons of interest of being engaged in criminal sexual offending.

Of the 35, the culpability of 5 suspects was considered for prosecution.

Other investigative activity

The investigation included the analysis of computers, smart phones, internet accounts and social media activity and evidence gathered by way of search warrants and production orders. Support for the investigation team included the police Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand (OCEANZ) team, and the police Electronic Crime Laboratory (ECL).

Wider issues arising from Operation Clover

Detective Inspector Malthus says Operation Clover has highlighted some significant issues for New Zealand:

“The investigation overview report cites research by the Auckland service provider HELP- Support for Sexual Abuse Survivors in partnership with the Tu Wahine Trust. Their research suggests that there are many barriers which young people feel in relation to the disclosure of sexual violence to adults.

“The prevalence of alcohol in the lives of the teenagers interviewed, both male and female, was a concern to the Operation Clover team.

“There was also a poor understanding amongst the males and females spoken to as what ‘consent’ was. In addition there was an equally poor understanding by these teenagers as to the role alcohol consumption played in potentially negating the ability to consent.

“It is suggested that sexual education programmes may be enhanced by raising the emphasis around the issues of consent particularly when linked to alcohol and drugs and the ability of individuals to provide informed consent.” said Ms Malthus.

 

 

Police Commissioner Mike Bush says:

Operation Clover has been a priority investigation which has utilised all the expert resources needed within Police and our support agencies.

I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been the primary concern throughout.

I accept that the decision not to lay charges will prompt a range of reactions. The behaviour of this group caused a significant public response and there was a strong expectation in the minds of many that a prosecution would result.

I also acknowledge that questions remain around the initial handling of the investigation prior to the commencement of Operation Clover. We must await the outcome of the IPCA investigation into these matters before we can address these questions. We put victims at the centre of everything we do and we will consider the IPCA report very carefully.

The investigation overview report of Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus, together with the research report from the service provider HELP – Support for Survivors of Sexual Abuse in partnership with Tu Wahine Trust, highlights some difficult issues for our communities. An example is the barriers which young people experience in disclosing unwanted sexual activity to adults. . . .

These are complex issues and I am committed to ensuring that, with our focus on prevention, police will play its part in addressing them with our partner agencies.

We know that sexual assault in all age groups is under-reported. I am committed to ensuring that victims of all ages have trust in police and they can be assured their complaint will be thoroughly and professionally investigated.

I would like to acknowledge Detective Inspector Malthus and the Operation Clover team for their commitment to this 12 month enquiry. I would also like to thank our support agencies including CYF and HELP – Support for Survivors of Sexual Abuse for their expert assistance and support.

The police report is here.

It appears that reluctance on behalf of at least some victims could have made it difficult for police to gather enough evidence to be confident of gaining a prosecution.

This  isn’t uncommon in rape cases.

It’s easy for those of us not involved to judge the perpetrators guilty from the information that has been made public.

But immoral behaviour isn’t necessarily illegal and something that looks like illegal behaviour isn’t necessarily enough to secure a conviction.

There might not be sufficient evidence to prosecute, but there is enough in the public domain to justify calling the whole episode shameful.

There are also lots of questions left unanswered, some of which are difficult to canvas without appearing to blame the victims.

Whatever the provocation, there is no excuse for rape and being too drunk to say no is too drunk to give consent.


October 30 in history

October 30, 2014

1137  Battle of Rignano between Ranulf of Apulia and Roger II of Sicily.

1226  Tran Thu Do, head of the Tran clan of Vietnam, forced Ly Hue Tong, the last emperor of the Ly dynasty, to commit suicide.

1270  The Eighth Crusade and siege of Tunis ended by an agreement between Charles I of Sicily and the sultan of Tunis.

1340  Battle of Rio Salado.

1470  Henry VI returned to the English throne after Earl of Warwick defeated the Yorkists in battle.

1485  King Henry VII was crowned.

1501  Ballet of Chestnuts – a banquet held by Cesare Borgia in the Papal Palace with fifty prostitutes or courtesans in attendance for the entertainment of the guests.

1735 John Adams, second President of the United States, was born (d. 1826).

1751  Richard Sheridan, Irish playwright, was born(d. 1816).

1831 Escaped slave Nat Turner was captured and arrested for leading the bloodiest slave rebellion in United States history.

