Rural round-up

October 5, 2016

The rise of China’s agriculture – Keith Woodford:

Although it leaves many New Zealanders uncomfortable, there is a stark reality that the future of New Zealand’s agricultural industries, and hence the overall economy, is highly dependent on China. The reason is very simple: there is no-one else in the world who needs and wants our agricultural products at the levels we produce those products.

If action were driven by logic, then we would spend a lot of effort in trying to understand China.   We would want to understand Chinese consumers, we would want to understand Chinese government policy towards agriculture, and we would want to understand what is happening on the ground in rural China.

We do know something about all of these things, but we don’t know enough.  In particular, we know very little about what is happening within Chinese agriculture itself.

New meat strategy positive – MIA:

 Beef+Lamb NZ’s new red meat marketing strategy results from a step-up in collaboration by the wider red meat sector, says Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie.

And the new approach is not without valuable precedent. The refocused strategy, with BLNZ directing promotional efforts to new markets, is similar to decades ago when North American and Japanese markets were targeted after Britain joined the European Union (then known as the Common Market), Ritchie says. . . 

Dairy-specific science facility secured for Southland:

A new dairy research and demonstration farm being developed in Southland will ensure the local dairy sector continually has access to the latest science and innovation, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says.

The Southern Dairy Hub is being funded by AgResearch, DairyNZ and the Southern Dairy Development Trust, which represents the region’s dairy farmers.

The investment recognises the scale and importance of dairying in the Southern region and aims to address the unique significant localised issues faced by Southland dairy farmers. . . 

Wilson urges farmers to back changes:

One week out from an important vote for New Zealand’s biggest company, Fonterra Chairman John Wilson is urging farmers to back changes to the cooperative’s governance and representation.

This would mean Fonterra can stay focussed on making the most from farmers’ milk and growing farmers’ wealth, he says.  

“Over the past eight months there has been a lot of good discussion on the unique governance structure of the cooperative,” Wilson says. . . 

Access to food essential to better urban planning:

Access to staples of the New Zealand food basket, such as carrots, potatoes, onions and leafy greens, must be a consideration on the table in urban planning, says Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive Mike Chapman.

Horticulture New Zealand has made a submission on the Productivity Commission’s draft report Better Urban Planning.

The draft report suggests different ways of delivering urban planning in New Zealand to meet changing demands. . . 

International butchery at its best – Rod Slater:

 I headed over to Australia last month with our national butchery team, The Pure South Sharp Blacks, and four of our most talented young butchers. Our mission: To compete in the World Butchers’ Challenge – a three hour cutting test match between four nations; Australia, France, the UK and New Zealand.

The curtainraiser was an incredible showdown between an international group of young butchers and butcher apprentices.

The event unfolded with a week touring the best butcher shops in both Sydney and the Gold Coast and as always upon visiting Australia, our delegation was truly impressed by what was on offer. . . 

Image may contain: cloud, sky and outdoor

Farm girl to do list: wake up, kick butt, repeat.

 


Rural round-up

April 26, 2015

China’s illegal meat trade hugs – Alan Williams:

As much as 80% of China’s meat imports could be taken in through the so-called Grey Market, dwarfing the level of New Zealand shipments sent in through highly-regulated official channels.

Most of the grey trade is beef and about half of it is from India, shipped in via Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand or Cambodia, international reports indicate.

The illegal trading has come to light again after about US$1 billion of food, including meat, was seized by Chinese authorities and 100 people were arrested.  . .

Kumera are transgenic – Grant Jacobs:

Kumara have a long history in New Zealand, being brought here by early Polynesian settlers and are well-known to Kiwis.[1]

They’re a crop that has been cultivated in South America for about 8,000 years that have been spread to other parts of the world.[1]

Research just published show that they are transgenic plants, plants with genes from other species in them. . .

Farm Prices Steady but Sales Volumes Falling in March Quarter:

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 47 fewer farm sales (-10%) for the three months ended March 2015 than for the three months ended March 2014. Overall, there were 425 farm sales in the three months to end of March 2015, compared to 464 farm sales for the three months ended February 2015 (-8.4%) and 472 farm sales for the three months to the end of March 2014. 1,802 farms were sold in the year to February 2015, 2.2% fewer than were sold in the year to March 2014. . .

Mint bull to go down in history on hall of fame:

An elite artificial breeding bull that has delivered a significant contribution to dairy farms nationwide will forever be recognised as one of the very best after being inducted into LIC’s prestigious Hall of Fame last week.

Fairmont Mint-Edition, a Holstein-Friesian sire bred by Barry and Linda Old of Morrinsville, is the 53rd animal to be recognised on the Hall of Fame in more than 50 years of artificial breeding in New Zealand. . .

 

Dairy Awards Finals Judges Clock up the Km’s:

Final judging in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards is underway, with judges set to travel thousands of kilometres and the length and breadth of the country to select the winners.

“There’s a lot at stake for the finalists as success in any one of the competitions can open up considerable opportunities and be career and life-changing,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“It’s also a time when both the finalists and judges gain from participating in the awards – through learning about their farm business, defining goals and identifying opportunities to make improvements.” . . .

New general manager appointed at DairyNZ:

DairyNZ has appointed Andrew Reid as its new general manager of extension, the role that leads the industry body’s regional consulting officer teams.

Andrew will start in the position on 4 May.

Andrew was previously general manager of sales with Ballance Agri-Nutrients, leading a field team of 120. . .

 

 

Last Grand Finalist Confirmed in ANZ Young Farmer Contest:

Douglas McGregor is the seventh Grand Finalist to be named in the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

The thirty year old dairy farmer took first place at the Northern Regional Final in Dargaville on Saturday 18 April after a very tense and closely scored competition.

Mr McGregor went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.
This was Douglas’s second attempt at Regional Final level of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest. Douglas is a very active member of the Bay of Island Young Farmers Club and is the Northern Region Vice-Chairman. Douglas was competing against 26 year old Anna Simpson, who doubles as the winner’s partner. . .

 

Food safety reaches new heights as AsureQuality moves its IT to the cloud

Global food safety and biosecurity services company AsureQuality has completed a successful move to the TechnologyOne Cloud, reducing IT risk and positioning itself for future growth.

