Quotes of the month

August 1, 2020

Nearly every day….I get a random stranger go out of their way to walk up to me in the street and say ‘I want to let you know I’m very grateful for what you do’. So at some point you decide do you want to listen to the one negative person, or 50 positive people?.’ – Paula Bennett

Homeowners in Kelburn who like the idea that we lead the world in banning plastic bags (we don’t) and seeing statues of Captain Cook replaced with Pohutukawa trees are going to spill their almond milk at the prospect of paying an annual two per cent tax on their unrealised capital gains. Wealthy Green voters, I am willing to wager, prefer looking good to doing good.Damien Grant

Let’s understand that dying is an intrinsic part of life. Let’s talk about what end-of-life care actually is and strengthen, extend and improve what we already have in our palliative care. Such care is a commitment, one we need to make. Euthanasia is an avoidance of this commitment. – Serena Jones

Without food, there is no life. The trick is to produce it in ways that also yield rich soils, thriving forests, healthy waterways and flourishing communities. As the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment pointed out 10 years ago, in tackling climate change, it’s vital to avoid perverse incentives and bad ecological outcomes. he farmers are right. At present, the incentives in the ETS are perverse, and they’re taking us in the wrong direction. It needs to be fixed before it’s too late. – Dame Anne Salmond

 Don’t jack up taxes during an economic crisis. Don’t add to the burden. Give us a break. What’s the better alternative? Blitz the low-quality spending and accelerate economic growth to generate the revenue to deal to the debt. – Mike Yardley

If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.” – J.K. Rowling

When transgender women and women are indistinguishable, women are unable to access the rights they would have if they were distinctive. . . Yet being tolerant of transgender women does not mean that one loses the ability to defend the rights of women who were born female. . . The main reason for this silence, as I see it, is the twisted logic of identity politics and its adherents. This ideology promotes a worldview that is wholly based on power structures and relationships. All of society is viewed through the prism of oppressors and oppressed. The ideology focuses on traits, such as race, gender or sexual orientation, some of which are deemed unalterable, others a matter of personal choice. Yet individual agency is generally devalued, to the benefit of collective identities that are increasingly ideologically fixed. An individual has less and less room to carve out room for her own views within each collective. A matrix has formed where those who have a higher number of marginalized traits rank higher on the victimhood ladder; their “truth” therefore counts more. – Ayaan Hirsi Ali

More funding does not address the issues of choice, accountability, value for money, and individual and community needs.Brooke van Velden

If your test is, it doesn’t matter whether someone is nice to the Labour Party, it matters if they are nice to the waiter, then Judith Collins is a very nice person. – Ben Thomas

Collins does not deal in ambiguity and nor is she likely to deliver it.Liam Hehir

You can’t be focussed on New Zealanders when you’re busy playing politics.One of the things I’ve learned over the years is you only ever learn from your mistakes, you don’t learn from your successes. The National Party is very focussed on not repeating any mistakes.” – Judith Collins

Elections are the means by which the Government has legitimacy and power; not minor inconveniences on the path to Covid-19 recovery.Henry Cooke

Collins, like Muldoon, speaks to a New Zealand that sees itself above class and race. She imagines a country where the language of political correctness has no place and anyone who works hard can get ahead. Don’t underestimate how many New Zealanders share that vision. – Josh Van Veen

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative. – Bari Weiss

To me, the point of a strong economy is to enable New Zealanders to do the most basic things in life well. A strong economy improves our chances of finding satisfying and well-paying work so that we can look after ourselves and our families – the most fundamental task each of us have. A society based on the assumption that its average citizen can’t or shouldn’t be expected to look after themselves and their families is doomed. – Paul Goldsmith

Here we had intimations at least that the prim, prissy, prudish neo-Puritanism, the Woke-Fascism unleashed on the nation by the Marxist Jacinda Ardern might have met its match. – Lindsay Perigo

She is creating a climate of terror designed to keep people cowed and bowed. It’s cynical, and I believe she was acting in the best interest of the country in the beginning, and now it’s become almost a mania. – Kerre McIvor

National’s approach to infrastructure is simple: Make decisions, get projects funded and commissioned, and then get them delivered, at least a couple of years before they are expected to be needed. That is the approach that transformed the economies of Asia from the 1960s.Judith Collins

It wasn’t that long ago when much of the global elite had conclusively decided that climate change was our world’s top priority. Then came a massive sideswiping by a global pandemic, of which we have only seen the first wave, along with an equally massive global recession. It serves as a timely reminder that an alarmism that cultivates one fear over others serves society poorly. – Bjorn Lomborg

I have no doubt that in the ranks of both main Parties there are numerous MPs with a strong Green personal agenda. If the Greens see a Parliamentary role then that should be to go into coalition with any majority Party so as to push their agenda. The indisputable fact is they’re frauds. – Sir Bob Jones 

A wealth tax is far more punitive than a capital gains tax, since rather than being raised on profits after an asset is sold, it must be found each year by people who may be asset rich but cash poor. It would become an unaffordable burden on many New Zealanders, especially those who are retired. – Dr Muriel Newman

Increasingly throwing money at dysfunctional families provides no assurance parents will suddenly become better budgeters, or not simply spend more on harmful behaviours. Gambling and substance abuse don’t just hurt the parent. They hurt the child directly (damage in the womb, physical abuse or neglect under the influence) not to mention indirectly through parental role-modelling that normalizes bad behaviours, especially violence, to their children.-  Lindsay Mitchell

My warning, however, would be that it’d be dangerous for National to become a conservatives’ party rather than a party with conservatives in it. It’s better to share power in a party that governs more often than not than it is to be the dominant force in a party that reliably gets 35% of the vote. . . The National Party is not an ideological movement. It is a political framework that allows members unified by their opposition to state socialism to pursue their various goals incrementally and co-operatively. Nobody ever gets everything they want but that’s a fact of life. – Liam Hehir

And that defines the New Zealand First dilemma. They must now campaign on the basis that they were part of a Government so they can’t credibly attack it, but they were not a big enough part to have a major influence. Richard Harman

We think it’s very important that we have everybody involved in it (planning). But I think it’s really important too is that consultation actually should be consultation, not the farce we have at the moment where everybody gets a say, and nobody gets the answer. –  Judith Collins

For me every day is now what they refer to as ‘Blursday’ because I really wouldn’t know. – Melina Schamroth

Properly funded end of life care is what needs to happen before, in my opinion, we push the nuclear button on the option of euthanasia. – Maggie Barry

It is about this time in the election cycle that the media starts crying out for policy. They want to know exactly what a party will do if elected. The problem for parties has always been that the amount of effort that goes into writing an election policy is not reflected in the amount of consideration given to it by voters. – Brigitte Morton

Laying hundreds off is no different to laying one off if you’re that one. And the reason this will play into the way we vote is because the halcyon days of the lock down are well past, and we have moved on with the inevitable, what next scenario. . .If The Warehouse, having taken the wage subsidy, can still lay off the numbers they are, and they’re far from the only ones, how many more join that queue come September 1st? And how many of those jobless quite rightly ask themselves whether teddy bears in windows, closed borders and a tanked economy with no real answer outside welfare is really worth voting for. – Mike Hosking

Hypocrisy is a normal but irritating aspect of human behaviour. We’re all hypocrites to some extent, but true hypocrites are almost admirable in their chutzpah because, unlike hypocrites who are caught doing what they try to hide, real hypocrites are outraged by vices which they themselves do in public. Their hypocrisy is so blatant that, after a while, nobody notices – it fades into the background like muzak in a shopping centre. – Roger Franklin

On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem.  – Michael Shellenberger

Peters can only win if voters see only his crafted image and ignore the reality of who he really is. But once the tricks become obvious – when the threadbare curtain concealing him is pulled back – the show man can no longer pass himself off as the Wizard of Oz. – Andrea Vance

By any measure it is the coming together of the narcissist and the plain wacky coated in self-delusion. – The Veteran

A strong economy improves our chances of finding satisfying and well-paying work so that we can look after ourselves and our families – the most fundamental task each of us have.
A society based on the assumption that its average citizen can’t or shouldn’t be expected to look after themselves and their families is doomed.  
Paul Goldsmith

Just think about it, when you step into a polling booth on September 19 you will be a bit like a practising Catholic going into a cathedral, dipping your fingers into the holy water font and blessing yourself.

After you’ve washed your hands with the sanitiser, you’ll bow over the ballot paper in the booth and be reminded how lucky you are to be alive.  – Barry Soper

Those on welfare don’t need sympathy. They need to be backed, encouraged, and supported to plan their future and see a path off welfare dependency. . . . I have always believed the answers to long-term dependency, child abuse, and neglect, and violence are in our communities. There is no programme that a politician or a bureaucrat can design that will solve these complex issues – Paula Bennett

Money is currently being thrown around but with no accountability. We have to be bold, brave. How can throwing millions and millions of dollars around and hoping some gets to those that need it most, through Government agencies and community organisations, and yet watching more people in despair be OK. – Paula Bennett

I’m far from perfect, and I know that, but my intent, my heart, my integrity has meant that I have slept well. This place is brutal. It will pick up the spade and bury you if you let it. It is relentless, but we sign up knowing that. So I went hard and full-on. For me to have not made a difference and not given it everything I’ve got would’ve been wasted time. So I end this chapter half the size but twice the woman thanks to this experience.  – Paula Bennett

Why is it through the toughest moments of our lives we learn the most, we feel the most, we have the greatest power to contribute and experience beauty? Through COVID, we saw this. Through fear, desperation, and hardship, heroes emerged. Teachers taught children from their living rooms while supporting their own families. Nurses, doctors, and checkout operators had the courage to turn up even when they were petrified. The lesson is: character and courage emerge out of trauma and hardship. The question for any generation of political leaders is: have we had the courage and character to step up and solve the hard economic and social issues of our time?  – Nikki Kaye

The National Party has been a strong force in New Zealand politics because of its values of freedom and personal responsibility—a place where social conservatives and social liberals can work for the common good. As a party, we are at our best when there is balance. That is when we are truly representative of this great nation. – Nikki Kaye

To the parliamentarians: I’ve always said I believe there are two types of parliamentarians in this place. Those that are in it for themselves and those that are in it for the country. Be the latter. Be brave and have courage. Don’t leave anything in the tank. – Nikki Kaye

In my three years as justice Minister, it very quickly became clear to me that the best thing we could do to reduce crime was to intervene many, many years before the offenders ever turn up in court. That was the basis of my absolute adoption of the importance of social investment as championed by Sir Bill English. Yes, it’s early intervention but it’s so much more and involves radical change to our delivery models if we’re going to make progress on the hard intergenerational issues.  – Amy Adams

Colleagues, the jobs we hold matter. They matter so much more than any one of us. We need good people to want to step into this arena, and we need them to do it for the best of reasons. I worry that increasingly the scorn and the vitriol that is heaped on politicians—often fairly—discourages those good people from stepping up. These jobs are tough. The life is brutal, and the public will never really see the hours, the stress, the impossibility of the perfection that is required, and the impact that life in the public eye has on our families. While you are here in your political role, it is your life. Friends, family, and our health get what’s left over, and often that’s not much. But this job deserves that level of devotion. – Amy Adams

If I have any advice for those who follow me, it would be pretty simple: do the right thing and let the politics take care of itself. Be brave, stand up on the divisive issues, and never lose sight of the difference you get to make in the time that we are here. – Amy Adams

I had the privilege of sharing a breakfast with Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime Minister at the time. Neither of us were into cold pastries or cold meat, so she ordered toast. I thought, “What are we going to put on this toast?” She said, “Don’t worry, Nathan. I’ve got it in hand.”, reached down—”Craft peanut butter. Vegemite.” We had a great discussion. The Anzac bond is incredibly strong. – Nathan Guy

It’s easy to sit on the side lines and criticise. It’s a lot more difficult to stand up and be counted. – Nathan Guy

While everyone is in recession it is a wee bit difficult to believe that we are going to be out of it. . . . We are heading into massive deficits. Households will tend to buckle down in the face of that and eventually government will have to tighten up as well. One of the things about this recession is the way it cuts across your usual categories of who is hit and who isn’t. Get ready for a long haul.- Sir Bill English

You should be concerned about systems that randomly allocate public resource to businesses under pressure. – Sir Bill English

 


Maggie Barry’s valedictory

July 24, 2020

National MP Maggie Barry delivered her valedictory statement:

Hon MAGGIE BARRY (National—North Shore): Thank you, Mr Speaker. E te Whare, tēnā koe. E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā hau e whā, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. To the leaders, to the many voices, to all the diverse people and communities of the four winds, I honour and respect and I greet you all.

