Those dots don’t join

July 8, 2019

RNZ’s story on Air New Zealand’s decision to stop stocking newspapers in its lounges included the views of students at a climate change workshop:

. . . “I think one word I would use to describe their sustainability, is ‘pathetic’: their profit is just unbelievable.”

How does she get from a discussion on whether the airline’s move is a positive one for the environment or greenwashing to an unbelievable profit?

Those dots don’t join.

By unbelievable I presume she means the company’s profit is too high.

Would she think it would be more sustainable if it had a lower profit or even a loss?

It’s possible the comment was part of a bigger one which could make sense.

But as it stands, it looks like someone who doesn’t understand that sustainability is not one dimensional; it must balance environmental, social and economic concerns; and that you can’t be green if you’re in the red.

 


Rural round-up

March 15, 2019

Farmers feeling nervous in regulatory environment – Sally Rae:

A high level of nervousness is apparent in the rural sector around the regulatory environment farmers are facing, Alliance Group chairman Murray Taggart says.

Both Mr Taggart and chief executive David Surveyor were at the Wanaka A&P Show last week, meeting farmers.

With strong commodity prices – apart from strong wool – and low interest rates, normally farmers would be quite positive, but they were not seeing that, Mr Taggart said. . . 

No land insurance means farmer pays in the aftermath of Nelson bush fire – Carly Gooch:

In the aftermath of the Pigeon Valley fires, one farmer’s land has been left a mess due to fire breaks covering the pasture – so who’s going to pay for the clean up?

Pauline Marshall was one of the first residents evacuated from her Teapot Valley home, along with her son, Simon Marshall. They were unable to return to their properties for 17 days, with the exception of getting access a few hours a day, at best. 

The Marshalls were “extremely grateful” to the fire crews for saving their homes, but after those unsettling times, now the Marshalls are facing the unknown cost of rehabilitating the pasture before winter hits.  . . 

Future Angus leader learns from conference – Ken Muir:

reminder that farming is not just about profit was one of the important takeaways for Rockley Angus stud farmer Katherine McCallum after she attended the GenAngus Future Leaders programme in Sydney in February.

”The programme is designed to support the younger Angus breeders in Australia and New Zealand to grow their business and develop the skills to become future industry leaders”, Mrs McCallum said.

”It was an honour to be chosen from among the New Zealand applicants.” . . 

Fonterra making a move to environmentally friendly fuel option

–  Angie Skerrett:

A new diesel biofuel made from an agricultural by-product is helping power Fonterra’s milk tanker fleet, and it’s hoped more transport operators will follow suit.

Z Energy has built New Zealand’s first commercial scale bio-diesel plant, using a process which turns an unwanted tallow product, usually exported to make soap and candles, to make the high quality diesel. . .

Red-fleshed kiwifruit to be tested in NZ – Maja Burry:

A red fleshed kiwifruit variety is being tested on New Zealanders.

As part of a sales trial, the kiwifruit marketer and exporter Zespri will release 30,000 trays of Zespri Red to both national supermarket chains and selected retailers over the next five weeks.

The company said it wanted to know what consumers and retailers thought about the shelf-life, taste and colouring of the kiwifruit before it decided whether to move to full commercialisation. . . 

130,000 bees go under the microscope :

Sampling has been completed for the largest and most detailed study of honey bee health ever undertaken in New Zealand.

More than 60 beekeepers have participated in Biosecurity New Zealand’s Bee Pathogen Programme.

Biosecurity New Zealand senior scientist, Dr Richard Hall, says the research will provide a wealth of valuable information to the beekeeping industry. . .

Air New Zealand, Contact Energy, Genesis Energy and Z Energy join forces in carbon afforestation partnership:

Air New Zealand, Contact Energy, Genesis Energy and Z Energy have today announced the formation of Dryland Carbon LLP (Drylandcarbon), a limited liability partnership that will see the four companies invest in the establishment of a geographically diversified forest portfolio to sequester carbon.

Drylandcarbon will target the purchase and licensing of marginal land suited to afforestation to establish a forest portfolio predominantly comprising permanent forests, with some production forests. The primary objective is to produce a stable supply of forestry-generated NZU carbon credits, but the initiative will also expand New Zealand’s national forest estate. These credits will support the partners to meet their annual requirements under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. . . 


Rural round-up

December 19, 2018

Genetic expert loves being back on the farm – Sally Rae:

Farming is in Jo Scott’s genes. She is the fifth-generation member of the Scott family to be involved in farming and is combining that with her day job,  specialising in animal genetics.

Ms Scott (27) is technical services manager for the New Zealand arm of global animal health company Zoetis.

Although she works out of  the Dunedin office, she lives in North Otago, where both sides of her family have farmed for many years.

After leaving Waitaki Girls’ High School, Ms Scott headed to Massey University to earn  a science degree, with a double major in agriculture and animal science. . . 

NZ Yarn welcomes Hemp New Zealand as new strategic partner:

NZ Yarn Ltd, a world-leading producer of New Zealand wool yarns for the global soft flooring market, is pleased to announce a major new strategic shareholder and business partner: Hemp New Zealand Ltd.

Under the agreement, Hemp New Zealand has acquired a 15% interest in NZ Yarn, with the objective of installing a hemp fibre processing facility within the NZ Yarn factory in Burnside, Christchurch.

The new partnership will be a catalyst for market-leading innovations in hemp fibre processing, as well as the development of new consumer products made from hemp yarn, wool & hemp yarn blends and non-woven wool and hemp products. . . 

Kiwifruit Industry’s big push for Seasonal Labour:

Labour shortage likely for BOP kiwifruit industry in 2019 – Kiwifruit Industry launches attraction campaign for pickers and packers

New Labour Coordinator role for BOP kiwifruit industry formed with support from the Provincial Growth Fund, the Ministry of Social Development and New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers

In 2018 the Bay of Plenty kiwifruit industry experienced a severe labour shortage at harvest with 1,200 vacancies unable to be filled. The kiwifruit industry considers that another labour shortage for the Bay of Plenty is likely in 2019. To mitigate the potential shortage, New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) is employing a labour coordinator and have launched an attraction campaign to increase seasonal labour numbers. . . 

Waikato dairy farmers on board to supply Synlait:

Synlait  is delighted to have signed up its first Waikato dairy farmers who will supply Synlait Pokeno for the 2019/2020 season.

“Our milk procurement team has received a very warm welcome and a positive response from Waikato dairy farmers and rural professionals. We’re thrilled to have signed up our first group of milk suppliers,” says Leon Clement, CEO.

“Synlait’s Lead With Pride™ programme has been well received by farmers who want to be rewarded for the work they do in terms of environment, animal health and welfare, milk quality and social responsibility” he says. . . 

NZ fertiliser spreading scheme gains international recognition:

Spreadmark, New Zealand’s only fertiliser spreading certification scheme, has gained international recognition from the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand, JAS-ANZ.

JAS-ANZ recognition means that farmers and growers who use Spreadmark trained and registered fertiliser spreaders can now be absolutely assured that all aspects of the programme are robust and reliable. It provides extra reassurance to regional councils and other organisations who require contractors to be Spreadmark certified. It also adds value to the quality assurance programmes (which specify that fertiliser must be spread by a Spreadmark certified spreader), offered to farmers and growers by food processing companies, in return for higher prices for their products. . . 

Entries Open for the 2019 NZ Champion of Cheese Awards:

The New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) is calling for entries for the revitalised NZ Champions of Cheese Awards which will be judged in February 2019.

The Specialist Cheesemakers Association has been running the awards since 2003 and will judge the 16th annual NZ Champions of Cheese Awards at the AUT School of Hospitality and Tourism on Sunday 24 February 2019. Cheesemakers vying for one of the 23 cheese trophies must complete their online entries by Friday 8 February 2019. . . 

A very cherry Christmas for Air New Zealand Cargo:

Air New Zealand is helping Kiwi exporters to serve up Christmas dinner to people around the world this holiday season.

The airline will work with meat processors and exporters from around the country to move more than 700 tonnes of lamb to the United Kingdom in the lead up to Christmas. More than 1000 tonnes of Central Otago cherries will also be sent to Asia and the United States over the summer season – that’s more than 65 million individual cherries! . . 

South Island honey in demand:

The sweet taste of honey has made it a treat for over 8000 years – but now there’s more.

Growing awareness of its health benefits and the appeal of its natural origins has meant South Island honey producers are riding a wave of unprecedented overseas demand.

Taylor Pass Honey, one of the south’s largest producers, has doubled production over the past two years and the remote wilderness areas they source their honey from has been a compelling selling point for overseas markets, marketing manager Jo Bray says. . . 


365 days of gratitude

September 17, 2018

A text telling you your flight to Queenstown hs been cancelled is not what you want to be greeted with when you land in Auckland after spending the best part of a day travelling.

Wonderful service from Air New Zealand staff to get you on an alternative flight in spite of technical problems helps.

Today I’m grateful for calmness when you would be excused for being anything but, and service above and beyond the call of duty.


Rural round-up

July 18, 2018

Super grass offers huge benefits – and it’s green! Pity about the GM … – Point of Order:

Environmentalists should be encouraging NZ’s development of ryegrass with the potential to substantially increase farm production, reduce water demand and decrease methane emissions.

We are told the grass has been shown in AgResearch’s Palmerston North laboratories to grow up to 50 per cent faster than conventional ryegrass, to be able to store more energy for better animal growth, to be more resistant to drought, and to produce up to 23 per cent less methane (the largest single contributor to New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions) from livestock. . .

Dig deep for sheep – Annette Scott:

Confidence in sheep is at an all-time high with demand at the Temuka in-lamb ewe fair providing the real proof of industry positivity.

With record processing prices for mutton the sale was always going to be the real test for the market, PGG Wrightson livestock manager Joe Higgins said.

With just 6000 ewes offered and close to 100 registered buyers it was a sellers’ market with clearly not enough sheep to go around. . .

Wool Summit leads to greater direction:

Key players in New Zealand’s wool industry are to form a new coordinating group to better tell wool’s story, says Federated Farmers.

At this week’s Wool Summit in Wellington there was a real sense of urgency to get cooperation and momentum, says Miles Anderson, Federated Farmers Meat & Wool Industry Group Chairperson.

New Zealand wool producers have been under pressure, particularly in the last two years as prices for strong wool hit record lows. . .

Eradicating cattle disease M. bovis may be costly, even impossible, but we must try – Richard Laven:

In May this year, the New Zealand government decided that it would attempt to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis, a bacterial disease that affects cattle.

A phased eradication means that an additional 126,000 livestock will need to be culled, at an estimated cost of NZ$886 million.

Here’s what we know, what we don’t know and what’s at stake. . .

Works not an out for sick stock – TIm Fulton:

Stock transport is high on the animal welfare agenda as new regulations come into force.

Inspectors will be especially alert to badly lame stock being carted to meatworks, Ministry for Primary Industries compliance team manager Peter Hyde told a Beef + Lamb New Zealand meeting in North Canterbury. 

“Using the meat companies to sort out your lameness issues is not acceptable,” he said. . .

 

Kiwifruit expected to remain king of horticulture export industry – Julie Iles:

Kiwifruit exports, valued at $1.86 billion, remains New Zealand’s most valuable horticulture export. 

It’s closely followed by the value of wine exports, at $1.72b, though they were less than half the value of the kiwifruit exports in 2004. 

The latest forecasts by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) predict the kiwifruit export industry will grow in value at a slightly faster pace than the wine industry over the next four years.  . .

Farmlands joins Apple and Emerites in KPMG Award

Farmlands Cooperative has been named the New Zealand winner of KPMG’s prestigious Global Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) Award.

New Zealand’s largest rural supplies and services cooperative was presented with the award at a ceremony hosted by KPMG in Auckland this morning.

Farmlands joins 13 other winners of the award world-wide, including Singapore Airlines (Australia), Apple Store (Italy), Alipay (China) and Emirates (UAE). Following Farmlands in the top five for New Zealand were Air New Zealand, Kiwibank, New World and ASB Bank. . .

America’s cheese stockpile just hit an all-time high – Caitlin Dewey:

The United States has amassed its largest stockpile of cheese in the 100 years since regulators began keeping tabs, the result of booming domestic production of milk and consumers’ waning interest in the dairy beverage.

The 1.39 billion-pound stockpile, tallied by the Agriculture Department last week, represents a 6 percent increase over this time last year and a 16 percent increase since an earlier surplus prompted a federal cheese buy-up in 2016. . .

 


A very mirry Christmas

December 1, 2017

 


Men in Black

August 13, 2015

Air New Zealand have done it again, and better still – the new safety video is one most are going to watch.

Not everyone will enjoy it, but it will be difficult to ignore.


Why not more cheese than cracker?

May 24, 2015

An Air New Zealand passenger is cheesed off at getting more cheese than he considers the two crackers accompanying it can handle:

Air New Zealand is facing a grilling over concerns it has miscalculated the ratio of cheese-to-cracker for one of its inflight snack options.

The unsavoury revelation was brought to the attention of the airline by disgruntled customer Jeremy Chaston, who posted his complaint to Facebook on Thursday night.

“Your cheese to cracker ratio is completely out of whack,” he wrote, accompanied by a photo showing two crackers dwarfed by their respective cheese slices.

“I mean I like cheese, I REALLY like cheese but often the best part of the cheese is having it accompanied by a firm and crisp cracker.

“I feel that there is sufficient cheese to justify at least four crackers!!” . . .

I beg to differ. the best part of the cheese and crackers is the cheese so why not have more cheese than cracker?

I’ve been on several Koru hour flights recently when the cheese is served and I’ve noticed that there’s a generous serving of cheese – two chunks – which could be considered to swamp the two crackers allotted with it.

But as cheese is what pleases and the crackers are only there to carry it, I don’t consider there’s any miscalculation in the cheese to cracker ratio.

A cheesemaker told me that cheese is best served with oat crackers or bread, not water biscuits or other types of crackers.

Gourmands  might not agree but I’m also partial to cheese as a topping for apple, pear and fruit cake.

But whatever accompanies it, I’m never concerned if there’s more cheese than whatever it’s topping.

In fact more than not worrying me it reminds me of Pooh Bear who when asked if he wanted a honey or condensed milk sandwich replied both, then so as not to appear greedy said don’t worry about the bread.

In the spirit of Pooh I think Air New Zealand has got it right – pleny of cheese and just enough cracker so as not to leave passengers feeling greedy.


Safety or sexploitation?

February 12, 2014

Air New Zealand’s latest safety video got all the publicity the company could have wished for before it was even launched when it was criticised for being sexpoitive.

The video was was launched today and the media release says:

Air New Zealand has taken the wraps off the world’s most beautiful safety video – a collaboration with Sports Illustrated’s iconic Swimsuit franchise on the eve of its 50th anniversary.

The airline gave online viewers a behind the scenes look at Safety in Paradise last week which was shot in the picturesque Cook Islands and features some of the biggest names in modelling.

Chrissy Teigen, Ariel Meredith, Hannah Davis and Jessica Gomes all star while one of the original supermodels and three time Sports Illustrated cover girl, Christie Brinkley, makes a cameo appearance.

“The behind the scenes video has generated much conversation around the world about our brand and the Cook Islands as a destination since it was released last week. It’s exciting for us to release the full video today and we hope it will encourage many viewers to consider a trip to the Cook Islands,” says Jodi Williams, Air New Zealand Head of Global Brand Development.

Safety in Paradise can be viewed here.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editor MJ Day says Safety in Paradise is an exciting component of the magazine’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

“Our partnership with Air New Zealand is brilliant in every way. We were able to create a raucous safety video in the true spirit of SI Swimsuit and our Kiwi friends,” says Ms Day.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has a major worldwide marketing campaign planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the magazine and Air New Zealand will feature in that activity.

The Cook Islands is a key Pacific Island destination for Air New Zealand. The airline has operated flights there for more than 40 years and in 2013 alone carried almost 200,000 people to the island paradise from Auckland, Sydney and Los Angeles.

To celebrate the launch of Safety in Paradise Air New Zealand is giving online viewers the chance to win one of five trips for two to the Cook Islands. For more information and to enter, visitwww.theflyingsocialnetwork.com/safetyinparadise.

Like the other safety videos Air New Zealand has used in recent years it gets attention.

But is it also sexploitive?


If question is wrong how can any answer be valid?

November 27, 2013

The question on the politicians’ initiated referendum asks: do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand.

Several people have pointed out that those who want more than 49% sold could vote no.

That would be taken as opposition to any sale when that’s the opposite of their view which favours total sales.

Then there’s the name of one of the companies – if Google is to be believed Genesis Energy is an SOE but I couldn’t find a Genesis Power.

There is another even more fundamental flaw in the question – the Government hasn’t sold and isn’t planning to sell up to 49% of Air New Zealand.

It didn’t own 100% of the shares in the first place and sold only 20% of the total, retaining 53%.

If the question is wrong, how can any answer be valid?


We’re the foreigners there

November 21, 2013

There’s more than enough xenophobes here opposed to immigration and foreign ownership of land and businesses.

But that sentiment isn’t confined to this side of the Tasman.

We’re the foreigners there and it’s not just dairy companies that some locals object to New Zealanders buying.

Qantas is opposing Air New Zealand’s plan to increase its investment in Virgin Australia.


Govt selling down Air NZ shares

November 18, 2013

Speculation that the government was going to sell down some of its shareholding in Air New Zealand soon was confirmed yesterday.

The Government has today started the process to sell 20 per cent of Air New Zealand shares, Finance Minister Bill English and State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall say.

“A sale of shares to New Zealand brokers and to New Zealand and some offshore institutions will commence tomorrow, Monday 18 November, via a bookbuild process,” Mr English says. “We expect the transaction to be completed by Tuesday evening.

“New Zealanders will be at the front of the queue for shares and we are confident we will achieve the Government’s objective of at least 85 per cent New Zealand ownership.

“Air New Zealand is different from the other companies in the Government share offers programme in that it is already listed on the New Zealand and Australian sharemarkets. This means a different process will be used to reduce the Government’s shareholding.

“The Treasury sought proposals from its panel of financial advisers to carry out an off-market sell down via a bookbuild.  Craigs Investment Partners, together with Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, have been appointed to undertake the transaction and work with New Zealand sharebrokers in particular to target widespread New Zealand ownership.

“Shares will be sold via a competitive bookbuild process to New Zealand sharebrokers for on-sale to New Zealanders, and to New Zealand and some overseas institutional investors.

“Shareholding sell downs of this type are typically conducted off-market when the company’s shares are not trading on a stock exchange, to ensure the company’s share price is not affected by speculative trading,” Mr English says.

“An off-market sell down is fast and efficient, which is important when working with a company that is already listed.

“Usually these types of sales are completed in less than one day. However, to target widespread New Zealand ownership, we are conducting the bookbuild over Monday and Tuesday to give New Zealand sharebrokers time to discuss the offer with retail investors.

“That is why the sell down process is being started today and we anticipate there will be a trading halt of Air New Zealand shares on the NZX and ASX when the markets open tomorrow.

“We expect Air New Zealand’s shares to resume trading on the NZX and ASX on Wednesday,” Mr English says.

Mr Ryall says Air New Zealand is currently trading at five-year highs, making it an opportune time to conduct the sell down.

“Air New Zealand is one of our most iconic global brands and has regularly been recognised on the world stage as a leading international airline. Its share price has been performing strongly.

“New Zealanders interested in purchasing Air New Zealand shares should talk to a sharebroker or authorised financial adviser.

“The Crown currently owns 73 per cent of Air New Zealand. Therefore, the sale of 20 per cent of Air New Zealand shares will leave the Government with a shareholding of around 53 per cent of the airline.

“There have been several successful similar off-market sell downs in recent times, involving other existing NZX listed companies such as Auckland Airport, Trade Me, Summerset and Sky TV.

“This sale approach will keep down transaction costs for taxpayers, maximising the proceeds that we can invest in other public assets like hospitals and schools.

“The Government’s share offer programme has raised $3.6 billion from the first two share offers.

“The proceeds of the programme have been allocated to the Future Investment Fund so the money can be reinvested in new assets and new infrastructure without the need to borrow money from overseas lenders,” Mr Ryall says.

Air New Zealand was listed with other SOEs National said it would partially float if it won the last election.

The sale of a few shares is simple because the company is already listed on the share market.

Ministers have been asked about the possible sale recently. They couldn’t confirm it before the announcement without breaching stock exchange rules.

The decision is already being criticised because the sell-down will take place before the upcoming referendum on the partial sale of a few state assets.

That criticism is just political posturing.

National was explicit about its intention to partially float some SOEs and the Opposition said the election would be a referendum on the issue.

They lost and the referendum is nothing but an expensive publicity exercise for them.

There’s no need to wait for the results. They’re non-binding and the government has made it quite clear it will ignore them, as it has the right to do.


Air NZ double win

October 2, 2013

Air New Zealand has had two wins at the World Travel Awards.

Air New Zealand has been voted Australasia’s Leading Airline for the fifth year in a row and its new Koru Lounge at Christchurch International Airport has scooped the prize for Australasia’s Leading Airline Lounge. . .

Air New Zealand is our first choice when we travel and it’s good to know that it’s not just parochialism which makes us think it’s the best.

In August Air New Zealand announced a $182 million profit, more than twice the previous year’s.

Good service and good business  are a winning combination and should make it an attractive investment when the government sells-down some of its share in the company.


Referendum even more redundant

September 17, 2013

Finance Minister Bill English and State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall have announced the timetable for the partial float of Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy and further selling down of Air New Zealand shares.

The Government has confirmed New Zealanders will have the opportunity to invest in a minority shareholding in Meridian Energy from later this month, before an expected sharemarket listing on 29 October.

Full details will be set out when the offer document is lodged this Friday 20 September, Finance Minister Bill English and State-owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall say.

Pre-offer marketing will start this evening, ensuring New Zealanders are aware of the Meridian offer through television, newspaper and online advertising. This will explain how people can get more information, including ordering an offer document.

As with the Mighty River Power share offer earlier this year, New Zealanders will again be at the front of the queue for shares in Meridian, Mr English says.

“The Government was very clear about the opportunity for New Zealanders when we put our share offers programme to New Zealanders during the 2011 election campaign. The compelling reasons for proceeding with the share offers are as valid today.

“The Government share offer will enable New Zealanders to invest in big Kiwi companies at a time when they are telling us they want to diversify their growing savings away from property, bank deposits and finance companies.

“And we can invest the proceeds in other public assets like modern schools and hospitals, without having to borrow that money in volatile overseas markets, and increase debt.”

As Ministers have previously indicated, investors will buy Meridian shares in two instalments over 18 months. This means investors will need to pay only around 60 per cent of the price up front – but they will receive in full any dividends.

In addition, there will be a price cap for New Zealand retail applicants to provide more certainty about how much the shares will cost.

Mr English says further decisions have now been confirmed, including:

  • The Meridian offer document will be lodged this Friday 20 September, setting out all the information investors need to make an informed decision about whether to invest. This will include the price range, the price of the first instalment, the capped price of the second instalment and the expected yield.
  • After the offer document is lodged, the Financial Markets Authority has around five business days to review the document. This ‘consideration period’ is expected to conclude on 27 September.
  • New Zealanders will then have three weeks from 30 September to consider the offer document and apply for shares before the general offer closes on 18 October. This will be followed by a book-build process where institutions bid for shares.
  • It is expected that Meridian will list on the New Zealand and Australian sharemarkets on 29 October.

Mr Ryall says the offer process puts New Zealanders at the front of the queue for shares and will ensure they have easy access to information.

“To help achieve this, a retail syndicate will be marketing the offer to New Zealanders, and they will offer information and advice to their clients.

“In addition, we have included what is called a ‘broker firm’ aspect to the Meridian offer. Under this arrangement, brokers assess demand from their clients and submit bids, and the Government then chooses how much to allocate them.

“Just like the retail offer, this process is open only to New Zealanders and is consistent with our commitment to ensuring 85-90 per cent New Zealand ownership of the shares,” Mr Ryall says.

Ministers have also confirmed they are considering options for Genesis Energy and Air New Zealand – two of the other companies in the Government’s share offer programme.

“As the Prime Minister said last month, we anticipate that the Genesis Energy share offer will occur in the first half of 2014, subject to market conditions,” Mr Ryall says. “Preliminary work is underway and will continue over the next few months.”

The Air New Zealand share offer will be different to the others, as it is already a sharemarket-listed company.

“What that means is that New Zealanders can buy shares in the company now, if they wish,” Mr Ryall says.

“We are currently working through the best way the sell down can occur and we remain keen to ensure that New Zealanders have the opportunity to participate in it.  At this stage, no final decisions have been made, including on timing. However, when it occurs we expect it will be a shorter process than that used for Meridian and Mighty River Power.”

This makes the politicians’ referendum on the partial sale of a few state owned assets now even more redundant.

It was always only political posturing.

It was never going to have any impact on government policy which was clearly signalled before the 2011 election, made the issue by the opposition and had already begun with the partial float of Mighty River Power before enough signatures had been gathered.

That Grey Power which fronted the referendum petition has now negotiated a deal for its members with a private power company makes it not just redundant but hypocritical.

Referendums are very blunt instruments and none of the four Citizens Initiated Referendums we’ve had since they were introduced in 1993 have achieved anything.

There are better, and cheaper, ways to make a point and influence policy.

All the latest one does is reinforce the growing body of opinion that Citizens Initiated Referendums have had their day.


Competition works

March 15, 2013

Chris Tremain, Associate Tourism Minister, welcomed Hawaiian Airlines to New Zealand yesterday and today Air New Zealand has slashed fares to Hawaii.

Air New Zealand has slashed its fares to Honolulu, as Hawaiian Airlines announced it was offering three flights a week from Auckland to the Pacific island.

An average round trip economy ticket on Hawaiian Airlines will cost around $1800, which includes meals. Air New Zealand is currently offering return flights from $1000, without meals.

From June, Air New Zealand, which also flies to Honolulu three times a week, is increasing its capacity to the destination, offering bigger planes that will hold 60 more passengers, as well as offering premium economy and flat beds in business class. . .

Isn’t competition grand?


Grounded

March 19, 2012

Air New Zealand has grounded the 11 ATR aircrafted operated by Mount Cook after hairline cracks were discovered in the windscreen of one plane during routine servicing.

Mount Cook Airline general manager Sarah Williamson said the airline would operate about two-thirds of its normal seat capacity today with three ATR aircraft in service and additional flights from other aircraft in the Air New Zealand fleet.

Williamson said inspections continued on the rest of the fleet in conjunction with aircraft manufacturer ATR.

“We are making good progress. Of our fleet of 11 aircraft, we expect two aircraft to be operating tomorrow; three others require closer examination and five are well advanced in the inspection process. One aircraft was already in the hangar for pre-planned maintenance.”

She expected to introduce more aircraft back into service later today.

It’s a good reflection on maintenance staff and the security consciousness of the airline.

But the flight cancellations will cause a lot of disruption to regional travellers.


Air NZ looking to South America

February 27, 2012

Air New Zealand is trialling flights to South America with a charter flight for fans going to the first four nations Rugby Championship match between the All Blacks and Pumas in Argentina.

Radio NZ reports the company is watching developments in the region before scheduling regular flights.

. . . But the airline did announce its first foray into South America, with a flight in September using its black Boeing 777-300.

The charter flight will be aimed at All Blacks fans travelling to Buenos Aires for the team’s first game against Argentina in the expanded Four Nations competition.

Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe says the airline is very interested in South America as a potential route in its global network.

He says the company hasn’t yet made a decision about its overall strategy for South America.

Mr Fyfe says the Brazilian airline TAM is about to go through a merger with Chile’s LAN and Air New Zealand wants to see which alliance the new airline LATAM ends up in before finalising its preferred strategy.

When we went to Argentina a couple of weeks ago there were no Star Alliance airlines flying to South America.

The options were a direct flight from Auckland to Buenos Aires with Aerolineas Argentina, Lan Chile which goes Auckland-Santiago-Buenos Aires, Qantas which would have necessitated flying east to Sydney before flying west or Emerites which is the long way round and required a two-day stop in Dubai en-route.

The Aerolineas flight is 11 1/2 hours there and 13 home which isn’t too bad but an Air New Zealand flight or a Star Alliance option would be even better.

Football is the most popular sport in Argentina but we met some rugby fans when we were there who were pleased the Pumas were joining the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies in the Rugby Championship.


Thanks Air New Zealand

February 18, 2012

Air New Zealand recently ran a promotion in which you went into a draw for prizes if you entered your airpoints number when booking on-line.

I did and received an email yesterday saying I’d won 25% off a book at Paper Plus.

There’s always several books on my nice-to-have list and the voucher will give me a much appreciated discount on one of them.


Making flying fun

January 26, 2012

We flew from Christchurch to Palmerston North with Air New Zealand on Tuesday evening and had the pleasure of being looked after and entertained by a cabin attendant with a sense of humour.

From the opening words of her safety briefing Sam had us all listening and laughing as she delivered the usual spiel with several very amusing twists and additions.

She put a lot extra into doing what is a necessary but usually boring part of her job and she continued to elicit smiles and laughs in her interaction throughout the flight.

We flew home again yesterday, the cabin attendants did all that was required of them and we couldn’t fault their service but they didn’t get us listening and laughing the way Sam did.

She obviously enjoyed her job, put a lot into it and in doing so made it a much more enjoyable and memorable flight for the passengers.


Air NZ world’s best

January 10, 2012

When I first left New Zealand, 30 years ago this week, I had a one way ticket to Britain with several stops en route.

By the time I got there I’d flown Air New Zealand, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Air Alitalia and British Airways.

Coming home I flew Air New Zealand and Air France.

Since then I’ve used most of them again plus, Air Pacific,  Garuda,  Aerolineas Argentinas, Lan Chile, United, Air Canada, Thai Airways, Lufthansa, Spanair, British Midland and a few smaller ones whose names – perhaps mercifully – I’ve forgotten.

The only one I wouldn’t use again is Garuda, though Air Canada’s service on a flight from Vancouver to Honolulu last year was sub-optimal.

The one I’d choose to use where possible is Air New Zealand. I’ve had only one bad experience – poor communication over a delayed flight to Fiji – and lots of very good ones with them.

Of course parochialism might have something to do with my preference but Air New Zealand has been recognised as airline of the year.

Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key has congratulated Air New Zealand on again being named Airline of the Year by ‘Air Transport World’ magazine.

“Air New Zealand was named Airline of the Year in January 2010, and to gain this honour twice in three years is an outstanding achievement,” says Mr Key.

“The award is for Air New Zealand’s industry-leading innovation and motivation of its staff, which has resulted in exceptional performance in many areas, such as customer service, operational safety, and financial performance.

“The award is an acknowledgement of the hard work the airline’s staff and management have put into the company.

“Air New Zealand is a vital part of our tourism infrastructure. Often, the first experience incoming visitors have of New Zealand is with the national carrier, and those first impressions count.

Most foreigners travel very long distances to get here. Even if they don’t use Air New Zealand for international flights many will for internal travel. Having an airline which is top for service and safety is good for them and our reputation as a tourist destination.


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