New Zealand-based AsureQuality is owned by the New Zealand Government and was already using TechnologyOne’s enterprise software in an on-premise environment.

TechnologyOne Executive Chairman Adrian Di Marco said TechnologyOne’s Software as a Service (SaaS) solution had empowered AsureQuality to prepare for a cloud-first, mobile-first world. AsureQuality is also using TechnologyOne’s new Ci Anywhere platform, which allows the firm’s employees to access their information anywhere, anytime using smart mobile devices. . .

 


Rural round-up

May 6, 2014

Growing US dairy industry shouldn’t be ignored:

Dairy farmers are being urged not to ignore the growing United States dairy industry as it starts to muscle in on this country’s traditional export markets.

The US is now New Zealand’s second biggest dairy competitor.

David McCall from DairyNZ says large-scale farms with feedlots of up to 30,000 cows makes for a much cheaper operation.

He says that, until recently, most American dairy products were consumed domestically, but that’s now changing.

“They’ve made some changes to set up their dairies and some of their processing factories directly to produce export product, is one thing that they’re doing. And they’re producing the sort of products now that Chinese and other markets are demanding. . .

Forest owners seek safety solutions:

Forest owners and contractors say they aren’t sitting on their hands while an independent review panel carries out its investigation into the high death and injury toll from forestry accidents.

They have responded to strong Council of Trade Union criticism of safety standards by urging the umbrella group to take any evidence backing its concerns to the review panel.

Forest Owners Association president Paul Nicholls says the panel will need input from everyone in the forestry sector to come up with practical solutions to improve work safety.

He says steps to reduce the accident rate had started years before the review was launched in March and those are continuing while the review panel and the Coroners Court carry out their investigations. . .

 NZ to join foot & mouth exercise in Nepal:

A New Zealand team of vets and industry representatives will go to Nepal later this year to get first hand experience of dealing with foot and mouth disease.

It’s part of a new agreement between New Zealand and Australia to work together more closely on measures to combat this livestock disease.

Primary industries minister, Nathan Guy said a team of about 10 New Zealanders will be join an Australian foot and mouth training programme in Nepal, which is one of the countries battling the disease.

“It makes sense for us to be working closely with Australia because they know as a pastoral based economy that it would cause a huge amount of damage to the Australian economy if they ever got FMD and the same here in New Zealand. . .

Horticulture now 8% of New Zealand’s exports:

.Horticultural products now account for 8% of New Zealand’s total merchandise exports, according to the latest edition of the industry publication Fresh Facts.

In the year to 30 June 2013, the horticulture industry generated more than $3.6 billion in export revenue, with the major products being wine ($1.2 billion) and kiwifruit ($934 million). The biggest gains were seen in onion exports, which increased by 47% over 2012 values to a total $90 million, and apple exports, which increased by 40% to $475 million.

Total produce from the horticultural industry was valued at $6.7 billion, including $770 million of domestic spend on New Zealand grown fruit and $1.09 billion on vegetables.

“The success of New Zealand’s horticultural exports has been founded on a keen understanding of market needs and a passion for delivering high quality product that commands a healthy premium,” says Plant & Food Research CEO Peter Landon-Lane. . .

China temporarily bans British cheese imports:

China has temporarily banned imports of British cheese after the country’s food inspectors complained about hygiene standards at an unnamed UK dairy.

The Chinese officials were reportedly dissatisfied with its maintenance and storage, raw milk transport temperatures and air sanitisation.

However, the dairy they visited does not export its produce to China.

UK farming minister George Eustice has called for restrictions to be lifted “as soon as possible”.

“British cheese is the best in the world and produced to the highest safety and quality standards, so it is disappointing that China have put a temporary block on cheese imports,” he said. . .

Farm Environment Trust Assembles Top Panel for National Winner Judging:

The New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust has welcomed two new judges to the panel responsible for choosing the National Winner of the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Comprising six people with a broad range of skills and experience, the National Winner judging panel will select the next holder of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy from the ten regional Supreme winners of the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA). The winner will be announced at a National Sustainability Showcase in Christchurch on June 26.

The 2014 National Winner judging panel is chaired by Simon Saunders, deputy chair of the NZFE Trust, and includes Jamie Strang, BFEA National Judging Coordinator, Warwick Catto, Head of Research and Environment, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, and Paul Lamont, Regional Manager, Rabobank. Newcomers Charmaine O’Shea and Bruce Wills have joined the panel this year. . .

Snow Sports NZ and Cardrona Alpine Resort Sign Partnership Agreement:

Snow Sports New Zealand and Cardrona Alpine Resort Limited have signed a Partnership Agreement which will see Cardrona become the official resort partner of Snow Sports NZ, the naming rights sponsor of the New Zealand Park and Pipe Team and the naming rights sponsor of the NZ Freeski & Snowboard Junior National Championships.

Cardrona Alpine Resort and Snow Sports NZ have a positive long-standing partnership and the national freeski and snowboard team do all of their halfpipe and slopestyle training at the resort throughout the southern hemisphere winter. Cardrona also hosts key events such as the NZ Freeski Open, NZ Winter Games and an international spring training camp after the resort closes to the public.

The purpose of the formal agreement is to recognise the growing importance of the partnership and cement the relationship. A four year term has been agreed, subject to satisfactory annual review, during which time Cardrona will be recognised as the official resort partner of the NZ Park and Pipe Team and the team will be called the Cardrona NZ Park and Pipe Team. . .

Sanford agrees to buy assets of Greenshell NZ, Greenshell Investments from receivers:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, the listed fishing company, agreed to buy the assets of Greenshell NZ Limited and Greenshell Investments from the receivers of the mussel farming and processing group.

No price was disclosed in a statement from Sanford. Chief executive Volker Kuntzsch said the assets “were a strategic fit for Sanford’s aquaculture business as they allow for improved supplies from a wider geography.”

Receivers Brendon Gibson and Grant Graham of KordaMentha were appointed last November by Rabobank after depressed prices for the shellfish over a number of years culminated in a “significant” operating loss in 2012. . .

 


Wrong side of the line

March 23, 2014

Opposition parties have to tread a fine line between attacks aimed at the government and those which could damage anyone, and anything, caught in the crossfire.

Has Labour got on the wrong side of the line with their on-going fuss over Judith Collins and Oravida while Prime Minsiter John Key ahs been in China?

But the Opposition has been determined to try to ensure Key does not get to politically bank the positives from the deepening bilateral relationship.

This is a mistake, especially given Labour’s own groundbreaking role in forging bilateral ties with China.

Helen Clark – with her profound understanding of international politics and intuitive approach to cementing deals with political leaders of a vastly different ideological mindset – played the diplomatic pathfinder role.

It was Clark’s Government that took the political risk of hurting New Zealand’s relationship with that other great power, the United States, by making significant concessions over China’s “market economy status” to negotiate the free trade deal. Clark Government ministers Phil Goff and Jim Sutton were at the cutting edge. Their negotiations enjoyed bilateral support from then Opposition trade spokesman Tim Groser.

It is a great pity that this “New Zealand Inc” approach has now been deliberately thrown out the window by Opposition politicians out to make domestic political advantage in election year. . .

National and Labour used to have a fair degree of consensus over trade and its importance. In the past week Labour has put political opportunism first.

New Zealand exporters were pleased Key was able to make time after his Xi dinner for photo opportunities with their Chinese clients at Wednesday night’s Celebration of Dairy dinner.

The event kicked on – as they tend to – elsewhere at the Four Seasons hotel and in various nightspots around Beijing.

Here’s the thing: New Zealand exporters are scathing of the Opposition’s timing of the Oravida revelations. Beijing expats retain deep suspicions that in the first place, some “low-level” Foreign Affairs official leaked details of Cabinet minister Judith Collins’ off-schedule meetings with Stone Shi’s Oravida in October, and that the Opposition sat on the issue until the eve of the Prime Minister’s China trip to inflict maximum political damage while he was overseas.

Political foes might be fair game but exporters are not and this timing looks suspiciously like it wasn’t a coincidence.

The upshot is that, yet again, a positive diplomatic foray by Key has been overshadowed by domestic politics.

Collins’ links with the company of which her husband is a director needs to be examined.

But Labour’s decision to rain on Key’s parade is not only short-sighted but mean-spirited.

If Labour wins the next election it will be the beneficiary of Key’s China-related diplomacy in the same way that the Prime Minister has benefited from Clark’s visionary moves.

Reflect on that.

There’s not just political benefits for whichever parties are in government after the election, there’s trade gains to be made with the economic and social gains that come from that which political opportunism from the opposition could have derailed.


Front page news

March 21, 2014

It’s not unusual for Prime Minister John Key to be front page news in New Zealand.

It is something of an accomplishment, and an honour, to be front page news in China, a country with a population of 1.3 billion.
Making front page news in China – not bad in a country with 1.3 billion people

The Prime Minister also had a dinner with President Xi Jinping and the visit has helped strengthen links between our countries:

Prime Minister John Key says agreements entered into with China at his meeting with Premier Li Keqiang highlight the continuing strength of the relationship between our two countries.

Mr Key and Premier Li Keqiang met at the Great Hall of the People. Mr Key’s visit to China marks the third time the countries’ top leaders have met in less than 12 months.

The meeting emphasised the value both countries place on the political, trade and economic relationship which, has continued to grow rapidly.

New Zealand and China are well on track to achieve a shared goal, agreed by the Prime Minister and Premier Wen Jiabao in 2010, to double two-way trade to NZ$20 billion by 2015. Two-way trade is currently worth over $18 billion.

“My meeting highlighted the mutually beneficial nature of the bilateral trade, with China becoming our number one goods export market, and remaining the number one source of imports for New Zealand,” says Mr Key.

The Prime Minister said that he was pleased to see the particularly strong growth in dairy exports to China, which reached nearly NZ$5 billion in 2013, an increase of 75 percent.

“My meeting provided the opportunity to brief Premier Li on the outcomes of the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident Government Inquiries, emphasising that they underline that New Zealand is a producer of high quality food, with world class regulatory systems,” says Mr Key.

The Prime Minister and Premier Li discussed New Zealand and China’s shared interest in strengthening financial sector cooperation, as well as cooperation in the areas of agriculture and food safety.

Six new initiatives have been agreed at the meeting, including:

  • The launch of direct trading of the New Zealand dollar against the Chinese Renminbi.
  • Agreement to renegotiate the 1986 Double Tax Agreement.
  • Implementation of an electronic equipment Mutual Recognition Agreement that will enable New Zealand to become the first country in the world to test, inspect and certify electrical products outside of China.
  • Enhanced agricultural cooperation in dairy herd improvement, agricultural management, veterinary training scholarships and professional development exchanges.
  • Improved food safety cooperation including the launch of a scholarship programme in food safety and risk management.

“The financial sector offers great potential for further cooperation between New Zealand and China. Today’s announcements will make doing business with China easier by reducing compliance costs and contribute to the wider expansion of the economic and financial cooperation between the two countries,” says Mr Key. . .

This visit and a stronger relationship will bring benefits to New Zealand:

China is important to New Zealand. We are on track to achieve the goal of doubling two-way trade to $20 billion by 2015. This week President Xi Jinping and I set an ambitious new goal for trade to reach $30 billion by 2020.

Our growing trade with China is a shot in the arm for New Zealand exporters and industry. It is one of several reasons the New Zealand economy continues to grow strongly.

Figures released today showed GDP increasing by more than 3 per cent in the past year – making New Zealand one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

This is great news for families.

A stronger economy means more jobs, higher incomes, and more opportunities for young people. It means we can invest more in important public services like schools and hospitals.

If we continue with National’s successful programme, New Zealanders can lock in the economic gains we’re starting to see.

That if depends on another National-led government because as  Bill English said during Question Time yesterday, the job isn’t finished:

. . . New Zealand’s growth rate is better than that of quite a few developed countries, but, of course, the real measure of its success is whether it is providing more jobs for New Zealanders and higher incomes for New Zealanders. The good news is that forecasters are generally expecting that New Zealand’s growth rate will be maintained through 2014. This, however, is no cause for complacency or for a fiscal lolly scramble. This country has a lot of work to do yet to ensure that every New Zealander who can work can get a job, and that all those New Zealanders who have a job are paid in a manner that they regard as appropriate. . .

The economy is growing and the free trade agreement with China, has played an important role in that.

With growth improvements in other indicators which depend on that including education, employment and health  are following.

But there is more to do.

The government has laid a strong foundation and it needs another term to build on that.


China changing one child policy

December 30, 2013

China has been forced to change its one child policy:

Earlier today, China announced that it would finally loosen its decade old one-child policy. This policy has had a disturbing affect in China in the form of skewed demographics.

It’s well known that China’s population is ageing rapidly, causing the workforce to shrink. And without siblings, children are under tremendous financial pressure as they have to care for their own aging parents. But those aren’t even the most disturbing trends, wrote BI’s Mamta Badkar citing a 2011 report from Nomura.

“Perhaps the more alarming concern for population sustainability is the large imbalance between baby girls and boys,” wrote the Nomura analysts.

For every 100 girls born there are 120 boys and a couple of years ago there were 51 million more men than women in the country.

fm births

The one child policy is unsustainable.

One of its tragic consequences has been the abortion and infanticide of female babies.

There are now far too many young men and not enough young women.

It will take decades to get the population back in balance and will need a change in attitude to value girls as highly as boys.


China culls 2m cows

December 30, 2013

We know dairying is big in New Zealand, but it’s even bigger in China.

China’s dairy herd has shrunk by two million cows in the past year.

There has been a mass exodus of small dairy farmers due to high production costs and record beef prices.

Dairy Australia industry analyst John Droppert says China has killed more cows this year than the entire Australian dairy herd.

That’s about 20% of New Zealand’s dairy herd.

“Basically it means production in the country is in a hole, in short,” he said.

“But you are certainly seeing a reduction in production, I think they are talking 10-15 per cent this year.

“Effectively that means at the broader level they have a bigger gap.

“Demand is growing and at the same time supply is shrinking.”

This is the main reason demand for milk from New Zealand is so strong and is likely to remain so which is good for the whole economy.


Fonterra has work to do

August 23, 2013

Foreign Minister Murray McCully says the relationship between China and New Zealand remains strong but Fonterra has work to do.

“While trade and economic issues currently dominate the agenda, my discussions in Beijing have been wide ranging and have emphasised the extent of our shared interests,” Mr McCully says.

“This visit, which was planned some months ago, is timely in light of recent issues involving dairy products from New Zealand.”

Mr McCully today held discussions with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and State Councillor Yang Jiechi.

“Mr Wang and I spoke openly and constructively about issues with some dairy products and the response by Fonterra and government agencies,” Mr McCully says.

“The New Zealand Government has high expectations for New Zealand exports, including the application of strict food safety standards. When issues arise we expect good disclosure and remedial action.

“Both Chinese and New Zealand ministers acknowledge that Fonterra has work to do in the coming weeks to rebuild consumer confidence.

“China is an extremely important trading partner and we are committed to responding to this issue in a timely and cooperative manner.”

It’s not just in China that Fonterra has work to do.

I was in Auckland on Wednesday. The taxi driver who took me into the city was Sri Lankan.

He’d been a dairy farmer here and discussion turned to Fonterra.

He’d read a story in Sri Lankan media on-line which suggested that whatever was left over after the whey was removed from milk was doctored with other ingredients and sold as milk powder.

I said he shouldn’t believe everything he read on the internet.

He said that the story was quoting a medical doctor.

I said that still didn’t make it right and that no company which depended on trust would be involved with that sort of thing.

He wasn’t convinced.

That’s how easily doubts can be raised and reputations lost, especially in countries which don’t have our reputation for lack of corruption and therefore don’t have the trust we have in our institutions and systems.

Once doubts are raised it takes a lot of work, and time, to allay them.


China admits breast is best

August 10, 2013

The breast is best message is wide spread in the west and any advertising of infant formula is careful not to suggest that it is superior to morhers’ milk.

But in China advertising of infant formula is aggressive .

However, the ill-wind of the contaminated whey protein concentrate has blown some good for Chinese babies – promotion of the benefits of breast feeding.

China’s rates of breast-feeding are among the world’s lowest. But health workers and the government are trying to revive the practice, and a drumbeat of safety scares over commercially produced milk is giving them new leverage. Visitors to Internet forums for new parents are posting comments about the benefits of breast-feeding and the potential hazards with formula.

“The risks of formula feeding are increasingly clear to the Chinese public,” Dr. Robert Scherpbier, chief of health and nutrition for UNICEF China, said in an email this week. His comment came after China’s government ordered a recall of formula imported from New Zealand because of contamination fears.

“How many infant formula crises do we still need to convince mothers and policy makers that breast is best?” Scherpbier said. . .

Some women choose not to breast feed, some who want to can’t. But some good will come out of the WPC contamination scare if more mothers who could, do.


Our pain, their gain

August 6, 2013

When the Dutch student who is visiting us heard about the possible contamination of some of Fonterra’s whey, he said, “that could be good for Holland”.

He’s right, New Zealand’s pain could be other countries’ gain:

A top Kiwi milk powder manufacturer is warning the latest infant formula crisis will see western European competitors take advantage of New Zealand’s tarnished brand, and secure contracts in our key export markets.

The CEO of Peak Nutrition, Stephen Julian, says Holland and Germany are already well positioned to profit from New Zealand’s dairy issues and sign deals with some of our traditional export partners like China.

Julian says Holland currently exports around eight billion dollars in dairy products compared to New Zealand’s ten billion annually.

“If you look at the global players, the Dutch market has been hot on our heels for a long time, they are renowned for their dairy production and have much to gain from our latest dairy crisis and Germany isn’t far behind.

“China is a critical market for us and this is not the first time we’ve been embroiled in a dairy scandal, we know how particular the Chinese are about standards and this will impact heavily on our industry as a whole.”

Julian says while his milk powders are not affected by the crisis, as they are made using wet blend technology and are produced and packaged locally, he sympathises with Kiwi parents who are confused about what products are safe for them to purchase for their children.

Julian says it is these Kiwi mums and dads who have most to lose from the latest crisis and the loss will be two-fold.

“Not only are these parents faced with a situation where they are unsure of which formula is safe for their child, the on-going economic repercussions for the nation as a whole could be catastrophic,” he says.

“It is sad to see our global reputation as one of the most trusted dairy producers damaged once again in such a high profile way. We have to hope that this crisis does not affect the New Zealand brand so gravely that it impacts our other primary food producers.” . . .

Fonterra is a strong brand but New Zealand is even stronger and concerns over the whey contamination could impact not just on other dairy products but on any and all other food we produce.

News late yesterday that China hadn’t shut the door to all our dairy products gives some reassurance, but it’s not just officials and governments we have to convince about the safety of our food, it’s the consumers.

Producers in other countries will have sympathy for us but they will also be ready to step into any gaps in the market that are created by concerns over our produce.


MPI accepts blame for China meat muddle

August 2, 2013

The Ministry of Primary Industries has accepted the blame for the muddle which left New Zealand meat stuck on the wharves in China.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will develop an MPI China strategy, and invest in more staff and more training to strengthen relationships between MPI and key Chinese regulators, acting Director-General Scott Gallacher said today.

His comments follow the release of a review of MPI’s handling of changes to export certification to China, which left significant quantities of New Zealand meat delayed at the Chinese border.

“The review clearly shows MPI made mistakes when changing the templates used for certifying meat exports to China. These mistakes resulted in delayed acceptance of these exports,” Mr Gallacher said.

“The mistakes were compounded by a failure to appropriately escalate an emerging issue internally, or to Ministers, once delays to exports began. The review identifies a series of learnings for MPI, which we are immediately acting on.”

Mr Gallacher said it was clear MPI needed to lift its game with China.

“Trade with China has tripled in the past five years.  It is a market growing in size and importance to New Zealand. It is also a market we are still getting to know.  The review makes it clear we need an improved approach to how MPI works with China, and we are committed to achieving that.

“We are also focussed on improving our internal resourcing, culture, systems and processes to prevent mistakes like those identified by the review recurring in future, and when things do go wrong, to ensure the smooth flow of information to the right levels, and integrated ‘whole of organisation’ and ‘whole of government’ responses to them.”

Following the review, MPI is implementing 25 management actions, which will be completed by July 2014. These include:

  • Developing an MPI China strategy, investing in more staff and more training to strengthen relationships and understanding between MPI and key Chinese regulators
  • Renewing efforts to double the resourcing for MPI’s market access team in Wellington from 8 to 16
  • Developing a new issues management system in partnership with the meat industry
  • Improving processes for the identification and management of risks to trade issues, and the escalation of emerging risks internally and to Ministers.

“MPI handles more than 120,000 export certificates each year to more than 100 countries. We are absolutely determined not to make the same mistakes twice. Our trade system is too important,” Mr Gallacher said.

The delays were serious. Around $100m worth of meat was stuck at the Chinese border as a result of MPI’s mistakes.

The Ministry accepts it was to blame but it’s learned from it’s mistakes and doing everything to ensure it will get it right in future.

The full report is here.


Does Labour have a research unit?

July 30, 2013

Political parties get public funding for parliamentary support services.

That could and usually does include researchers.

They’re the people whose duties ought to include looking carefully at policy proposals.

Does Labour have a research unit and if so was the xenophobic policy barring all foreigners except Australians from buying houses examined by it?

If so why didn’t they see two large fish hooks spotted by a journalist and a lawyer?

Not long after the policy was announced for Rob Hosking pointed out the numbers of non-resident “foreigners” owning houses David Shearer was quoting included ex-pat New Zealanders.

Shortly after that Stephen Franks pointed out the policy almost certainly breached the Free Trade Agreement with China:

. . . Under Article 138 of the NZ China FTA (National Treatment)  all investments and activities associated with such investments made by investors of both parties must be treated, “with respect to management, conduct, operation, maintenance, use, enjoyment or disposal”  no less favourably than investments of its own investors. The list does not include “acquisition” or similar words.

So under that provision a Chinese house buyer must be treated the same as a New Zealander after acquiring residential property, but the protection does not extend to prospective buyers. Whew for Labour!

But wait – another Article (the most favoured nation clause) commits New Zealand not to pass law that discriminates against Chinese investors in comparison with other overseas investors (such as Australians).

Article 139 requires that investors of [China] be treated no less favourably than investors of any third country [Australia] “with respect to admission, expansion, management, conduct, operation, maintenance, use, enjoyment and disposal” of investments.

So Chinese would-be  investors do not get direct rights to insist on investor equality but they can’t be treated worse than Australians.

Labour has said Australians would still be allowed to buy residential property under their policy. This would breach Article 139. . .

. . . What would happen if Labour got the numbers to legislate such a policy irrespective of the FTA? Parliament can, after all, legislate contrary to international law.

There would be serious legal, economic and political ramifications. The Chinese government could invoke the dispute settlement procedures in the agreement.  NZ exporters may lose their benefits under the NZ China FTA. NZ’s international standing as a good treaty partner would suffer. . .

The FTA was signed by a Labour government , several members of which are still in the Labour caucus.

What did they have to say about the FTA and Labour’s xenophobic policy?

. . . Their Leader said this evening to NewsTalk ZB’s Susan Wood that his colleagues responsible for the China FTA tell him it was not meant to prevent NZ from barring investment it does not want.

If that was what they meant, it is not what they signed. . .

The sooo boring detail of deals that stitch us up may have eluded the politicians who actually signed them, but until they are properly understood Mr Shearer, stop digging.

Did his colleagues not understand what they signed, or did they understand but fail to explain the fine print to their leader?

Either way it reflects poorly on them.

It also raises questions about the party’s research unit. They’re the ones who are supposed to look at boring details.

Did anyone bother to run the policy past them?

If not why not?

And if so why did the researchers fail to spot the flaws uncovered so quickly by a journalist and a lawyer?

Could it be the research unit is as disillusioned and dysfunctional as the caucus?


Nerw rules for meat exports to China

July 8, 2013

New rules for meat exports to China start today.

Ministers of Primary Industry and Food Safety, Nathan Guy and Nikki Kaye found out about the changes last week and officials negotiated their implementation.

“I am currently in China and we have a warm and professional relationship which has enabled us to quickly resolve this,” Mr Guy says.

“We have a very successful trading relationship underpinned by the free trade agreement. No other country is ahead of us in terms of meat access into China.”

“The new rules mean that veterinarians must be directly linked to the last site the meat was at before export,” Ms Kaye says.

The new requirements became clear when industry advised the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) that one shipment of meat was being delayed at the northern China port of Dalian.

Since then New Zealand government officials both in New Zealand and China have been working to clarify the new requirements and negotiate rules to enable a smooth transition.

After a positive meeting last night in China, we have agreed to a new process of certification that addresses consignments en-route to China and new overseas market access requirements (OMAR).

“I am working with officials over the weekend to make sure quick and effective implementation of the documentation for the current consignments. We have worked on a pragmatic solution to enable current consignments to be cleared and trade to continue,” Ms Kaye says.

Chinese meat officials will be in New Zealand next week to progress the comprehensive new meat access arrangements for the future.

The Government has been speaking to the meat industry and from Monday there will be new processes in place that meet the new Chinese requirements.

MPI  will be able to process the new documentation for the 1323 consignments by Wednesday and it will take at least a couple of days for China to distribute that information to ports.

The practical effect of this will be minimal.

It might seem ironic that New Zealand which has such high standards of animal welfare and food safety is having new rules imposed by a country which doesn’t enjoy such a positive reputation.

But there’s nothing new in that.

My farmer visited Smithfield meat market in London in 1982 when strict hygiene rules had been imposed on our exports by Britain.

He was appalled to see how little regard was placed on hygiene in the market, including birds flying round and staff smoking while handling carcases.


Meat impasse caused by paper work mistake

May 23, 2013

The impasse over New Zealand meat on Chinese wharves has been resolved.

A resolution has been agreed which should see authorities clearing New Zealand meat exports to China from next week, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced.

“Chinese authorities have agreed they will begin releasing consignments under the name of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority.

“Officials are working around the clock to reissue certificates for all the meat consignments that are held up at ports or on the water.

“This is positive news for farmers and exporters after what has been a frustrating time.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries have now released information on how and why this delay occurred. It provided certification in a format which AQSIQ had not yet approved, and in doing so caused confusion for Chinese inspectors.

“I am very disappointed in the Ministry for Primary Industries for its mistakes in certification which have caused this delay.

“Accurately certifying exports of New Zealand agricultural goods is a core function for the Ministry and this mistake should never have occurred. Officials have a responsibility to meat exporters and to all New Zealanders to get the basic details right. . .

What all this polite language means is there was a stuff-up with the paper work.

“I am grateful to the Chinese authorities for their willingness to work constructively with New Zealand officials to find a way through this administrative error. I am also grateful to the New Zealand meat industry for their patience.

“At the moment our number one priority is ensuring the product gets off the wharf and onto the plates of Chinese consumers as quickly as possible.

“MPI officials have also let themselves down in two further ways: by not informing Ministers of the scale and seriousness of this issue early enough, and in being too slow to provide information on exactly why this problem occurred.

“The Director-General of MPI first informed Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye and I of this issue on Tuesday 14 May. However, the size of this issue was not made clear until I began receiving calls from the meat industry on Friday 17 May.

“After making my own inquiries it became apparent the issue was bigger than what officials had been telling me so I called the officials in for an explanation on Saturday morning.

“I’m disappointed it has taken so long to get to the bottom of this problem and for the Ministry to come up with a proper explanation. This has been frustrating for myself, the public and meat exporters.

“Overall we have a strong system and a mistake like this is highly unusual. I have given the Director-General of MPI clear instructions to ensure this does not happen again,” says Mr Guy.

When there’s a stuff-up it’s important to sort it out, find out why it happened and do everything possible to ensure it doesn’t happen again.


Rural round-up

May 13, 2013

Chinese bounty comes with warning – Nigel Stirling:

China has overtaken Britain as the biggest market by value for New Zealand’s sheep meat industry.

But the historic moment has been overshadowed by fresh food scandals in the country and has prompted senior meat industry figures to question NZ’s increasing reliance on the Chinese market.

New figures from the Meat Industry Association show $204 million of sheep meat was exported from NZ to China in the first three months of this year.

That exceeded the $198m exported to Britain. It was the first time NZ’s traditional number one market had been trumped by China or any other country in a three-month period. . .

World Bank, IFAB pledge $1.9bn to boost agriculture in Nigeria:

The World Bank has said that it would commit one billion dollars to support Nigeria’s agricultural sector in the next five years. Ms Marie-Francoise Marie- Nelly, its Country Director, said this at a workshop on Gender and Agriculture Technical Dialogue in Abuja.

Also the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said that it would support the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) with new programmes that would cost $88.5 million. President of IFAD, Dr Kanayo Nwanze, said this in Abuja when he led a delegation on a visit to Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. . .

 Taking aim at NZ beef Goliaths – Tim Fulton:

Red Oak Angus owner Ric Orr has added heat to the bull sale season by putting up an alternative to the “massive engine” of estimated breeding values (EBVs).

The North Canterbury breeder and finisher has enlisted top livestock evaluator Ken Moore, who is resigned to his initial findings being shot down in flames by supporters of the Australian-designed Breedplan.

Orr accepts his views will rub roughly against some farming titans, including the leadership of the New Zealand Angus Association.

Moore, meanwhile, describes his work for Orr so far as a “quick and dirty” response to breeders who are unimpressed, or just plain bamboozled, by the results they get from the widely used Breedplan system. . .

Angry farmers walk out of aid meeting with Minister – Debbie James:

Welsh farmers whose businesses have been jeopardised by the freak March blizzards walked out of a heated meeting with Wales’ farm minister after demanding his resignation.

Alun Davies faced hundreds of angry farmers at a meeting in north Wales, one of the regions worst hit by snow and strong winds.

Many of the farmers are struggling financially after thousands of their sheep and cattle were buried in snow but the Welsh government has remained steadfast in its refusal to directly compensate them for their losses. . .

Forget the pub test, apply the farm test, farmers tell Coalition :

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed a move towards greater flexibility in workplace arrangements under the Coalition’s industrial relations policy, but says it does not go far enough on support for small businesses, including farms.

NFF President Duncan Fraser said it was good to see the Coalition releasing its policy well ahead of the election, but farmers would like to see greater detail and a commitment to action prior to 2016.

“People are agriculture’s most important resource – both on and off the farm. As a sector, we have identified that we need to build our workforce, develop our skills and expertise, and allow for greater flexibility to compete with the high wages offered by other sectors,” Mr Fraser said. . .

Reduced EU demand for lamb – Patsy Hunter:

UK sheep prices may be on the up in the UK due to reduced supplies, but it appears the opposite holds true on the Continent, where the economic problems being experienced by many countries in southern Europe are having a significant effect on the trading patterns of sheep and sheep meat.

With reduced demand for lamb and sheep meat in the Mediterranean, due to the poor economic climate, sheep meat imports in these countries fell considerably in 2012.

At the same time exports generally rose as the domestic market could not absorb home production levels. This occurred despite sheep meat production falling in these countries, meaning there was less for the home market to take in the first place.

In Spain, domestic sheep meat production fell 6% year on year in 2012, having totalled 122,800 tonnes. . .

Who deserves this support? – Gordon Davidson:

IF THE Scottish Government is wondering how best to spend the £6million it has found for emergency weather aid, Jim Simmons, of the New Entrants Group, has an easy answer – give it to the 1200 Scottish farmers currently farming without an SFP cash cushion.

Mr Simmons this week rounded on the ‘established farmers’ claim that the weather had left them ‘facing the biggest crisis since foot and mouth’, saying that their winter problems did not match those of the unsupported.

“Have these farmers not received their historically-based payments annually over the last eight years, the most recent being last December?” asked Mr Simmons.

“Are they not due another lump sum in six or seven months time? If these farmers are in this ‘crisis’, then what is the state of the genuine new entrant business in Scotland who has started in the last 10 years and has had little or no SFP payment up to now? . .


This is water pollution

March 18, 2013

More than 12,000 dead pigs have been found in Chinese rivers.

Nearly 9,000 dead pigs were fished out of the Huangpu river in Shanghai, and 3,600 others from rivers and lakes in Jiaxing, with the search continuing in both cities, ‘The South China Morning Post’ quoted government sources as saying.

Authorities have also found traces of a common pig virus in some of the animals floating in the Huangpu River this week.

I am not suggesting this excuses any water pollution elsewhere but it does put our problems in to perspective.


Foreign ownership fears unfounded, benefits not appreciated

August 14, 2012

Fears of foreign ownership are overstated and the benefits are under appreciated.

In a speech to New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre Finance Minister Bill English said our investment relationship with China is much smaller than our trade:

Despite our strong trading relationship, China is not a major investor in New Zealand, being New Zealand’s 11th largest investor totalling $1.8 billion in 2011.

Foreign direct investment, or FDI, is less than half this amount.

By comparison, New Zealand has NZ$52 billion of FDI from Australia and NZ$11 billion from the US. China has made investments in New Zealand forestry, manufacturing and agriculture.

China is also investing in New Zealand government bonds, contributing to the record low borrowing rates New Zealand currently enjoys. New Zealand is seen as a relatively safe haven in these difficult times and Chinese authorities want to diversify their international bond holdings.

New Zealand’s investment into China is similarly small, totalling $789 million in 2011, making China our 13th largest investment destination.

These investment figures reflect broader trends.

While New Zealand is a recipient of foreign investment in line with the OECD average, New Zealanders invest overseas at well below OECD average rates. . . .

Opponents of foreign investment play on fears, most of which are unfounded.

They take no account of the the benefits which include  supplementing domestic savings, sharing technology, and driving growth in wages, employment and economic output.

As a small country, we naturally rely on FDI to help us achieve economies of scale, and for access to ideas and consumer markets. We do not have the large stock of capital which older and wealthier countries have.

Foreign direct investment has benefits for New Zealand in three broad areas:

• First, as a source of capital to supplement New Zealand’s domestic savings.
• Second, as a driver of growth in wages, employment and output.
• And third, for the transmission of technology, skills and know-how to New Zealand and for improving our connections to valuable international markets.

New Zealand simply does not save enough to cover our investment needs.

Between 2002 and 2011, New Zealand saved just over $4 billion a year, leaving a shortfall of $9 billion a year to fund our investment. Foreign direct investment is a type of international trade in savings and helps bridge this funding gap.

Foreign investment can bring benefits that foreign borrowing does not. These benefits can be of particular value to a small economy, and include:

• FDI provides a stronger buffer against economic shock because investment comes without the fixed interest payments of debt.
• FDI produces transfers of technology and know-how, and provides access to international markets.

Recent research shows that New Zealanders working for firms with foreign investors tend to be paid more, and that firms receiving foreign investment increase employment and output.

In 2008, Treasury concluded that foreign capital flows into New Zealand lifted incomes by around $3800 per worker between 1996 and 2006 in today’s prices, and lifted wealth by $16,000 per person.[5]

Foreign investors in New Zealand do take out some profits, but between 2006 and 2011 they have also reinvested about 25 per cent of their returns on equity back into New Zealand.

New Zealanders interact with foreign-owned businesses every day. Over half of the companies larger than $100 million in New Zealand have majority foreign ownership.[6]

Many of these companies are a familiar part of our national landscape, and provide Kiwis with a huge range of products and services. They are also among our largest employers. A recent study showed about a quarter of Aucklanders work for foreign owned companies.[7]

FDI, inward or outward, does not necessarily mean acquisition of full ownership by foreigners. In many cases it can take the form of a joint venture or partnership between New Zealand and foreign owners.

And FDI is not a one shot deal. Businesses built up under foreign ownership can move or return to New Zealand ownership.

Examples of that are Shell petrol stations which are now owned by Z, Opus which was bought by Malaysians but now has significant local shareholding and several meat companies.

What would happen if New Zealand could not access foreign investment?

One outcome is that the cost of capital would increase. This would constrain businesses’ ability to grow, and would reduce employment opportunities and household incomes.

Treasury has estimated that a permanent one percentage point change in interest rates (say, from 5 per cent to 6 per cent) would lower the level of GDP by about 2 per cent over a period of time.[9] New Zealand’s standard of living would be lower without access to foreign investment.

FDI can have its costs. The quality of foreign investment matters, and New Zealanders care that investment goes to productive capital, and that it supports jobs and higher incomes.

But fears of foreign ownership are frequently overstated. While it is true that the returns from foreign financing contribute to New Zealand’s current account deficit, it’s also important to consider the bigger picture.

The outcome for the economy is positive overall when foreign capital raises worker productivity and national income increases by more than the return on the investment.
FDI is profitable precisely because it introduces ideas and brings new capital to countries.

Foreign investment is a vote of confidence in the quality of New Zealand’s institutions and the quality of its workforce.

New Zealand welcomes foreign investment.

Firms that are successful enough to be international investors tend to have developed the skills and deep specialisation New Zealand needs.

These skills produce higher wages for New Zealanders working in those firms, and skills tend to spill over.

As employees come and go from foreign owned firms, they take what they learn and apply it to new ventures. Foreign investment helps bring these advantages to New Zealand.

FDI has other benefits. It helps link New Zealand into opportunities for export and to tap in to international supply chains.

Foreign investors bring knowledge of international markets and access to established networks that are hard to develop from this far away.

FDI has been instrumental in the global shift towards international production networks in which steps on the production process occur across borders. Economies that have experienced the largest FDI inflows have on average also seen the largest expansion in merchandise exports.[10]

The benefits don’t negate the need for checks and balances.

A recent OECD study has rated New Zealand among the most restrictive overseas investment regimes in the OECD.[11] The study focuses on our regulations rather than how many foreign investments we turn away.

But there can be no serious suggestion that New Zealand lacks appropriate controls.

Our constraint on growth is not the size of the opportunity. It is our ability to access capital, knowledge, and people, and we get to decide this in part through policy.

New Zealand has not moved rapidly to reach out overseas to find new ideas and access new capital. This is something we must learn to do.

We sit on the doorstep of the fastest growing economies in the world.

There will be many more people in the Asia Pacific region with growing incomes who want more of New Zealand’s products.

Our trading partners, led by China, have opened the door for us.

Our challenge is to assemble enough capital, people and market knowledge to take advantage of this opportunity. How we go about that will define our economic success in the next generation.

The xenophobes have unfounded fears about the costs of foreign investment but we would have far more to fear if we didn’t have the benefits of overseas capital and expertise.


It’s the cause that counts

April 24, 2012

A charity which spent more than it needed to on a token which shows people have donated to it would be criticised for getting its priorities wrong.

But when the RSA decided to get its Anzac poppies made in Australia from Chinese materials because it was cheaper than the ones it had been getting from a workshop staffed by people with disabilities in Christchurch, people objected.

Some are still objecting:

RSA Queenstown president and Vietnam War veteran David Geddes said yesterday RSA members “were surprised at the depth of  feeling” about Chinese poppies, which are identical to those  made in New Zealand.   

      “Some collectors were abused … and we find that quite sad.   

      “People were saying they shouldn’t be touching stuff from China. I find it quite offensive to the Chinese people who live and work here.   

      “We found it very disappointing because people are losing sight about what the poppy is about – remembrance.”   

Money raised from the sale of poppies goes to provide for war veterans and their families, it is not to subsidise New Zealand jobs no matter how worthy they are.

But at least some of this appalling behaviour appears, like some of the opposition to the Crafar farms sale, not to the poppies being made elsewhere but specifically to them being made in China.

One of the things those we remember on Anzac Day fought and died for was tolerance. How sad that too many forget.

 


Fonterra opening second farm in China

April 4, 2012

Fonterra’s chair and chief executive Sir Henry van der Heyden and chief executive Theo Spierings will be in China next week to open the company’s second dairy farm there.

In a newsletter to shareholders they also mention that China’s imports of milk in February were 45% higher than at the same time last year. New Zealand supplied 95% of the whole milk powder and 75% of the skim milk powder.

The trade weighted price of milk increased 1.5% in this morning”s globalDairyTrade auction after three months of falling prices.

the price of anhydrous milk fat increased 8.3%; cheddar was up 13.2%; milk protein concentrate went up 13%; rennet casein was up 13.8%; skim milk powder was down .8% and the price of whole milk powder was down 2,8%.

Arla, a european co-operative, and Murray Goulburn, an Australian co-operative, sold milk in the auction for the first time. The addition of more industry players highlights the GDT’s key role in international dairy trade.

 


Foreign investment better than debt

February 4, 2012

Which is better: borrowing money from foreign banks to try to improve businesses and create employment or accepting foreign investment which does that?

Since we don’t save enough ourselves those are the two options we have if we want to pay for  the first world infrastructure and services we need and investment is usually  preferable to debt.

Unfortunately, as Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says, not enough New Zealanders appreciate the  benefits of foreign investment and economic growth:

. . . “There a sort of a sense among some people that there is some magic by which you can achieve jobs without considering the tradeoffs.”

It was not enough to just want higher skills or just green tech jobs. “We need to take a bit more of a realistic understanding of what does create jobs and encourage investments.”

Economic growth required the use of capital, resources, skilled labour, infrastructure, innovation and a market.

“So all those things have to be managed. It’s not a case of carte blanche but every time you say ‘I don’t want that’ that shuts off another opportunity.”

This country was built on immigration and foreign investment.

JC left a comment on Thursday which pointed out:

. . . prior to 1948 most farmland was owned by “foreigners”, and that the period 1900-1950 is regarded at the Golden Age when NZ was in the top three countries in the Western World for prosperity and quality of life.. despite an awful lot of farm profits still being sent “Home”, and much of our farm implements, clothing, machinery, cars and trucks being imported from the UK. . . 

The foreigners weren’t always welcomed, bigotry, ignorance  and xenophobia aren’t new. They haven’t always been aimed at the same target but the current hysteria isn’t the first time Chinese have been treated badly here.

The government imposed a poll tax on them in 1881 which wasn’t repealed until 1944.

But if it wasn’t for China we would not have weathered the global financial crisis and on-going uncertainty nearly as well as we have.

The free trade agreement with China doesn’t mean it is easy to do business there; Cactus Kate has listed 10 of the challenges. But it is already providing a very important market for us and there will be more opportunities for us there and through their investment here

The launch yesterday of the NZ inc China strategy by Prime Minister John Key should be welcomed.

. .. .”Trade with China is one of the success stories of the New Zealand export sector over the past decade or so. China is also New Zealand’s largest source of foreign students, and our fourth biggest tourist market and we plan to develop these areas further.”

The strength of the relationship with China is underpinned by the Chinese community in New Zealand, which numbers more than 147,000 and is growing. . .

Most of these people make a positive contribution to our country. They are generally under-represented in negative statistics and over represented in positive ones.

I wonder what they  think of the criticism being levelled at the land of their ancestors?


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