366 days of gratitude

July 6, 2016

This time last week we visited Robben Island.

It was sobering and made me very grateful for freedom and equality.


If I won $34 million . . .

July 6, 2016

Tonight’s Lotto Poweball jackpot has reached $34 million.

What would you do if you won it?

I’d share some, enjoy some and use the rest to make some more so I could carry on sharing some, enjoying some . . .

But since I haven’t bought a ticket I have no chance of claiming the prize, which isn’t much less than the one in 38,383,800 odds of winning if I had taken the gamble.


Word of the day

July 6, 2016

Tiaki – to care for; look after; guard.

(Recognising Maori Language Week).


Rural round-up

July 6, 2016

How many ticks does SFF need? – Neal Wallace:

Silver Fern Farms can rightly ask just how many hoops does it have to jump through before opponents of the proposed transaction with Shanghai Maling accept the legitimacy of last year’s shareholder approval of the deal?  

The Companies Office and Financial Markets Authority – bodies charged with administering business behaviour – have both rejected complaints about SFF’s handling of last October’s shareholder vote, the financial information supplied to its shareholders and to Shanghai Maling.  

But a more important hoop it could be argued SFF has easily traversed is shareholder support. . . 

Highly profitable banks are playing a long-term and responsible game with struggling dairy farmer borrowers – Rees Logan:

In the year to March 2016, lending to the dairy sector increased by 9% to approximately $40 billion.

During that same period, land prices in the dairy sector dropped 16%, according to Real Estate Institute (REINZ) figures. This fall in land prices means the increased lending is effectively funding the losses the banks’ customers are suffering as a result of the low dairy payout.

Key asset values are decreasing (land and livestock) and debt is increasing so owner equity and bank security is quickly eroding. 

DairyNZ figures show approximately 50% of New Zealand’s dairy sector debt is held by the top 20% of its indebted farmers. This is a major concern. . . 

Marlborough farmer ‘wild’ after overnight electric fence theft – Jennifer Eder:

An electric fence has been stolen in Marlborough in an overnight heist, leaving stock on the loose and a farmer out of pocket.

Grovetown farmer George Wadworth found his sheep loose along the road on Sunday morning and discovered about a kilometre of fence had vanished.

“I was pretty wild. My main concern was not really for stock safety but people using the road. It’s quite close to a main highway, and if a sheep hits someone’s windscreen at 100kmh, it’ll kill you.”

Community constable Russ Smith said someone had “gone to quite a bit of trouble” to remove 250 plastic fence standards, or electric fence posts, from the  16-hectare vineyard. . . 

NZ commodity prices rise in June, led by seafood, dairy – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand commodity prices rose for a second month in June, led by more seafood and dairy products, although an appreciating kiwi dollar limited those gains in local currency terms.

The ANZ commodity price index rose 3.7 percent last month, after a 1.1 percent increase in May. On an annual basis, prices were down 5.4 percent. In New Zealand dollar terms the index rose 0.3 percent, adding to a 2.5 percent increase in May, and an annual decline of 5.9 percent. The trade-weighted index rose 4.9 percent in June.

“There was broad-based strength across all the major categories. However, producers won’t be celebrating too loudly,” ANZ Bank New Zealand agri-economist Con Williams said in his report. “In many cases, world prices are still below the same time last year and the NZD rose over the month too.” . . 

New partnership supports takahē recovery

A newly-signed partnership between DOC and Fulton Hogan will help the critically-endangered takahē continue its recovery, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

Worth $1 million, the partnership was signed at the Burwood Takahē Centre near Te Anau today by DOC director-general Lou Sanson and Fulton Hogan’s director of investments, Bob Fulton.

“The Takahē Recovery Programme has just had its most successful breeding season on record, with 38 chicks fledged,” Ms Barry says.

“Consistently high numbers of chicks are being produced each year, thanks to the hard work of DOC staff, volunteers and our Treaty partner, Ngai Tahu. Fulton Hogan will support the next step in the species’ recovery.” . . .

TB eradication scheme marks milestone:

New Zealand has taken another step towards becoming TB-free with large areas of previously infected land being declared free of the disease.

OSPRI administers the TBfree programme aimed at eradicating bovine tuberculosis from cattle, deer and wildlife.

It has has been progressively achieving this by intensive possum control, then carrying out wildlife surveys to confirm the disease has been eradicated. . . 

Fonterra Lichfield Achieves One Million Building Hours:

Major milestones are being knocked off as construction on one of the world’s largest dryers races towards completion – the result of over one million working hours on the new Fonterra Lichfield milk powder dryer.

For more than 3,000 people representing 300 companies, the finish is now clearly in sight as the September commissioning date for this world-class dryer nears.

