More welfare for well-off

July 6, 2018

KiwiBuild is yet more welfare for the wealthy:

KiwiBuild promised to deliver 100,000 affordable houses to help first-home buyers realise the Kiwi dream.

It promised to help average Kiwis into their first home.

But the income test is anything but average. The income caps are so high they may as well not exist.

KiwiBuild promised to deliver 100,000 affordable houses to help first-home buyers realise the Kiwi dream.

It promised to help average Kiwis into their first home.

But the income test is anything but average. The income caps are so high they may as well not exist.

A solo buyer can earn up to $120,000 a year. A couple can earn up to $180,000.

The median income in New Zealand is just under $50,000, and median household income is just over $82,000. . . 

If the government was serious about helping people buy houses it would address the underlying causes of the shortage – the RMA and zoning constraints; the consent requirements and processes; and the high cost of building materials.

Buying houses that would have been built already, selling them to anyone but the top 8% of income earners, regardless of their asset backing and allowing them to sell again and pocket the windfall gain after only three years is economic and political stupidity.

If the well-off can’t afford to buy houses without assistance there’s something wrong with their money management and/or the housing market.

Providing more welfare for the wealthy won’t solve either of those problems.

As the Taxpayers’ Unions shows, the government promised a masterpiece and has delivered a doodle.


Rural round-up

February 23, 2017

Samuels sets world shearing record

Southland shearer Leon Samuels today set a new world solo eight-hours strongwool ewe-shearing record after a tally of 605 in a woolshed north of Gore.
Shearing at Argyle Station, Waikaia, Samuels was targeting the solo record of 603 set by Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia in December 2010.

He kept the large crew and growing number of supporters until the dying moments, claiming the record only in the last two minutes of the day which comprised four two-hours runs, the first starting at 7am, and the last ending when sheep number 605 was shut through the porthole just after 5pm. . . 

Fonterra confirms 2016/17 farmgate milk forecast:

Fonterra is required to consider its forecast Farmgate Milk Price every quarter as a condition of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act. For this purpose, Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today confirmed the forecast Farmgate Milk Price of $6.00 per kgMS announced in November.

When combined with the forecast earnings per share range for the 2017 financial year of 50 to 60 cents, the total pay-out available to farmers in the current season is forecast to be $6.50 to $6.60 before retentions.

Fonterra Chairman John Wilson says the Co-operative is confident that this forecast is at the right level, following the 75 cent rise in its forecast Farmgate Milk Price in November last year. . .

A semi-retired farmer hits back at Fonterra antis – Barrie Smith:

Over the last few months we have been hearing more from the anti-dairy group from around NZ.

Yes I am a semi-retired dairy farmer, have been involved in Federated Farmers since the age of 23 years, been a councillor on the Stratford County Council and Stratford District Council plus a term on our Regional Council.

It is through this period that one has been involved with research, development and hands-on involvement that makes me very confident our dairying and agriculture in Taranaki and NZ is in good heart.

Because of this, agriculture brings wealth to not only our economy but hundreds of thousands of families as well as feeding over one billion of our 7.4 billion world population. . .

Rotorua dairy farmer Chris Stevens runs three farms – Anne Boswell:

Kaharoa dairy farmer Chris Stevens has some advice for salespeople visiting her farm.

“If they come to the door and ask to speak to my husband, we are unlikely to do business,” she laughs.

Stevens, who grew up on a Gisborne dairy farm, admits she never had a great desire to run her and her husband Chris Haworth’s three dairy farms, but it is a role she has grown to love. . .

Battered Highfield woolshed to be saved – Amanda Bowes:

It may be buckled, bent and shifted off its piles from a ruptured fault running under it, but the historic Highfield woolshed near Waiau will be saved.

The woolshed, which was the first home for the Amuri A&P Association’s shows, was completely shifted off its piles during the November earthquake. . .

Backbench National MP milks cow, drinks milk – Jenna Lynch:

Think shearing a sheep is the ultimate display of being in touch with rural New Zealand?

Think again.

Try milking a cow and drinking the fruits of your labour.

That’s what National MP Barbara Kuriger did over the weekend at the Taranaki Vintage Machinery Club Vintage Hay Days.

Study finds farmers walk faster than any other occupation – Peter McCann:

People from farming backgrounds walk faster than any other occupation group, a study of Irish people aged over 50 years old has found.
The study was conducted by researchers at Trinity College Dublin and surveyed 5,985 from a range of backgrounds to examine relationships between changes in occupation during their lifetimes and physical functionality later in life.

The study, published in the Journals of Gerontology, found that respondents from farming backgrounds walked 0.04m/s faster compared with other occupational groups. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

March 30, 2015

Candid advocate top dairy woman – Sally Rae:

West Coast dairy farmer Katie Milne was recently named Dairy Woman of the Year. She talks to agribusiness reporter Sally Rae. 

Katie Milne is a straight shooter.

So it’s not hard to imagine those attending a meeting on the West Coast, in the early 1990s, took notice when she went along with some concerns about the Resource Management Act’s impact on her ability to farm.

There were a large number of Federated Farmers people there, but they were ”all older fellas with grey hair”. . .

Landcorp’s Carden optimistic despite low half year profit – Allan Barber:

The state owned farmer Landcorp last month reported a substantial drop in both revenue and profit for the six months ended 31 December last year, but CEO Steve Carden is still very positive about future prospects and the importance of Landcorp as a farming business.

In response to a question about the impact of dairy and whether the exposure to it has gone too far, he said he felt the balance was about right at a similar proportion to red meat which had traditionally been the dominant farming type. Dairy represented over half the turnover last year, but in the current year that percentage had fallen to 46%, as evident from the almost $10 million decline in first half year revenue. . .

Synlait releases Interim Report for 2015 financial year:

Synlait Milk has posted a $6.4 million net loss after tax for the first six months to 31 January in the 2015 financial year (FY15).

This result includes after tax unrealised foreign exchange losses of $6.8 million.

The underlying after tax financial performance of $0.4 million for the period was lower than expected and primarily due to delays in the shipment of infant formula and nutraceutical products.

A one-off, after tax product mix benefit of $7.5 million in the first half of FY14, combined with increased depreciation and interest costs from the commissioning of three growth initiatives projects in the second half of FY14, are the primary reasons for a $11.7 million variation between the underlying FY15 interim result of $0.4 million and the FY14 interim result of $12.1 million net profit after tax. . .

New kiwifruit variety revives industry – Jenna Lynch:

Kiwifruit growers are celebrating a bumper export season, with fruit volumes at their highest since the outbreak of the vine-killing disease Psa in 2010.

The disease devastated New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry, costing growers millions.

But a new variety has helped bring the industry back from the brink of collapse.

It’s the industry king, its green brother fetching a fraction of its price, but after years of small crop yield due to Psa the gold kiwifruit is back. . .

Kiwifruit industry set for strong growth in 2015 season:

The first kiwifruit charter ship for 2015 is set to sail from the Port of Tauranga tomorrow (Sunday 28 March), marking the start of a season promising strong growth with volumes back to pre-Psa levels this season, Zespri’s Chief Executive Lain Jager says.

The 2015 harvest began in orchards in Gisborne, Katikati and Te Puke last week, with the first charter shipments of gold kiwifruit leaving on the MV Atlantic Erica today for Zespri’s long-standing premium market of Japan. Zespri has chartered 55 refrigerated ships – including five ships direct to Shanghai – and 8,000 refrigerated containers to carry the 2015 Zespri harvest to 54 countries around the world. . .

Swedes farmer survey results coming in May:

The results of an in-depth farmer survey carried out to help understand the factors behind the toxic swedes issues that hit Southland dairy herds last year are expected to be available by the end of May.

DairyNZ’s Southland regional leader Richard Kyte says DairyNZ interviewed 134 affected and unaffected farmers and 34 graziers last year as part of its study into why many cows became ill after feeding on swedes last season. The detailed interviews followed a general short survey of all dairy farmers that generated more than 400 replies. Analysis of all the survey data is now nearly complete.

“We interviewed farmers across the region to help us understand whether farm management practices may have been a contributing factor. We had some delays in getting the data from the field as farmers got busy just as we started approaching them for information. Until all this analysis is complete, we won’t know if we need to gather more background information. We are expecting to have the results of all this work released to farmers from around mid to late May,” he says. . .

 

Consultation on Campylobacter performance targets open:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is asking for feedback on a range of proposed options for testing of Campylobacter in poultry.

The consultation considers the need for any change to Campylobacter performance targets – contamination limits poultry processors must meet as part of MPI’s routine testing for Campylobacter in broiler chickens.

Paul Dansted, MPI’s Acting Director Systems Audit, Assurance and Monitoring, says that while there have been significant improvements in the control of Campylobacter since performance targets were introduced, it’s important they are continually reviewed. . .

 


Rural round-up

October 29, 2013

Futuristic drones to watch your sheep – Howard Keene:

Kiwi agriculture scholarship winner sees drones having a big potential in the industry.

Natasha King went overseas on a Nuffield Scholarship recently to primarily look for energy-generating solutions to New Zealand’s effluent disposal problems, but also became fascinated by some of the new technologies she came across.

“It wasn’t my area, but I became interested in it as a basic farmer from New Zealand,” Ms King, who is Meridian Energy’s national agribusiness manager based in Christchurch, said. . .

Steaks high in trans-Tasman Trans-Tasman beef battle – Jenna Lynch &  Elton Smallman:

The Kiwi and Aussie battle is heating up again, but there’s no sport in sight. This time it’s a battle of the beef.

Australian red meat is making its way across ditch and filling a gap in our supermarkets, as Kiwi beef farmers recover from last summer’s drought.

But how does the Aussie beef compare to a good homegrown Kiwi steak?

Well there’s only one way to find out: A blind taste test. . .

Lots of changes in industry, but basic principles remain the same – Yvonne OHara:

Winning the first and second Southland regional Sharemilker of the Year competitions and coming second by half a point in the national competition was memorable and disappointing for Karen Bellew and Stephen Malone.

The former Edendale 50/50 sharemilkers, who have since separated, won the inaugural regional competition in 1990 but it was held too late for them to compete in the national final.

However, they were allowed to enter the Southland event the following year and won again. . .

Lincoln University to apply expertise to restoration project:

International mining company Rio Tinto has confirmed that it will continue funding a major ecological restoration project currently underway at Punakaiki on the South Island’s West Coast.

The Punakaiki Coastal Restoration Project (PCRP) has been underway for five years and is part of a four-way partnership between Lincoln University, Rio Tinto, the Department for Conservation (DoC) and Conservation Volunteers New Zealand (CVNZ). Professor of Ecology, Nicholas Dickinson , and his colleagues in the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences have been spear-heading the project for Lincoln University.

Rio Tinto has committed to another three years of funding the PCRP, which involves the restoration of a 70-hectare site that has been negatively impacted over the years through both mining and agriculture. The company originally bought the site to mine ilmenite (an oxide of titanium), but later gifted it to DoC. . . .

Tarras Water weighs options:

Tarras Water Ltd is still afloat, even if the company’s hopes for a dry shareholder have been sunk, director Peter Jolly says.

When contacted by Southern Rural Life last week, Mr Jolly said the company’s shareholders were looking at their options, including some which would not involve Tarras Water Ltd.

The company’s board was still meeting regularly and had a ”telephone link-up” about three weeks ago and an ”informal” meeting last week, he said.

However, the board had abandoned hope of a dry shareholder taking equity in the company, he said. . .

Council downsizes, reports increased event attendance  – Timothy Brown:

Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s Central South Island Council decided on a smaller council at its annual meeting in Cromwell last week, reducing the number of councillors from four to three.

South Canterbury farmer Andrew Fraser stepped down, and the three other councillors, Blair Smith, Ivan Geary and Robert Peacock were re-elected unopposed. . .

Council downsizes, reports increased event attendance


Rural round-up

July 29, 2013

ZESPRI CEO can’t rule out more issues in China:

ZESPRI’s CEO Lain Jager told Q+A host Susan Wood he couldn’t rule out more trade issues in China because “what was accepted practice in China isn’t accepted practice any more. There is a real focus on corruption,” but he says the company is doing all it can to make sure it is fit for business.
 
Earlier this month, a ZESPRI subsidiary lost its appeal in China against a smuggling conviction for under declaring customs duties between 2008 and 2010 which saw the company fined nearly a million dollars.
 
Today on Q+A, Jager distanced ZESPRI from the actions of the importer there. . .

Minor fire in Synlait boiler – Alan Wood:

Synlait Milk says a fire in one of its boilers at its Dunsandel plant will not impact production plans.

The Canterbury milk nutrition products producer said it had a minor fire in one of its boilers the plant south of Christchurch yesterday evening.

The manufacturer today said all automated systems functioned properly and the fire brigade were alerted directly when the smoke sensor was activated in the boiler facility. Several fire appliances were at the scene on standby during the incident.

The company, which has recently raised capital, said no damage was suffered and the boiler was now fully operational. . .

Town girl aiming for life on land – Sally Rae:

Alena Schwartfeger may have had an urban upbringing but her heart is now firmly in the country.

Miss Schwartfeger (18) has been awarded the Beef and Lamb New Zealand Telford Agribusiness Scholarship for 2013, which contributes to the cost of tuition fees up to a maximum of $4000.

Originally from Hawera in Taranaki, she came to Telford last year and completed a certificate in agriculture and, this year, is studying towards a diploma in rural business. . .

Fertiliser price cut aids dairy – Tim Cronshaw:

Further price cuts to fertilisers will be welcomed by dairy farmers, but fertilisers are likely to be off the shopping list for money- tight sheep and beef farmers recovering from a tough drought.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is normally the first of the major fertiliser co-operatives to put out a new price list, but Ravensdown took the lead this week.

Ravensdown lowered the price of urea by $55 a tonne to $660/t and diammonium phosphate (DAP) by the same amount to $865/t. . .

Back to basics secret to successful farm – Tony Benny:

The farmer who topped the Lincoln University Dairy Farm’s profitability by 12 per cent says there’s no secret formula – it comes down to doing the basics well.

“There’re four or five real basic things but they’re quite hard to achieve,” said Mark Slee.

“It’s getting cows in good condition prior to calving and that’s one of the hardest things to keep doing year in, year out.” . . .

 

Four little lambs settle in – Jenna Lynch:

A busy Waikato mum has her work cut out for her after the sudden arrival of quadruplets this week.

Peter Bos’ ewe gave birth to four small woolly bundles of joy on Thursday night – amazingly, all happy and healthy.

As the ewe has only two teats, the chance of survival for all four lambs would normally be very minimal, said New Zealand Sheep Breeders Association president Ian Stevenson.

“If you’ve got bossy brothers, you mightn’t get too much to drink,” he said. . .


Rural round-up

June 13, 2013

Fieldays: Ag’s productivity in question -Richard Rennie:

The high costs of owning and running New Zealand farms have blunted the sector’s productivity over the past decade, raising concerns over ongoing competitiveness.

The concerns come as Mystery Creek once again plays host to the National Fieldays showcasing the latest technology, aimed to drive more productivity into farm operations.

Phil Journeaux, a long-time analyst with Ministry for Primary Industries and now consultant with AgFirst, has voiced his concerns over the pastoral sector’s low total productivity gains. . . .

Global food in focus at Fieldays – James Ihaka:

Mystery Creek organisers hope to top last year’s attendance when 128,000 people came through the gates.

Kiwi farmers’ expertise could help solve the problem of how to feed the world’s rapidly growing population in the years ahead, says the boss of agriculture show Fieldays.

But for now, the organisers of this year’s event at Mystery Creek and its hundreds of exhibitors are hoping they will just show up and spend some cash when the gates open today.

“Getting down to business in the global economy” is the theme at this year’s Fieldays, which is the biggest agricultural show of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. . .

Our farming practices are lauded by communities half a world away but only seen by local councils as ‘milch

 cows – Bruce Wills:

Federated Farmers Vice-President, Dr William Rolleston, not only attended the Green Party’s mini-conference on climate change but returned with all of his limbs intact.

For all of the misreporting about agriculture and the Emissions Trading Scheme, we are in it as much as you are reading this.

From fuel to power and ‘number eight’ wire, farmers pay the ETS like everybody else.

The only difference is the treatment of farm biological emissions and even here there seems to be movement. . . .

Farmers have no problem taking responsibility when things go wrong but that should apply to bureaucrats too – Bruce Wills:

The proverb “for want of a nail” has been around for centuries and reminds us very small things can have very big consequences.

In 1918 a certain Adolph Hitler was injured in battle and for want of a few millimetres, our world may have been a very different one.

The proverb neatly sums up the fiasco that has been New Zealand’s handling of meat documentation for China. . .

More mental health support for drought affected communities:

Farmers affected by this year’s devastating drought are being offered more help, with workshops about how to recognise and cope with mental health problems, Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew announced today.

“Working in very stressful and difficult circumstances can have a significant effect on a person’s mental health and those in the rural community can be vulnerable after such a large-scale event,” says Mrs Goodhew.

The Ministry of Health is working with local rural organisations in the drought-declared rural communities to hold a short series of workshops teaching people to recognise the signs of mental health problems and know how to respond.  The dates and locations of the workshops will be announced shortly. . .

Aussie bachelor says he’s got the class to show up kiwis – Jame Ihaka:

Australian farmer Sam Trethewey says there is just one factor that separates him from a bunch of strapping New Zealand hopefuls all vying to win the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year award.

“Class,” he said. “We don’t wear stubbies or beanies over there, mate, we do things with a bit of class.”

The 29-year-old who farms merino sheep, beef and various crops on a property near Bannockburn, southwest of Melbourne, is one of eight rural Romeos competing for a $20,000-plus prize pool in the popular Fieldays event that’s making a comeback after a year’s absence. . .

Cheesemaking bachelor-style – Jenna Lynch:

It would be fair to assume that our Fieldays Rural Bachelor boys know how to milk a cow, but how far do their skills stretch when comes to producing the end product?

In today’s heat 3 of the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year competition the lads had their culinary skills pushed to the limit in a Masterchef style Cheese-off.

Each of the strapping young contenders was required to produce a hunk of haloumi from raw ingredients, after being schooled by a cheese maker from Over the Moon Cheese.  . .


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