Rural round-up

February 3, 2015

Tips to help farmers get through – Sally Rae:

Otago Rural Support Trust co ordinator David Mellish offers some advice to farmers facing the dual challenges of a low dairy payout and a very dry season.

The Otago economy relies heavily on a strong and thriving agribusiness sector.

The agricultural sector faces two potentially significant challenges at present _ the low dairy payout and the very dry season. . .

Westmere Lavender business a personal purple patch – Sally Rae:

Sam Laugesen admits to being an avid animal collector.

Joining the 1400 cows on the Kurow dairy farm on which she lives with partner Luke Campbell and daughters Daisy (4) and Sylvie (3) is her very own farmyard, open to the public, alongside her new small business, Westmere Lavender.

It is home to a variety of chooks, miniature and full sized horses, a sheep, kunekune pigs and Highland cattle, with delightful monikers, such as Handbag the steer.

”I call this my farmlet. All this is mine, the [dairy] cows don’t come here,” she said, as she indicated the paddocks around her lavender patch. . .

Dry will restrict GDP growth – Sally  Rae:

The dry conditions plaguing farmers seem set to take a toll of the economy, with expectations they will take a ”significant chunk” out of total GDP growth over the first half of the year.

Although Westpac economists did not expect it to result in a recession (two quarters of negative growth), given the positive momentum in the rest of the economy, they expected GDP growth to be ”very low” over the coming two quarters.

Dry conditions were most intense on the east coast of both islands but were becoming more widespread. . .

Encouraging signs as Yili MOU takes first steps:

Lincoln University hosted senior management from both Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group and its subsidiary Oceania Dairy last week in discussions aimed at building on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Lincoln University and Yili in 2014.

The group was headed by Dr Xiaopeng Huang, deputy director of Yili‘s Innovation Centre, and Mr Shane Lodge, Quality and Compliance Manager of Oceania Dairy.

A range of topics were discussed during the visit, with a particular emphasis on value chains. The visit also included presentations and demonstrations on Lincoln University’s ‘paddock to plate’ research. . .


Farmer Nice

February 3, 2015


More tax not answer

February 3, 2015

Local Government New Zealand has launched a funding review paper with options on how councils can raise more money:

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says the findings, along with increasing demands from central government policy-makers, means we must take a fresh look at the way local government is funded for the benefits of communities. There is currently a significant shortfall between revenue and expenditure.

“Councils spend approximately 10.5 per cent of all public expenditure, yet they raise only 8.3 per cent of all public revenue,” says Mr Yule. The World Bank, in its recent report on local government finances, describes this as a vertical fiscal gap caused by a “mismatch between revenue means and expenditure needs.”

“As a result, a growing number of councils face financial challenges at a time when demand for infrastructure and services is greater than ever. Local government is also an important contributor to economic growth but the right incentives and resources must be in place to drive this growth,” Mr Yule says.

As part of the solution, LGNZ proposes a principles-based partnership model with central government. This would include central government fully considering the costs and benefits of decisions for local communities and co-funding costs where policy proposals have significant national and local benefit.

“The goal is not to increase the overall tax burden for New Zealand, but rather to determine whether a different mix of funding options for local government might deliver better outcomes for the country,” Mr Yule says.

“The sustainability of local government funding has become an increasingly important policy issue in the face of demographic and economic change. Some metropolitan councils are having to invest heavily in infrastructure to accommodate growth, while others have to maintain and renew infrastructure in the face of declining populations and funding bases.”

“This is alongside increasing community and central government expectations, and increasing impacts from natural hazards and environmental challenges. Earthquakes and flooding events in recent years have highlighted this.”

It is fair comment that successive central governments have required more and passed on more costs to local government.

The goal to not increase the overall tax burden is welcome, but is threatened by some of the options:

The paper elevates the key issues and identifies how present funding frameworks might be improved, and ways to incentivise local government.

It examines options that could sit alongside a property tax (rates) based funding system. Options suggested for discussion include local income tax, local expenditure tax, selective taxes, regional fuel taxes and transaction taxes.

“However, before pursuing fundamental changes to the funding regime, the local government sector needs to assure communities that it is open to innovation in service delivery, to build confidence in the quality of its spending decisions,” Mr Yule says.

Some councils, such as Rangitikei District Council, have already taken steps to develop innovative approaches to address funding gaps. Rangitikei is considering a number of measures to tackle the issue of population reduction. Likely changes to infrastructure by 2046 include a smaller number of council-managed community facilities, with some transferred to community ownership, and a larger network of roads, some in private ownership; along with modifications to its water and wastewater provision.

Other areas are planning for growth. Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District, for example, are collaborating on a spatial plan, called Smart Growth Bay of Plenty, which is a comprehensive, long term strategy to ensure infrastructure is available for new residents. . .

Some councils face challenges of population decline and some face challenges with growth.

But too many councils have been living beyond their means and increasing rates well beyond the level of inflation for too long.