South Waikato Operations Manager Sam Mikaere says it takes one look at the numbers behind the build to get an appreciation for its impressive scale.

“This is not just any dryer we’re building. Along with our D2 dryer down at Fonterra Darfield, this will be the biggest milk powder dryer on the planet,” he says. . . 

Record turnout at RCNZ annual conference:

A record turnout of 153 contractors, from all around the country, descended on the Bay of Islands – in late June – for this year’s RCNZ annual conference.

RCNZ national president Steve Levet was delighted with the record conference turnout – held at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort, in Paihia, from June 27-30 – given the current economic climate.

“This is the largest turnout that I can recall and it seems many rural contractors have decided to ignore some of the doom and gloom merchants and are clearly focussed on looking forward to better times.”

Mr Levet says the conference had an exciting agenda of relevant and pertinent issues to the rural contracting sector – along with a number of top-line speakers. This year’s conference theme was: “Your Business from Start to Finish” and it also celebrated the 20 year anniversary of Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) as an organisation. . . 

Hawke’s Bay Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker 2016 Announced:

Congratulations to Alex Roper from Mission Estate for winning Hawkes Bay Young Winemaker 2016. The competition took place on 1 July at EIT in Taradale followed by dinner and contestants speeches at Mission Estate. Yvonne Lorkin was the charming and entertaining MC who also ran the wine options section of the evening.

Congratulations also goes to Tom Hindmarsh from Dry River in Martinborough who came second (contestants from around the North Island were eligible to enter) and Brad Frederickson from the Hawke’s Bay Wine Company who came third. . . 


9/10

July 6, 2016

9/10 in More FM’s Te Reo quiz.


Aucklanders seeing the light

July 6, 2016

Auckland is no longer so attractive:

Highly skilled workers don’t want to move to Auckland, and the city’s workers are fleeing to the regions in search of a better life, a survey has found.

Employers say decreased productivity, increased sickness and difficulties finding staff are the results of Auckland’s housing crisis, according to a survey by recruitment agency Frog Recruitment. . . 

Spokeswoman Jane Kennelly said the majority of managers surveyed had serious concerns about the impact Auckland’s high cost of living had on their ability to retain staff, and on employees’ performance. . . 

“Employers reported that housing affordability, renting and the impact of those issues on performance was a very common conversation held around the water cooler,” said Ms Kennelly.

Managers also had trouble attracting new skilled workers from outside Auckland.

“Many won’t or can’t come to Auckland as they know they won’t be able to afford to live here, which impacts on skill levels within companies,” she said,

“Conversely, we are losing highly skilled Aucklanders to other regions in the country to pursue a better work-life balance.”

The survey revealed workplace morale was being sorely tested as frustrated employees arrived at work stressed from traffic delays, and increased dependence on public transport often made workers late to work.

About two-thirds of employers surveyed had introduced measures to mitigate the problem such as flexible start times outside traffic rush hours, remote work arrangements or commuting allowances.

Aucklanders moving out and people from other places not wanting to move in are inevitable reactions to the city’s problems which include ridiculously high property costs and traffic congestion.

Individuals are making the sensible choice to live and work where fewer people, lower costs and less time commuting lead to a better quality of life and allow wages and salaries to go further.

Some Auckland businesses are seeing the light too. Scotts Brewing moved from Auckland to Oamaru three years ago and is thriving.

People finding Auckland less attractive might not be good for companies struggling to recruit and retain staff there. But it will be playing a part, albeit small,  in reducing the demand for housing and  most other parts of the country where the city refugees choose to live will welcome a population boost.

 

 


GDT price index down .4%

July 6, 2016

Dairy prices are still in the doldrums with a .4% drop in GlobalDairyTrade’s price index this morning.

GDT6.7.16

gdt6716

It doesn’t help that the EU’s skim milk powder intervention scheme has been officially raised to a record 350,000 tonnes.

AgriHQ dairy analyst Susan Kilsby said the scheme takes the excess milk from the market and puts it into storage, which has a mixed effect on prices.

“In the short term it’s providing some stability in the market, and some support around skim milk powder levels.

“But what it does over the longer term is we’ve now got skim milk powder stocks built up in the EU to record levels so it’s going to take several years for those stocks to work through the market as it’s slowly released, and that will only happen once milk supply slows down and the markets rebalance.”

Ms Kilsby said this would prevent milk powder prices from rising quickly for quite some time.

“It certainly will keep prices for skim milk powder down while we sell more of our milk powder in the format of whole milk powder – there is a link between the two products because they can be substituted to a certain degree.

“It’s certainly going to hamper dairy commodity prices from lifting quickly even when the milk supply does slow down in Europe.” . . 

However, we were in Zambia with dairy farmers from Holland and Ireland lst month and they are no happier about milk prices than we are.


%d bloggers like this: