$100m foundation for environment & education

March 16, 2014

A $100 million philanthropic foundation to support and invest in high impact New Zealand-based environmental and education projects  has been launhed.

The NEXT Foundation is funded through the benefaction of New Zealanders Annette and Neal Plowman, who have already supported a number of significant philanthropic projects, including the Rotoroa Island Trust in the Hauraki Gulf, Project Janzsoon in the Abel Tasman National Park and Teach First NZ which aims to tackle educational inequality.

The Foundation will make commitments of approximately $5 – $15 million in up to three projects each year. Any individual or group with a high impact, well-structured idea in the areas of education or environment will be able to submit an Expression of Interest for funding consideration.

The Foundation has an Advisory Panel of notable New Zealanders who will help with project selection and a Board of Directors chaired by Chris Liddell.

Mr Liddell, also Chairman of Xero, and previously Vice Chairman of General Motors and CFO of Microsoft Corporation, says education and the environment have been chosen as the two categories for support and investment because they have the greatest potential to inspire and create lasting value for New Zealanders.

“We have a vision of creating a legacy of environmental and educational excellence for the benefit of future generations of New Zealanders,” he says.

“To achieve this vision we will make significant commitments to projects that are aspirational, ambitious and high impact. The Foundation will be a strategic investor in well-managed projects that deliver a meaningful and measurable return toward the education of New Zealanders and the protection of our unique landscape, flora and fauna.

“We admire the foresight of our benefactors,” said Mr Liddell, “and believe their generosity will have a profound impact on the future of our country.”

The Foundation was welcomed by the government:

“This new philanthropic foundation represents a huge commitment to New Zealand’s conservation and environmental challenges that Governments will never be able to fully fund. Its founders, through Project Janszoon and the Rotoroa Island Trust, have already shown a great commitment to New Zealand’s natural environment. This new foundation opens the door to other high impact conservation projects in other parts of our country,” Dr Smith says.

“This exciting development reinforces the merit of the Department of Conservation developing a new partnership approach to its work of protecting New Zealand’s flora, fauna and special places.”

“Education is the best investment New Zealand can make in its future. This new foundation will help drive innovation and excellence, and complement the work the Government is doing to raise standards and provide our children with a modern learning environment,” Ms Kaye says.

“We are committed to working with the NEXT Foundation to maximise the environment and educational gains from this incredible act of generosity towards New Zealand’s future,” the Ministers say.

This is an extraordinary act of generosity  which will make a positive difference for generations.


Green could be competitive advantage

July 9, 2011

Being greener could bring both environmental and financial gains and this week Environment Minister Nick Smith and Agriculture Minister David Carter launched a green growth discussion document:

New Zealand needs to consider how it leverages off its clean green brand in global markets and how new technologies can be developed to reduce environmental impacts, Environment Minister Nick Smith and Acting Minister for Economic Development David Carter say.

The Ministers today launched the Advisory Group on Green Growth’s discussion paper in Wellington. The eight-member Advisory Group was announced by the Government in January to ensure the Government receives the best advice on green growth initiatives.

“There is significant work occurring internationally on green growth, green jobs, and clean technology. We need to ensure Government policy helps New Zealand take up the opportunities,” Dr Smith said. . .

Mr Carter said: “This is another part of the Government’s plan to build a faster growing economy. The world is looking for products and services that have lower environmental impacts and we want New Zealand to be well placed to take up these opportunities.

The government’s actions haven’t impressed Pure Advantage a group of business people who believe there’s a huge opportunity in enhancing New Zealand’s natural environment in order to improve our competitive positioning in the global shift to green growth.

We have developed a campaign to work with communities, businesses, Government and iwi to create sustainable economic growth, and assist New Zealand to become a leading exporter of high-value produce, renewable energy and clean technology, with a top-tier in-bound tourism industry.

The founding members have funded the campaign – there’s no corporate mandates or shadowy Government funding. Just successful Kiwis interested in seeing a lot more successful Kiwis.

The group wants to open the debate and fund research and discussion in the hope of getting broad agreement about the best way forward.

Once the way forward is understood, we will drive the change to make it happen.

Underpinning our goal will be robust economic research showing the scale of the challenge and why all New Zealanders must reach for the exciting opportunities arising from green growth.

Members of the group include Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe, former General Motors chief financial officer Chris Liddell, IceBreaker founder Jeremy Moon and brothers, Lloyd and Rob Morrison.

The environmental gains from being green are obvious, providing that is based on science and not emotion.

Pure Advantage and the government both also see the potential for financial gain.


Rural round-up

June 5, 2011

Dairy farmers can produce a green dairy industry – Pasture to Profit writes:

The Dairy Industry has the potential to produce its own electricity & be clear of the National Grid. What a PR victory that will be for the first UK dairy company & their suppliers. What a wonderful image that will be for milk, cheese & butter! Every dairy farmer must get involved to “kick this goal” for the dairy industry. We have a fantastic opportunity right now with interest free loans & massive incentives . . .

Volunteer will help in Samoa – David Bruce reports:

From farming crocodiles to helping improve small agricultural businesses, Bill and Shirley Kingan have had a wide variety of experiences under Volunteer Service Abroad.

Mr and Mrs Kingan leased out their Enfield farm, then joined the New Zealand organisation which, since 1962, has been sending volunteers overseas to help other countries and communities improve their lives. . .

Integrity, beauty and strength – Sally Rae writes:

There’s something special about a Clydesdale horse. Clydesdale Horse Society of New Zealand president Bill Affleck believes the allure stems from what the gentle giants have achieved in the farming world.

Coupled with a very placid nature, “there’s something there that’s very appealing”. . .

Future’s glowing –  Sally Rae again:

If you had told former Stewart Island fisherman Dil Belworthy that he would end up owning a chain of clothing stores, he would have said being abducted by aliens was more likely.

Mr Belworthy is not kidding when he says the path he and his wife, Catherine, have taken to owning five Glowing Sky Merino stores, as well as a manufacturing facility, is “quite bizarre”. . .

Who will Fonterra’s new boss be?  – Andrea Fox asks:

With the clock ticking down to the announcement of Fonterra’s new chief executive, ex-General Motors financial chief Chris Liddell and Air New Zealand’s Rob Fyfe have been ruled out of contention, with the money on an internal appointment.

Sources said number two at the dairy giant, trade and operations managing director Gary Romano, is strongly favoured to succeed Canadian Andrew Ferrier, who will leave in the second half of this year. . .

A dairy farm to impress the world – Jon Morgan writes:

Rick Morrison and Sharleen Hutching are a quiet, unassuming couple who prefer to let their actions speak louder than words.

When the judges in the Horizons region of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave them warning of a visit to their 200-cow dairy farm near Eketahuna, they didn’t change a thing. “It was, ‘Oh yeah, whatever’,” Mr Morrison says. “We just carried on as normal, no need to rush around tidying things up.” . . .

Firms plan $3.7m Gore investment

Two Southland-based farm-machinery firms plan to make $3.7million investments in Gore.

Advance Agricentre and Southland Farm Machinery agree their investments are a vote of confidence in the district’s economy. . .

Robots to takeover meat works:

After 20 months’ intensive research and development, the Ovine Automation Consortium is ready to go to market with two robots that signal the start of a new era in automated sheepmeat processing.

Funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and nine industry members, with the support of two research organisations, the research consortium aims to enhance sheep processing productivity and quality through the use of automation. . .

Wine the organic puzzle –  Rebecca Gibb writes:

Patting cows and admiring piles of dung was not what I had envisaged when leaving Auckland behind for rural Marborough.

I thought I was there to tour organic vineyards for the vital purpose of tasting wines, but instead found myself transported to the set of The Good Life. Had I mistakenly been picked up by Richard Briars and Felicity Kendal at Blenheim airport, or are cows, sheep, and a gaggle of geese really what organic wine is all about? . . .

Beekeeping in a nutshell – Raymond Huber posts:

It’s Bee Week, celebrating our partnership with honey bees. Hand-made beehives date back 3000 years (in Israel) and early hives were made of clay or straw. Bees and humans helped each other expand into new lands: as settlers took the bees with them for crop pollination. For centuries beekeepers melted the comb to get the honey out, forcing bees to rebuild it. Then in 1851 pastor Lorenzo Langstroth designed a hive like a filing cabinet that could be used over and over. . .

Talk about succession – Gerald Piddock writes:

One of the deer industry’s next generation is urging farmers to talk more openly about the issues around succession.

The average age of the New Zealand farmer was over 50. At that stage many would soon be wanting to exit the industry, Hamish Fraser told farmers at the Deer Industry Conference in Timaru.

“Getting succession right will be key to allowing this to happen,” he said. . .


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