Rural round-up

25/05/2013

What Fonterra’s CEO tells the Dutch – David Williams:

When he was playing rugby at university, Theo Spierings’ 1.96m frame was an advantage.

The Dutchman probably doesn’t think about it much now, as he leans more towards sailing than rugby, and is kept busy running New Zealand’s biggest company, Fonterra.

But for media, Mr Spierings’ height is crucial: it makes him easy to spy across a room where, literally, he can be (shaved) head and shoulders above the rest. . .

Drought blamed for export drop – James Weir:

The summer drought took a bite out of dairy and meat export volumes in April although higher commodity prices helped the dairy values hold almost steady for the month.

Seasonally adjusted figures showed total exports fell almost 9 per cent in April, compared with March, as meat, logs, timber and oil exports dropped in the month.

While exports were down, imports were also stronger than expected, leading to a much smaller than expected trade surplus of $157m in April.

The trade balance is expected to get worse in coming months because of the lingering effect of the summer drought on dairy and meat exports. . .

Kiwifruit Post Harvest Operators Join Forces in Support of Zespri Structure:

As a group of post harvest operators in the New Zealand kiwifruit industry, we represent approximately 76 percent of the total volume of kiwifruit exports.
Whilst we are quite diverse in our ownership structures, as a group we represent the largest capital investment in the New Zealand kiwifruit industry, with more than $450 million in investments in orchards, packing facilities and related assets.  At the peak of the kiwifruit season, we employ more than 8,500 people in our post harvest facilities and return approximately $100 million through wages and salaries to the communities in which we operate. . .

Tomatoes New Zealand Encouraged By Minister Kaye’s Move On Irradiated Produce:

Tomatoes New Zealand says the decision not to enforce compulsory individual labelling of irradiated Australian tomatoes and capsicums is disappointing, but the industry organisation believes their concerns have been heard.

In a letter to Tomatoes New Zealand received this week, the Minister for Food Safety Nikki Kaye said she understood Tomatoes New Zealand’s concerns with ensuring irradiated produce was clearly labelled and wanted to work with the organisation to ensure labelling requirements are enforced.

Alasdair MacLeod, Chair of Tomatoes New Zealand, says; “We called for Minister Kaye to put in place tougher labelling requirements for irradiated tomatoes. . .

Cowbassadors take Wellington by storm:

Finalists from the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) are taking central Wellington by storm, fundraising for Ronald McDonald House Wellington. Farmers are on the streets in force ahead of the NZDIA finals tonight under Master of Ceremonies, TV3 News’ Mike McRoberts.

“I guess these cow balloons raise dairying to new heights,” quipped Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“There are dairy farmers in central Wellington right now ahead of tonight’s New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards. Being part of the community, they are selling the balloons and doing other tasks to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Wellington. . .

And from Introverts are Awesome:


Why pump sewage uphill?

27/05/2008

James Weir writes in the Dominion that if there’s no rain in the next three weeks we’ll be asked to start conserving power. Hydro storage is down to 54% of average, the worst levels since the 1992 power crisis.

 

It isn’t very difficult to save a bit of power – The Listener (preview available now full story on-line in a month) reckons that turning off at the wall the “vampire” appliances which suck power while on standby will save $75 a year – but an uncharitable corner of my mind is asking why bother?

 

I understand the problem we’re facing and that every little bit helps. But I also wonder what’s the point of individuals doing our little bits when for example, Queenstown Lakes District Council is building a sewerage scheme which will pump Wanaka’s sewage 10 kilometres uphill all day, every day.

 

Let’s set aside the question of what happens when power fails, as it does now and then when it snows; and the fact that the oxidation ponds where the sewage ends up will attract birds which could cause problems for the nearby airport.

 

Let’s just ask why, when we’re supposed to be aiming for sustainability; when gravity is free and less prone to breakdowns than electricity; when ratepayers (of whom I am one) are already struggling with the cost of infrastructure for the rapidly growing town; would you build a new scheme which requires you to pump sewage that distance uphill with the attendant financial and environmental costs?

 

Hat tip: The Hive


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