Don’t damn dam rally

June 20, 2014

Two Waipawa businessmen who are organising a rally in Waipukurau to support the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme:

Gavin Streeter and Shane Heaton are directors of Isaac’s Pumping and Electrical and have taken it upon themselves to show there is grassroots backing for the project.

“The project has been bashed to pieces in the media with the coverage focusing on the Environmental Protection Authority and how councillors are voting.

“We want to take a different approach – this is a rally by the people for the people – the entire Hawke’s Bay community needs to get behind this and show their support in the face of the negative attention the process is receiving,” Mr Streeter said.

Through their business they deal with farmers as customers and said there is a lot of positivity in the farming community about the project.

“The farmers have been doing their bit over the last few months. We thought we would do something on behalf of the local business owners, as it’s not only the farmers who would benefit from this.

Contrary to the anti-irrigation brigade irrigation doesn’t just benefit farmers.

They put up most of the money and have most at risk but the benefit is spread through the community to those who work for, service and supply them.

“If it goes ahead, it might mean we could employ five more local people at our business,” said Mr Heaton.

To that end they were out and about beating the streets in Waipukurau yesterday, visiting as many businesses as they could to spread the word about the rally dubbed “Don’t damn the dam”.

“We don’t just want people from Central Hawke’s Bay to attend, though. We want the big industries in Hawke’s Bay such as Pan Pac, Heinz Watties and McCains to get involved too – this project will have long-term benefits for the whole region,” Mr Streeter said. . .

Those industries will benefit too with more produce to process and sell, which will create more jobs.

Federated Farmers is backing the rally:

“We are calling on every person and business in Hawke’s Bay who wants to have a better future here, to get in their car, ute, tractor or truck and be at Waipukurau’s memorial hall car park on Friday at 12pm,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay provincial president.

“This Friday is our chance to show New Zealand how much Hawke’s Bay wants to create a positive future for our kids and their kids. The dam will provide so much opportunity for Hawke’s Bay.

“We are expecting a strong show of support and are positively backing Ruataniwha because this is our last shot before the Board of Inquiry delivers its final decision.

“Nothing of any worth has ever come from being negative.

“That’s why we need a positive show of support to demonstrate what we the people who live here want. The feeling in the community is positive and we need to make a stand to show how much of a game changer the dam is going to be for the region.

“The South Island’s Opuha scheme is a shining example of how the whole water storage package works for the economy and the environment.

“The answer to reversing the population drift to Auckland and reversing the loss of businesses and services is as simple as ‘just add water.’

“Federated Farmers is okay with having a number for nitrogen, but let’s make it an indicator and not chiselled in granite.  The whole scheme’s viability hinges on this policy point.

“That will only happen if we show everyone just what Ruataniwha means to us.

“You can do that by making a slogan banner to hang off your vehicle this Friday at midday at Waipukurau’s memorial hall car park,” Mr Foley concluded. . . .

From outside Hawkes Bay seems to have it all – good climate, good soils, a variety of viable businesses, a vibrant arts community . . . .

But it has an underbelly with high unemployment and the social problems which go with it and it’s drought-prone.

Irrigation would provide insurance against droughts, boost other businesses and create more jobs.

This is the province’s chance to lay a strong foundation for the future and the rally will indicate whether the people are willing to take it.


A little tinkering leads to a lot more

August 1, 2011

Labour’s chances of being in government after the election are slim but we’re already seeing what will happen if their policy of taking GST of fresh fruit and vegetables is implemented.

Heinz Watties has pointed out that canned and frozen fruit and vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh produce.

Labour’s argument for applying the tax exemption to fresh produce only is that it’s easy to tell what’s fresh and what’s not. But some fresh fruit and vegetables are luxuries and some processed foods are necessities.

How long will it be before the stupidity of fruits like pomegranate being GST exclusive while tax is still applied to a bag of frozen beans or a can of tomatoes leads to calls for  some exemptions to the exemptions? The next step will be calls for the GST exclusions to be extended to processed food.

They won’t stop at canned and frozen food, the calls for exemptions will extend to other basics like milk, bread and rice.

Every exemption leads to added costs and more anomalies which would lead to more calls for more exemptions which would increase costs . . . because a little tinkering always leads to a lot more.

I am reluctant to call any tax good, but simple taxes are better. They are less expensive to collect and administer and more difficult to avoid.

New Zealand’s GST is very simple and that’s the way it should stay.

National’s Napier MP Chris Tremain point out:

“Treating processed food differently from fresh fruit and vegetables should be seen for what it is – a political gimmick,”  Mr Tremain says. “This is consistent with Labour’s wider promises to meddle with the tax system through a complex set of rules and exemptions that would make it more expensive for businesses to invest. None of this will create jobs – other than tax accountants and bureaucrats. . . “

The problem of people not eating enough fresh fruit and vegetables is complex and price is only one factor. It would be much better to tackle the others, including lack or education and low incomes, than muck about with the tax system.

Hat Tip: Keeping Stock & Whaleoil


Trans Tasman traffic changing direction

May 28, 2011

Bill English was criticised a few weeks ago for suggesting that lower wages here was a competitive advantage.

What do the critics say now that Heinz Watties is moving some of its production from Australia to New Zealand?

After an extensive review of the trans Tasman manufacturing footprint and capabilities, the decision has been made to consolidate production of sauces, beetroot, and some canned meal products from facilities Girgarre (Victoria), Brisbane and Wagga Wagga (NSW), to facilities in Hastings.

Heinz Wattie’s Chief Operating Officer Michael Gibson says Heinz operates a number of factories across Australia and New Zealand and share production between the two countries depending on how customers and consumers can be best served in both markets. The decision to consolidate manufacturing is a critical step in the plan to become more competitive in a challenging environment and to accelerate future growth.

It all comes down to costs of production:

Australia’s supply chain director, Mike Robinson, says the change is the result of a global productivity review, and is not a result of the strong Australian dollar.

“There is pressure on suppliers from customers and consumers. But there are a number of factors,” he said.

“The cost of raw materials, labour, energy. All of these have pressure on suppliers which mean that we have to maintain competitiveness.”

People are going west across the Tasman but if production moves east to New Zealand then people will follow.

Australia is rich in natural resources but it doesn’t have the plentiful supply of water which helps us produce electricity at a cheaper cost.

Having lower wages isn’t good in the long term but can be a factor which helps economic growth in the short term. As the economy grows, wages will increase .

Hat tip: Adolf at No Minister


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