Rural round-up

October 18, 2016

Calf milk powder shortage dire – Neal Walllace:

Calf rearers battling a shortage of milk powder are unlikely to get a reprieve this season with a major retailer warning product delays could continue for another four weeks.  

As if that wasn’t enough, farmers report the price of calf milk replacer, or what some are calling white gold, has increased in recent weeks from $53 for a 20kg bag to $75.  

Farmlands chief executive Peter Reidie said his company was not taking any new orders for calf milk replacer (CMR) because suppliers had advised they could not supply any product. . . 

World food trends favour dairy – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra has identified 11 modern consumer food trends it says are very positive for high quality milk production in New Zealand.  

Global consumer and food service chief operating officer Jacqueline Chow said Fonterra had invested $1 billion over the past decade in dairy innovation – in science, sustainability, nutrition and packaging – to position the co-operative to meet the trends.  

Its dairy farmers had also spent $1b over the past five years on environmental initiatives. . . 

More calls to rural support line reported -:

The Waikato Rural Support Trust is receiving unusually high numbers of calls from farmers as adverse weather conditions and the low dairy payout take a toll, it says.

Trust chairman Neil Bateup said a particularly wet spring had caused issues with feed quality and quantity and that had made farming very difficult.

Mr Bateup said the farmers calling were mainly in the dairy industry, with those people also struggling with the low payout of the past couple of years. . . 

Feral Activists Are Worse Than The Pests 1080 Fights:

Activism in New Zealand has sunk to a new low as conservation workers don’t even feel safe going about their daily jobs.

Federated Farmers is deeply concerned for the safety of the country’s conservation department staff and contractors, as so-called activists continue to ignore the fact that 1080 is working well for New Zealand.

“It is simply unacceptable for New Zealanders who go to work every day to protect our environment, to be made to feel unsafe doing their jobs,” says Federated Farmers president Dr William Rolleston.

“This is madness and it’s activism out of control. . . 

Ngāi Tahu adds horse treks to its tourism stable – Aaron Smale:

Ngāi Tahu has bought a horse trekking business in Glenorchy to add to its tourism portfolio.

The South Island iwi has bought Dart Stables in Glenorchy, which runs horse treks through a region that features heavily in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Ngāi Tahu Tourism chief executive Quinton Hall said the business fit well with its broader tourism strategy.

“The team at Dart Stables has an excellent reputation with customers and within the local community and has access to some of the most beautiful parts of the country,” he said. . . 

Enterprising Rural Women Awards (ERWA) entrants for 2016:

Six fantastic businesses are competing in three categories this year and the ultimate winner will receive the supreme prize for the Enterprising Rural Women Awards.

Rural Women New Zealand’s annual awards showcase rural women who run their own successful businesses. For the entrants, it is an opportunity to promote their innovative rural enterprise and gain recognition for their contribution to their community.

Each category winner receives $1,000 in prize money and a trophy, with a further $1,000 being awarded to the supreme winner who is judged as an exceptional rural business women. Prizes also include clothing from Swazi Apparel and from the Agri-Women’s Development Trust $400 worth of executive coaching for each category winner and an additional $3,400 professional development package for the supreme winner.

2016 ERWA categories: . . 

International Beef Alliance meets in Taupo:

New Zealand is hosting beef producers from the International Beef Alliance in Taupo this week.

The International Beef Alliance includes the national organisations representing beef cattle producers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay and the United States and it meets annually to progress issues of common interest.

This week the Presidents and CEOs from the Cattle Council of Australia, Associação dos Criadores de Mato Grosso, Associação Nacional dos Confinadores de Brasil, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas, Asociación Rural de Paraguay, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the US National Cattlemen’s Beef Association will meet in Taupo. This group accounts for 46% of the world’s beef cattle production and 63% of global beef exports. . . 

Helping farmers save time and take control:

With volatility in the dairy payout, there has never been a more important time to have a clear picture of your farming business’ performance.

And according to Figured’s marketing manager Monica Shepherd, nearly 40 per cent of farmers surveyed at the New Zealand National Fieldays, said they wanted more advice from their accountants on how to achieve just that.

In response, Dairy Women’s Network is running a free dairy module called ‘Farming in the Cloud’ with its partners Figured, Xero, ASB Bank and Crowe Horwath. . . 

New Zealand’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards – Top Honours Announced:

Winners in New Zealand’s most prestigious competition for olive oil were announced last night at a formal dinner held at Parliament in Wellington and hosted by MP Paul Foster-Bell.

Robinsons Bay Olives from Akaroa took out the 2016 Best in Show as well as Best in Class in the Commercial Medium Blends Class at the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Awards, run by Olives New Zealand, the national organisation for olive oil growers.

The Old N’Olive Grove Partnership from Wairarapa won the Best in Boutique Category for growers who produce less than 250 litres of certified extra virgin olive oil, as well as Best in Class in the Boutique Intense Single Varietal Class with their Rockbottom Grove Picual. . . 

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Thank ewe for supporting wool week.


NZ’s turn to ride commodity wave

December 31, 2013

For several years we’ve looked across the Tasman as Australia boomed on the back of Chinese demand for its minerals.

It’s now New Zealand’s turn:

. . . For so long the poor cousins across the ditch, it’s the Kiwis’ turn to ride the China resources roller coaster, with all the fun and fear that can engender. The commodity is different but the fundamental story is much the same as the China boom that lifted Australia over the past decade.

What iron ore and coking coal did for Oz, milk powder is doing for New Zealand. Forget the cliches about New Zealanders and sheep – it’s cows that are making Kiwis feel good now, as well as the All Blacks having an undefeated year.

But it’s not only dairying and the All Blacks doing well.

. . . An ANZ bank survey this month found NZ businesses the most confident they’ve been since 1994. House prices and wages are rising and consumers are spending more – the government is expecting consumption growth of 2.8 per cent while Australia struggles to manage 2 per cent.

New Zealand’s terms of trade are at their highest since 1974, giving the average Kiwi sharply stronger buying power. It’s not so expensive for Kiwis to visit the relatives in Australia – but the land of the strangled dipthong is no longer a cheap holiday for Australians. The Kiwi dollar started the year above $1.26 to the Aussie. It’s finishing at $1.09. . .

While our Treasury forecasts Australia’s unemployment will nudge up to 6.25 per cent, New Zealand’s is 6.2 and falling from a high of 7.3 last year, twin factors that can be expected to reduce the usual migration flow. Australia has done well out of its Kiwi migrants. Given the direction of the New Zealand currency, we might have left it a wee bit late to stock up on five-eighths and sauvignon blanc. . .

Trans-Tasman rivalry is usually pretty good natured.

But while we can enjoy our moment in the sun, we shouldn’t forget that Australia is our second biggest market.

Beating them because we’re doing well and we’re doing better is to be celebrated. Bettering them because they’re going backwards is bad for both of us.


Sunshine Coast not so sunny

August 5, 2012

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has plans to turn Queensland’s Sunshine Coast into one of the world’s top tourist destinations:

His plans include an international airport, a 1000-room beachfront hotel, and  a 400-person ocean-going hovercraft service between Brisbane’s CBD to Coolum.

In the video on the link above (1:07)  he speaks about the Sunshine Coast being depressed with high unemployment.

That confirms our observation, on a two-day sunshine fix at Noosa last week, that the Sunshine Coast’s economy was far from sunny.

Last time we were there, about four years ago, the town was bustling. This time it was quiet with several empty shops and lots of for sale and lease signs on buildings.

The weather was cool by local standards which might have been keeping people indoors but locals we talked to said it had been a quiet winter.

The high dollar won’t be helping tourism, nor will high prices. People complain about the cost of food here, it was more expensive there even before we converted our currency. Main courses were rarely less than $A35 and often more than $A40 which was at least 10% more than was usual in cafés and restaurants we ate at when we were in Europe in June.

We spoke about our observations with farmers at a dinner in Sydney on Thursday. They said we were seeing the slower side of the two-speed economy. Mining is booming, farming’s generally okay and so are the businesses which service and supply them but the rest of the economy is struggling.

Even though it was cool, the sun was shining in Noosa but there was a chill in the economic air.

Palmer’s plan is likely to be controversial but it could be what’s needed to bring some heat back to the Sunshine Coast’s economy.

 

 

 


No jobs are bad jobs

April 21, 2012

The trans-Tasman tide appears to be turning as businesses choose to move from Australia to New Zealand.

That should be cause for celebration, but not for opposition MPs:

. . .  the Labour Party turned up its nose at every kind of new job available, from cigarette-roller to croupier to call centre operator, egged on by most other political parties. 

So we’re back to wanting the nanny state, now, are we?  What a luxury to feel the country is able to pass up gainful employment in legal industries. . .

These are the same MPs who have complained about losing New Zealand jobs to Asia but they can’t have it both ways:

There are complaints that firms are moving over here because we have lower wages than in Australia, and that is causing anger and concern for people that enjoy complaining.

However, these same people are also complaining that the strong NZ dollar against a number of countries (primarily China and the US) is leading us to loss jobs by making labour less competitive – in other words, by making New Zealand labour relatively more expensive, in other words by pushing up peoples real wages.

I wonder what the people doing the jobs think of the MPs’ criticism of their gainful employement?

