Labour u-turn on HB water storage

May 16, 2013

A big increase in irrigated land is supporting increased agricultural production

The irrigated land area has increased in the past five years by an area the size of lakes Taupo and Te Anau combined, Statistics New Zealand said today.

The total irrigated land in New Zealand increased by 102,000 hectares between June 2007 and 2012, new information from the 2012 Agricultural Production Census shows. “Canterbury had the biggest increase in irrigated area, with an extra 60,000 hectares since 2007 – this alone covers an area the size of Lake Taupo,” agriculture statistics manager Hamish Hill said. Other regions to gain more irrigated area were Southland and Manawatu-Wanganui. This increase in irrigated land has helped support increases in agricultural production.

Total dairy numbers also significantly increased, from 5.3 million in 2007 to 6.4 million in 2012. “The additional dairy cows will produce around four times the total amount of milk that New Zealanders consume each year,” Mr Hill said. Exports of milk powder, butter, and cheese increased by 27 percent in the last five years.

Regions that had significant shifts in dairy numbers between 2007 and 2012 included Canterbury, with an increase of 445,000 dairy cattle, Southland, with an increase of 238,000, and Otago, with an increase of 118,000. . .

That increase in production means a lot more jobs, more resilient and secure communities and more export income.

The experience in North Otago shows that the economic and social gains don’t have to come at the cost of the environment.

You’d think a party which says it supports economic growth and wants more employment opportunities would understand the benefits and support more development, but Labour doesn’t.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy says he is shocked at the Labour Party’s u-turn on supporting the Ruataniwha water storage scheme in Hawke’s Bay, despite previously indicating their support.

“The proposed Ruataniwha water storage scheme has the potential to irrigate an extra 25,000 hectares in Hawke’s Bay. This would be a major boost to exports, jobs and growth in the region.

“In October last year Labour MPs Shane Jones and Damien O’Connor visited the site and said it made a “very good case” and that “It is an obscure part of the country that [will cope] with such a large structure.”[i]

“Now they have been over-ruled by Stuart Nash, a rejected ex-MP who says “…Labour will not be funding water storage schemes if elected in 2014…”

“This is a slap in the face for farmers and Hawke’s Bay. I would have thought the severe drought this summer has made the need for this type of project even more obvious.

“The drought has highlighted that we don’t have a water shortage in New Zealand, but a shortage of storage options. We only capture two per cent of the rainfall that falls on New Zealand with the rest running out to sea.

“Water storage can have real environmental benefits. Increased river flows means more water for recreational users in summer, and improved habitats for fish and birdlife.

“This is why former Fish & Game regional manager and senior freshwater ecologist at the Cawthron Institute, Iain Maxwell, has come out publicly in support of the scheme.

“Labour are anti-progress and don’t care about jobs and investment in provincial areas. They are opposed to any new mining, energy and irrigation projects, and want to bring in a capital gains tax and an enlarged emissions trading scheme which would hammer rural communities,” says Mr Guy.

The Government is investing $80 million this year into a new Crown company to act as a bridging investor for irrigation projects. In total, up to $400 million will be invested in regional-scale schemes to encourage third-party capital investment.

The Government is also funding $35 million towards the Irrigation Acceleration Fund to help suitable projects reach the prospectus-ready stage. Last year the IAF and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council jointly funded a $3.3m feasibility study of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Project.

The drought has had a huge economic, social and environmental impact on the regions affected.

Canterbury and North Otago were insulated from the worst effects of the long hot, dry summer because of extensive irrigation.

The need for irrigation in Hawkes Bay should be obvious and it isn’t difficult to put a case for the government to help schemes get underway with for example a loan to cover the costs until the water is fully allocated.

This is just another example of labour saying it wants more growth and jobs but not supporting initiatives that will provide them/

 


Rural round-up

May 23, 2012

The message gets through to US milk producers – Xcheque:

A week ago we published this chart which shows the margin over feed cost for US class III milk. It is an ugly sight and is only going to get worse if you believe that the futures market is a guide.

Current margins are down to the critical lower limit of $5/cwt. Beyond this the short term futures for feed and milk price take us back to the depths of 2009 and no sign of a recovery anytime soon. . .

Fonterra Payout a Global Economy Reality Check:

The second payout revision downwards by Fonterra Cooperative Group in just over two months, is the reason why Federated Farmers warns farmers to budget conservatively.  It is estimated this revision will see around $500 million less come into the economy.

“When the last revision took place in March, we warned it might not be the final one before the end of the 2011/12 season.  Since then, international dairy prices have fallen to levels last seen in August 2009,”says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“While this is due to increased global milk supply, it also coincides with major uncertainties over the direction of the world’s economy.  We may be an island but economically we’re not.  . .

Meat industry faces challenges positively – Allan Barber:

This season is more of a challenge for the meat industry than last, although suppliers are still reasonably comfortable in spite of the lower lamb price which has now dipped below the $100 mark.

Good growing conditions in most of the country, especially the North Island, have removed the summer stress that always comes with drought and enabled suppliers to put a bit more weight on to compensate. But for processors the combination of extremely high procurement prices, over $6 a kilo for lamb until end March, the exchange rate and low plant throughputs has meant a very challenging first half year. . .

“Team Talk” the best farm amangement tool I’ve seen for decades – Pasture to Profit:

“TEAM TALK….I believe this on-farm staff/team communication system to be the most innovative development I’ve seen in Farm Business Management for decades”

TEAM TALK is a very exciting new on-farm computer communication system that is simple to use and empowers all staff members to take responsibility for their individual roles on the farm. It permanently records what has previously been keep on hundreds of bits of paper, whiteboards and shed notice boards. . .
Collectively Owned Māori Farms Much Larger than the Average New Zealand Farms:

At nearly 2,000 hectares (ha), the average collectively owned Māori farm is about eight times the size of the average New Zealand farm, Statistics New Zealand said today.

The figures come from a survey of farms owned by members of the Federation of Māori Authorities (the Federation), which are a sub-set of all farm and forestry land that is collectively owned by Māori.

“The 140 Federation members’ farms have a total of 272,200ha of farm and forestry plantation land that members directly own and manage. It’s an area that’s more than one and a half times the size of Stewart Island. Altogether these Federation members’ farms occupy nearly 2 percent of New Zealand’s total farming and forestry area,” agricultural statistics manager Hamish Hill said. . .

 Study suggests eating organic foods leads to moral depravity
Science can be a wonderfully vindictive thing, especially when it suggests that people who self-righteously purchase and consume organic foods are more likely to not help you jump your dead car battery, hold the door open for you, or volunteer to coach a community little league team. That’s right, everyone — organic foodies would sooner run a child down on her way to softball practice with their Schwinns than help that child learn how to catch a flyball, and that’s more or less a scientific fact.This is because, according to a new study published this week in Social Psychology & Personality Science, people who eat organic foods are more likely to think that eating those pesticide and hormone-free foods gives them the moral latitude to be super judgey about other peoples’ behavior and skimp on altruistic deeds . . . Hat Tip: Quote Unquote

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