So close but so far away for TPP

November 11, 2017

Yesterday’s excitement over agreement on the TPP 11 was premature.

It was so close but now it’s far away again, but it’s not dead.

Canada says Prime Minister  Justin Trudeau’s no-show at a leaders’ meeting was due to a misunderstanding over schedules.

And CBC News says partners have reached agreement on core elements of the deal.

All deals require giving and taking. None are perfect.

But New Zealand has more to gain than lose from tariff-free access to markets which currently disadvantage our exporters.

Consumers in other countries will gain too. If Canadians only knew how much better our cheese is than the orange plastic apology for it I saw in their supermarkets, they’d be demanding their government signs the deal.


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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WTO rules aainst USA CoOL on meat

May 20, 2015

The World Trade Organisation has ruled that labels on red meat in the United States that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered will have to be dropped or revised.

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the WTO has rejected a final U.S. appeal, deciding that the U.S. “country of origin” labels put Canadian and Mexican livestock at a disadvantage.

The Obama administration had previously revised labels to try to comply with WTO obligations. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said that if the WTO ruled against the final U.S. appeal, Congress will have to weigh in to avoid retaliation – such as extra tariffs – from the two neighbour countries. . .

Though the ruling went against the U.S., it’s a victory for the U.S. meat industry, which has said the labels are burdensome. Meat processors quickly called for repeal of the labelling laws after the WTO decision.

Canada and Mexico issued a joint statement calling on the United States to repeal the labelling rules and saying they will seek authorization from the WTO to take retaliatory measures against U.S. exports.

The joint statement of Canadian and Mexican agriculture and trade officials said the rules cause Canadian and Mexican livestock and meat to be segregated from those of U.S. origin. The labeling is “damaging to North America’s supply chain and is harmful to producers and processors in all three countries,” the officials said. . .

I don’t support compulsory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) but I don’t understand why labels which give consumers information on which they might want to base their purchases has been disallowed.


Could it happen here?

October 24, 2014

Canada and New Zealand have a lot in common.

Both were largely settled by similar people, both are still part of the Commonwealth, both  tend to be overshadowed by a bigger neighbour and until recently  neither would have been regarded as having a high risk of terrorism.

That changed yesterday when a soldier in Ottawa was shot dead in cold blood:

The stone halls of Parliament Hill echoed with gunfire and were stained with blood Wednesday as a terrorist struck at the heart of the federal government after gunning down a sentry at the National War Memorial.

The gunman was shot and killed near the Library of Parliament, according to Ottawa police sources, by House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, a former RCMP officer and the man responsible for security on the Hill.

A witness said the gunman, carrying the rifle at his hip, walked deliberately up the west ramp of Centre Block and through the main doors of Parliament as bystanders cowered. It was just before 10 a.m.

The gunman walked right past the Centre Block’s Reading Room — where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was meeting with the Conservative caucus — before being confronted and shot.

The dead gunman has been identified as Canadian-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, a man who had lived in Aylmer, Montreal and Vancouver, and had a criminal record for relatively minor offences in all cities. . .

In a televised address to the nation Wednesday night, Prime Minister Stephen Harper labelled the incidents “despicable attacks” and linked them to international terrorism. “In the days to come, we will learn more about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had,” Harper said. “But this week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.”

He vowed that the nation will not be intimidated, nor will it back down from its commitment to wage war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“Canada will never be intimidated,” he repeated. “In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts.” . . .

Parliamentary Services  have closed all but two doors into our parliament as a precautionary measure:

. . . New Zealand’s Parliamentary Service has confirmed only two entrances will be open for MPs, staff and the general public, and they will be heavily monitored.

The main door to the Beehive, where people must pass through a security screen, and the entry to Bowen House from Lambton Quay will remain open.

Parliamentary Service general manager, David Stevenson said the decision to close all other entry points was made to keep staff and the public safe.

“This is an interim security measure we have decided to put in place to manage the safety and security of members, staff, officials and the general public who visit Parliament on a daily basis,” he said.

Stevenson said the access restriction might cause inconvenience and potentially longer processing times, particularly for the public given Parliament was in a sitting week. . .

This will be inconvenient for the people who regularly enter and leave parliament, including media, but it’s not an over0reaction.

The risk of a terror attack here might not be high, but it could happen anywhere and we have to have a balance between precautions to protect people and freedom of movement.


Contraband cheese

October 1, 2012

Smuggling might not be the oldest profession but it’s been around for as long as rules restricting trade.

It doesn’t usually involve something regarded as a staple food, but police in Canada are on the trail of contraband cheese:

. . . It seems someone has been smuggling cheap pizza ingredients north across the US-Canada border. Smuggling cheese across the border – may not seem as serious as drugs or contraband but it’s still very profitable and illegal. . .

The reason it’s profitable is Canada’s highly protected dairy industry.

The solution to the problem is simple – Canada should stop protecting inefficient farmers.

Opening the borders will increase choice and supply and reduce costs for consumers. It will also encourage efficiency among Canadian farmers who will have to meet the market or get out of the industry.

Hat tip: Black markets in everything cheese edition  at Offsetting Behaviour.


Consumers pay price for protecting producers

May 8, 2012

The Canadian commitment to dairy farmers to continue protection is putting the interests of the minority ahead of those of the majority.

It’s consumers who pay the price of tariffs on dairy products of up to 300% . The cost isn’t only a monetary one, they also pay the price of fewer choices.

Most New Zealand farmers resisted being dragged into the real world but now, nearly three decades on, it would be difficult to find any who would want to go back to subsidies and tariffs.

The process of losing subsidies was painful but the result is worth it.

Forcing us to meet the market has made us much better at what we do. We think about, and act on, what people want to buy rather than what the government is going to pay us to produce. Consumers here and overseas have benefitted from that.

The only fair trade is free trade apropos of which Anti-Dismal shows how it started.


Georgia in my heart

September 19, 2011

When I wrote yesterday’s post on the Rugby World Cup I said I was going to back England.

But when I got to Otago Stadium last evening I had a change of heart and swapped my allegiance to Georgia.

The team played really well and I think the 41-10 score flattered the English. They deserved to win but not by that margin.

Georgia spent a lot of time in England’s half and though they weren’t able to turn territory into points they kept up the pressure until the final whistle.

They didn’t win the game but they did win hearts, including mine.

It’s good for the tournament and for rugby that the minnows are giving the bigger fish more than a run for their money.

Canada started well and scoring 19 points to France’s 46 would have given Les Bleus cause for concern.

 I didn’t see or hear the game between Wales and Samoa but reports suggest the 17-10 victory to the Welsh didn’t come easily.

Our decision to go to the game in Dunedin last evening was a last minute won but booking online secured us seats in the front row at half way which gave us a very good view.

Among the people sitting near us were several Argentineans. They are following the Pumas all around New Zealand and attending other random games which fit their travels.

My Spanish is a bit rusty but the gist of what one of them told me was that he had travelled all over the world but never thought of coming to New Zealand before. However, he and his travelling companions were having a wonderful time, the country is beautiful, the people friendly and they’re enjoying the food and wine.

That is exactly the sort of off-field benefits to New Zealand the organisers are hoping for.


More than Irish eyes smiling

September 18, 2011

The upset win by Ireland over Australia last night will have more than Irish eyes smiling.

Rugby World Tournament organisers will be delighted that the competition, which was warming up anyway, has been well and truly set alight.

Blue and white ruled in Invercargill where Argentina won 43 – 8 against Romania and the Springboks beat Fiji 49 – 3.

The Welsh players will no doubt be thinking of the death of four men after a flood in a coal mine near Swansea on Friday when they meet Samoa this afternoon.

I’m backing Samoa in that game, Canada against France and for what might be the only time in the tournament I’ll be siding with England when the team meets Georgia in Dunedin.

 


Relatively better isn’t the same as good

November 19, 2009

New Zealand tops Transparency International’s 2009 corruption perception index.

The others in the top 10 are: Denmark, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands and Australia, Canada and Iceland which are 8th equal.

The countries at the bottom are: Chad, Iraq, Sudan, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Corruption is a form of oppression and this map shows how widespread it is:

While it’s good to be relatively good, what really matters is not how good we are perceived to be relative to anyone else but how good we are fullstop.

A score of 9.4 does mean we’re perceived to be pretty good.

That makes it more likely that other countries and other people will trust us and our institutions.

But we need to be vigilant to ensure that reality matches the perception.

Hat tip: Poneke.


July 23 in history

July 23, 2009

On July 23:

1840 the Province of Canada was created by the Act of Union.

1952 Yvette Williams won a gold medal at the Helsinki Olympics, becoming New Zealand’s first female medalist.

1986 Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson married.


NZ tops Global Peace Index

June 3, 2009

 New Zealand has topped the  Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Peace Index .

dairy 1

The Institute is an Australian think tank dedicated to developing the inter-relationships between business, peace and economic development.
The results of the 2009 survey  suggest:
that the world has become slightly less peaceful in the past year, which appears to reflect the intensification of violent conflict in some countries and the effects of both the rapidly rising food and fuel prices early in 2008 and the dramatic global economic downturn in the final quarter of the year. Rapidly rising unemployment, pay freezes and falls in the value of house prices, savings and pensions is causing popular resentment in many countries, with political repercussions that have been registered by the GPI through various indicators measuring safety and security in society.
 