I will begin by acknowledging my family and friends here in the public gallery. Many who have come to this Chamber tonight to witness my final speech, were also here for my maiden speech. I am grateful for your ongoing love, friendship, and support. It has been my honour to serve the people of the North Shore, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity and for having enough confidence in me to elect me three times, for trusting me to represent the interests of t their beloved community since 2011. In particular, I thank Gary and Leslie Monk for their ongoing friendship and support. It has meant a lot to me. To the president, Peter Goodfellow and the board member Alister Bell, for all their unquestioning help and loyalty, thank you. To Don McKinnon, a mentor and friend, and, of course, Lady Clare McKinnon, thank you. I acknowledge David McKeown, who’s been an outstanding North Shore electorate chair, a man of integrity and great fairness. I’m grateful for all he’s done for me and for all of North Shore National, and I’m also very glad he’ll be there to support the new candidate, Simon Watts, who is here in the gallery tonight.

I wish Simon all the very best for the election, as, of course, all my talented and highly competent National Party MPs and colleagues. They will thrive. I am sure, under the competent and dynamic leadership team of Judith Collins and Gerry Brownlee. I’ll be campaigning right through until election day to contribute to a National victory. So don’t worry, team. I won’t be slackening off.

To be an effective MP, of course, it is vital to have the right people walking and working cooperatively alongside you. I acknowledge at this point my staff who are here in the gallery, Miriam Wiley, Jack Boltar,and the indefatigable Pat Humphries. They have certainly been the three musketeers, and I thank you for your skills, your energy, and your loyalty. Monica Miller was for seven years alongside me as my electorate agent in Takapuna, and to Sally Guinness was with me from day one in here in Parliament, and in charge of our Beehive team, Gail and Alex/ Brent and Kayla, et al.

I have always been a hard worker and I have high standards and expectations of myself, as I do have anyone who works for me. The job of an MP is far too important not to have highly competent and dedicated staff, and I was fortunate to have worked with two of the very best. I thank you, Monica and Sally, wholeheartedly for your loyalty and for always going the extra mile.

The most constant and significant influence on my political life has been my good friend Peter Kylie. It was indeed serendipitous that I was made member of Parliament for the very electorate where Peter lives. There was an outside chance it might reflect badly on him if I didn’t do well. So he’s always taken a keen interest in my wellbeing and has kept me safe from harm. Peter, I thank you for your friendship, your support, and your wise advice from the beginning until the end.

As I said in my maiden speech, this parliamentary precinct, as part of my old hood. Thorndon is my tur, Thornton is my tūrangawaewae. Dad was an accountant at the railways and my mother’s florist shop was just a few doors up from here on Molesworth Street. Our family home was around the corner in Tinakori Road, and I went to the primary school next to the church on Hill Street where my parents were married and buried from. Growing up, these leafy grounds of Parliament were part of my everyday childhood landscape, and having now spent the best part of my fifties here as an MP, you might say I haven’t come very far. But today it feels a little bit like I’ve come full circle as this chapter in my life now comes to an end.

I had been planning to wear the same frock for my valedictory as I had for my maiden speech, but alas, it seems to have shrunk rather a lot, unlike its owner, who should have done a lot less Bellamy’s and Copperfields and a lot more nil by mouth and exercised steps. But I have gained so much more than just a couple of kilograms here, in my time in Parliament. Having been in the media, examining politics closely for 30-odd years before stepping up to be an MP, I was well aware of how rare it is for members to be able to choose their time of leaving, as I am doing after six years in Government, three as a backbencher and three as a Minister inside Cabinet, and now a final term in Opposition.

I’ve been here through good times and through tragedies, the earthquakes, global financial crisis, mosque shootings, and now the COVID challenge. At its best, I think this Parliament delivered in a way that our team of five million New Zealanders can be very proud of. But at its worst, being in Parliament can be frustrating, dehumanising, and brutal. As we’ve all been reminded recently, the pressures that come with the privilege of being in the service of the public can take a heavy toll on MPs and on their families. Please don’t be too quick to judge. It’s a tough life in here, tougher than you might think from the outside, and I think that the long hours and the unrelenting 24/7 scrutiny adds up to the sort of life that doesn’t suit everyone.

In this place, you do need a loyal subtribe of your own where you can take shelter from the storms. An essential part of my survival strategy has been the weekly get-together with my class of 2011 intake year group. Thank you all for those hundreds of Wednesday nights in trusted company, trying to make some sense of it all. It’s still work in progress, of course. I value the honesty and the camaraderie, if not always the food—Goldie’s coleslaw, toasted sandwiches; they are not height of the cuisine that I’ve been used to, but good on your Goldie. That’s how he keeps so thin, I suppose.

Look, I’m not what you might call a career politician, like the predecessor, perhaps, who spoke before me. I didn’t sign on for a 30-year lag with a gold watch at the end, although I am looking forward to getting my souvenir traditional farewell silver tray soon. I have unbridled admiration for those stayers with stamina—my old friend and father of the House with the big brain and the big heart, Dr Nick Smith; our ever ebullient and fast on his feet deputy leader, the nimble Gerry Brownlee—both are National’s lifers, and we need their parliamentary debating skills, their institutional knowledge, as well as their strong sense of fairness in this House.

For my part I was raised to be a participant, and not so much an observer or a bystander. I was expected to contribute to the community and to try to help those less fortunate. I didn’t joined the armed forces as my grandfather and father had done in the two world wars. Instead, my contribution to serving my country when the time was right for me was to stand for public office. The notion of service might be seen by some as rather quaint and old-fashioned, but to me it has meant trying to be a voice for the vulnerable, for the people who don’t have a voice in this House. I’ve wanted to speak up for our seniors suffering silently with elder abuse, and to strongly advocate as well for the survival of the critically endangered plants and birds that partly define who we are as New Zealanders.

I acknowledge John Key. Thank you, sir, for believing in me and backing me from the start, and for the trifecta of portfolios you gave me for my birthday in 2014. It was the best present ever—or, so far, anyway. The commemorations of World War II coincided with my time as the Minister for Arts, Culture, and Heritage. I was privileged to represent my country on many formal occasions, perhaps most memorably, at the Western Front battlefields. It was a moving experience reading the Ode of Remembrance at the Menin Gate in Belgium, where almost every night since 1929, they have sounded the bugle for The Last Post and recited the ode to express their gratitude and to remember the sacrifices of the fallen, including some 12,500 New Zealand soldiers buried there.

I will never forget the sadness, standing in the windswept, empty carpark of a Belgian cheese factory in September 2015. There was no marker, nor memorial, to show the significance of that place, which was the battle site of New Zealand’s worst ever day of military loss. One year later, I was able to return to Passchendaele and unveil the first of many Ngā Tapuwae plinths, as part of our footsteps in the Anzac Trails, which tell the stories of our courageous soldiers of the Great War. It was also a proud moment for me as the MP for North Shore to dig in the first plant in New Zealand’s memorial garden at Passchendaele, part of a project that had been driven by a determined group of my fellow Devonport RSA members, Chris Mullane and Mike Pritchard amongst them. It was a bronze flax, just in case you were wondering.

With my lifelong interest in plants and nature, a highlight of my political life was as the Minister of Conservation responsible for Predator Free 2050. We launched it four years ago this week, and at the heart of National’s bold vision to save our precious vulnerable national species, to achieve that goal, we can and must eradicate the unwanted eco-invaders—the rats, the stoats, and the possums who don’t belong here and are eating our songbirds and our taonga plant species to the brink of extinction.

Sir Paul Callaghan said getting rid of the pests was essential, but it would be our Apollo moon shot, and he was right. The late Sir Rob Fenwick, who I first met on a television garden show 30 years ago, and who had a profound influence on my thinking, was a visionary who made an enormous contribution and helped convert our distant moon shot prospect into something down to earth and well within reach. We are, of course, only the custodians of this land. We are the kaitiaki, the guardians, of our grandchildren’s natural heritage. We owe it to them to do better and to try harder to save our kiwis and our other endangered native species. I encourage people to put aside their prejudices about genetic modification and also prejudices about 1080. There is no time to waste.

I’ve enjoyed being part of National’s most effective policy advisory group, the Bluegreens, and at the annual forum earlier this year I was humbled to be given the inaugural Takahe Award for tireless work encouraging all New Zealanders. Thanks to Chris Vern and the Bluegreens for all you have done. I hope that in my time here, I have made a worthwhile contribution to preserving our natural heritage. I acknowledge the Department of Conservation’s (DOC’s) greatest director-general, Lou Sanson. DOC is in his DNA, and he’s been the right man for the times to lead New Zealand’s conservation heroes and warriors.

One of the most sobering realisations as Minister for Seniors for three years was knowing the extent of the abuse and the neglect of our elderly. We would not be the country we are today without their skills and without their hard work and toil and their wisdom. For those people who have come before us, we truly do stand on their shoulders, and yet why is it that 70,000 of them over the age of 65 say they have been the victims of physical, psychological, or financial abuse?

I don’t believe we value our seniors enough and I don’t believe that as a society we are doing enough. We need to do more to keep them safe, and that’s often from their own families.

I know from my own experience with my mother, Agnes, and her 10-year journey with dementia how important it is to put the person at the heart of our policy decisions. It’s a philosophy I’ve tried very hard not to ever lose sight of, as an electorate MP for North Shore as well as a Minister.

My concern for the vulnerable and the elderly is at the heart of my opposition to a proposed law change to allow euthanasia and assisted suicide. For more than 20 years since the death of my father, I have been involved with end of life care as patron of Mary Potter Hospice and, later, of Hospice New Zealand. I chaired 28 days of public hearings into the euthanasia bill, and I’ve heard and I understand that people want more and different choices at the end of their lives and to have their suffering eased.

New Zealand has simply not done well enough in the care for the dying, and we must do better, which is why I have put together, with the palliative care community, a member’s bill to guarantee and enshrine New Zealanders’ access to world-class palliative care wherever and whenever they need it. The member’s bill is now in the ballot in the name of my friend and colleague Simon O’Connor.

Properly funded end of life care is what needs to happen before, in my opinion, we push the nuclear button on the option of euthanasia. I acknowledge Sir Bill English. Along with Lady Mary English and Professors Sinead Donnelly and Rod McLeod, it’s been a great privilege to work with you over a long number of years in our opposition to euthanasia, and I know that we all hope the public will vote against that referendum on assisted suicide at the upcoming election.

In the 10 years I have been in politics, my son, Joe, has grown from beginning in college to being a university graduate, and as I said in my maiden speech and reaffirm here tonight, Joe has taught me more about myself and about life than anyone else in the world ever has. I thank him for being him, and how proud I am of the fine young man he has become. I know his father, Paddy—alongside him, here in the gallery tonight—shares that same pride in our son.

Your life is not your own when you’re an MP, and that’s as it should be for a role as important as this one. But I’ve missed, now, enough family events and milestones, and the time is right for me to get together and get stuck into the bucket list with my best friend and my husband, Grant. We first met doing Outward Bound, and I knew then that he was the man I could go into the jungle with—I could trust him implicitly. We’ve certainly been in the parliamentary jungle together for the best part of 10 years, and he has never once failed nor faltered. He has always had enormous faith in me, and for that I am hugely grateful. In politics, as in life, I am excited about the prospect of walking alongside him in this next chapter of our lives together.

My time in this place has been short, and yet sometimes it seems an eternity. You don’t get everything right every time and you can’t always get everything that you hope for and dream and strive for, but I know that I have worked and fought hard, tried my best, and not given up on the issues that are important to me. Whether I have succeeded or not is up to others to decide.

I have no regrets. I’ve done my dash, and I’m leaving Parliament with my integrity intact and in the certain knowledge that being the National Party’s MP for North Shore has been a rare privilege and a lifetime’s highlight. I thank you. Fare thee well. Haere rā.


A tale of two caucuses

June 26, 2019

National leader Simon Bridges announced a minor reshuffle of portfolios yesterday:

“Paul Goldsmith will become the spokesperson for Finance and Infrastructure following today’s announcement from Amy Adams that she will leave at the next election.

“Paul is the natural choice for the Finance role. He has done an outstanding job holding the Government to account in the Economic and Regional Development portfolio.

Shane Jones will be very happy with this change, though he shouldn’t relax, the two taking over Paul’s portfolios will be just as effective at holding the Minister to account.

“Regional and Economic Development will now be split across two spokespeople. Todd McClay will look after Economic Development, while Chris Bishop will take over the Regional Development and Transport portfolios.

“Chris has done a brilliant job as spokesperson for Police and deserves to take on more responsibility.

“Jo Hayes has been appointed the spokesperson for Māori Development and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations following the departure of Nuk Korako. Jo is a passionate advocate for Māori.

“Gerry Brownlee will pick up the Foreign Affairs portfolio, Brett Hudson will take on the Police portfolio and Tim Macindoe will become the Shadow Attorney-General.

“Other changes include Michael Woodhouse as the Associate Finance spokesperson, Maggie Barry taking over the Disability Issues portfolio, Stuart Smith will be the spokesperson for Immigration, Todd Muller will be the spokesperson for Forestry, Nicola Willis will take on the Youth portfolio and our newest MP Paulo Garcia will become the Associate Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank both Amy Adams and Alastair Scott for their valuable contributions to the National Party and Parliament. Amy was a brilliant Minister across a range of portfolios. The changes she made to domestic violence laws as Justice Minister have made families in New Zealand safer. Amy has excelled as our Finance spokesperson and has been an outstanding member for Selwyn.

“Alastair should be proud of the work he has done to prevent drug driving, and for the way he has represented and advocated for the people of Wairarapa. I’m pleased they will be here for the rest of the term to help us form policies for the 2020 election.

“National is the largest and most effective Opposition this country has ever seen. I’m proud to lead such a talented and hardworking team.” 

There are no surprises there and there will probably be none in tomorrow’s reshuffle of Cabinet but there is a major difference between the two caucuses – there’s plenty of talent in National’s with many MPs capable of becoming Ministers.

By contrast Labour’s is a shallow pool and, as Barry Soper noted:

. . .The reshuffle will be minor because most of those who should be in Cabinet are already there. And the amount of time Ardern’s taken getting around to shuffling the chairs just goes to show how hard leadership is for a person who clearly finds it hard to be hard. . . 

Ardern doesn’t have much to choose from and, if past form is a guide, will be reluctant to demote the poorest performers.


Rural round-up

February 16, 2018

Drought, disruption undermines farmers’ confidence:

A marked drop in farmer optimism and growing concern about the ability to recruit suitable staff are stand-out features of the Federated Farmers Mid-Season Farm Confidence Survey.

For the first time in two years, farmer optimism has decreased, including negative perceptions of the economy, farm profitability, farm production and farm spending. Farm debt levels have also increased and fewer farms are now debt-free.

The Federated Farmers survey is conducted by Research First twice a year (January and July) and 1070 farmers responded to the questionnaire last month. . . 

Time to get real about forestry – Graham West:

Last year I commented on the high returns from current harvesting, however I don’t believe this is being translated into significant interest in new planting, certainly not at the rate of the governments aspirational target of 50,000ha per year. The Crown Forestry action is clearly around doing deals to secure land for leasing and other deal makers, like Toitu Te Waonui, and various forestry consultants, are doing the same, good on them.

But this doesn’t really raise the general awareness of the forestry business opportunity for land owners and investors. The challenge is how to create a pipe line of prospects who are considering land use change. The target group must be the approximately 25,000 drystock farmers in New Zealand, owning 9.5m hectares. The timeline is also important, seedlings for next winter are already booked, but the deadline for orders to secure plants for the following winter (2019) needs to be placed with nurseries by Oct-Nov 2018. . . 

Minister needs to step up as drought worsens in Coastal Taranaki:

The Minister for Primary Industries needs to step up and listen to the rural sector in the face of the worsening drought in Coastal Taranaki, National’s Rural Communities Spokesperson Barbara Kuriger says.

Mrs Kuriger reached out to Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor last week to discuss ideas put forward by the Taranaki Rural Support Trust, but the Minister has not accepted the invitation to meet.

“It would seem that the response by the Minister – since initially declaring the drought – has been to bury his head in the sand on the Coastal Taranaki issue. . . 

Govt passing the cap around primary industry:

The Government is going cap-in-hand to the primary sector seeking support to help eradicate the rapidly-spreading cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis, National’s Primary Industries spokesperson Nathan Guy says.

“It’s my understanding that the Ministry for Primary Industries is canvassing the dairy and red meat industry for contributions to fund the response and eradication of this disease.

“In Parliament yesterday the Minister Damien O’Connor couldn’t say how much money the Government is prepared to contribute to fully eradicate Mycoplasma Bovis.

“Knowing how tight the Government’s finances are because of its other big-spending commitments – and even with financial contributions from industry – Mr O’Connor has an uphill battle convincing his Cabinet colleagues how critical funding of over $100 million actually is,” Mr Guy says. . . 

National welcomes continuation of 1080 policy:

A reassurance from the Department of Conservation (DOC) that there has been no change in policy over the use of 1080 poison is welcome, National’s Conservation Spokesperson Maggie Barry says.

“At today’s annual review the Director General, Lou Sanson, reassured the Environment Select Committee that not only has there been no change in 1080 policy, but DOC expects to expand its use.

“This approach is critical to achieving National’s long term Predator-Free NZ by 2050 vision. Possums, rats and stoats kill 25 million birds a year, and if DOC was hamstrung from using 1080, we would see further unique species becoming extinct. . . 

Regulator asks how gene-edited food should be treated:

Planning for future GM foods coming down the line, the food safety regulator, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is calling for suggestions for how it should consider applications for foods that have been made using new genetic techniques that aren’t currently covered by their laws.

The current code only covers food produced by genetic techniques that add DNA into a genome and doesn’t cover newer gene editing techniques like CRISPR/Cas9 which knock out genes or proteins, or others that don’t change the DNA of the final food product.

FSANZ are asking for submissions on how these newer techniques should be assessed before they go to market. Options range from treating them like conventional breeding techniques – given a green light once a technique has been proved safe – or to be treated like current genetically modified organisms which would mean that each application requires a rigorous safety assessment. . . 

Golden Rice: Loved by humanitarians, reviled by environmentalists – Green Jihad *

Despite the Philippines and Bangladesh edging toward commercializing it, New Zealand’s food regulation agency (FSANZ) endorsed approving importing Golden Rice for sale in order to reduce trade disorder with Asian countries that allow it.

Unfortunately, an opposition group named GE-Free New Zealand has started an effort urging New Zealand’s food safety minister to review the FSANZ’s recommendation in hopes of eventually halting the importation of Golden Rice. The organization’s views are nearly in line with what environmentalist groups, like Greenpeace, have been claiming about GMO’s for years.

Golden Rice has been a vital source of nutrition for many people in developing countries who lack Vitamin A that humans need to help them survive. Sadly, environmentalist groups are undaunted in halting not only the dissemination of Golden Rice and all other GMO’s but their production too. This being done so that more humans die of starvation or illness resulting from malnutrition due to a reduction in the food supply. . . 

Sustainable ag series – farmers – Dirt to dinner:

The agriculture industry is often criticized for using too much water, using too many chemicals, and adding more carbon to the atmosphere.

However, farmers have their boots on the ground and occupy the front lines of sustainability initiatives within agriculture. No farms, no food!

While some farmers employ better approaches to farming sustainably, no farmer deliberately damages human or environmental health or wants to waste their inputs, such as water, pesticide, and labor. As stewards of the land, it is in a farmer’s best interest to preserve all of their resources for future generations of farming. . . 

* (Hat tip: Utopia):


Rural round-up

September 8, 2017

 Auckland-based designer re-invents lamb docking tool named national winner of James Dyson Award:

A re-designed lamb docking or tailing iron has won the New Zealand leg of the prestigious James Dyson Award for design engineers.

Many sheep farmers can experience repetitive strain injuries from using traditional tools during the seasonal process of removing lambs’ tails, commonly known as docking. And it’s not just the farmers who have been suffering; fluctuations in blade temperatures can cause considerable pain for the lambs, often leading to ineffective cauterisation and stock mortality.

Auckland-based industrial designer Nicole Austin has helped solve these problems by inventing Moray, an innovative hand-tool designed to help improve usability, performance and stock wellbeing. . . 

“Black gold’: vanilla prices reach record highs – Alexa Cook:

A global shortage of vanilla has sent prices sky high, and the cost of vanilla is now more than double previous record prices. 

The last peak was in 2003 when it reached $US300 per kg, and it is now sitting about $US700 per kg.

Vanilla is a tricky product to grow: the flowers only open once a year and have to be hand pollinated within four hours of opening.

Heilala Vanilla chief executive and co-founder Jennifer Boggiss said vanilla, as a commodity, went through cycles, and at the moment it had record high pricing and short supply. . . 

Great Short and Great Day Walks announced:

Some of New Zealand’s finest tracks are set to become part of a new network of Great Short and Great Day walks, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry have announced.

“We’re bringing new facilities and a new, higher profile to some of the best walking experiences New Zealand has to offer as part of Budget 2017’s $76m investment in DOC’s infrastructure,” Mrs Bennett says.

The Great Day and Great Short Walks, developed by DOC in partnership with Tourism New Zealand, are an expansion of the highly successful Great Walks brand aimed at promoting more of the fantastic walking experiences available across the country. . . 

Nominations for Fonterra Shareholders’ Council And Directors’ Remuneration Committee Open Today;

Nominations opened today for the 2017 Fonterra Shareholders’ Council and Directors’ Remuneration Committee Elections.

Following last year’s Governance and Representation Review undertaken by Fonterra, the Shareholders’ Council has given effect to the recommendation voted on by shareholders in late 2016 that: “Over the next 12 months, the number of Shareholders’ Council wards is reviewed to establish how they can be reduced within the range that is permitted under the current Constitution.” . . 

Substantial dairy farm and runoff block placed on the market for sale:

A substantial dairy farm and associated run-off block in South Canterbury – including approximately 1,100 cows plus young stock – has been placed on the market for sale as a going concern.

The properties are located under the rain shadow of the Hunter Hills and feature a 501.944 hectare dairy platform located at 3150 Back Line Road at Kohika plus a 119.9636 hectare self-contained run-off located at 316 Campbell Forrest Road, which is only four kilometres from the dairy platform on a quiet country road. . . 


Rural round-up

September 6, 2017

Ag-tech edge requires boldness – Conor English:

Just as the axe handle allowed the human race to prevail, New Zealand needs to put its mind to discovering the next combination of technologies that is going to keep our country at the forefront of ag and food technology.

That is going to take capital, risk, and some out-of-the-box thinking.  There is much to do if we want to lead the race, writes Conor English.

The axe handle was incredibly important for the human race.

By combining three previously separate elements — a stone, a stick and string — humans invented a tool that gave them leverage and strength to better hunt animals that were faster and stronger than us. . . 

New technologies helping clean up NZ’s waterways:

New Zealand farmers and companies are starting to use Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, data analytics and automation to decrease impact on New Zealand rivers, a leading national tech expert says.

In countries, right across the world the IoT devices are being used to help clean up water, New Zealand IoT Alliance executive director Kriv Naicker says.

Irrigation is by far the largest use of water in New Zealand, making up 65.9 percent of water use between 2013 and 2014, the Ministry for the Environment says. . . 

Farmers becoming ‘lepers’ due to cattle disease scare – Gerard Hutching:

South Canterbury and Otago beef farmers are unwitting victims of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis even though testing so far has shown their livestock are free of any traces of the disease.

A farmer who rears calves as dairy support told Stuff he had a contract worth $100,000 for 200 calves cancelled as soon as the buyer heard the animals were being tested.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has indicated these farmers will not be eligible for compensation. . . 

Provisional tax relief at last – Chris Cunliffe:

Provisional tax has long been difficult to get right and expensive to get wrong.

But not anymore: the much-maligned old rules have been put out to pasture.

These assumed farmers and growers could correctly forecast their income tax liability ahead of time, but if their prediction was not spot-on they got slapped by Inland Revenue’s steep interest on top of the underpaid amount.

Now new rules provide greater certainty about payments and reduce compliance costs for businesses who calculate their payments using the standard method. This method means you base your payments on 105% of last year’s income tax liability (or 110% of the previous year’s liability if your return has not been filed). Most taxpayers pay provisional tax this way. . . 

Dunedin produces mastitis diagnostics – Sally Rae:

A Dunedin-based startup has produced a diagnostic test kit to help farmers deal with the costly problem of bovine mastitis.

Mastitis, which is inflammation of the udder, is a major financial burden to the dairy industry, both in New Zealand and globally.

It was predominantly treated using antibiotics and mastitis treatment was the largest single use for animal health antibiotics.

On average, it was estimated to cost about $60,000 a year for an 800-cow herd, and the industry, as a whole, about $280 million.

Mastaplex founder Dr Olaf Bork has been developing products for treating mastitis at the Bayer Centre for Animal Health, before patenting his own research and founding the startup company. . . 

Wet flattens milk curve – Hugh Stringleman:

The extraordinary number of wet days over winter has raised the worry of a repeat spring milk production plateau rather than peak.

Soils in almost all dairying districts were saturated and fine weather was needed to kick-start spring grass growth and milk production.

Dairy farmers in northern provinces had almost completed the extended winter pasture feeding rotation when cows were break-fed the saved autumn pasture growth for 90 days. . . 

Major increase in community conservation funding:

Conservation work in New Zealand will be supercharged by substantially increasing the amount of money available to hard-working volunteer groups, National Party Conservation Spokesperson Maggie Barry says.

“We have a beautiful natural environment, and the efforts of local communities are crucial to protecting our landscape and native species for future generations,” Ms Barry says.

To support these groups, National will more than double the amount of funding available through the Department of Conservation Community Fund, from $4.6 million to $10 million a year. . . 

Spring farm sales upturn expected – Alan Williams:

Winter calving and lambing preparations and rainfall impacts have slowed the rural real estate market but prices have remained firm.

With an increased milk payout and higher beef prices “a quiet air of confidence or perhaps relief is quietly growing with the rural sector”, Real Estate Institute rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said.

Sales for the three months to the end of July were down by 76 to 392 compared to the end of June when there were 459 sales. In the July period last year there were 468 sales. . . 

New Zealand King Salmon fy17 result and dividend exceed expectations:

A combination of operational achievements and a successful market positioning strategy underpins strong growth for New Zealand King Salmon Investments Ltd which today reported its full year result for the twelve months to 30 June 2017 (FY17). The Board affirms the Company’s full year FY18 forecast as presented in its Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) dated 23 September 2016, prepared for its Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Key highlights include:

• Net profit after tax of $22.8 million, up 778% on the comparable twelve month period to 30 June 2016 (FY16) and 125% ahead of the Prospective Financial Information forecast (PFI) . . 

Fieldays reveals post-event survey results and theme for 50th anniversary in 2018

Results from a recent visitor and exhibitor survey has New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays celebrating another successful year as preparations begin for their 50th anniversary event in 2018.

In the survey, 96 per cent of visitors rated their experience of Fieldays 2017 as “good” to “excellent” and 92 per cent of exhibitors said they would exhibit again.

The iconic event, billed as the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, saw a record 133,588 people through the gates – its highest visitor number yet. . . 


Rural round-up

September 3, 2017

Irrigation brings environmental improvements Greenpeace wants – Andrew Curtis:

I am sure Greenpeace felt very proud of themselves when they locked themselves inside a Central Plains Water irrigation pipe to “protest dairy intensification”.

They shouldn’t be. Quite apart from putting themselves at risk on a dangerous construction site, breaking the law and tying up police time, they were wrong on a number of counts.

The first problem with the Greenpeace protest was the idea that irrigation schemes like Central Plains Water automatically lead to more dairy intensification. This is not true. The new farms connecting to Central Plains Water are traditional mixed cropping farms. The same holds true for other new irrigation developments like the Hurunui Water Project in North Canterbury, the North Otago Irrigation Company and Hunter Downs in South Canterbury. Across the country, around 50 percent of irrigated land has other uses – growing food, raising sheep and beef cattle, and for wineries. . .

Hawke’s Bay honey company stung by theft:

A Hawke’s Bay honey company has been stung by the theft of almost 500,000 bees.

Nineteen hives of Arataki Honey were stolen from a remote forestry block in Putere, an hour and a half north of Napier, this week.

The site was hidden from the road and Arataki Honey’s field manager Duncan Johnstone said the thieves must have known where to find the bees.

It was an expensive loss for the company – each hive is valued at $700 and all up it was a $20,000 loss. . .

QE II Trust Members reappointed:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today announced the re-appointment of two members of the Queen Elizabeth ll National Trust.

“I’m delighted Chairperson James Guild (MNZA) and Director Bruce Wills have agreed to stay on the board and continue the excellent work underway as the Trust celebrates its 40th anniversary,” Ms Barry says.

“Both men will serve another 3-year term and use their considerable skills and experience to ensure the Trust continues to win support from landowners willing to covenant their land for future generations. . .

Dairy industry set for big crash – Susan Murray:

The dairy sector faces another big price drop if the industry doesn’t continue to push for innovative ways to use dairy protein, warns KPMG.

Dairy companies need to think of themselves as protein or nutrition companies, said KPMG global head of agribusiness Ian Proudfoot.

He said there will be 10 or more items able to compete with traditional natural cow’s milk in a supermarket chiller.

“It’s interesting to me when I look at what’s happened in the last sort of six months – as the dairy price has gone up, the desire for change has gone down. . . 

Powering up Predator Free 2050:

National will boost Predator Free 2050 with $69.2 million of new funding over the next four years to ramp up the ambitious, world-leading pest eradication programme, Conservation Spokeswoman Maggie Barry says.

“We have been absolutely thrilled with the enthusiasm of communities up and down the country about Predator Free since it was launched one year ago,” Ms Barry says.

“National in Government will match the commitment of our volunteers, councils and philanthropists and turn this project into something that will achieve what Sir Paul Callaghan called “New Zealand’s moonshot”.” . . 

Smith welcomes sanctuary pest control work:

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith is hailing today’s pest control operation in the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary as a win for the survival of New Zealand’s native birds.

“The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust has fought long and hard for today’s pest control operation. It has had to go to court three times as a result of action by the Brook Valley Community Trust to try to stop it, and three times the court has backed the Sanctuary Trust,” Dr Smith says.

“The science is clear that the only way birds like kiwi, kokako, kea and kaka will survive is to effectively control the pests that have decimated their populations. I can appreciate people’s angst at killing rats, stoats and possums but every year these pests brutally kill 25 million native birds. . . 

This tiny country feeds the world – Frank Viviano:

In a potato field near the Netherlands’ border with Belgium, Dutch farmer Jacob van den Borne is seated in the cabin of an immense harvester before an instrument panel worthy of the starship Enterprise.

From his perch 10 feet above the ground, he’s monitoring two drones—a driverless tractor roaming the fields and a quadcopter in the air—that provide detailed readings on soil chemistry, water content, nutrients, and growth, measuring the progress of every plant down to the individual potato. Van den Borne’s production numbers testify to the power of this “precision farming,” as it’s known. The global average yield of potatoes per acre is about nine tons. Van den Borne’s fields reliably produce more than 20.

That copious output is made all the more remarkable by the other side of the balance sheet: inputs. Almost two decades ago, the Dutch made a national commitment to sustainable agriculture under the rallying cry “Twice as much food using half as many resources.”  . .

#LoveLambWeek: Sheep farmers call on consumers to put lamb back on plates –

The next generation of sheep farmers has called on the next generation of shoppers to put lamb back on plates across Britain through Love Lamb Week.

Over the past 15 years, fewer people have been regularly eating the very British meat, and with those aged 55 years and over making up the lion’s share of the market, time is ticking for lamb.

This year the annual campaign runs from 1-7 September, and social media users are being urged to tweet the hashtag #LoveLambWeek . . .

 


Rural round-up

August 20, 2017

Taxing our water:

Figures released yesterday by Irrigation New Zealand included bad news for Otago when it comes to funding being taken in irrigation tax for “Clean Rivers”.

The figures show Otago will pay the second-highest amount of irrigation tax of $7.8 million when it has 8% of rivers said to be poor for swimming and just 3% of irrigated land.

Canterbury, as could be expected, will pay the most at $41 million. The region has 4% of rivers declared poor for swimming but 11% of irrigated land.

Labour has declared it will implement a royalty on the commercial consumption of water to assist with the cost of keeping New Zealand’s water clean. The royalty will be flexible to reflect the scarcity or abundance of water in different regions, the different quality of water and its use. Royalty levels will be set following consultation and the revenue will largely be returned to regional councils. . .

Award recognises work with SIL – Sally Rae:

Invermay scientist Dr Sheryl-Anne Newman has received national recognition for her work with Sheep Improvement Ltd.
Dr Newman received the Sir Arthur Ward Award, presented by the New Zealand Society of Animal Production.

It recognised the successful application of research or experience to an aspect of animal production in New Zealand.

She is only the second woman to receive the award. Dr Julie Everett-Hincks, also from Otago, received it last year for work she had done to improve lamb survival. . .

Growing virtual plants could help farmers boost their crops – Leslie Nemo:

What if farmers could grow sugarcane in a matter of seconds, not days or weeks? Scientists are doing just that. Of course, these crops are not sprouting from soil. Instead they flourish on a computer screen.

Digital plants like these are part of a new movement in agricultural science called “in silico,” where researchers design highly accurate, computer-simulated crops to help speed up selective breeding, in which plants are chosen and replanted to amplify their desirable traits. Scientists believe the future of farming is not just in fields, but in graphics, too. . .

Dispatch from New Zealand no. 4 lessons for the UK – Jonathan Baker:

New Zealand was easily the most challenging and energising place I’ve visited so far. Having thought about it, I think this is because many of the debates are similar, until they’re not. Meaning the cultural and geographic similarities create a sense of familiarity which means the inevitable differences really jarr. I certaintly spent more time gazing into the middle distance here than anywhere else I’ve visited. There is much more I could say about New Zealand but I’m currently in Korea and the detailed synthesis of my thoughts in NZ will have to wait.

In the meantime, here is a non-exhaustive and slightly long set of lessons for the UK:

  1.  Environmental regulation is inevitable
  2. Be nimble
  3. No subsidy, no problems
  4. Look to solve conflict, with collaboration and consensus
  5. Prepare for political ping-pong
  6. The need for new, improved industry – Government collaboration
  7. Using subsidies to compensate for policy change, can allow for more radical policy change
  8. There is trouble in (farming) paradise. . .

Kokako birdsong rings out in Kauri Coast forests:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says there’s been a more than thousand percent increase in the number of kokako in Kauri Coast forests since 1990 due to the continued use of 1080 and trapping.

“An aerial 1080 drop in 1990 is credited with saving the kokako from local extinction and its continued use along with trapping has seen the population grow from a low of 5 pair in 1990 to 60 pair today, as well as 29 single kokako,” Ms Barry says. . . .

Continued Softening in Rural Real Estate Market:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 76 fewer farm sales (-16.2%) for the three months ended July 2017 than for the three months ended July 2016. Overall, there were 392 farm sales in the three months ended July 2017, compared to 459 farm sales for the three months ended June 2017 (-14.6%), and 468 farm sales for the three months ended July 2016. 1,739 farms were sold in the year to July 2017, 1.5% fewer than were sold in the year to July 2016, with 44% more finishing farms, 28% more dairy farms and 21% fewer grazing and 22% fewer arable farms sold over the same period. . . 

Farmer candidates sought for DairyNZ elections:

Candidate nominations opened this week for farmer-elected roles on the DairyNZ board and Directors Remuneration Committee.

This year two farmer positions on the Board of Directors are available, along with one position on the DairyNZ Directors Remuneration Committee. . .

Kiwis assured all Fresh avocados eaten in New Zealand are grown here:

 “All fresh avocados eaten in New Zealand are grown here,” says New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular, mitigating concerns that we import the fruit from Mexico. Criticism of Mexican growing practices was raised by an article published this week by the New Zealand Herald in the Lifestyle Section article headlined “Why you should stop eating avocados.”*

Scoular says the article has caused confusion and New Zealand Avocado had fielded some concerned calls from the public for clarification about the origins of the fruit in New Zealand. . .


Rural round-up

August 4, 2017

Paid to think and loving it – Sally Rae:

For Beef and Lamb NZ’s first independent director the future is already here. Sally Rae speaks to Melissa Clark-Reynolds.

Melissa Clark-Reynolds sums herself up succinctly — “I’m a geek”, she says simply.

The high-profile technology entrepreneur and business leader was in Dunedin yesterday to speak at the red meat sector conference.

Her visit coincided with her being named Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s first independent director.

And, as Ms Clark-Reynolds (53) puts it, it is a governance role she is “pretty bloody happy about”. . .

‘Real opportunity’ to carve out niche – Sally Rae:

It is time to refresh the red meat sector’s strategy, which is facing “headwinds”, the industry’s conference was told yesterday. Sally Rae reports.

New Zealand’s red meat sector is on track for its vision of an $11.4billion sector by 2025, Beef and Lamb New Zealand chairman James Parsons says.

There was a “real opportunity” to carve out a niche by telling its story as ethical food producers. However, there were also a few “headwinds”, Mr Parsons told those attending the red meat sector conference in Dunedin yesterday. . .

Antara Ag to sell Southland sheep milking farm – Brittany Pickett:

Antara Ag is selling one of its three Southland farms, as it consolidates its sheep milking operation.

The company exclusively supplies Blueriver Nutrition HK, milking 10,000 east friesian-poll dorset ewes on three Southland farms. Antara Ag manufactures infant formula from sheep milk for export to China and was the first company in New Zealand to do so.

General manager Jazz Hewitson said the company was putting its Brydone operation up for sale to get rid of some land and “consolidate what we’re already doing“. . .

Top agricultural start-ups get a lift from Sprout accelerator business programme – Jill Galloway:

Fledgling agricultural start-ups are getting a helping hand to grow their business from the Sprout agritech business accelerator programme in Palmerston North.

Business strategy advisor Stu Bradbury said Sprout’s job was to help businesses.

“People in New Zealand often have good ideas, but have no idea how to get them to market. At Sprout we can help.”

Bradbury has experience in the start-up world after founding several businesses in the agri-tech sector, and went on the sell Precision Irrigation, to a United States company. . .

Battle for our Birds 2017 underway:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says this year’s Battle for our Birds 1080 operations are now underway to protect our most vulnerable native wildlife from the scourge of rats and stoats fuelled by widespread forest seeding.

“Work at 34 sites covering more than 800,000 hectares of high value conservation land has begun and DOC field staff are monitoring another seven sites to see if rodents are at damaging levels,” Ms Barry says. . . .

One man a pig and a goose – Unexpected Farmer:

I am well known in the area as the crazy lady who takes animals, but there are some occasions when even I say NO! As everyone knows I am often in bed well before my children, unfortunately the Spanish never understand this and feel 9pm is a suitable time to be sat outside my gates…. hand on horn!

The other night Mr P turned up, placed hand on horn, and kept it there until we appeared, this was my first issue, closely followed by the fact it was dark and cold. We didn’t even have time to do hello’s and how are you’s before he launched in to I have a pig for you!

The next 20 minutes were strange even by my standards. . . 

 

 


Rural round-up

July 14, 2017

EU-Japan trade deal ups the ante – Allan Barber:

The FTA announced just before the G20 meeting in Hamburg is touted to bring substantial benefits to EU agricultural producers. It will put EU exporters on a level playing field with countries like Australia which already have an agreement, but notably it will put New Zealand at an even greater disadvantage until our trade negotiators can achieve a similar outcome.

There is great enthusiasm for what is being called the ‘most important bi-lateral agreement ever done,’ embracing some 20% of the world’s population. When the details are completed, targeted for the end of this year, there will potentially be no tariffs applying to all food exports, including beef, sheepmeat and pork products. It remains to be seen how long the phase-in period will be.

However, reading the EU comments that greeted the news, there appears to be absolutely no concern about the impact of Japanese produced goods entering the EU. That will no doubt be for non-food producers, including French, German and Italian car makers to worry about. . . 

Russia warns dairy restrictions possible after butter tests –  Alexa Cook:

Russia is warning of a potential restriction on New Zealand dairy products after finding butter from this country tested positive twice for the antibiotic tetracycline.

News agency Dairy Reporter said Russia has warned of a potential restriction on New Zealand dairy products after some butter tested positive twice for the veterinary medicine tetracycline.

Russia’s government said if it continued to find the antibiotic, it would limit the supply of milk products from New Zealand. . .

Predator Free 2050 arsenal to expand:

Predator Free 2050’s arsenal is set to expand with funding for three projects to control stoats and rats.

“The funding gives that extra push to promising projects already in the pipeline to help make them safer, more cost effective or to enlarge their scale,” Ms Barry says.

“We know new tools and technology are needed to win the war against invasive predators, so we’ve funded the newly-formed company Predator Free 2050 Ltd to support breakthrough scientific research.”

“We also know our current tools and technology need to be improved and enhanced to make a difference in the short to medium-term as we head toward a predator-free New Zealand.” . .

Birds and bats on the rise after widespread predator control:

Native species are on the rise thanks to intensive trapping and aerial 1080 operations across Fiordland National Park, latest monitoring results show.

Following widespread beech seeding across Fiordland in early 2016, and a recorded increase in rat numbers, the Department of Conservation (DOC) treated six sites with aerially applied 1080 as part of the national Battle for our Birds programme, including the Eglinton and Arthur Valleys, the Waitutu Forest and areas of the Kepler. . .

Monitoring of commercial fishing to revolutionise fisheries management:

New regulations gazetted today will help revolutionise the way New Zealand’s commercial fisheries are managed and monitored, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The regulations require the use of geospatial position reporting (GPR), e-logbooks, and cameras across the commercial fishing industry and are being rolled out from 1 October this year. . .

Five reasons why agriculture is among the hottest growing industries – Paul Cranch:

Everyone talks about IT, energy and health care as the growing industries of the future, but agriculture should be on that list, too! This is an exciting time to be in agriculture. Here are 5 reasons why I think big opportunities await you in this often overlooked industry.

Agriculture is in the center of one of the greatest challenges of our time – achieving food security.

Long-Term Global Need.
Why is there so much opportunity in Agriculture? Let’s have a look at what is happening in the world
. . .

Avocado prices near record levels and kumara hits new high:

Food prices rose 0.2 percent in June 2017, Stats NZ said today. The rise was led by higher prices for avocados and soft drinks. The average price for a 200g avocado was $4.52 in June 2017, compared with $3.38 in May 2017.

“Avocado prices tend to peak in the winter before falling in spring as new fruit become available,” consumer prices manager Matthew Haigh said. “Prices are back near the record level in June last year.”

“Fruit and vegetables prices eased off somewhat in June, from their highs in May,” Mr Haigh said. “Lettuce and broccoli prices were down, but tomato and kumara prices continued to rise. Kumara prices were at their highest-ever level – $8.18 a kilogram.” . .

StockX wins Beef + Lamb NZ Sheep Industry Innovation Award:

StockX has been announced as winner of the prestigious Beef + Lamb NZ Sheep Industry Awards – 2017 Tru-Test Innovation Award held in Invercargill last week.

Head Judge, Hamish Bielski said, “The panel’s decision was unanimous given the ability of StockX to provide transparency in the sales and purchase process, and the way it connects buyers and sellers in a cost-effective manner. The concept – which uses technology not available 20 years ago – represents a step-change in the industry and has challenged the status-quo when it comes to trading livestock.” . .

Competition Set to Find NZ’s Young Winemaker of The Year:

The battle is on again to find the 2017 Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker of the Year, with a new structure to the competition which is set to bring the North vs South rivalry back into play, the young wine making talent of New Zealand will compete for the ultimate title during the next few months.

Now in its third year, the competition is about finding the best winemaking talent in New Zealand, as well as providing education and support for those in the industry under 30. Not only that, the winner walks away with a travel allowance, training grant, full registration to the Romeo Bragato conference, a profile in Cuisine Magazine, wine allowance, plus a trip to the Tonnellerie de Mercurey France (airfares from NZ included), and of course the title of being the 2017 New Zealand Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year. . .


Rural round-up

June 30, 2017

Rural confidence trends remarkedly similar across sectors – Allan Barber:

The latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey shows the highest level of confidence among all agricultural sectors since the survey started in 2003 which is proof of the remarkable success of New Zealand agriculture and commodity prices. At a time when our dollar is also stronger against almost all, if not all, currencies over the same period, this is a surprising fact that most people would say is at least counterintuitive if not downright impossible.

57% of farmers surveyed now see a positive outlook for the next 12 months, up from 34% in the previous survey, in contrast to only 3% who think things will get worse. A net 41% of sheep and beef farmers see a positive outlook, up from just net 2% in the first 2017 survey, while a net 61% of dairy farmers and 38% of horticulturalists are also bullish. Not surprisingly improving commodity prices are the main reason for this burst in confidence. . . 

Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q2 2017: Market Disruption Changing Trade Flows:

The global beef complex has been characterised by a series of market disruptions through Q2, according to the Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q2 2017.

Political upheaval in Brazil, a new trade agreement between the US and China, and proposed bans on slaughter in India: All involve the major bovine-exporting nations of the world and have the potential to cause material shifts in global trade.

According to Blake Holgate, Rabobank Analyst Animal Protein: “While US exports continue to perform strongly (and have now reached record levels), reduced supply from Australia and New Zealand, along with potential shocks from Brazil and India, could see the balance in the beef market shift back to a supply-limited market.”. .

Farmers Feeling Less Stress From Their Banks:

Pressure on farmers appears to be easing a little on the back of an improved farming outlook, according to Federated Farmers’ latest Banking Survey undertaken in May by Research First.

The survey shows that 8.5%of farmers reported coming under ‘undue’ pressure from their bank over the past six months, down from 9.6% in the last survey undertaken in November 2016. . . 

Canada’s policies depress milk prices – Alexa Cook:

Ten global dairy industry organisations, including one from New Zealand, are fighting for Canada to remove milk policies they say are depressing milk prices.

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is part of the group, which includes dairy industry leaders from Argentina, Australia, EU, Mexico and the US.

DCANZ said Canada’s recently-implemented ‘Special Milk Class 7’ policies were facilitating the unfair export of highly subsidised Canadian dairy products onto global dairy markets, and at the same time increasing Canada’s barriers to dairy imports. . . .

Te Araroa trail contributing millions to regional NZ:

Business is booming for cafés, dairies, campsites and other enterprises along the length of New Zealand’s national Te Araroa Trail.

More than 550 people have completed the 3,000km trail over the past year, stopping to re-supply in urban centres and rural communities as they walk from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

Te Araroa Trust chair David McGregor said the record number of walkers had contributed an estimated more than $5 million to the economy, with walkers reporting an average spend of between $7,000 and $10,000 throughout their four to five month journey. . . 

