Seize the day Dunedin

November 27, 2014

Dear Dunedin,

Congratulations.

You’ve won the Gigatown competition and will be the first in the country to get one gigabit per second internet connection.

Please seize the day and make the most of it.

Your success is vital for the success of the south and in the past few years you’ve been letting the rest of us down.

While North, Central and South Otago and Southland have been positive and doing their best to help themselves, too much of the news from Dunedin has been negative.

Being the first Gigatown in the country is your opportunity for to build on your strengths which include education, health, technology and the community spirit which helped you win the competition.

Companies like Animation Research and Natural History have shown the way without ultrafast broadband.

Now you’ve got the communications edge on the rest of the country they and others will be able to do so much more.

The university has always attracted young people from around the country and other parts of the world but the city has been able to keep too few of them after graduation.

You now have the opportunity to create jobs which will entice graduates to stay and strengthen the city’s economic and social fabric.

You’ve worked hard to win the competition but you can’t stop now.

The real prize will be what you do with the opportunities it will enable you to grab and build on.

Go for it for your own sake and that of the south.

 


Only in #gigatownoamaru

November 27, 2013

Where else in New Zealand, and maybe the world, do you get a daily penguin report?

If only those penguins could vote to make #gigatownoamaru the first gigatown in the southern hemisphere.


#gigatownoamaru extends lead

November 16, 2013

The gigatown score board is back up.

It shows #gigatownoamaru in front – still – with 245736 points.

That’s a very satisfying 64,736 ahead of the town in second place.

gigatownoam


Giga gaming?

November 16, 2013

Anyone who’s been checking the gigatown website over the last day or so has been finding something’s up with the scoring.

Instead of going up, as they have been, the tallies for several towns has been going down.

What’s going on?

Chris Keall writes:

Chorus’ Gigatown competition began with a noble aim: to showcase the benefits of Ultrafast Broadband fibre. . .

But now the Gigatown competition has opened it’s home page is … a riot. At first glance, it’s hard to work out what the hell’s going on. . .

A communications professional involved in one town’s bid tells NBR ONLINE, “I know there has been cheating. $200,000 is  at stake and councils are paying people to coordinate the campaigns. Someone in both Oamuru and Porirua set up bots to rack up tweets.”

Chorus did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but it seems from social media chatter that both Oamuru and Porirua have had had their totals trimmed. . . .
Oamaru has led from the start and these accusations of giga gaming are refuted on the #gigatownoamaru Facebook page:
. . . Absolutely disgusted with the comment that Oamaru set up bots to automate tweets. I started the competition here in Oamaru as the previous council declined to partake in a meeting with Chorus. The new Council and Mayor, Gary Kircher, are 100% behind their town in this competition.
From the start we have worked with Chorus to define the rules of the competition along with the other competing towns….
At my request, Chorus set up a facebook closed group for the managers to discuss the rules and events. I could see early on the potential for abuse and the social media frenzy that would be created that would become extremely hard for Chorus to manage.
There has been a change in the rules, and Chorus is working at removing points that do not fit within these parameters across the board. Their facebook page clearly states the definition of “spam” which is definitely not what one would expect from a flippant use of the word.
Your comments show little insight into the vigor that the residents of the participating towns are displaying and their enthusiasm at promoting their communities. Yes, a monster is in the process of being created, yet the outcome, whether a town wins or not, will be increased social networking between education, business, local government and the greater community.
The Gigatown Oamaru team has stated from the start that we will play fair, and win a clean fight.
I am incredibly proud of Oamaru, given that little effort with no funding that has taken us to the top of the leaderboard from day 1. This shows a town with huge potential.

The competition has gripped the town and wider district. It’s the number one talking point. Even people who know and care little for social media have got involved  to support their community because they can see the benefits to be gained from becoming the southern hemisphere’s first gigatown.

So… what does Spam looks like?

To help keep #Gigatown fair, fun and relevant we are regularly sweeping for spam.

No-one likes spam, and the social media platforms we’re using have spam rules of their own that we all need to follow.

So, just to be clear, here is a list of spam-like activity that won’t be counted. . . .

Chorus has a tiger by the tail. It’s important for the company and the integrity of the competition that rules are clear and abided by.

They must be trying to sort it out now because the scoreboard reads:

Time for a regular check under the hood.

We will be back online soon.
But don’t worry your points are still being scored.

 

 


#gigatownoamaru growing, growing

November 12, 2013

Oamaru, New Zealand’s sharpest town,  has led Chorus’s gigagtown points table from the start.

‘Gigatown’ will be the first town in the Southern hemisphere to access a one gigabit per second (1Gbps) internet connection.

How do we decide who gets to be Gigatown? Actually, we don’t decide – you do.

We’re looking for the town that wants it the most. There’s two ways we’ll be measuring that drive, enthusiasm and determination to be Gigatown:

1. by listening out for the town with the loudest voice on social media; and

2. by tallying up the supporters for each town signing up on this website.

Over the course of the competition, we’ll measure social media and online community engagement in support of each eligible ‘town’.

The town with the loudest voice will be New Zealand’s first Gigatown, and will be well positioned to become a leading digital innovation hub for New Zealand, showcasing how ultra-fast broadband can re-define our economy, reshape how our children learn and change how our communities live, work and play.

Points will be counted up for each town and adjusted relative to the town’s size to become ‘Gigapoints’, which are displayed on this website so you can keep track of your town’s progress. The adjustment for town size ensures that each town has the same opportunity to be the Gigatown.

The five eligible towns with the most points at the end of the initial round will go forward to the finals

When I checked a few minutes ago #gigatownoamaru was more than 40,000 ahead of its nearest rival.

How’s it doing it?

Good, old fashioned community spirit combined with new fashioned technology as people in the town and the wider district and their family and friends use social media – Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, . . .  to gain points.

gig 12.11

 


#gigatownoamaru

November 2, 2013

Oamaru is already New Zealand’s Sharpest town and the country’s Steampunk capital.

We’re doing our best to make #gigatownoamaru the Southern Hemisphere’s fastest town as the first gigatown too.

Photo: Who knows where this is? #gigatownoamaru

The image was created by Golding Arts, and published with his permission, please respect the copyright.


Age and cunning

November 1, 2013

The census shows the average age in the Waitaki District is well above the country’s, hence this tweet:

Age and cunning supposedly beats youth and beauty.

In #gigatownoamaru we’ve got all of those and young and old, we’re in it together to make New Zealand’s sharpest town the fastest as the Southern Hemisphere’s first #gigatown.


Jobs go jobs come

October 31, 2013

Jobs go.

It’s hard for everyone involved but for all sorts of reasons businesses change and the number of people they employ does too,

Sometimes it’s because of the introduction of more automation or the introduction of new technology which improves productivity but reduces the need for so many staff.

Sometimes it’s because a business loses customers or fails completely.

Fortunately while jobs go they also come and there’s good news for the Clutha District with 40 new jobs for Finegand from new casings plant.

A new added value casing facility at Silver Fern Farms’ Finegand plant will see 40 new roles created in the Clutha region.

Silver Fern Farms’ Chief Executive Keith Cooper says the million dollar facility will take previously exported part-processed “green lamb runners” through to a processed sausage casing stage for export markets across the world.

“This development will create 40 new full time roles across our Balclutha – Finegand operations. It will create value from a product that will add to the profitability of our sheep meat business in the short-medium term,” Mr Cooper says.

Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan, who previously worked in a casing plant, says the move is good news for Balclutha’s Ready Steady Work programme.

“We have a Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs initiative for Clutha, which is aiming for zero unemployment for youth in the Clutha District. Silver Fern Farms have been a supporter of this programme from the start. These 40 new roles in our district will be a great help for our ambitions of realising this goal,” Mr Cadogan says.

Green casings will be brought to Finegand from four Silver Fern Farms’ plants across the country, making it one of the larger casing facilities in New Zealand Mr Cooper says.

“The plant will be operational year-round so our customers can have a reliable and high quality source of clean, salted casings.”

Previously the green runners had been exported in part-processed form to China for further processing.

Finegand previously had a casing facility which closed in 2005 due to the then demand for green runners. The new facility has a process which is forecast to use less than half of the water requirements of the previous system.

Forty new jobs is significant for a small town.

It’s good news for the people who will get jobs and the wider district.

This time next year one town or city in New Zealand will get a boost that will lead to more jobs when it becomes Chorus’s #gigatown.

New Zealand’s sharpest town, Oamaru, is doing it’s best to become the Southern Hemisphere’s first #gigatown – #gigatownoamaru.


How to help #gigatownoamaru

October 31, 2013

Helping New Zealand’s Sharpest town and Steampunk capital become the Southern Hemisphere’s first #gigatown is easy:

Heres how to vote for @[700833886602006:274:Gigatown Oamaru] - you can use either #gigatownoam or #gigatownoamaru whichever is easiest! Voting starts today! Get sharing!

Posts have to be public to count – but you can make individual posts public without making your whole Facebook page public.

And register your blog at #gigatown then each post and comment with #gigatownoamaru or #gigatownoam adds a point.


Monorail decision a tough one

October 31, 2013

Conservation Minister Nick Smith faces a tough decision over whether or not the Fiordland Monorail goes ahead:

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today inspected the site of the proposed Fiordland monorail, met with the applicants, and released official advice recommending he approve the project subject to extensive conditions.

“This ambitious $200 million project involves the building of the world’s longest monorail to enhance the experience of the hundreds of thousands of visitors travelling between Queenstown and Milford Sound,” Dr Smith says.

“I wanted to see for myself the areas affected by the construction of the two terminals and the 29.5-kilometre long, six-metre wide corridor that would be cleared to make way for the monorail through public conservation land. I also wanted to thoroughly scrutinise the impacts on the Snowdon Forest and its wildlife, as well as understanding the effects on the existing recreational users of the area.

“This monorail decision will be no easier than that of the Milford Tunnel. I am very protective of National Parks like Fiordland and this project has the advantage of being largely outside it. However, the monorail still requires clearance of a large area of forest on public conservation land. The submissions process also shows there are strongly held views both in support and in opposition to this project.

“I am releasing the official reports from DOC and the Hearing Commissioner because of the level of public interest in this proposal. I want to be open about the advice I have received and the issues I must consider.

“Today I have inspected the site and met with the Hearing Commissioner and the applicants, Riverstone Holdings Limited. I also want to discuss the proposal with the New Zealand Conservation Authority and consider further advice from DOC on the World Heritage status of the area.

“Over the next few days I will be joining the 125th anniversary walk of the Milford Track and on Saturday opening the new track to the Sutherland Falls.

“I am looking forward to having some time to reflect on my site visit and the hundreds of pages of submissions and advice I have read over the past week. I hope to be in a position to make a decision before year’s end, subject to being satisfied that I have all necessary information needed to make a good decision.”

The Minister turned down a competing proposal for the Milford Dart tunnel.

“I am declining this tunnel proposal because the environmental impacts are significant and beyond what is appropriate in two of New Zealand’s most spectacular National Parks and a World Heritage Area,” Dr Smith says. . . .

The Monorail proposal is not nearly so clear cut.

It goes through conservation land but it doesn’t go through a National Park. The Hearings Commissioner and the Department of Conservation have recommended it goes ahead.

Those recommendations have not been made lightly and are subject to significant conditions, but will give RHL some hope.

Opposition has been vocal and widespread. However, a poll showed public support for the proposal:

A public opinion poll has this month confirmed more than twice as many New Zealanders support the development of tourism infrastructure like the Fiordland monorail than are opposed.

“The Fiordland Link Experience is designed to be a world-class tourism experience. It’s really encouraging that the public recognises the significant benefits it will bring to New Zealand despite some misinformation spread by a small group of vocal opponents,” says Bob Robertson, Director of Riverstone Holdings Ltd.

The Curia Market Research survey found that 58% of New Zealanders supported the development of the monorail outside of National Park land. Only 27% opposed it. When broken down, the results showed there was more support than opposition regardless of gender, age or political leanings. . . 

Robertson has a reputation for carefully and attractively developed urban subdivisions.

Housing developments in town can’t be compared to this proposal for a new tourist route to Milford Sound through mostly undeveloped countryside. But the attention to detail and focus on aesthetics which help the subdivisions fit in with the landscape will be applied to the Monorail project.

Opponents have used the argument the development would threaten Fiordland’s World Heritage status. Robertson describes  that as scaremongering:

. . . These same opponents have lobbied UNESCO and continue to tell anyone who will listen that the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage status of the region will be stripped if the project is approved. The World Heritage area covers 2.6m hectares and includes roads, towns and quarries.

This scaremongering would be laughable if it wasn’t so destructive.

We only need to look across the Tasman to see how a tourism development can be successfully achieved in a World Heritage area.

When the Cairns Skyrail was being proposed for the Barron Gorge National Park in the 1990s there were marches in the street and protesters attempted to block construction.

The same arguments we are seeing now in Fiordland are the carbon copy of those used in Cairns.

Fortunately, the Australian government understood the project and it was approved.

It went on to win multiple tourism awards as best major attraction and for environmental sustainability, including the international Wet Tropics Management Authority Cassowary Award in 1999 for “demonstrating best practice in ecotourism during construction and ongoing operation”.

In New Zealand, there is an elitist sentiment among some that we should lock up our conservation estate for the few who are capable of physically reaching it. They believe business has no place in nature.

In reality, 44 per cent of the South Island is in the conservation estate and hosts about 2800 commercial concessions, including roughly 500 that are tourism or recreation-related.

It isn’t a question of either business or conservation. They can and do co- exist.

We would not be committed to the Fiordland Link Experience if we did not believe the construction and operation could be achieved with only minimal impact on the environment and recreational users.

The reasoning is simple – we want to celebrate our nature and show it off. It is in our interests to protect nature, because that’s the experience we’re selling.

As a hunter and fisher who has spent thousands of hours in the surrounding area, I know there is room for a world- class tourism experience.

It will reinvigorate the tourism market in Fiordland, stimulate the economy, bring jobs and enable us to market the entire region, including Te Anau, to the world. All without a cent of taxpayer money. . . .

This is a big project, a bold project but it has been carefully thought through and planned to tread as lightly as possible in a sensitive area.

It will impact on the environment, as any development does, but I think that can be minimised and mitigated.

It will open a small part of the conservation estate to more tourists without in any way detracting from the wilderness experience for those who enjoy it in the neighbouring National Park.

Bob Robertson has a dream, the Minister has the unenviable task of deciding whether or not it will become a reality.

Apropos of dreams,  Gravedodger has one too over at No Minister which is worth a read.

P.S. The decision to make New Zealand’s Sharpest town, the Southern Hemisphere’s first #gigatown is far easier – #gigatownoamaru is the logical choice.


Regions are just fine thanks

October 31, 2013

The Opposition, which has almost no MPs who live in the regions has suddenly discovered us and is trying to talk us down in the hope we’ll believe their sad stories and then back them to make it all better.

Those of us who live in the regions don’t appreciate their negativity when we’re doing fine thanks, and we’ll do even better without the policies the left is promoting.

Forget the sorry fiction from the Opposition, Prime Minister John Key has the facts:

. . . New Zealand was one of the fastest growing economies in the OECD in 2012.

Business and consumer confidence levels are high, and manufacturing and services indices are at high levels.

And our growth is being led out of our regions, with just-released export figures showing a lift in primary sector exports this quarter.

The dairy industry, food and beverage generally, and the forestry sector, are important contributors to New Zealand’s economy. 

And that’s reflected in the strength of our regions, nearly all of which have lower unemployment than Auckland, including the whole of the South Island.

Census 2013 shows that populations have grown in 15 of our 16 regional council areas since the last Census in 2006.

Growth rates are strong in places like the Waikato, Taranaki, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.

And we have one of the smallest variations in economic activity between our regions in the whole of the developed world.

But of course we would like stronger growth rates, and that is possible if we provide more opportunities and the confidence for businesses to invest and grow.

At the highest level we are balancing the books, getting debt down, keeping tax rates competitive, and helping to keep interest rates lower for longer over the economic cycle.

This helps give businesses the confidence to raise money and invest.

At the next level, we are putting in place policies to reduce burdens on businesses — especially small business.

This includes getting ACC levies down, introducing the 90-day trial periods, reforming the RMA so it’s easier to expand a business, investing more in R&D co-funding to lift innovation, and assisting small firms to grow exports with NZTE.

The Government is also encouraging some key commercial projects in the regions to help lift growth.

In Hawke’s Bay that means projects like irrigation, and oil and gas exploration; in Northland it’s treaty settlements, land productivity and the Puhoi to Wellsford highway.  And in the Manawatu it’s the Food HQ project, and the highway link to Wellington.

Of course, any discussion of what we’re doing wouldn’t be complete without mention of probably our most transformational project — the roll-out of ultra-fast broadband and rural broadband.

Some $1.1 billion of the $1.65 billion UFB programme is being invested outside of Auckland and Christchurch.

It will lift connectivity and productivity for businesses right across New Zealand.

Faster broadband is already helping businesses in our area.

An engineer is consulting on projects in Africa from his home on a farm near us.

Farms are using smart phones in the paddocks and yards to transfer stock records to the office.

It will be even better here  if the country’s Smartest town,Oamaru, becomes @gigatownoamaru the Southern Hemisphere’s first #gigatown.

But I digress, back to the speech and the reality that the Opposition which talks of helping is promoting policies that will do a lot of harm:

The Opposition is talking the regions down at the moment, but that is just politics.

Actually, the policies they are promoting would damage regional economies.

A recipe of more taxes, nationally-equalised pay rates no matter where you live, a rollback of employment law reform, higher ACC rates and a reversal of RMA reforms would severely damage growth.

It is the National-led Government that has the vision, the agenda, and the projects to lift the growth rate of our regions even further.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our careful, considered plans are working.

The economy is growing, and we are on track for 2 to 3 per cent annual growth over the next few years.

This will put us among the fastest growing developed countries in the world.

Wages are increasing.  Household incomes are growing.  Mortgage interest rates are at 50-year lows and cost of living increases have been very modest indeed.

Some 65,000 net new jobs have been created in the last two years and the unemployment rate is expected to drop as the economy gathers strength.

Business and consumer confidence are improving as we see momentum build towards a stronger, more stable, economy that delivers higher incomes and more jobs.

The crucial thing now is to stay the course and truly obtain the long-term benefits for our families and communities that we have all been working hard for. . . 

We’ve made a lot of progress and we’re getting results but we’re not there yet and letting the Opposition deliver more of the policies which put us into recession before the global financial crisis hit would undo all the good that’s been done.

 

We're providing more opportunities and the confidence for businesses all around New Zealand to invest and grow.  http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=42380


October 31 in history

October 31, 2013

475  Romulus Augustulus was proclaimed Western Roman Emperor.

1517  Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

1587  Leiden University Library opened.

1795  John Keats, British poet, was born (d. 1821).

1822  Emperor Agustín de Iturbide attempted to dissolve the Mexican Empire.

1860 Juliette Low, American founder of the Girl Scouts (d. 1927)

1861  American Civil War: Citing failing health, Union General Winfield Scott resigned as Commander of the United States Army.

1863  The Land Wars resumed as British forces in New Zealand led by General Duncan Cameron began their Invasion of the Waikato.

1864  Nevada was admitted as the 36th U.S. state.

1876  A monster cyclone ravaged India, resulting in over 200,000 deaths.

1887  Chiang Kai-shek, Nationalist Chinese leader, former Republic of China president, was born(d. 1975).

1908 Muriel Duckworth, Canadian activist, was born (d. 2009).

1913 Dedication of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across the United States.

1913 – The Indianapolis Street Car Strike and subsequent riot began.

1917  World War I: Battle of Beersheba – “last successful cavalry charge in history”.

1918  Banat Republic was founded.

1920  Dick Francis, British jockey-turned-novelist, was born (d. 2010).

1923 The first of 160 consecutive days of 100 degrees at Marble Bar, Australia.

1924  World Savings Day was announced in Milan by the Members of the Association at the 1st International Savings Bank Congress (World Society of Savings Banks).

1926 Magician Harry Houdini died of gangrene and peritonitis that developed after his appendix ruptured.

1931  Dan Rather, American television journalist, was born.

1938  Great Depression: In an effort to restore investor confidence, the New York Stock Exchange unveiled a fifteen-point programme aimed to upgrade protection for the investing public.

1940   The Battle of Britain ended.

1941  After 14 years of work, drilling was completed on Mount Rushmore.

1941   The destroyer USS Reuben James was torpedoed by a German U-boat near Iceland, killing more than 100 United States Navy sailors.

1941  A fire in a clothing factory in Huddersfield, England killed 49

1943  World War II: An F4U Corsair accomplished the first successful radar-guided interception.

1949  Bob Siebenberg, American drummer (Supertramp), was born.

1954 Algerian War of Independence: The Algerian National Liberation Front began a revolt against French rule.

1956 Suez Crisis: The United Kingdom and France began bombing Egypt to force the reopening of the Suez Canal.

1963  An explosion at the Indiana State Fair Coliseum (now Pepsi Coliseum) in Indianapolis killed 74 people during an ice skating show.

1968  Vietnam War October surprise: Citing progress with the Paris peace talks, US President Lyndon B. Johnson announced  he had ordered a complete cessation of “all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam” effective November 1.

1973  Mountjoy Prison helicopter escape. Three Provisional Irish Republican Army members escaped from Mountjoy Prison aboard a hijacked helicopter.

1984 Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two security guards.

1985 Keri Hulme’s novel The Bone People won the Booker Prize.

Keri Hulme’s Bone people wins Booker Prize

1986  The 5th congress of the Communist Party of Sweden was inaugurated. During the course of the congress the party name is changed to the Solidarity Party and the party ceases to be a communist party.

1994  An American Eagle ATR-72 crashed in Roselawn, Indiana, after circling in icy weather, killing 68 passengers and crew.

1996  Fokker F100  TAM Transportes Aéreos Regionais Flight 402 crashed into several houses in São Paulo, Brazil killing 98 including 2 on the ground.

1998 Iraq disarmament crisis began: Iraq announced it would no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.

1999  EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, killing all 217 on-board.

1999 – Yachtsman Jesse Martin returned to Melbourne after 11 months of circumnavigating the world, solo, non-stop and unassisted.

2000   Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400 Flight 006 collided with construction equipment upon takeoff in Taipei, Taiwan killing 79 passengers and four crew members.

2000 – A chartered Antonov An-26 exploded after takeoff in Northern Angola killing 50.

2000 – Soyuz TM-31 launched, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station. The ISS has been continuously crewed since.

2002 A federal grand jury in Houston, Texas indicts former Enron Corp. chief financial officer Andrew Fastow on 78 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice related to the collapse of his ex-employer.

2003 – Mahathir bin Mohamad resigned as Prime Minister of Malaysia and was replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, marking an end to Mahathir’s 22 years in power.

2011 – The global population of humans reached seven billion. This day is now recognised by the United Nations as Seven Billion Day.

2013 – New Zealand’s Sharpest Town and Steampunk capital steamed ahead with its #gigatownoamaru campaign to become the Southern Hemisphere’s first #gigatown.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


#gigatownoam still in the lead for #gigatown

October 30, 2013

Oamaru’s campaign to be the country’s first #gigatown is continuing to go well.

#gigatownoamaru is in the lead:gigatownYou can help by putting  #gigatownoamaru or #gigatownoam in the comments; registering your Facebook page and/or Twitter account and blog at #gigatown  then writing posts with the hastags  #gigatownoamaru or #gigatownoam – whether or not the hashtags are relevant to the posts!


Rural round-up

October 30, 2013

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Puts Case to Washington:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and representatives from other Five Nations Beef Alliance partners have called on Washington’s Capitol Hill to promote a unified view of how trade in agricultural products – and especially beef – should be treated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

The TPP, which is currently being negotiated and of which New Zealand is a participant, aims to open up trade in goods and services. Progress towards an outcome was most recently reviewed in Bali, where Prime Minister John Key chaired the meeting of the 12 TPP negotiating countries.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance is made up of the national organisations that represent beef cattle producers in Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States. Collectively, the five countries account for one third of global beef production and approximately half of global beef exports. . .

New Zealand food and beverage producers need to be bulletproof:

New Zealand food and beverage producers need to ensure their operations are “bulletproof” if they want to compete in an increasingly aggressive global marketplace, an industry expert says.

Grant Thornton New Zealand Partner and National Leader, Food and Beverage, Simon Hunter, is describing the firm’s latest International Food and Beverage sector report, ‘Hunger for growth: Food and Beverage looks to the future’, as a wake-up call for the local industry.

The report, based on interviews with 248 senior executives in seven countries (including New Zealand), says 90% expect revenues to increase in the next 12 months but only half expect to employ more people. . .

Gigatown competition will change the future for one town:

Federated Farmers is excited by Chorus’s year-long competition to bring the fastest broadband speed to one New Zealand town.

“This competition is a great opportunity for rural towns,” says Conor English, Federated Farmers Chief Executive.

“If a rural town wins it will become the first town in the southern hemisphere to receive one-gigabit per second broadband speeds – up to 100 times faster than most cities around the globe.

“New Zealand’s farmers are desperate for new ways to get onto the internet and this competition has the potential, for one fortunate town, to spark innovation and mobilise and transform their local economy and society. . . .

(This is why we’re supporting #gigatownoam and the #gigatown campaign).

Fonterra board to set up separate risk committee after food scare review – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – The board of Fonterra Cooperative Group will establish a separate committee to oversee risks facing the dairy group in the wake of the false alarm food scare that prompted a precautionary recall in August.

The company’s board will carve out the risk elements from its audit, finance and risk committee into its own separate committee, which chairman John Wilson said will cover “food safety, food quality and other risks Fonterra in today’s environment faces.”

The measure was one of a raft of recommendations from the board-ordered inquiry, led by Jack Hodder QC, after recall of three batches of whey protein concentrate, which were thought to have been contaminated.

Fonterra’s handling of the fall-out was “inadequate” for the kind and size of the crisis and the company’s lack of responsiveness to external stakeholders was seen as a “fortress” mentality, the report said. . . .

Shareholders’ Council welcomes report, inquiry recommendations:

The Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, which safeguards the interests of the dairy Co-operative’s 10,500 Shareholders, said it welcomed the completion of the Fonterra Board commissioned independent report of the WPC80 issue.

Council Chairman, Ian Brown: “The Council has received the report and we commend the Oversight Committee and the Independent Inquiry Team on the comprehensive nature of the report.

“We also commend the Board on their openness and support their decision to make the report public. . .

New health & safety regulations will increase potential penalties for employers:

The potential for higher penalties for non-compliance as a result of upcoming changes to Health and Safety regulations means employers in the high-risk agricultural sector need to be more aware than ever of their obligations, says Melissa Vining, AGRI Consultant for human resources specialists Progressive Consulting – the HR division of Crowe Horwath.

The government will establish new Crown Agent WorkSafe New Zealand by December 2013, when it also plans to introduce to parliament a new Health and Safety at Work Act, which is expected to come into force by December 2014. . . .

Xero releases farming blueprint:

Xero has released its Farming Integration Guide, a blueprint that helps rural solution providers connect to Xero and deliver integrated farm management and accounting solutions. 

Xero CEO Rod Drury says this is a great example of technology bringing an industry together. “This guide is the key step towards full integration between farmers, rural accountants, rural suppliers, banks and software providers. The innovation we’re experiencing in the tech sector is being applied directly now to the rural economy, the backbone of the NZ economy.” . . .


#gigatown #gigatownoam update

October 29, 2013

Oamaru –  #gigatownoam –  is still at the top of the #gigatown leaderboard with 13,192.

That’s around a vote from every single person in the town – a great start for #gigatownoamaru.

It’s all aimed at turning the country’s Sharpest town, into the southern hemisphere’s first #gigatown, courstey of Chorus:

Over the course of the competition, we’ll measure social media and online community engagement in support of each eligible ‘town’.

The town with the loudest voice will be New Zealand’s first Gigatown, and will be well positioned to become a leading digital innovation hub for New Zealand, showcasing how ultra-fast broadband can re-define our economy, reshape how our children learn and change how our communities live, work and play.

Points will be counted up for each town and adjusted relative to the town’s size to become ‘Gigapoints’, which are displayed on this website so you can keep track of your town’s progress. The adjustment for town size ensures that each town has the same opportunity to be the Gigatown.

The five eligible towns with the most points at the end of the initial round will go forward to the finals. Find out more.

Leaving comments with the hashtags #gigatown and #gigatownoamaru or #gigatownoam here or on Facebook or Twitter accounts which register on the GIgatown website will help the cause.


Can sharpest town be Gigatown? #gigatown #oamaru

October 21, 2013

Oamaru, New Zealand’s sharpest town, is vying to be the fastest town, and not just in this country but in the southern hemisphere.

The town, and it’s people, are doing their best to win Chorus’s  competition to become the first in the southern hemisphere to receive one-gigabit per second broadband speeds.

‘Welcome to Gigatown’ will be a year-long competition led by ultra-fast broadband (UFB) infrastructure company Chorus. The competition aims to spark innovation and mobilise the potential of UFB to transform local economies and services to drive better outcomes for New Zealand communities.

Chorus Head of Marketing and Sales, Victoria Crone says the one-gigabit fibre broadband will be deployed to the New Zealand town that shows New Zealand it has the most desire to be Gigatown.

“Over the course of a year we’re going to ask New Zealand communities to get creative, get online and tell New Zealand why their town should receive this gigabit connection,” says Crone.

“Over the next couple of months we will work with local communities and councils, as well as the rest of the telecommunications industry, to make sure we deliver a great competition that gives the widest possible range of communities the chance to be New Zealand’s Gigatown.”

All communities covered by Chorus’ Ultra-fast Fibre build plans will be eligible to enter the competition. Welcome to Gigatown is expected to launch on Labour Day 2013, with the winning town announced in early 2015.

Crone says that Welcome to Gigatown aims to encourage New Zealanders to start thinking about UFB as a huge opportunity to transform our country’s economy and also deliver great social outcomes.

Two international UFB experts are in New Zealand to support the announcement of Welcome to Gigatown and provide commentary on the potential of New Zealand’s unique fibre model.

According to Sheldon Grizzle, an innovation lead at CO.LAB in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the power of Gigabit fibre to transform a town’s economy has been clearly demonstrated as Chattanooga transformed from the most polluted city in the USA to one of its most innovative digital economies.

“The Chattanooga story can happen in New Zealand because it is one of the few countries around the world that is on track to provide fibre connectivity to the majority of its country’s homes, schools and businesses,” says Grizzle.

“It is absolutely possible that the Gigatown project will enable one New Zealand town to transform itself into a leading digital innovation hub for New Zealand and beyond,” he says.

Joining Grizzle in New Zealand is Benoit Felten, an international fibre specialist and founder of the French research and consultancy firm, Diffraction Analysis.

Felten has an incredible breadth and depth of expertise on fibre, from the technology through to industry dynamics, propositions, business models and applications. . .

Chatanooga shows the benefits of ultra fast broadband.

Previously shamed as one of the most polluted and unliveable cities in America, Chattanooga was one of the first cities in the world to roll out a fibre to the premise (FTTP) network offering gigabit connection speeds to homes and businesses. This has been credited with playing a role in attracting a swell of economic investment into Chattanooga, including the expansion of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant and the establishment of Amazon.com facilities. Chattanooga has also become a digital innovation centre that is driving development of next generation fibre applications.

Chattanooga’s fibre optic network has been emulated by a handful of other cities in the US and it is studied internationally as a model of how to build the smart cities of the future. . .

The competition requires towns to rally their communities to vote.

Winning Chorus’ gigatown competition is at the top of the agenda for a group of Oamaru people who are behind the local campaign.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the town to access a one gigabit per second internet connection.

Lance Streeter, Derek Golding and Nicolas Erdody held a meeting on Wednesday night to discuss strategy plans on how to ensure Oamaru wins the competition.

The competition requires communities to rally together to vote for their town.

For a vote to be counted, Oamaru residents will have to take to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and use #gigatown and #oamaru together in a post.

Entries will be evaluated on the size of the town’s population to allow for a fair competition.

Facebook page was set up on October 10 and when I checked a few minutes ago already had 779 likes.

Then there’s twitter #gigatown#oamaru

The internet provides opportunities for people to work away from main population centres. An engineer lives not far from us and works on projects all around the world from his home through the internet.

Faster connections are better connections and becoming a Gigatown would make work like this even easier.


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