No jobs are bad jobs and working for a low wage doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Some people might not have the ability and/or will to earn more but low-skilled work still has to be done and many who start in low-paid positions can work their way up to better ones.

Finance Minister Bill English rightly says that the increasing number of Australian companies investing and creating  jobs in New Zealand is good for the economy and will help increase  incomes:

“For the first time  in quite a few years, Australian businesses are seeing competitive  opportunities in New Zealand,” he says. “This reflects a number of  issues, ranging from the exchange rate, lower business costs, an  improving regulatory environment and the positive direction of economic  policy.

“That was conveyed to the New Zealand team of ministers  and officials at the Australian New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney  last week, where business leaders said they were encouraged by New  Zealand’s economic policy direction.”

Over the past three years,  the Government has implemented a wide-ranging economic programme to make New Zealand more competitive.

This includes:

  • The  Budget 2010 tax package which increased taxes on consumption and  property speculation, and reduced taxes on work, companies and saving.
  • Improvements to regulation – for example resource management laws, building laws and industrial relations laws.
  • The Government’s multi-billion dollar infrastructure programme, in rail,  roads, electricity transmission and ultra-fast broadband, to make the  economy more productive.
  • A focus on changing the incentives around welfare and work.
  • Reducing government-imposed costs on business – for example, ACC levies on  employers and the self-employed will fall by 22 per cent this year,  reducing total costs to business each year by about $250 million.

“This is a long-term programme that will continue over the next few years to  improve New Zealand’s competitiveness,” Mr English says.

“We need  to encourage companies to invest, and create jobs, including from  countries like Australia. This investment needs to come from businesses  because the Government simply cannot afford to borrow and spend at the  rate of the past decade.

“When capital is invested and management  skills improve, New Zealand companies can sell their products for higher prices in overseas markets. It’s a recipe for higher wages, more  exports and a faster-growing Kiwi economy.

We’d all be better off if our economy supported higher wages, and we’re more likely to get there by having people employed in any jobs, even if they’re low paid, than by having them unemployed.

The more people in work the better it is for them and the economy and a healthier economy supports higher wages.


Supporting our neighbours

October 21, 2011

Australia or Wales? Dragons or Wallabies?

They meet tonight to decide third and fourth place in the Rugby World Cup and it’s not easy to decide which team to support.

Both teams have New Zealand coaches but if I take them into account I’d opt for Robbie Deans who made such a wonderful contribution to Canterbury rugby – even if several of their wins were against Otago teams.

I know Wales deserved to win last week, and maybe the All Blacks would have a less daunting task on Sunday if they had, but if I have to pick a side, it will be the Wallabies.

It’s not personal, the Welsh are lovely people but most of them are on the other side of the world and Australia’s just next door so I’m opting for our neighbours.


Vamos Argentina pero . . .

October 9, 2011

If Argentina was playing any other team than the All Blacks I’d be backing Los Pumas.

Since they are playing New Zealand I’m saying vamos Argentina pero no demasiado bien  – play well Argentina, but not too well.

I’m conflicted with the other quarter-final game.

I want the winner to be whichever team the All Blacks are most likely to defeat should we get through to the next round and I’d like that to be Australia. But my farmer who knows far more about rugby than I do and who was in Brisbane to for the last Tri-Nations game when the Wallabies beat the All Blacks, reckons South Africa might be an easier semi-final opponent.

We were at a 21st birthday party last night but what from what I saw of the two games,  Wales deserved its 22-10 victory over Ireland and the French earned their semi-fianl spot by beating England 19 -12.

 


Upsets good and bad

October 2, 2011

Last night’s upset win by Tonga against the French was a good upset.

Unless you happen to be French or a Francophile.

Scotland’s loss to England after a good start will have upset some.

Unless you’re one of those who weren’t hoping that Sctoland would go against the odds, win with a bonus point and so progress ot the quarter finals.

The Wallabies 68 -22 win over Russia wasn’t an upset but what’s described as a tournament-threatening injury to wing Drew Mitchell, on top of serious injuries to other players could be upsetting.

Unless you’re one of those who’s not wanting Australia to do very well.

This afternoon it looked like Georgia might upset Argentina until  Los Pumas took charge of the game which ensures them a spot in the quarter finals.

That would have upset Argentina’s supporters but pelased the Scots who would then have secured a place in the next round.

Like Adam Smith I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s heartbreaking that Dan Carter is out of the Rugby World Cup altogether though I acknowledge that will be upsetting to many.

Although not those in or supporting one of the teams hoping to beat the All Blacks.

But let’s keep it in perspective, a team is made up of 15 players plus reserves. They will all be doing their best to ensure there’s no upsets for them and their supporters, especially in today’s match against Canada.

This afternoon I’m backing Fiji against Wales and will take the underdog in the match between Ireland and Italy.


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