War on Weeds gets half million regional boost:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says almost $500,000 extra will be spent on regional projects that target the country’s worst weeds.

“DOC will fund ten regional and district councils to do weed control projects in their communities, especially those that target our annual ‘Dirty Dozen’ weeds – identified as doing the most damage by smothering our natural landscapes and destroying the habitats of our native species,” Ms Barry says.

“The projects focus on weeds such as Old Man’s Beard or Spartina and intensifies efforts to keep them under control or totally eradicate them.” . . 

Nelson – Marlborough scallop fishery temporary closure for 2017 season:

Continued low scallop levels at the top of the South Island have forced a further temporary closure of the Southern Scallop fishery SCA 7, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

The 2017/18 season closure affects scallop fisheries in Golden Bay, Tasman Bay and the Marlborough Sounds. It also includes the neighbouring Port Underwood area. . . 

Wool Market Loses Further Ground:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s CEO, Mr John Dawson reports that today’s market was down due to a combination of slower demand and a slightly stronger New Zealand dollar.

South Island price levels have now come more into line with their North Island counterparts.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies compared to the last sale on the 22nd June was marginally stronger by 0.24 percent. . . 


Rural round-up

May 19, 2017

Farmers ‘dead keen’ to improve water practices – council – Alexa Cook:

A group of farmers near Whakatāne are working with the regional council to try and improve water quality by changing the way they farm.

Agribusiness consultant Ailson Dewes has gathered about 15 dairy farmers on behalf of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to understand more about how their farming systems can impact water quality.

Ms Dewes said the group was facing the issue head-on.

“They are sitting around the table, they are exposing all their numbers in terms of the health of their business, their environmental footprint, the way they farm – and they’re saying ‘we realise the way we farmed in the past is not the way we can farm in the future’. . . 

2017 Dairy Award Winners Environmentally Conscious

The 2017 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards winners and finalists represent a group of people who are acutely aware of environmental issues and the dairy industry’s role in farming responsibly.

In front of nearly 550 people at Auckland’s Sky City Convention Centre last night, Christopher and Siobhan O’Malley were named the 2017 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year, Hayley Hoogendyk became the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Clay Paton was announced the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. They shared prizes worth over $190,000. . . 

Fonterra Australia to pay more in 2017/18 season with improving business, milk price –  Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group says an improvement in its Australian business and rising milk prices mean it will be able to pay its suppliers more in the season that kicks off in six weeks.

Fonterra Australia expects to pay its Australian suppliers a range of A$5.30-to-A$5.70 per kilogram of milk solids in the 2017/18 season as well as an additional payment of 40 Australian cents/kgMS. It paid A$5.20/kgMS in the season that is just ending. . . 

Counterfeits, name recognition a challenge for Zespri in quest for Chinese market dominance – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – Zespri Group’s expansion into China is continuing at pace, after the country last year overtook Japan as its biggest retail market, though the company is battling against counterfeiting and theft from local growers who want a slice of its market.

Lewis Pan, the fruit marketer’s China country manager, says Zespri is focusing on brand recognition to shore up its dominance in the market. China delivered almost $300 million in revenue in the 2016 financial year, a 60 percent lift on a year earlier, and accounting for 16 percent of Zespri’s total $1.91 billion of revenue that . . 

Wilding pines control work nears million hectare mark:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry say wilding pines control work has nearly reached its first year target of a million hectares.

“20 per cent of New Zealand will be covered in unwanted wilding conifers within 20 years if their spread isn’t stopped. They already cover more than 1.8 million hectares of New Zealand and until now have been spreading at about 5 per cent a year,” Mr Guy says.

“The National Wilding Conifer Control Programme was put in place in 2016 to prevent their spread and systematically remove them from much of the land already taken over.” . . 

Ten years after the crisis what is happening to the world’s bees? –  Simon Klein:

Ten years ago, beekeepers in the United States raised the alarm that thousands of their hives were mysteriously empty of bees. What followed was global concern over a new phenomenon: Colony Collapse Disorder. The Conversation

Since then we have realised that it was not just the US that was losing its honey bees; similar problems have manifested all over the world. To make things worse, we are also losing many of our populations of wild bees too.

Losing bees can have tragic consequences, for us as well as them. Bees are pollinators for about one-third of the plants we eat, a service that has been valued at €153 billion (US$168 billion) per year worldwide.

Ten years after the initial alarm, what is the current status of the world’s bee populations, and how far have we come towards understanding what has happened? . . .

Delegat grape harvest growth slows, still has enough stock to meet projected sales – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Delegat Group recorded a small gain in its Australian and New Zealand grape harvest but has enough stock on hand to meet its projected sales targets for the coming year.

The Auckland-based winemaker, whose brands include Oyster Bay, had a 4 percent increase in the New Zealand harvest to 34,595 tonnes, while its Australian harvest grew 6 percent to 2,760 tonnes, it said in a statement. Last year, Delegat’s New Zealand harvest expanded 33 percent from a weather-affected crop in 2015, while the Australian vineyards delivered a 56 percent increase in 2016. . . 


Rural round-up

May 17, 2017

British agricultural report sees NZ as model for the future – Allan Barber:

A recently published report entitled The Future is Another Country by British consulting firm, Ferguson Cardo, attempts to describe a positive picture of post Brexit Britain, using the example of New Zealand in the 1980s as proof of what is possible. The authors base their hypothesis on certain key events, including the removal of subsidies, dismantling the producer boards’ funding model and compulsory acquisition rights, and a refocus away from the UK towards Asia.

New Zealand’s experience is cited as proof of how a major change in a country’s economy and trading environment demands a revolutionary new approach which initially produces a sharp and painful shock, but over the longer term results in a massive improvement. The report accepts New Zealand’s reforms were in response to a serious fiscal crisis which affected the economy as a whole, not just agriculture, while the UK is not, or at least not yet, in anything like the same serious condition. . . 

Reopening of meat exports to Iran is like a new market says Feds’:

The reopening of trade between New Zealand and Iran with meat exports is a great opportunity for our meat industry says Federated Farmers.

Market access to Iran effectively ceased in 1998 as a result of international sanctions imposed on the Islamic state.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy however, cleared the way for resumption of trade when he concluded a veterinary agreement with his Iranian counterpart in Tehran in February. . . 

Miraka to export first own branded product into Malaysia  – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Miraka, the milk processor majority owned by several North Island Māori trusts, is to export its first branded consumer product into Malaysia, followed by shipments to Singapore, the Philippines and China, says Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell.

Taupo-based Miraka and Malaysian distribution partner Storiiu signed a memorandum of understanding in Kuala Lumpur, witnessed by Flavell during a visit to Malaysia with a delegation of seven Māori companies to raise the profile of New Zealand’s food and beverage sector, he said in a statement. . . 

Miraka agreement in Malaysia a milestone:

Māori Development Minister and Associate Minister for Economic Development Te Ururoa Flavell witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Miraka Ltd and its Malaysian distribution partner, Storiiu, in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Miraka is New Zealand’s first Māori-owned dairy processor. The agreement means the company will start exporting its first own-branded consumer product.

Mr Flavell says the agreement was evidence of Māori innovating and moving products and services up the value chain, forming long-term international partnerships, and building economic value for the future. . . 

Budget 2017: $21m to Battle for our Birds:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says DOC will fight this year’s beech forest mast year increase in rat and stoat numbers with a $21.3 million war chest from Budget 2017 for the Battle for our Birds control campaign.

“I can confirm there will be a widespread forest seeding, or mast, once again this year that will trigger a big increase in vermin,” Ms Barry says. “The mast event will affect much of the North Island, the northern South Island and parts of western Otago.

“The Battle for Our Birds 2017 campaign will use $21.3 million of new operating funding in the 2016/17 financial year to undertake one of the largest predator control programmes in our history, across more than 800,000 hectares of land. . . 

Oregon County mandates 2,000 acre organic farm sprayed with chemical herbicides – Darren Smith:

A 2,000 acre organic farm in central Oregon is facing what could be a be an existential threat to its operations after county weed control authorities sent notice mandating that the farm use chemical herbicides, such as Roundup, to eradicate weed growth.

The mandate would bring to an end nearly 18 years of organic farming, placing a significant loss of organic food to the public.

Azure Farms is a certified organic farm located in Moro, Sherman County, Oregon. The farm produces almost all the organic wheat, field peas, barley, Einkorn, and beef for Azure Standard. . . 

Hat tip: Utopia

Farm business sophistication encourages call for activating mentorships:

Farm Source stores, Director, Jason Minkhorst, suggests that young farmers may wish to now take a more active role in approaching and interacting with potential industry mentors.

“If you were taught farming by your parents, you got lucky,” says Minkhorst, taking part as one of this year’s invited leaders in the Leaders Review Focus Points public service series for business. “Regardless,” he says, with the rising size and sophistication of dairy and other farms, it was more important than ever to, “find that outside mentor to help ‘create’ more luck.” . . 

Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc Day celebrations a success:

Only in Marlborough could a one day celebration of Sauvignon Blanc turn into 16, which is what happened in the region world famous for Sauvignon Blanc.

Wine Marlborough’s recently completed post event survey garnered a fantastic response from wineries, cellar doors, tour operators, restaurants, and bars to be involved in the inaugural ‘16 Days of Sauvignon’ in celebration of Sauvignon Blanc Day, with 27 mini events crammed into just 16 days in the region. . .

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Rural round-up

May 12, 2017

Canterbury director and shareholder is Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year

A Canterbury woman who has dedicated her career as a rural professional to New Zealand’s dairy industry is 2017’s Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.

Jessie Chan-Dorman, a Fonterra Shareholders’ Councillor, won the coveted title out of a group of three finalists which included CEO of Sirona Animal Health Claire Nicholson and agribusiness consultant Jolene Germann. The awards ceremony was held tonight in Queenstown as part of a gala dinner at the Dairy Women’s Network’s annual conference. . . 

Farmers set to benefit from new high-tech weather stations:

Fonterra farmers will come together to trial innovative technology that will allow them to take insights from the weather and bring greater precision to New Zealand dairy farms.

Fonterra is playing its part in fuelling the revolution of on-farm weather forecasting by working with MetService and BloomSky – a smart weather camera station that delivers hyperlocal weather information in real-time to any laptop, tablet or smartphone. . . .

Rebel with a cause – Eric Crampton:

I love Roger Beattie.

Weka are endangered, but they breed easily on his farm at Banks Peninsula. He’s just prohibited, by dumb rules, against breeding them for profit. Whether this is DoC bloodymindedness, Vogonity, or refusal to be shown up by somebody doing a better job of conservation that DoC is – that’s anybody’s guess.

And so, annoyed with silly DoC rules around farming weka, Roger’s making a point. He’s adding weka feathers to some hats and selling them. . .

UK supermarkets ban fresh NZ lamb – Alexa Cook:

A decision by UK supermarkets to ban fresh New Zealand lamb is bad news for the industry and could turn consumers away from the meat, says Beef and Lamb New Zealand.

Supermarket chain Co-op Food, which is the UK’s fifth largest retailer, is banning fresh New Zealand lamb in response to lobbying from the British Sheep Association. . .

Dairy herd up in North Island but down in South Island:

After a decrease in 2015, the dairy cattle number increased 2 percent in 2016 to reach 6.6 million, Stats NZ said today. However, this was not back to the 2014 level (6.7 million).

The North Island dairy herd increased by almost 250,000 cows last year, led by a rise in Waikato. In contrast, the number of dairy cattle in the South Island fell more than 100,000 in the year to 30 June 2016.
The results also show continuing declines for sheep and deer numbers, with beef cattle being relatively unchanged
. . .

Call to action to save threatened species:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has issued a “call to action” for the nation to get behind efforts to protect New Zealand’s threatened native plants and animals.

Minister Barry launched the Department of Conservation’s draft Threatened Species Strategy at the Threatened Species Summit in Wellington this morning.

