Rural-round-up

June 26, 2018

New Zealand primary sector nervous over prospect of trade wars – Jamie Gray:

New Zealand’s primary sector is viewing the rising tide of global trade protectionism with trepidation, but escalating trade tensions between the United States and China have yet to spill over into this country’s main exports.

Primary sector and trade representatives welcomed last week’s launch of trade talks with the EU as positive step.

At the time, European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström voiced concerns about trade issues that have plagued markets in recent weeks after the US Donald Trump administration imposed steel and aluminium tariffs and the US and China stepped up their war of words. . . 

Guy Trafford traces the implications for agricultural trade flows from the game of poker the US is playing with China. All sides are vulnerable, even those not directly involved – Guy Trafford:

President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping are involved in a high stakes game of poker. Trump played the first hand with a $5 0billion tariff card. Xi Jinping immediately matched it with a similar call and put tariffs on US products, namely sorghum and soya beans.

Trump then matched and raised the stakes by increasing the tariffs to another $200 billion with the threat that if China matched this then another raise to $450 billion would be played.

This threat would put tariffs on over 90% of China’s exports to the US. . . 

Clampdown on foreign farm buyers scares off investors with ‘tens of millions’ in funds, agents say – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – The government’s directive to the Overseas Investment Office to raise the bar in overseas applications to buy sensitive New Zealand land has scared away tens of millions of dollars in investments in rural property and will hurt farm values, real estate firms say.

The ministerial directive in a letter from Finance Minister Grant Robertson last November to Land Information NZ chief Andrew Crisp said the government is concerned to ensure any benefits from overseas investment in rural land “are genuinely substantial and identifiable” and economic benefits must be considered alongside environmental, social and cultural goals. Owning sensitive New Zealand assets was “a privilege, not a right.” The directive came into effect on Dec. 15 last year. . . 

Foreign farm buyer applications withdrawn in the past 12 months have tripled, OIO figures show – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – The rate at which potential foreign buyers of New Zealand farms subsequently withdrew their applications to the Overseas Investment Office tripled in the past 12 months, OIO figures show.

The data captures the period since the government’s directive to the OIO to tighten rules for overseas applications to buy sensitive New Zealand land (which means any farmland over 5 hectares). The ministerial directive in a letter from Finance Minister Grant Robertson last November to Land Information NZ chief Andrew Crisp said the government aims to ensure any benefits from overseas investment in rural land “are genuinely substantial and identifiable” and economic benefits must be considered alongside environmental, social and cultural goals. Owning sensitive New Zealand assets was “a privilege, not a right.” The directive came into effect on Dec. 15 last year. . . 

Bayer Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2018 announced:

Congratulations to Jonathan Hunt from Delegats, Crownthorpe Vineyard, who became the Bayer Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2018 on Thursday 21st June.

This is the third year Hunt has competed and he is thrilled to have won the title and to be going on to represent Hawke’s Bay in the National Final.

Congratulations also goes to Nick Putt from Villa Maria who came second and Grace Petrie from Trinity Hill who came third. . . 

Creative tea and coffee trends good news for NZ dairy:

It’s tea, but not as you know it. Right now people are adding more than just milk and sugar to their cuppa’s and Fonterra is set to meet the demand for adventurous tea and coffee drinks around the world.

Beverages made with yoghurt, topped with cream cheese and mixed with cream are growing in popularity, leading Fonterra to establish a new channel within its Global Foodservice business, Beverage House.

Almost 600 million cups of tea and coffee are consumed out-of-home daily in the Asia Pacific region, a 22% increase on five years ago. . . 

Report Provides Zero Carbon Solution:

Smoke free, plastic free but, more significantly, tillage free.

A report to the Productivity Commission is recommending “bold action” to eliminate tillage or ploughing within the next five to 10 years and replace it with low disturbance no-tillage.

Every time soil is tilled through conventional methods, it releases huge quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere which contribute to global warming.

While the government has introduced a Zero Carbon Bill, it has overlooked the impact of cultivation which causes up to 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and the report challenges the Minister, James Shaw, through the Productivity Commission, to do something about it. . . 

In dairy, a cutthroat U.S. business versus a Canadian cartel – Jerry Zremski:

A little comparison shopping goes a long way toward explaining why President Trump decided to wage a trade war with Canada.

A gallon of milk cost $2.89 at the Tops Friendly Supermarket on Niagara Street last week, while the same product at the Avonmart on Garrison Road in Fort Erie cost $3.35 in American dollars. And Fort Erie shoppers are getting a bargain: According to Numbeo, a crowd-sourced comparison price guide, the average cost for a gallon of milk throughout Canada is $6.32 in American dollars, nearly twice the U.S. price.

And it’s all because the United States and Canada operate their dairy industries in ways that are as different as a bald eagle and a maple leaf. . . 

World Desertification Day: Stories of Resilience from Somalia :

In observation of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, delve into four stories of resilience from desert lands in Somalia. Meet two farmers and two female entrepreneurs, who—supported by the Somalia Emergency Drought Response and Recovery Project (SEDRP)—share their experiences of grit, hope, and resilience despite years of drought and famine risks.  Together with partners, particularly the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the project aimed to scale-up drought response and recovery in Somalia.

1. An impressive harvest, a happy farmer

The story of Saed Mohamud may not typically be expected from Somalia in 2017, two years into a severe drought that put the country in a nationwide state of natural disaster and famine—yet Mohamud is not alone. In 2017, thousands of families beat the odds and produced good yields, thanks to concerted efforts from government and partners, and solid donor investment in building farmers’ resilience against drought. . .


Is it because they’re female, successful or both?

September 10, 2009

Trans Tasman makes an interesting observation on Labour MPs’ attitude to National Ministers Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley.

We have noted before Labour’s viscerally venomous attitude towards National Ministers Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley. This goes way beyond the normal tensions of political conflict. Labour MPs – especially their women MPs – appear to find the very existence of Bennett and Education Minister Tolley infuriating. You can almost see the wall of red mist descending over Labour’s front bench every time those two Ministers get up to speak.

 . . . The attitude is actually an odd kind of snobbery. There is an unspoken “how DARE you?!” from Labour’s front bench towards Bennett and Tolley. It is a rage these women, who in Labour’s eyes should be, firstly, on a benefit themselves somewhere and, secondly, loyally supporting Labour as a consequence. They don’t like the fact the two have made rather more of their lives.

This antipathy to National women MPs isn’t new. In her autobiography, Making A Difference, Ruth Richardson wrote:

. . .. . .  Jonathan Hunt, the Chief Opposition Whip, himself a bachelor, had shown both kindness and understanding to me when I was pregnant by promising me a pair . . . But Jonathan had not counted on the cattiness of his female colleagues. Apparently I had failed the political correctness test in their eyes; failed to conform to some sisterhood code of which I knew not.  . . . My pair was withdrawn, much to Jonathan’s abiding embarrassment . . .

Whether it’s because they’re women, successful or both it’s appalling behaviour.

You’d think people who wail about the glass ceiling which keeps women down might practice what they preach.

If we judge them by their actions rather than their words, we could be excused for believing that they are only interested in women having careers if they sing from the same political song sheet as they do.

Trans Tasman is a weekly political and ecnomic newsletter. You can subscribe here.


Aint nothing like a Dame or a Knight

March 8, 2009

It wasn’t an election pledge but several months ago John Key did say National might review the honours system.

They have and the result is a reinstatement of titular honours.

The new system will apply from June and the 85 people who were appointed Principal and Distinguished Companions *1 of the New Zealand Order of Merit between 2000 and 2008 will be given the choice of accepting a title.

When this change was mooted last October I wrote:

The egalitarian in me balks at hereditary titles, but I am more warmly disposed to those people have earned.

There may be arguments about some who’ve got honours but they are the exceptions because most are deserved.

I had the privilege of sitting on a board with Sir Robin Gray and recently had dinner with friends where Sir Brian Lahore was also a guest. Both enhance the honour rather than the reverse and I think that is true for most recipients.

However, whether or not titles are reintroduced I would like a change to the current system which few understand.

If we’re going to have our own honours we should make them properly our own and award our brightest and best the Order of the Kiwi.

That would be a fittingly New Zealand way of honouring someone without getting too effusive because the recipients would then be Jo (or Joe) Bloggs OK 🙂

I haven’t changed my mind on any of that and hope the reinstatement of titular honours is the first step towards a New Zealand system of honours which is less wordy and more easily understood than the current one.

And given it’s International Women’s Day when we might be considering gender equality – it’s time some thought was given to what to call the spice*2 of those who are honoured.

The correct address for the wife of a Sir Whoever What’sit is Lady What’sit not Lady Herownname. The husband of a Dame stays a Mister and I don’t think the partners of those in a civil union or who are partners in life but not by law rate in the etiquette books.

I am sure that most of those honoured would give their spice some of the credit so I’m not totally averse to them gaining a special honourific in recognition of their other half’s honour – but either all spice gain one or none.

*1 – whoever came up with that longwinded explanation for good bloke/blokess needs to go back to communication school.

*2 – spice: a plural noun which covers more than one spouse or partner.

UPDATE: Stephen Franks  wonders:

whether any of the Labour notables who’ve disparaged “imperial honours” but honoured themselves with post-colonial orders that now convert back into Knight and Dame-hoods, will have the grace to decline John Key’s generous invitation?

He also notes that the Order of New Zealand was created as a non-titular honour so people like Jim Bolger and Jonathan Hunt won’t have to resist the temptation to have a title.

UPDATE 2: Monkeywithtypewriter reckons being able to choose is choice.


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