Word of the day

May 19, 2020

Busticate – to break into pieces; to breed, produce, or create rapidly.


Thatcher thinks

May 19, 2020


Penny Simmonds Nat candidate for Invercargill

May 19, 2020

National’s candidate for Invercargill is Penny Simmonds:

. . . Penny is the Chief Executive of The Southern Institute of Technology and has been in the role for 23 years. She has spent decades working hard to ensure the Invercargill electorate continues to grow and prosper but with its own unique voice.

It is very exciting to welcome Penny to the National Party, she was born and bred in Southland and is so clearly passionate about the electorate.

“I’m delighted to be selected as National’s candidate for Invercargill. I’m looking forward to getting out and making sure our community, both Invercargill, Stewart Island and our new rural areas in Western Southland, have a strong voice advocating for them in Wellington,” Ms Simmonds says.

“The Invercargill electorate has been and will always be best placed to understand our needs and the best way to deliver for them. Too many decisions are made in Wellington without understanding the uniqueness of our community.

“Not only has education been a core focus of mine, I have also been heavily involved in sport within the community, as Chairperson of Hockey Southland, and the President of NZ Hockey. Having been involved with farming all my life, the value of our agriculture and horticulture industries are also top of mind for me.

“I’ve been involved over the past few years with the Southland Regional Development Strategy (SoRDs) to help Southland be recognised as the best place to live, work and play in the world, because as all Southlanders know, it really is.

“Our electorate, alongside the rest of New Zealand, is in unprecedented times, and now more than ever we need a strong voice who will stand up and represent it.

“I know our community well. Right now it’s hurting. But Invercargill, Stewart Island and our rural communities are known for being hard working and resilient, and the National Party will support you and back you every step of the way.”

Biographical Notes: Penelope Simmonds

Penelope (Penny) Simmonds was born in Southland is now the Chief Executive of Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) and was appointed in 1997. SIT has campuses in Invercargill, Gore, Queenstown, Auckland and Christchurch as well as a successful distance learning faculty through SIT2LRN.

Prior to her appointment as CE, Penny was in a management position at SIT from 1990-2997. Penny was an Advisory Board Member of Venture Southland and has been involved in the Southland Regional Development Strategy since its inception and is now on the Shareholders Advisory Board of the newly formed Economic Development Agency for Southland. Penny has been a Trustee of the Community Trust of Southland since 2012, and Director of Southern Lakes English College.

Penny was Chair of Hockey Southland for 10 years finishing that role in 2017 when she also completed two years as President of New Zealand Hockey. Penny is also a former Director of the Southland Museum and Art Gallery and former Board Member of the Southland District Health Board and Southland DisAbilities Services.

In 2000 Penny was a recipient of the Woolf Fisher Fellowship in 2000 and was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2016 New Years’ Honours List.

Penny is married with three adult daughters and two grandchildren.

This is very good news for the electorate and National.

In spite of what last night’s poll said, the government is very, very unpopular in Invercargill, not least of all for seizing control of SIT, the success of which is largely due to Penny’s work.


Rural round-up

May 19, 2020

Water storage more important than ever as economy recovers from COVID-19 – Irrigation NZ – James Fyfe:

Strategic water storage in key regions could play an important role in helping the country recover from COVID-19, says Irrigation New Zealand.

Many in the farming community were disappointed that last week’s Budget did not allocate any money specifically for water-related projects.

Although the primary sector did get a cash injection of almost $500 million, a large part of which went to fighting Mycoplasma bovis, as well as considerable investment in various schemes aimed at creating jobs in the industry, many questioned the lack of money for water storage.

The Budget came as Hawke’s Bay continues to struggle with one of the worst droughts in living memory. . . 

The missing socks – Cheyenne Nicholson:

New Zealand is home to an extraordinary number of entrepreneurs changing the world, making life easier and pushing the boundaries. In this series we meet dairy women who, along with being top-notch farmers, are entrepreneurs and business owners. They share the triumphs and challenges of starting and running a business and a farm. Cheyenne Nicholson caught up with Eva Botting.

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. 

And it was Phillip Botting’s need for new socks at Christmas 2018 and his wife Eva’s willingness to take the plunge into the business world that led to the creation of The Sock Agent. . .

Thanking New Zealand beekeepers on World Bee Day:

New Zealand honey bees will be giving their beekeepers a buzz of thanks this World Bee Day on Wednesday 20th May.

World Bee Day was established by the United Nations to raise awareness of the critical importance of bees, and other pollinators to the health of our planet and its people. While in many countries, bee populations are in decline: impacted by disease, pests, climate change and intensive agricultural practices, in New Zealand our honey bee population is healthy and continuing to grow.

Recent international research, based on data from the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation, found that New Zealand rated seventh in the world for bee population growth over a decade. . .

New speaker series reveals the good, the bad, and the opportunity in regenerative agriculture:

six-part online speaker series for farmers and growers will explore the nuts and bolts of regenerative agriculture (regen ag), from international trade opportunities in the wake of Covid-19 to how often animals should be moved when grazing.

Hosted by think-tank Pure Advantage and the Edmund Hillary Fellowship, the series authored and hosted by Alina Siegfried will provide insights into the benefits and costs of regen ag and the practicalities of changing systems while maintaining production on a working farm.

The series features Kiwi farmers and international experts, including Gary Hirshberg, Co-founder and former Chief Executive of Stonyfield Organics, the second largest organic dairy company in the world. Soil scientists and business leaders will explore the role of market mechanisms, funding models, soil science, systems-thinking, and community mental health. . . 

Frustrated farmers living on the edge :

THE SEARLE family can’t do too much more to streamline its dairy operation without access to affordable irrigation water.

The family, parents Geoff and Tracey along with sons Michael, 29, and Matt, 35, who farm just outside Barham in NSW, are on its second year of zero allocation and it is decimating a once thriving business.

“We have a pretty good dairy set up and we are just watching it dwindle away to dust,” Matt said.

He said the family has tried to make things work with minimal water and for the last two years a zero allocation. . .

It’s back to business at Level 2 for Ecowool:

New Zealand took a proactive response to the coronavirus, COVID-19, which meant that for a time, many businesses had to close their doors. However, with the changing of the alert levels, it’s business as usual for online sales of quality New Zealand-made products.

The Ecowool team is proud to be able to offer a variety of beautiful sheepskin, wool, natural, and knitwear products for customers around the world from their online store. These are carefully packaged following government guidelines, and then sent on their way. . . 


Taxing times

May 19, 2020

This is a very taxing time which is not the right time to increase tax:

National is calling on the Government to defer the 4c hike to petrol excise duty and road user charges scheduled for July 1 while its light rail project is on hold, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.

“Given the unprecedented economic pain this country is feeling because of Covid-19, the Government should give motorists a break rather than hitting them in the back pocket.

“The Government introduced three years of annual tax increases to pay for its beleaguered Auckland light rail pet project that has gone absolutely nowhere since Jacinda Ardern promised it on the 2017 campaign trail.

“Now that the Government has confirmed light rail is on hold while the Government deals with Covid-19, the tax grab scheduled for July 1 shouldn’t happen either.

We have been paying the extra tax for three years in which there has been no progress at all on the light rail project which was used as the reason for the extra tax..

“Kiwi motorists have already suffered enough under this Government. The tax hikes it has passed into law amount to a $1.7 billion tax grab, with Aucklanders the hardest hit because of their regional fuel tax.

“If the Government does not defer the July 1 petrol tax increase then it will be a clear signal that Labour’s plan to repay the massive debt it’s taking on is more tax.

“New Zealanders need to keep more of what they earn to cushion the blow of Covid-19. A National Government will repeal the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax and won’t increase fuel taxes in our first term.”

I filled my car with petrol on March 25th, a few hours before the lockdown was imposed. I didn’t have to fill it again until last Thursday and wondered as I did how big a hit the government had taken from less fuel used and therefore less fuel tax and GST.

Given the amount of tax levied on each litre it would have been significant.

The government will also be anticipating a lot less company tax and the most optimistic of forecasts are for big increases in unemployment which will result in less PAYE coming in and more benefit payments going out.

None of that is an excuse for another increase in fuel tax.

Almost all goods and services have a fuel cost component so an increase in fuel tax is an increase in production costs for just about everything. That is the last thing any business needs when so many are faced with the need to retrench at best.

An increase in fuel tax is also not what people need with recession a certainty and depression a probability.

It’s definitely not what the poor who will be hit hardest need.

Last week’s Budget had to feature a lot of borrowing but not nearly as much as it did.

It didn’t have a plan for helping the country out of the economic damage wrought by the lockdown and the government has given absolutely no indication it plans to be going through every single cent it spends to weed out the nice-to-haves nor does it appear to be asking any of its departments or ministries to make savings.

The alternative to that is more tax, a lot more tax.

The increase in fuel tax will just be the start.

 

 


What would change change?

May 19, 2020

Last night’s Newshub Reid Research poll has produced the inevitable proclamations of the political death of Simon Bridges.

But what would changing National’s leader change?

It wouldn’t change the circumstances that have led to the high support for Labour and its leader and the corresponding fall in support for National and its leader.

David Farrar pointed out yesterday that polls during a crisis almost always result in high support for whoever is in charge as patriotism trumps politics.

In Australia Scott Morrison has gone from a -20% net approval rating in the February Newspoll to a +26% rating in the April Newspoll.

In the UK Boris Johnson has gone from a +6% rating in March Opinium to a +29% in April.

Even in the US, Donald Trump is seeing his approval rating increase, despite a pretty terrible actual response to the crisis. Gallup had him at -9% in January and at +4% in March. . . 

The poll also showed that  91.6 percent of respondents backed the decision to go into lockdown.

What the raw number doesn’t show is whether or not that many backed the details.

I backed the lockdown but not the way decisions on which businesses could operate were based on the debatable criteria of essential instead of safety.

Sticking to the former has wrought much greater economic devastation than was necessary and day by day the impact of that on businesses, jobs and lives will be get worse.

And day by day the difference in the ability of National team and the Labour one to repair the damage will become evident.

In spite of the overexcited claims of commentators, changing leaders wouldn’t make much difference to the polls.

What will make a difference is a plan that clearly shows a better way forward for New Zealand, a better future for New Zealanders and a competent and united team to deliver it.

Labour has the unity but it doesn’t have the plan or the competence.

National has a plan and the competence. If caucus keeps its collective head and stays united it will have a much better chance of regaining popularity than if it panics and starts showing disunity because changing leaders won’t change the circumstances that fed the poll results and voters don’t vote for disunity.


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