“Our unique plants and animals are found nowhere else on earth and help to define who we are as New Zealanders, adding immeasurable value to our culture, our identity and our landscapes,” Minister Barry says. . .

Cutting nitrogen loss in winter – Bala Tikkisetty:

Winter’s a much riskier season for nitrogen leaching from urine patches on pasture to waterways.

Milking cows will excrete, in urine, about 70 per cent of the nitrogen they consume. The chance of nitrogen leaching from urine patches is much higher in winter due to weather conditions.

Also, farmers should be particularly cautious when applying nitrogen fertilisers to pasture or crops during winter due to the extra risks winter weather poses for nutrient loss. . .


Rural round-up

May 5, 2017

Stop the open season on farmers – Chris Allen:

An open letter to anglers, hunters and farmers – it’s time for meaningful discussion:

This Saturday (6 May) thousands of farmers will open their properties up to hunters for the opening of the 2017 duck shooting season. Throughout the year farmers provide access to waterways across their properties – to enable anglers the opportunity of catching trout.

Farmers, often in partnership with their local fish and game folk, have spent significant time and money creating and restoring wetland habitats. Strong friendships have been established between hunters/anglers and landowners. In recognition of this partnership, resident landowners and their families do not need a Fish and Game licence to shoot or fish on their own properties.

In some regions the Fish and Game licence revenue has been used to make the life of landowners that much more difficult. As a result, some Fish and Game licence holders may not face the same friendly welcome by their farmer friends this year. . . 

Crown Irrigation provides funding for Kurow Duntroon Irrigation Scheme

Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd. (Crown Irrigation) has agreed development grant funding of $388,000 for Kurow Duntroon Irrigation Company (KDIC), matching the company’s own financial contribution for this development phase. The funding is required to complete the remaining work to reach construction commencement and confirm the commercial viability of the proposed scheme.

The current community-based scheme was established in 1965 irrigating on the south bank of the Waitaki River below the dam, however it is now in need of major work.

KDIC is seeking to upgrade and expand the existing open canal scheme with a fully piped system capable of expanding irrigation capacity from its existing 1,986ha to potentially 6,000ha. The water supply comprises consented takes from the Waitaki dam and river together with additional supply from the existing McKenzie Irrigation Company. . . 

Response underway following myrtle rust find

A biosecurity response is underway after the detection of myrtle rust on mainland New Zealand for the first time, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry have announced today.

Myrtle rust is a fungal disease which can seriously damage various species of native and introduced plants in the myrtle family, including pohutukawa, rata, manuka, gum, bottlebrush and feijoa.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) was notified on Tuesday evening by a nursery in Kerikeri that five pohutakawa seedlings had suspected myrtle rust, and laboratory testing has now confirmed this,” says Mr Guy.

“MPI has moved quickly and initiated a Restricted Place notice to restrict the movement of any plants and people at the site, and is treating nursery stock with fungicide spray as a precaution. Work is also underway to trace any stock that has left the nursery and all other nurseries in Kerikeri are being inspected today. . . 

New Zealand’s fisheries continue to be well managed:

The overwhelming majority of New Zealand’s commercial fisheries are performing well, according to MPI’s latest stock assessments.

The Status of New Zealand’s Fisheries report for 2016 released this week shows a record percentage of the tonnage and value of landings of scientifically evaluated stocks have no sustainability issues.

The report shows ninety seven percent of scientifically evaluated landings were from stocks above or well above sustainable levels, Seafood New Zealand chief executive Tim Pankhurst said.

“The figures show that New Zealand continues to be a world leader in fisheries management,” he said. . . 

Breeding blue cod brings new possibilities:

Scientists have managed to successfully breed blue cod for the first time, a milestone that will support the development of a new aquaculture industry for New Zealand.

In association with Ngāi Tahu Seafood Ltd, the Seafood Technologies team at Plant & Food Research in Nelson are investigating how to breed different species of native fish in captivity, building knowledge of the conditions required for the fish to successfully reproduce.

For the first time, they have managed to breed and grow blue cod to fingerlings. New Zealand can now consider potential opportunities for this desirable table fish, such as intensive aquaculture grow out or supplementing local populations under pressure from fishing. . .

Ara primary industries restructure:

Ara Institute of Canterbury’s proposal to restructure Primary Industries programmes is designed to adjust provision to align with industry demands, Chief Executive Kay Giles said.

“We are disappointed that the Tertiary Education Union has chosen to portray this review as a ‘betrayal of Timaru’, which clearly does not accurately reflect the facts of the review consultation document.”

“It is our responsibility to the Timaru community and the Primary Industries sector to adjust the portfolio to offer the right programmes for the needs of employers. There has been very little demand for the particular programmes that are under review so we need to put our energy where there will be much more value for the primary sector.” . . 

Showcase Comes to Southland:

Southland is hosting the National Sustainability Showcase of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards for the first time at the end of this month.

Up to 400 people will be attending a gala dinner at the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill on Wednesday May 31. Tickets are on sale on http://www.bfea.org.nz.

Eleven award ceremonies have already been held around the country and each regional supreme winner has been invited to the Showcase to be considered for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy – named in honour of Waikato farmer and noted conservationist, the late Gordon Stephenson. . . 

When I say goodbye to Farm Credit – Uptown Farms

“I hope we can keep you all here.”

We had just wrapped up a team presentation to our Board of Directors. The comment came across as a compliment, so I smiled and politely responded that I love my work here.

On the drive home, and numerous times since that day, I found myself thinking about his comment.

I’ve never worked anywhere else. Or at least a real “grown-up job” anywhere else.  Since I sat down at my first Farm Credit desk as a 21 year old intern, I’ve never left. The offers have been there. But I could list on a single hand the hours I’ve actually contemplated leaving. . .

 


Rural round-up

April 6, 2017

Good trade news for red meat – let’s hope it happens quickly – Allan Barber:

The visit by Chinese Premier Li Kequiang has been very positive in several ways for New Zealand’s trade agreements, except for those people who are anti free trade or closer engagement with China (Winston Peters?). After the excitement about the announcement in April last year during the John Key led trade mission, progress on chilled red meat access to China and an upgraded FTA appeared to have gone onto the back burner, until now.

Progress was always going to be slower than the optimistic predictions, because nothing like this happens quickly without extensive discussions between officials about technical issues and, in the case of chilled meat, rewritten protocols and plant certification. Another issue to resolve was the need for marketing and distribution relationships to be established with particular emphasis on the cool chain. . . 

Dairy farmers committed to lowering environmental impact – Katrina Knowles:

Taranaki dairy farmers have planted native species along 5760 kilometres of waterways on their farms. This is the equivalent to a journey from Cape Reinga to Bluff, and back to the steps of Parliament in Wellington, with a few plants to spare.

Dairy farmers, not just in Taranaki, but also throughout the country, are committed to lowering the environmental impact of dairying, while protecting the valuable contribution they make to the economy.

Dairy farming is a major driver in the New Zealand economy, improving everyone’s lifestyle in this country. This is both directly and indirectly, and in rural and urban communities. . . 

Feedback big part of dairy awards – Sally Rae:

Entering the Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards was not about winning for Clydevale sharemilkers Russell and Tracy Bouma.

Rather, it was an opportunity to get feedback from judges to help them grow their business, Mr Bouma said.

The couple recently won the Sharefarmer of the Year title at the regional awards function in Invercargill, collecting $20,065 in prizes.

They sharemilk 762 cows on Andrew, Owen and Barbara Johnston’s 270ha farm and it was the fourth time they had entered the awards. They have been sharemilking since 2002.

Every time they had entered, they had been able to implement some of the feedback from the judges, Mrs Bouma (37) said. . . 

Protecting vulnerable native species with 1080 gets results:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says successful breeding results for several of our most vulnerable native birds come as a result of using 1080 to kill predators.

“New results from a five-year study of South Island kākā nesting at Lake Paringa in South Westland show 30 times as many kākā chicks were produced and survived in the area after 1080 treatment to control stoats and possums compared to the area where no 1080 was used,” Ms Barry says.

“Put another way – 55% of kākā nests were successful up to a year after 1080 treatment but only 1.75% were successful where the compound was not used. 97% of adult kākā survived in 1080 treated areas.” . . 

Zespri reports strong interest in bidding round for Gold3 licenses – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Zespri International reported strong interest in a bidding round for 400 hectares of new Gold3 or SunGold variety kiwifruit licences and said its shares will resume trading on Friday.

The kiwifruit marketer said it received 938 bids of which 235 were successful, and will reap $98 million of revenue from the allocation, excluding GST. The average size of the successful bids was 1.7 hectares. The SunGold variety has proven popular as it is more resistant to the Pseudomonas syringae pv actinadiae bacteria, better known as PSA, which decimated the industry some six years ago. By the end of June 2012, more than 35 percent of New Zealand kiwifruit orchards were infected. SunGold, first commercialised in 2010, was key to the sector’s recovery. . . 

Ashburton dairy farmer takes the helm at Canterbury A&P:

Dairy farmer Peter Gilbert was elected as President of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association for 2017 at the Annual General Meeting held at Riccarton Park Racecourse on 29 March.

Based in Winchmore, near Ashburton, Mr Gilbert was confirmed as the President of the 155th Canterbury A&P Show in front of outgoing President Warrick James, the General Committee and Association Members.

Mr Gilbert said he was looking forward to his Presidential year after a long association with Canterbury A&P. . . 

Anmum Releases Its First Batch of QR Coded Cans in NZ:

Parents Can Trace Product Journey as Anmum Releases Its First Batch of QR Coded Cans in NZ

Consumers now have their first touch point with Fonterra’s traceability in New Zealand through QR codes on Fonterra’s paediatric range, Anmum.

The QR codes are part of a programme to track and trace ingredients and products electronically throughout Fonterra, from the raw milk source on farm right through to retailers who sell the product to consumers.

Unique for every Anmum can, the QR code connects consumers via a mobile phone app to a webpage with information which verifies the authenticity of the product and its batch number. Consumers can also scan the can at any stage after they have bought it and get up to date status information about their product. . . .

Positive outlook for forestry sector:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Louise Upston has welcomed new forecasts showing forestry export revenue set to rise further over the next two financial years.

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ first quarterly update of its Situation Outlook for Primary Industries shows forestry export revenue is forecast to rise 5.8 per cent to $5.4 billion for the year ending June 2017, and a further 8.8 per cent to $5.9 billion in the year to June 2018.

“Rising log exports are behind this positive forecast, with a strong demand from China due to its expanding housing market. This, combined with low shipping costs, has driven harvesting to record levels,” Ms Upston says. . . 

Rabobank’s dairy analyst Emma Higgins on today’s GDT Event result:

The spread in pricing between fats and proteins are at record levels. AMF lifted 2.5% to USD 5,936/tonne (the highest average price for AMF in GDT history) and although butter lost ground by 1.6%, the average price at USD 4,751 is still the second highest average price in the history of butter offerings on GDT. Given low SMP pricing dynamics, coupled with lower global milk production, low fat stocks are underpinning outstanding fat prices.

Looking at the powder front, WMP prices lifted a modest 2.4% to USD 2,924 /tonne. Some price support has come from lower auction volumes this time around, with 20% less on offer overnight compared to the last auction. While SMP moved a fraction lower (-0.8%) to USD 1,913/tonne, a sizable 50% increase in SMP offer volumes makes the result overnight seem very positive indeed. . .

Farmers to see changes to farmhouse deductibility:

With farmers spending an increasing amount of time in the office, or at the kitchen table as the case is for many farmers across New Zealand, the changes to the deductibility of farmhouse expenses may come as a surprise. “With changes impacting farmers for the 2017/2018 financial year, it is important they take the time to find out how the changes could affect them,” Tony Marshall, Agribusiness Tax Specialist for Crowe Horwath points out.

Since the 1960s the IRD has allowed full-time farmers a deduction of 25% of farmhouse expenses without any evidentiary support. Inland Revenue Group Tax Counsel Graham Tubb says that this has allowed some farmers to claim deductions for private spending. . . 