The GPI uses 23 indicators  of the existence or absence of peace, divided into three broad categories:  measures of ongoing domestic and international conflict, measures of safety and security in society and measures of militarization.
The Top 10 countries were: New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Austria, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Finland and Slovenia.
At the bottom were: Georgia, Zimbabwe, Russia, Pakistan, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Israel, Somalia, Afghaanistan and Iraq.
The full list is here.

Eskimo lollies leave sour taste

April 21, 2009

A Canadian Inuit touring New Zealand has been offended by one of the staples of the Kiwi lolly mixture, the marshmellow Eskimos .

Seeka Lee Veevee Parsons, 21, an Inuit of the Nunavut Territory in Canada, says the Eskimo lolly, manufactured by Cadbury/Pascall, is an insult to her people.

The word Eskimo is unacceptable in her country and carries with it negative racial connotations, she said.

She intends sending packets of the iconic confectionary to the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and her grandfather, a Inuit tribal elder in the Nunavut Territory.

A name change by the manufacturer will no doubt be called a PC over-reaction, but would we say that if we came across a marshmellow caricature called a Hori in another country?

Is this very different from the name change for the wee white sticks with the pink ends we called cigarettes when I was a child? They’re now known as space sticks because the attitude to smoking has changed and it’s, correctly, seen as silly to associate smoking with sweets.

Now that the insult has been pointed out, Cadbury/Pascal will have to have a rethink and when they act on that I’m sure we’ll find that marshmellow lollies by another name will taste as sweet.

UPDATE: Alf Grumble  has a different view.

UPADATE 2: Keeping Stock  is on Alf’s side.


Animal protection law could hurt farmers

November 20, 2008

Candaian farmers are concerned that a new law to protect animals could lead to abuses and hurt farmers.

Changes to Ontario’s animal cruelty laws risk giving too much unchecked power to protection agencies and causing problems for farmers trying to do their jobs, critics charged today.

Under a bill passed by the Ontario legislature today, people who abuse animals will face jail, stiffer fines and a lifetime ban on animal ownership. The act also creates exemptions for wildlife, agriculture and veterinary practices.

But Progressive Conservative Randy Hillier said the bill gives police powers to animal welfare officers with no oversight or accountability, and he’s worried that will lead to abuses as well as problems for farmers.

“The (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) enforcement officers only require two weeks of training before they get police powers, and to understand animal husbandry and livestock care takes far greater than two weeks,” said Hillier, who represents Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington. “To convey all this authority onto a novice with two weeks of police training, and take away any political accountability — we’re just asking for trouble.”

Former Conservative Bill Murdoch, now sitting as an Independent for the farming community of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, said he’s not comforted by the exclusion of standard farm practices from the Animal Protection Act because city people don’t always understand what farm work entails.

“It says on the bill you can’t cause distress to an animal. Well, you know, sometimes the farming things we have to do might cause a bit of distress, and somebody from the city wouldn’t even understand that,” Murdoch said. “I’ve heard some of the vets get complaints from people that drive up from the city because the cattle are standing outside in the rain or in the snow, (saying) those animals should be inside. Nowadays, cattle live outside all winter.”

Animal welfare is a top priority for good farmers but some normal practices cause distress.

Tailing is an example, but leaving the tails on lambs risk them suffering from fly strike later which would be far worse than being docked.

And ignnorance can cause a perception of cruelty which is totally unfounded. Tourists sometimes complain that farm dogs aren’t fed properly because they look thin compared with pampered pets. What they don’t realise is that they’re comparing canine athletes with couch potatoes.


Green leader wants to legalise pot

September 18, 2008

No, this isn’t in New Zealand, it’s the leader of the Canadian Green Party, Elizabeth May, who wants to legalise marijuana.


PM triggers early election

September 8, 2008

Sadly it’s not ours but the Canadian PM.

Canada’s prime minister has triggered an early election, dissolving Parliament in a bid to bolster his party’s grip on power in a vote next month that will be the country’s third national ballot in four years.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he expects the October 14 vote to produce another minority government but recent polls show the Conservatives could win the majority they need to rule without help from opposition parties.

Analysts said Harper’s party has a better shot of winning now than if they had waited until being forced into a vote later when the Canadian economy might be worse off or after Canadians could be influenced by the US presidential election results.


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