Whatever the questions asked, new and more taxes, whether they are levied by central or local government should not be the answer.

The discussion paper is here.


February 3 in history

February 3, 2015

1112 Ramon Berenguer III of Barcelona and Douce I of Provence married, uniting the fortunes of those two states.

1377  More than 2,000 people of Cesena were slaughtered by Papal Troops (Cesena Bloodbath).

1451 Sultan Mehmed II inherited the throne of the Ottoman Empire.

1488 Bartolomeu Dias of Portugal landed in Mossel Bay after rounding the Cape of Good Hope, becoming the first known European to travel so far south.

1637 Tulip mania collapsed in the United Provinces (now the Netherlands) by government order.

1690 The colony of Massachusetts issued the first paper money in America.

1777 –  John Cheyne, British physician, surgeon and author, was born  (d. 1836).

1807 A British military force, under Brigadier-General Sir Samuel Auchmuty captured the city of Montevideo.

1809 Felix Mendelssohn, German composer, was born (d. 1847).

1821 Elizabeth Blackwell, first female American physician, was born  (d. 1910)

1830 The sovereignty of Greece was confirmed in a London Protocol.

1867 Emperor Meiji became the 122nd emperor of Japan.

1868 – A killer storm swept New Zealand. The greatest loss of life in a single event during this storm was at Waireka Creek, near Oamaru, where nine people were killed as a flash flood swept away their houses. Another 13 fatalities came from the 12 ships wrecked by the wild seas whipped up by the storm. Seven lives were lost when the Fortune was stranded 10 miles south of Hokianga and five when the Star of Tasmania went ashore at Oamaru, including the two Baker children, who drowned in berths where they had been put to keep safe.

 

1870 The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, granting voting rights to citizens regardless of race.

1874 Gertrude Stein, American writer, was born (d. 1946).

1894 Norman Rockwell, American illustrator, was born  (d. 1978).

1899 Doris Speed, English actress, was born (d. 1994).

1907 James Michener, American author, was born  (d. 1997).

1913 The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, authorizing the Federal government to impose and collect an income tax.

1916  Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Canada burned down.

1918 The Twin Peaks Tunnel in San Francisco started service as the longest streetcar tunnel in the world at 11,920 feet (3,633 meters) long.

1927  Val Doonican, Irish singer and entertainer, was born.

1931 The Hawkes Bay earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck – New Zealand’s worst natural disaster killed 258 people.

Hawke's Bay earthquake strikes

1932 Peggy Ann Garner, American actress, was born (d. 1984).

1943 Dennis Edwards, American singer (The Temptations), was born.

1944 Trisha Noble, Australian singer and actress, was born.

1947 Dave Davies, English musician (The Kinks), was born.

1947 The lowest temperature in North America  was recorded in Snag, Yukon.

1950 Morgan Fairchild, American actress, was born.

1958 Founding of the Benelux Economic Union.

1959 Lol Tolhurst, English musician (The Cure), was born.

1959 A plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and pilot Roger Peterson and the incident becomes known as The Day the Music Died.

1960 British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan spoke of the “a wind of change” of increasing national consciousness blowing through colonial Africa, signalling that his Government was likely to support decolonisation.

1966 The unmanned Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft made the first controlled rocket-assisted landing on the Moon.

1967 Ronald Ryan, the last person to be executed in Australia was hanged in Pentridge Prison, Melbourne.

1969 Yasser Arafat was appointed Palestine Liberation Organisation leader at the Palestinian National Congress.

1971 New York Police Officer Frank Serpico was shot during a drug bust in Brooklyn and survived to later testify against police corruption. Many believe the incident proves that NYPD officers tried to kill him.

1976 Isla Fisher, Australian actress, was born.

1984 Dr. John Buster and the research team at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center announced history’s first embryo transfer, from one women to another resulting in a live birth.

1984 Space Shuttle programme: STS-41-B Mission was launched to International Space Station.

1988  Iran-Contra Affair: The United States House of Representatives rejected President Ronald Reagan’s request for $36.25 million to aid Nicaraguan Contras.

1989 P.W. Botha resigned party leadership and the presidency of South Africa.

1989 A military coup overthrew Alfredo Stroessner, dictator of Paraguay since 1954.

1991The Italian Communist Party dissolved and split into the Democratic Party of the Left and the Communist Refoundation Party.

1996 The Lijiang earthquake in China struck, killing 200 people.

1998 – Cavalese cable-car disaster: a United States Military pilot caused the death of 20 people when his low-flying plane cuts the cable of a cable-car near Trento, Italy.

2007 A Baghdad market bombing killed at least 135 people and injured a further 339.

2010 – A cast of the sculpture L’Homme qui marche I by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti sells for £65 million, setting the record for most expensive sculpture sold at a public auction.

2011 – – All available blocks of IPv4 internet addresses were officially distributed to regional authorities.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


%d bloggers like this: