Rural round-up

June 30, 2014

Rustling needs to be a specific offence:

Federated Farmers is asking political parties to develop policies to tackle the scourge of stock theft better known as rustling.

“We know stock theft or rustling has been estimated to cost the farming community some $120 million each year,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers rural security spokesperson.

“In recent weeks we’ve seen a lifestyler raided for breeding ewes in Waikato and over 200 sheep despicably shot in Otago.

“We’ve got to ask if the penalties imposed are serious enough to be a deterrent for either rustling or poaching. Based on our experience to date they are not. . .

Behaviour is the root cause of meat industry’s problems – Allan Barber:

I am not completely sure why we spend so much time and effort complaining about the meat industry or which problems we are trying to solve. However in the interests of encouraging progress and stimulating debate, I will try to define the problem: this appears to be that the meat processing and export sector is not profitable enough, whether in absolute terms or in comparison to dairy. Both may be true.

It is worth stating the unique challenges of the red meat sector up front. First, there is a market at both ends of the chain, procurement and sale of the products; second, New Zealand exports a higher percentage of its production than any other country which must travel further to reach its markets, not all of them equally buoyant; third, sheep and beef must be disassembled into multiple cuts of meat as well as many co-products, all of which are sold into a wide range of markets for variable returns; fourth the climate dictates when the grass will grow and livestock will be ready for slaughter; and last, but not least, the producer can choose when and where to send the livestock for slaughter except in a drought. . .

The recipe for future success:

Blue Sky Meats and its suppliers will be relieved the company is back in black after two challenging years.

The return to profitability – a $1.946 million after-tax profit for the year to March – came on the back of the only two losses in the Southland-based company’s 28-year history.

It has been a much better year for meat companies. Along with Blue Sky – and Lean Meats – the two big co-operatives, Alliance Group and Silver Fern Farms, who both report late in the year, have signalled profitable years. . .

Dairy recovery anticipated – by Christmas – Sally Rae:

Dairy commodity prices are predicted to stay in a trough period for another three to six months.

Speaking at the recent South Island Dairy Event in Invercargill, Rabobank’s director of dairy research for New Zealand and Asia, Hayley Moynihan, said it could be Christmas before there was a more sustained recovery in commodity prices.

It would be a ”reasonably prolonged” trough, as inventories were worked through and an additional seven billion litres of milk available on the world market in the first half of 2014 took time to ”find a home”. . .

Focus on consumers behind Pasture to Plate success – Sally Rae:

King Country farmer William Oliver’s belief in the consumer stemmed from his time studying at the University of Otago.

Mr Oliver and his wife Karen were the overall winners of the Silver Fern Farms’ Pasture to Plate Award.

Silver Fern Farms chairman Rob Hewett said the couple impressed the judges with their focus on the consumer. . . .

Simpler pesticide rules on the way:

The Environmental Protection Authority is aiming to simplify the rules covering pesticides and other hazardous substances.

The authority is marking its third anniversary as the country’s environmental regulator after being created from three agencies – the Environmental Risk Management Authority, the Ministry for the Environment and the Economic Development Ministry.

EPA chief executive Rob Forlong said one of its big achievements has been a wide ranging review of organophosphate chemicals, which resulted in controls on some pesticides being tightened and others phased out. . .

Final countdown for Ultimate Rural Challenge:

The showcase event of the rural calendar is only three days away!

The 2014 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Final begins this Thursday 3 July, 4.30pm with the Official Opening at Lincoln University Library. Here, the top seven contestants will be introduced to the public and compete in their first head-to-head challenge.

The competition over the following two days is a testament to the sophistication of modern farming and level of skill and knowledge required to be successful in the field. The top seven young farmers have made it through to the Grand Final by competing in their local district competition and taking first place in their Regional Finals.  . .

Successful annual conference for Rural Contractors NZ:

More than 100 agricultural contractors from all over the country met in New Plymouth, last week, for Rural Contractors New Zealand’s (RCNZ) annual conference.

Rural Contractors New Zealand is the only national association for rural contractors in New Zealand.

Last week’s conference saw Wellsford-based Steve Levet re-elected as president of RCNZ, with Southland’s David Kean re-elected vice-president. . .

 


Cunliffe caught out again

March 2, 2014

When Environment Minister Amy Adams announced an improvement to the EEZ Act, Labour leader David Cunliffe leapt in to say:

The Government has today revealed its true contempt for democratic rights by ploughing on with plans to override Parliamentary majority and gag local communities, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. . .

“Kiwis also lose their rights to have a say on exploratory drilling off their local beaches under new rules coming into effect today.

But the Minister points out the new legislation is an improvement on what happened under Labour:

David Cunliffe latest attempt to rewrite history on oil and gas exploration highlights an on-going, casual relationship with the truth, Environment Minister Amy Adams says.

“As a minister in the previous Labour Government, David Cunliffe knows there was no environment oversight and certainly no public involvement in the exploratory drilling process under his watch,” Ms Adams says.

“Once again he has been caught out being tricky with the truth. He is trying to create a distraction from Labour’s woeful environmental credentials.

“Under his government, 36 wells were drilled in the EEZ between 1999 and 2008 with no legislation in place to protect the environment.

“In fact, the Labour regime only required the Minister for Energy and Resources to sign a permit and required no formal environmental assessment at all. That’s it – no public comment, no submissions, no consideration of environmental effects.

“The ridiculous thing about David Cunliffe’s argument is that the EEZ Act introduced by this Government actually replaces a non-existent environmental regulatory regime for drilling in the EEZ, where the public had no say.

“Under this Government, the public will for the first time get a chance to have a say. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can call for submissions from the public prior to granting a consent for exploratory drilling, if the EPA feels it is required. And before any production drilling can take place, a full public process must be held.

“This means before an oil company can make a single dollar of profit, they have to go in front of the people of New Zealand and make sure everyone has a say in the full process.”

Oh dear, Cunliffe has been caught out again.

The new measure gives the public more say than they had before.

Perhaps Cunliffe’s new chief of staff will have a better grasp of what happened when Labour was last in government and be able to stop him leaping into an argument without the facts to back up his assertion.

 

 


Non-notified discretionary consent for exploratory drilling

March 1, 2014

Exploratory drilling for oil and gas will be classified as non-notified discretionary  under new EEZ Act regulations, Environment Minister Amy Adams has announced.

“The non-notified discretionary classification is the pragmatic option for exploratory drilling, and will provide a level of regulation proportionate to its effects,” Ms Adams says.

“This is part of the National-led Government’s overhaul of the laws and regulations governing the oil and gas industry.

“The classification will provide effective oversight and environmental safeguards without burdening industry with excessive costs and timeframes.”

Exploratory drilling is the drilling of an offshore well to identify oil or gas deposits under the seafloor, and to evaluate whether they would be suitable for production.

As part of the marine consent application, operators will need to submit an impact assessment that identifies impacts on the environment and existing interests. The impact assessment must describe any consultation undertaken with people identified as existing interests.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) will fully assess the effects of the activity on the environment and existing interests. If a marine consent is granted, the EPA can impose such conditions as it thinks necessary to properly manage any adverse effects of the activity.

Obtaining a marine consent to drill an exploratory well does not give the consent holder the right to begin producing oil or gas.

The operator would need to apply for a separate, discretionary marine consent before any production activities could take place. During this stage, the public would have the opportunity to make submissions on the proposed activities.

The decision for activities involved in exploratory drilling for oil and gas to be classified as non-notified discretionary follows a seven week consultation period on the draft regulations from 12 December 2013 to 31 January 2014.

Public consultation on the regulation of activities involved in exploratory drilling also occurred during August and September last year.

The new regulations come into effect on 28 February 2014.

The EEZ Act came into force on 28 June 2013, bringing a comprehensive approach to managing activities in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

Under the EEZ Act, activities can be classified as permitted, discretionary, non-notified discretionary or prohibited.

Exploratory drilling is normally a low-risk activity.

The Minister’s decision means applications will be considered on their merits by the environmental Protection Authority.

That is far better than the prolonged and expensive delays which would result if notified consents were required.

The time and money involved in going through the protracted consent process could well be enough to put companies off exploration altogether.

That would no doubt please those of a dark green persuasion but Taranaki’s illustrates what the country could be losing if that happened.

Off-sea drilling there is boosting the economy with no damage to the environment.


%d bloggers like this: