Word of the day


Resectable – able to be removed by surgery; capable of being resected; suitable for resection.

Sowell says


Planting seeds


Film showing Inspiring the Future ‘What’s my Line’ made by the New Zealand Tertiary Education Commission/Te Amorangi Mātauranga Matua, the Government’s Crown Agency which provides career services from education to employment across NZ.

Rural round-up


Austrian billionaire to convert farm to forestry:

An Austrian billionaire has been granted consent to purchase an $8m Hill Country farm.

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has granted Wolfgang Leitner consent to buy a 800ha property located in Kotemaori, Wairoa and convert it to forestry.

The property known as Ponui Station currently has 714ha being grazed by sheep and beef stock.  . . 

They just don’t care – Trish Rankin:

Taranaki farmer and 2019 Dairy Woman of the Year Trish Rankin recently attended the annual agribusiness seminar at Harvard Business School in the United States. What she heard was astonishing. What she said shocked them.

New Zealand can be the possible solution for the impossible customer. 

That was my key takeaway from Harvard Business School’s agribusiness seminar.

The impossible customer wants food that is better for the planet, their health, animals and people. NZ products can be the answer. . . 

Scarab beetles provide agribusiness insights – Sally Rae:

“It’s time for the dung beetle”.

So says Dr Shaun Forgie, who admits he has been obsessed with the critters since the early 1990s.

But it was not until 2011 that an application to import 11 different scarab species — suitable for all New Zealand climatic conditions — was approved.

Dr Forgie, the co-founder of Auckland-based Dung Beetle Innovations, was in Dunedin on Friday to speak at a dung beetle seminar at John McGlashan College. . . 

Meat export prices hit record levels:

Export prices for meat, including beef and lamb, rose to their highest-ever level in the December 2019 quarter, boosting overall export prices, Stats NZ said today.

“Meat export prices have risen for three quarters in a row, on the back of strong demand towards the end of last year,” business prices manager Bryan Downes said.

Meat volumes rose 3.2 percent, and values rose 12 percent in the December 2019 quarter. . . 

Young, Jex-Blake re-appointed unopposed:

Richard Young and Dan Jex Blake have been re-appointed unopposed to the Silver Fern Farms Co-operative Board.

Chairman Richard Young said he was pleased the outcome provided continuity for the Co-operative and for Silver Fern Farms Limited.

“This outcome gives continuity for our Co-operative and both Dan and I recognise the responsibility we have as Directors to create enduring value for shareholders. . .

Muddy waters end cotton-pickin’ drought blues – Charlie Peel:

As Paul Brimblecombe looks out over the sea of water pouring into Cubbie Station’s vast dams for the first time since 2012, he sees more than just muddy liquid.

The Cubby Agriculture chief executive can visualise the station’s first crops in two years and the economic boom in the region around Dirranbandi near the Queensland-NSW border.

Floodwater coursing through southwestern Queensland has been pouring into the giant water reservoirs for the past week after massive downpours in the 136,014 sq km Balonne-Condamine catchment area. . . 


Interest rates can be too low


The commentariat is predicting another drop in the official cash rate to counter the economic slow-down in the wake of COVID-19, but Kiwibank’s chief economist Jarrod Kerr has a better idea:

“What we need right now is targeted fiscal policy rather than monetary policy and I’d say if we’re sitting here and the Reserve Bank is forced to cut 50 basis points, that’s because the government hasn’t done enough on the fiscal side,” he told Morning Report.

Interest rates are already at historically low levels. A further drop is unlikely to stimulate business spending but it could add fuel to housing inflation which is not what we need.

Low interest rates bring other downsides.

Reports on changes to interest rates are usually written from the point of borrowers for whom lower is better and higher is worse.

For lenders the reverse is true.

If inflation is low too, the real value of their capital will be maintained but interest rates can be too low for savers, especially if they are depending on the return from their investment for all or most of their income.

Low interest rates can also be a disincentive for business succession.

A business broker told me that several potential clients looked at what they were getting form their business, worked out what they could sell them for and the return they’d get if they invested that in interest-bearing accounts, and decided the income gap would be too big for them to sell.

Low interest returns are already hurting savers and would-be retirees, another drop in rates will compound that and do little if anything to stimulate the economy.

The government must look in its fiscal toolbox rather than leaving it to the Reserve Bank and monetary policy.

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