1863  Danish Prince Wilhelm arrived in Athens to assume his throne as George I, King of the Hellenes.

1864 Second war of Schleswig ended. Denmark renounced all claim to Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg, which come under Prussian and Austrian administration.

1865 The Native Land Court was created.

Native Land Court created
1885 Ezra Pound, American poet, was born (d. 1972).

1894  Domenico Melegatti obtained a patent for a procedure to be applied in producing pandoro industrially.

1896 Kostas Karyotakis, Greek poet, was born (d. 1928).

1905  Czar Nicholas II of Russia granted Russia’s first constitution, creating a legislative assembly.

1918  A petition with more than 240,000 signatures was presented to Parliament, demanding an end to the manufacture and sale of alcohol in New Zealand.

Massive prohibition petition presented to Parliament

1918  The Ottoman Empire signed an armistice with the Allies, ending the First World War in the Middle East.

1920  The Communist Party of Australia was founded in Sydney.

1922 Benito Mussolini was made Prime Minister of Italy.

1925   John Logie Baird created Britain’s first television transmitter.

1929 The Stuttgart Cable Car was constructed.

1938  Orson Welles broadcast his radio play of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, causing anxiety in some of the audience.

1941  World War II: Franklin Delano Roosevelt approved U.S. $1 billion in Lend-Lease aid to the Allied nations.

1941  Otis Williams, American singer, was born.

1941 – 1,500 Jews from Pidhaytsi (in western Ukraine) were sent by Nazis to Belzec extermination camp.

1944  Anne Frank and her sister Margot were deported from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

1945  Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs signed a contract for the Brooklyn Dodgers to break the baseball colour barrier.

1945  Henry Winkler, American actor, was born.

1947 Timothy B. Schmit, American musician (Eagles), was born.

1947  The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was the foundation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), is founded.

1950  Pope Pius XII witnessed “The Miracle of the Sun” while at the Vatican.

1953  Cold War: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally approved the top secret document National Security Council Paper No. 162/2, which stated that the United States’ arsenal of nuclear weapons must be maintained and expanded to counter the communist threat.

1960 Diego Maradona, Argentine footballer, was born.

1960  Michael Woodruff performed the first successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

1961   The Soviet Union detonated the hydrogen bomb Tsar Bomba over Novaya Zemlya; at 58 megatons of yield, it is still the largest explosive device ever detonated, nuclear or otherwise.

1961 – Because of “violations of Lenin’s precepts”, it was decreed that Joseph Stalin‘s body be removed from its place of honour inside Lenin’s tomb and buried near the Kremlin wall with a plain granite marker instead.

1970  In Vietnam, the worst monsoon to hit the area in six years causes large flooded, kills 293, leaves 200,000 homeless and virtually halts the Vietnam War.

1972   A collision between two commuter trains in Chicago, Illinois killed 45 and injured 332.

1973   The Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey was completed, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosporus for the first time.

1974  The Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman took place in Kinshasa, Zaire.

1975  Prince Juan Carlos became Spain’s acting head of state, taking over for the country’s ailing dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco.

1980  El Salvador and Honduras signed a peace treaty to put the border dispute fought over in 1969′s Football War before the International Court of Justice.

1983  The first democratic elections in Argentina after seven years of military rule.

1985  Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off for mission STS-61-A, its final successful mission.

1987   In Japan, NEC released the first 16-bit home entertainment system, the TurboGrafx-16, known as PC Engine.

1991   The Madrid Conference for Middle East peace talks opened.

1993  Greysteel massacre: The Ulster Freedom Fighters, a loyalist terrorist group, open fire on a crowded bar in Greysteel. Eight civilians were killed and thirteen wounded.

1995  Quebec sovereignists narrowly lost a referendum for a mandate to negotiate independence from Canada (vote is 50.6% to 49.4%).

2000   The last Multics machine was shut down.

2002  British Digital terrestrial television (DTT) Service Freeview begins transmitting in parts of the United Kingdom.

2005  The rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche (destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II) was reconsecrated after a thirteen-year rebuilding project.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

October 29, 2014

Armamentarium – the medicines, equipment, and techniques available to a medical practitioner;  collection of resources available for a certain purpose; the aggregate of equipment, methods, and techniques available to one for carrying out one’s duties.


Rural round-up

October 29, 2014

TPP Too Important for Compromised Finish:

The New Zealand dairy industry is urging Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) partners not to compromise on the quality of the deal to get it done quickly.

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is concerned at reports that the US and Japan may seek to conclude a deal which leaves dairy trade liberalisation out in the cold.

“We urge leaders to stand by their 2011 commitment to a comprehensive deal,” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey. “This cannot be achieved without addressing access for dairy, which remains one of the most protected sectors amongst the TPP partner countries.”

The Japanese World Trade Organisation (WTO) bound tariffs for skim milk powder and butter are equal to 217% and 360% respectively. Canada’s dairy market access regime is characterised by small quotas and large out of quota tariffs in the order of 200 – 300%. These conditions often mean trade is prevented. . .

Lisa Owen interviews Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings

Headlines:

Fonterra boss worried about the spread of Ebola in West Africa and potential “big consequences” for the company, saying “it doesn’t feel to me like that it is under control at the moment”

Estimates if Ebola worsens, it could “very quickly” hit 5-6% of Fonterra’s exports, worth $150 million in sales.

Spierings says China as a market is “stable” – volume growth might slow to 4% from 6%

Downplays chance of sealing a Trans-Pacific trade deal – “where the world is right now, we should not be overly optimistic on reaching this… it’s going to be very difficult”.

Can envisage a day when New Zealand reaches ‘peak cow’ – “there could be a point in time that you say no more” – but not for some years. . . .

Massey to host $5m Food Safety Research Centre:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew today announced that Massey University will host the new Food Safety Science and Research Centre.

The Centre will promote, co-ordinate, and deliver food safety science and research for New Zealand. It was a key recommendation from the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Incident.

“New Zealand’s food exports are dependent on a robust and internationally credible food safety system,” Mr Joyce says. “It is vital therefore that New Zealand is a visible leader in food safety science and research, and remains a producer of trusted, high-quality food products.” . . .

Venison: Breaking with Tradition:

Deer farmers have enjoyed better prices for their venison this October, the time of the year when chilled venison demand peaks in Europe. But the industry’s real focus is on getting chilled season prices all year-round.

Since early October the national average venison schedule for benchmark 60 kg stags has been sitting at around $7.73 a kilo, up from $7.43 last year. Some farmers have been receiving more than $8.00 a kilo.

“This is good news,” says Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) chief executive Dan Coup. “But once the last chilled season shipment to Europe departs our shores in early November, the reality is that venison prices will most likely ease again.” . . .

 

Silver Fern Farms Confirms Positive 2014, Sets 2015 Plan Including Organisational Change And Outlook:

October 28: Silver Fern Farms Chairman Rob Hewett says Silver Fern Farms is on track to deliver a significantly improved profit for the 2014 year following a strategic review of the business and a focus on debt reduction.

“We expect the audited pre-tax earnings for the company will be $5 – 7m for the year just ended to 30 September 2014, which will represent a greater than $40m net profit before tax improvement in performance on 2013. We know many of our farmer shareholders see our profitability as a priority for the company this season, which is what we have delivered,” Mr Hewett says.

Over the same period the company has also paid down $100 million in debt as part of a plan to reduce the cost of debt servicing to the company.

Mr Hewett also announced Chief Executive Keith Cooper was stepping down from the role. . . .

 

Dairy Awards Offers i-Incentive to Enter

Those that enter early in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards could win some great Apple Inc prizes, with more than $12,500 of products being given away in an Early Bird Entry Prize Draw.

Entries are now being accepted in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

All entries are accepted online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz and close on November 30.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says the Early Bird Entry Prize Draw provides a great incentive for those planning to enter the awards to get their entry in early. There are two packages of an iPhone 5S and iPad Air worth $2100 to be won in each of the three competitions, six in total. . . .


Parmjeet Parmar’s maiden speech

October 29, 2014

National MP Dr Parmjeet Parmar delivered her maiden speech yesterday:

Thank you Mr Speaker.

Esteemed guests and colleagues, friends and family.  I will start by offering my congratulations to the Prime Minister and the National team for securing a historic win and a well-deserved third term. And may I also congratulate all new Ministers and MPs, And, Mr Speaker, you on your re-election.

It truly is an honour and a privilege to be part of this high performing team and to serve my fellow New Zealanders. I would like to especially thank our leader, the Rt Hon John Key for being a source of inspiration to me, and many other New Zealanders.

I would like to acknowledge the National Party leadership team, especially President Peter Goodfellow, board members Alastair Bell and Malcolm Plimmer, Northern regional chair Andrew Hunt and former regional chair Alan Towers.

Thank you to Hon Paula Bennett, Hon Maurice Williamson, Belinda Milnes and Ele Ludemann for their encouragement and support.

To my campaign chair and team especially Diana Freeman, Gavin Logan and Rita Ven Pelt – thank you. A special thanks to our volunteers and the Young Nats – you all are amazing individuals. And I’m also thankful for the tremendous welcome that I received from the community.

As my colleagues will agree, none of this would have been possible without the support of my family. My husband Ravinder Parmar has given unwavering support, and thanks to our boys Jagmeet, who turned 18 a week before the election and voted the first time, and Abhijeet, who is 12 and very eager to become a teenager!

Earlier this year I was chosen by the party as the candidate for the Mt Roskill electorate, and I am extremely proud to have repaid their faith in me by winning the critical party vote in Mt Roskill.

Now, I am a list MP who has the privilege of looking after the Mt Roskill electorate. About 39 per cent of the residents in Mt Roskill are of Asian ethnicity – which is more than three times the national average of 11.8 per cent.

Just under half of the people in Mt Roskill in 2013 – were born overseas, and I am one of them. 

Mt Roskill reflects the growing diversity of our country, and it is clear that the National Party reflects that diversity. Mt Roskill is comprised of small businesses, professionals and hardworking people looking to get ahead in life. I can assure them that my values, and those of the National Party align with their goals and aspirations.

Mr Speaker, I was born in India, one of four sisters to very hard working parents.

My father, Sham Jaswal – is now retired after proudly serving in the Indian Air Force for 38 years. As you would expect, our home environment mirrored the morals, virtues and also the discipline of the armed forces. Actually, I am grateful to my dad for that.

My mother, Kuldeep Jaswal, looked after the family, and I spent my early years traveling with my parents from one Air Force base to another.

Those early years of changing schools every three to four years and moving between different Air Force bases in different states of India helped me learn about different cultures and lifestyles and also taught me how to make friends quickly. I remember it being a very busy time.

Mr Speaker, both of my parents worked hard to raise us, and to provide for us. And like many of my colleagues, education was extremely important in my family.

I remember during my final years at school the exciting new field of biochemistry becoming a proper subject and a popular topic of discussion at school, which attracted me to study biochemistry.

I left school wanting to become a scientist to find cures for deadly diseases so I completed a BSc chemistry and MSc from the University of Poona, India. During this time studying biochemistry, I realised the importance of gene cloning strategies to identify the cause or causes of diseases and I decided to do my PhD in this field.

But then, as is traditional in my culture, I married Ravinder in an arranged marriage, and came to this amazing country to join him and start a new life with him in New Zealand.

On arriving here in 1995 and settling into life in Auckland, I wanted to continue my education at the University of Auckland.

I was lucky enough to find Associate Professor Nigel Birch at the University of Auckland to supervise my PhD – he is one of New Zealand’s great scientists and he played an important role in making me a scientist.

To be technical for a minute, for my PhD I investigated a possible role for neuroserpin in neurite outgrowth by its over-and under-expression in two types of cell lines.

Neuroserpin is a serine protease inhibitor predominantly expressed in neuronal cells during the late stages of neurogenesis and in the adult brain during synaptic plasticity.

The result of my research suggested a new role for neuroserpin in neurite outgrowth in-vitro, and my published papers highlighted the physiological importance of neuroserpin with emphasis on its role in neurite outgrowth, neurite regeneration and maintenance in the nervous system.

Simplified, my work looked at if it was possible to use it to re-establish connections in the brain.

My post-doctoral work built further on this research, and then later moving into researching on retinitis pigmentosa – an inherited degenerative eye disease that causes progressive vision loss.

By this time while working as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Auckland I felt it was time to put my training into a more practical realm and decided to move into the commercial sector.

After spending some time in the scientific commercial sector I decided to use my skills to move into business and joined my husband to start up natural health products manufacturing within our existing facility that was being run by Ravinder to make confectionery and chocolate products.

My days in business were focused on product development, improving efficiencies and productivity, and providing that best possible work environment for our staff.

My time in my manufacturing business gave me an in depth understanding of our local and international markets, our food manufacturing sector, our regulations, and how we compare with international markets and how manufacturing in New Zealand is distinctive from other countries.

Our local innovation keeps us one step ahead in the business world. We Kiwis are innovative people and full of ideas to start businesses. While owning and running a business is stressful, busy and often intense, it is also rewarding. I am eager to work for our dynamic business owners so their hard work pays off and that their great responsibility is recognised.

Like my family, I have always believed in hard work.

Monday to Friday I was a scientist and then later a business woman, and in the weekends I worked as a broadcaster for 16 years on an Indian radio station in Auckland plus of course my role on the Families Commission and the Film and Video Labelling Body.

Somehow I managed to fit in raising our two boys, and putting in more than a decade working in the community especially in the field of domestic violence.

My values of strong caring families and communities, personal responsibility and equal citizenship and opportunities mirror that of the National Party.

During my time in this hallowed precinct, I am eager to make a positive difference in a number of areas.

Firstly, science and innovation, and in particular the conversion of science to business. We are producing very highly skilled scientists and I do not want New Zealand to be just a breeding ground for good scientists. We need to provide opportunities for them to explore their scientific vision in our homeland to attract more interest and retain that pride of good work.

We need to supercharge the activation of the amazing research that is currently underway in New Zealand institutions, and apply it to our businesses, our industries and our products. I believe there are huge potential advantages just waiting for New Zealand to seize them.

I am passionate about enabling and encouraging business.

Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of our economy – 97 per cent of New Zealand businesses are small businesses.

If big corporates are doing well or otherwise we hear about it, but small businesses don’t often make the news, even though they make up a significant part of our economy.  They provide a career for those who value economic independence, they supply components and services to large companies and they contribute to innovation and invention – something that all economies require.

But behind every small business are a group of really hard working people in different industry sectors, and I think they need attention so they can keep making the contribution they are to our economy. I believe there is a lot more that needs to be done to help them thrive. I respect and admire courage of all business people out there and those entrepreneurs who are starting up new companies.

I believe in family values and in the need to mount a coordinated effort to stamp out domestic violence and build resilience and respect in family relationships.

For many years I have worked in this sector and have seen the impact of family violence on family members, communities and in the long run on societies. We cannot afford to skirt around this issue if we want to increase the quality of life for New Zealand families.

Plus it makes fiscal sense – family violence has been estimated to cost the equivalent of Canterbury earthquakes on our economy every year. Equally as important though, is the significant negative impact domestic violence has on children’s wellbeing, psychologically and socially.

As an advocate for gender equality I also believe in merit. I am a proud member of a party, and a caucus, that does not believe in a quota system for women. I am here purely on merit and I would not have it any other way. I think many other Kiwi women feel this way.

Equally, while I am proud of my Indian heritage, NZ is the only place I call home. I do not consider myself as just an ethnic MP. I consider myself to be an MP who brings many perspectives and experiences along with my ethnicity, which I will apply to the serious and important work of an MP in this House.

Mr Speaker, with a multi professional background as a scientist, business woman, community advocate, broadcaster, and mother and wife with strong family values I have come to the House determined to make a positive difference in the scientific world, business world and our communities.

I hope to use my professional background and my scientific background to simultaneously bring imagination and patience to my work here, as having learned that as a scientist that sometimes it takes multiple approaches to get an outcome.

As a business woman I bring the energy, drive and eagerness that is needed in a business person in order to see growth.

And as a community advocate that has worked in the heart wrenching field of domestic violence; I bring appreciation of the effort and hardships of our communities.

I am truly grateful to all the experiences in my life that gave me this opportunity to evolve into the person I am today.

Since becoming a New Zealander I have had 20 years of opportunities and I believe now, it is my turn to give back.

It’s a privilege and honour to be a member of a team that is working for New Zealand, the team led by Rt Hon John Key.

Thank you Mr Speaker.


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