Rural round-up

20/01/2021

Why veganism won’t save the planet – Jacqueline Rowarth:

In no case will a vegan diet be better for the planet than a moderate omnivorous diet, writes Dr Jacqueline Rowarth.

Veganism will not save the planet from climate change under current population growth scenarios.

The scientific facts are clear. A diet including a moderate amount of meat and dairy products, sourced from efficient (most product for fewest greenhouse gases (GHG)) farmers, delivers the required nutrients per person for least environmental impact.

This includes water use and nitrogen loss as well as the GHG. It also includes the impact of agricultural land use expansion and consequent impacts on biodiversity. . .

More seeking country life – Gerald Piddock:

The dynamics of country living are changing as more urban dwellers ditch the city for the provinces.

The shift to smaller towns and centres came as covid-19 changed people’s work habits, as well as soaring house prices and living costs in major cities.

This was highlighted in an Infometrics analysis released late last year, which showed 11 out of 67 districts including Horowhenua, Thames-Coromandel and Selwyn all had increases in population growth from internal migration.

Selwyn had the largest inflow of internal migration, with a net contribution of 2100 people. Tauranga City came in second with an inflow of 1900, followed by Waikato District (1200), Waimakariri (1100) and Whāngārei (920). . . 

Here’s the chance for Fonterra to show a leadership role and spur the others with its milk price – Point of Order:

Dairy prices increased by 3.9% across the board at the latest Fonterra global auction. The lift followed rises of 1.3% and 4.3% in the December auctions which took dairy prices to their highest level in 11 months, defying those analysts who believed Covid-19 had disrupted dairy markets.

In the latest auction WMP rose 3.1% to $US3,300 a tonne, its highest level in 12 months. Other significant movements included a 7.2% lift in the price for butter to $US4,452 a tonne.

ANZ agricultural economist Susan Kilsby said the auction results came as a great surprise and as a very positive start to the new year. She contends it strengthens the likelihood Fonterra’s milk price payout this season will be closer to the higher end of the range Fonterra is currently forecasting. . .

NZ in one picture: Rush hour in rural Hawke’s Bay as 3000 sheep moved over one-way bridge – Christian Fuller:

A one-lane bridge packed with 3000 sheep created a quintessentially Kiwi traffic jam in Central Hawke’s Bay on Monday afternoon.

In Patangata there’s few motorists in a hurry anyway, but speedy work meant there was no need for ewe-turns as the flock was shifted across Tukituki River bridge on Elsthorpe Rd.

Waipawa Butchery and Patangata Station owner Duncan Smith said the sheep were part of his flock and were being transported to the shearing part of the farm.

“We try to keep the movement of that many sheep to an absolute minimum,” he said. “But in total, it only took seven minutes to get the 3000 across.” . . .

$14m investment in PharmaZen nutraceuticals nets two new factories – Amanda Cropp:

A $14m injection from an international investor will help biotech company PharmaZen build two new factories at Rolleston south of Christchurch.

The Cibus Fund, a major agri technology investor, is taking a 13.8 per cent stake in PharmaZen, which will issue Cibus with 35 million new shares at 40 cents a share.

PharmaZen​ trades under the name Waitaki Biosciences, making nutraceuticals from black currants, kiwifruit, green shell mussels and animal by-products.

General manager Craig McIntosh​ said the expansion would create about 25 new jobs, with a doubling of output over the next 18 months. . .

NSW Local Land Services urges North West and Northern Tablelands farmers to be on high alert for locusts – Billy Jupp:

FARMERS in the state’s northern regions are being urged to be on high alert for Australian Plague Locusts after recent outbreaks.

North West and Northern Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS) issued the warning after reports of banding locust nymphs in the Moree, Goondiwindi, North Star, Yetman and Warialda areas.

Recent weather conditions have proved to be the perfect breeding ground for the pests, allowing their nymphs to hatch and progress through their lifecycle. . .


Higher savings, more jobs, higher wages

04/01/2013

A bigger savings pool would lead to more jobs and higher wages, a report by Infometrics, commissioned by the Financial Services Council (FSC) says.

• If KiwiSaver can achieve closer to universal coverage, say 80 percent of the workforce and contributions move up to 10 percent, (5 percent from employees and matched 5 percent by employers) the KiwiSaver fund would grow from its current level of $13 billion today to $731 billion by 2066.

• The impacts on the economy for New Zealand would be substantial and include investment in new jobs, an improvement in worker productivity and wage rates, slightly lower interest rates and a more resilient economy during recessions.

• Those starting work today would also get twice the pensions they would be entitled to currently from just NZ Super when they finish their working careers. They would look forward to a comfortable lifestyle, compared to those retiring today.

• To reach the $731 billion goal new KiwiSaver enrolees would need to increase their contributions by 1 percent a year to reach a total of 10 percent. This is an extra half percent a year each from themselves and their employer, over 10 years from 2015 to 2024.

• Existing KiwiSaver members whose contributions currently average 5 percent of income rising to a minimum of 6 percent this year, would only need to increase contributions by 1 percent a year for four years to achieve a 10 percent contribution rate for the rest of their working years and reach the $731 billion goal.

• The average KiwiSaver contribution at 5 percent is well below other countries and way short of what is needed to provide people starting work today with a comfortable retirement income for their expected longer retirement.

• Australian employers, who currently pay 9 percent, will move up to 12 percent over the balance of this decade.

• Two million New Zealanders and some 50 percent of the workforce are currently signed up to KiwiSaver.

• Existing KiwiSaver funds are already creating a significant boost for younger New Zealanders purchasing their first home. In 2012 KiwiSaver funded deposits on 10,000 first homes, worthy around $3 billion.

• Money is being invested into fast-growing New Zealand businesses and helping those businesses maintain a New Zealand base and ownership.

• KiwiSaver is creating a cushion against future economic downturns by ensuring capital continues to flow into companies because the contributions don’t stop being invested in response to short-term events, such as a share market downturn.

The Financial Services Council (FSC) has funded the research to stimulate further discussion. It will test New Zealanders appetite for a universal KiwiSaver Plus savings scheme with market research.

New Zealanders’ poor savings record makes us dependent on overseas borrowing which in turn makes our economy more vulnerable.

This has been gradually changing over the past four years and we’re now saving more than we’re earning – just.

An increase in saving would be better for individuals and the economy but I’m wary of a move to compulsory saving.

Paying off a mortgage or investing in a business could well be a better financial option for some people than a compulsory savings scheme.


First do no harm

18/06/2009

First do no harm is a guiding principle in medicine.

If politicians and bureaucrats abided by it too we wouldn’t be saddled with the Kyoto Protocol in its current form. Nor would New Zealand be in danger of scoring an on-goal economically while at best making no impact on the environment and almost certainly  making it worse.

However, a joint report by the NZIER and Infometrics provides a glimmer of hope that reason might be brought to bear on our Kyoto commitments.

Environment Minister Nick SMith said at its release:

This report concludes that a modified emissions trading scheme is the best way forward. I am releasing this report to assist with informed public debate on climate change.

“The report highlights that the costs to New Zealand’s climate change policy are significantly greater if other countries do not put a price on carbon. This reinforces the Government’s policy of aligning our response more closely with other countries.

The report concludes:

On balance, our recommendation in the short run is to introduce an ETS with free allocation to competitiveness-at-risk sectors, with agriculture excluded if measurement of its emissions is prohibitively expensive. Free allocation should be output-linked and phased out as our competitors adopt carbon pricing. If agriculture is initially excluded it should be transitioned into the ETS, with free allocation if required, as measurement becomes economic.

The hardworking MP for Eketahuna, Alf Grumble, reckons this will give agriculture a bit of breathing space. I trust he’s lobbying his colleagues to ensure it does.


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