Anchor Food Professionals Opens Sri Lanka’s First Dairy Innovation Kitchen:

Sri Lanka’s foodies are set to receive a delicious boost to their out-of-home dining experience, with Fonterra’s opening of the country’s first dairy innovation kitchen for the foodservice industry.

With increased urbanisation and more Sri Lankans eating out of home, Colombo, a city with more than two million people, is seeing new international hotel chains, restaurants, bakeries and other food outlets spring up around the city.

To cater to the growing interest in out-of-home dining, Fonterra’s foodservice business, Anchor Food Professionals, has opened an innovation kitchen in the city to trial new dairy products and work with chefs to develop new recipes and flavours that suit the tastes of Sri Lankan consumers. . . 

Carrfields seeds produce second world record grain crop:

 An Ashburton farmer’s record-breaking wheat crop is the second world record grain yield to be produced from Carrfields seeds in two years.

Eric Watson’s February 2017 harvest of 16.8 tonnes a hectare, grown from Carrfields’ winter wheat variety Oakley, has just made the Guinness World Records list for highest wheat yield.

It follows the world record for the highest yielding barley crop, set by Timaru growers Warren and Joy Darling in January 2015. The Darlings broke the previous 25-year-old record with a yield of 13.8 tonnes a hectare from Carrfields’ variety 776.

Carrfields’ Cereal Seed Product Manager, Phil Smith, said he was thrilled to see two world records set in Canterbury in a short space of time. . . 


Rural round-up

December 23, 2016

Probe of shot-calf incident  – Shannon Gillies:

Police are investigating the brutal death of a bobby calf near Waimate at the weekend.

The calf was found at the side of a road on Sunday morning, apparently shot five times and struck by a vehicle.

Dan Studholme, on whose property near Waimate the calf had been grazing, said it was apparent the calf did not die instantly from its wounds.

Mr Studholme was called by a forestry worker who discovered the calf. Then a vet and the police were called.

Rifle round casings were found lying near the dead animal, which had been shot in the leg, stomach and jaw. . .

New tools needed to ensure pollination – Maureen Bishop:

Breeding flies to act as pollinators, fitting queen bumblebees with radio transmitters, and preloading honeybees with pollen. These are all methods being trialled to increase the range of crop pollinators.
New Zealand crop industries need a box of new tools to ensure sufficient pollination into the future, a pollination scientist told the audience at the Foundation for Arable Research’s field day at Chertsey on December 7.

Dr David Pattemore, of Plant & Food Research, said scientists were seeking new methods of crop pollination for industries such as avocado, kiwifruit and other agricultural crops. . . 

Kakanui River finds new support group :

North Otago’s Kakanui River, the subject of a three-year community programme that finished in October, has a new champion.

The North Otago Sustainable Land Management Group (NOSLaM) has taken over from the Kakanui Community Catchment Project to improve water quality, reduce soil erosion and increase biodiversity. The project was funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s  and the New Zealand Landcare Trust, with support from the North Otago Irrigation Company, Beef and Lamb New Zealand and Ravensdown.

NOSLaM chairman Peter Mitchell said the group had held meetings and made funding applications so it could continue the progress already made. . . 

Support for Gisborne conservation work:

Four ambitious conservation projects in Gisborne have received $78,000 in support from the DOC Community Fund, Conservation Ministers Maggie Barry and Nicky Wagner have announced.

The projects range from weed eradication on Gisborne’s Titirangi Maunga to protecting wild kiwi in Maungataniwha and represent the best of community conservation, the Ministers say.

“Each of the groups is helping wage the War on Weeds and protect native species from introduced predators and invasive plants,” Ms Barry says. . . 

Kaikōura Cheese keeps going after quake – Max Towle:

Immediately after the Canterbury earthquakes, Daniel and Sarah Jenkins decided to pack up everything they own and move from Christchurch to Kaikōura.

A year later they fulfilled their dream and were cheese making, and eventually opened a shop, Kaikōura Cheese, on the main street.

Last month, when the shaking started again, they were hit with a severe case of deja vu and are only now starting to get their business rolling again. . . 

Fridge stoush over, copyright claim continues: Lewis Road claims partial victory over Fonterra – Ellen Read:

Boutique dairy producer Lewis Road Creamery is claiming a partial victory in its battle with dairy giant Fonterra and is praising social media for the outcome.

The two have been at odds for several weeks over the similarity of labelling on Fonterra’s new Kapiti premium milk range to Lewis Road bottles, as well as who has access to what shelf space in Foodstuffs’ New World and Pak ‘n Save supermarket fridges.

Co-founder Peter Cullinane said on Thursday that his lawyers received a letter from Fonterra lawyers late on Wednesday that showed Fonterra had updated plans it had been making to take up to 97.5 per cent of the supermarket shelf space meaning it was “business as usual” for all suppliers now. . . 

Will the Prime Minister accept Sir David’s challenge?

The challenges for a new Prime Minister are many and varied.

Over the last two weeks Bill English has negotiated a successful leadership campaign to succeed former Prime Minister John Key and a cabinet reshuffle, but now he faces a challenge of a unique kind.

Speaking with Jamie Mackay on NZME’s The Country radio farming show yesterday, Sir David Fagan, the world’s most decorated shearer and a member of the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships’ Organising Committee, laid an invitation at the new Prime Minister’s feet.

“Our new Prime Minister, I know he can shear. I’ve seen him shear at Lumsden many, many years ago at the Full wool Champs. Now there is a challenge for you Jamie, to get our new Prime Minister to shear a sheep down there.” Sir David said. But he didn’t stop there. . . 

Soils, climate, proximity key to new Marlborough vineyard development as sheep farm sold – Mike Watson:

A long-established Marlborough sheep farm has become the latest pastoral property in the region to be sold for vineyard development.

Vendor Mostyn Wadsworth has been a mainstay on the Northbank of the Wairau Valley for the past 33 years.

The Wadsworth family has farmed in the area for nearly a century. . . 


Cabinet changes

December 18, 2016

Prime Minister Bill English has announced changes in and outside Cabinet:

Prime Minister Bill English has today announced his new Cabinet line-up which builds on the success of the last eight years and provides new ideas and energy heading into election year.

“Over the last eight years National has provided a strong and stable Government which is delivering strong results for New Zealanders,” says Mr English.

“This refreshed Ministerial team builds on that success and provides a mix of new people, alongside experienced Ministers either continuing their roles or taking up new challenges.

“This new Ministry is focused on providing prosperity, opportunity and security for all Kiwis, including the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett will remain the Minister of State Services and Climate Change Issues and will pick up the Police, Women and Tourism portfolios.

“I am looking forward to working with Paula as my deputy and I am delighted she is taking on the Police and Women’s portfolios.

“As only the second woman Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand Paula is well placed to take on the Women’s portfolio and represent the interests of women at the highest level of the government.”

Steven Joyce will pick up Finance and Infrastructure, while Gerry Brownlee will remain the Leader of the House and retain Supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Defence, and the Earthquake Commission portfolios. He will also be appointed as the Minister of Civil Defence.

“Steven and I have worked closely together in the Finance portfolio over the last eight years, and as Economic Development Minister he has delivered strong leadership of the government’s Business Growth Agenda.

“As Infrastructure Minister Steven will have a key role in overseeing the significant investments the government will be making in the coming years.

“I am delighted to have Gerry continue in his senior roles, including Leader of the House, and also to have him pick up the Civil Defence portfolio in which he has provided such leadership during the aftermath of the Kaikoura earthquake.”

Simon Bridges and Amy Adams have both picked up additional senior ministerial responsibilities.

Simon Bridges continues as the Minister of Transport and will pick up the Economic Development and Communications portfolios and Associate Finance, while Amy Adams retains Justice, Courts and picks up Social Housing, Social Investment and Associate Finance. Amy Adams will take a lead role in driving the Government’s social investment approach.

“Simon and Amy are two high performing Ministers who are ready to take on more responsibility. I am confident they will work well with Finance Minister Steven Joyce,” says Mr English.

At National’s Mainland conference, Amy told delegates she’d asked for money to be directed into social portfolios because that was the way to address the causes of crime.

She is well qualified for the extra responsibility for social investment.

Jonathan Coleman continues in his Health and Sport and Recreation portfolios, and will play an important role on the front bench.

“All New Zealanders care deeply about the health system, and Jonathan’s focus on ensuring that the needs of people young and old in accessing quality health care is a very strong one.”

Michael Woodhouse has also been promoted up the Cabinet rankings, retaining Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety and picking up the ACC portfolio.

“I would like to congratulate Michael on his promotion. He has been a solid performer and I know he still has a lot more to contribute.”

Anne Tolley has picked up Local Government and will also be appointed Minister for Children, where she will continue her work on improving outcomes for children and young people.

Hekia Parata will retain the Education portfolio until May 1, at which point she will retire from the Ministry to the back bench.

“I am keen for Hekia to see through the education reforms which she is well underway on, and she will work closely with other Ministers to ensure there is a smooth transition in May.”

There will also be a transition of ministers in the Foreign Affairs portfolio.

Murray McCully will retain the Foreign Affairs portfolio until May 1at which point he will retire from the Ministry to the backbench. A decision on his replacement will be made at that time.

“I am keen for Murray to stay on for this transitional period to ensure I have the benefit of his vast experience on the wide range of issues that affect New Zealand’s vital interests overseas.”

This ensures there will be no need for a by-election if he leaves parliament when he’s no longer a minister. It also leaves the door open   for another couple of back benchers to get promotion next year.

Judith Collins takes on new responsibilities in Revenue, Energy and Resources and Ethnic Communities, and is well placed to oversee the significant business transformation work occurring at Inland Revenue.

A number of Ministers largely retain their existing responsibilities, including Chris Finlayson, Nathan Guy, Nick Smith, Todd McClay, Maggie Barry and Nicky Wagner.

Paul Goldsmith and Louise Upston have been promoted into Cabinet.

“I would like to congratulate Paul and Louise on their promotions which are all well-deserved,” says Mr English.

There are four new Ministers. Alfred Ngaro who goes straight into Cabinet and Mark Mitchell, Jacqui Dean and David Bennett who have been promoted to Ministerial positions outside Cabinet.

I am especially pleased that Alfred and Jacqui are being promoted.

He was an electrician before entering gaining a degree in theology and has extensive experience in community work. (See more here).

Jacqui is my MP, serving one of the biggest general electorates in the country. She c0-chaired the Rules Reduction Taskforce and was Parliamentary Private Secretary for Tourism and Local Government.

“The National party Caucus is a tremendously talented one, and as Ministers finish their contribution it’s important for the government’s renewal that we give members of our caucus an opportunity. Alfred, Mark, Jacqui and David have worked hard and performed well in their electorates and as select committee chairs, and deserve their promotions.”

There will be 21 positions in Cabinet until May 1 and a further six outside Cabinet (including two support party Ministers) keeping the total number of Ministerial positions at 27 plus the Parliamentary Under Secretary David Seymour.

“I would like to thank our support party leaders Peter Dunne, Te Ururoa Flavell, and David Seymour for their continued contribution to a strong and stable government.”

Mr English said that he expected to make announcements on the two further new Ministers to replace Ms Parata and Mr McCully just prior to their 1 May retirements from the Ministry.

Ministers Sam Lotu-Iiga, Craig Foss and Jo Goodhew are departing the Ministry.

“I would like to thank Sam Lotu-Iiga, Craig Foss and Jo Goodhew for their service to New Zealand as ministers. I am sure they will continue to be great contributors to New Zealand society in the years ahead.”

The full list of portfolios and rankings is here.


Rural round-up

December 5, 2016

First transport of milk in and out of Kaikoura today :

Milk tankers will be able to start using Kaikōura’s only access road from today.

Essential freight is also being given priority on the inland road, which is considered fragile and hazardous.

Transport Agency regional performance manager Pete Connors said about 240 vehicles would be driving north on the road this morning. . . 

Scholarship awarded – Sally Rae:

Olivia Ross lives by the mantra: “make the most of every day”.

Miss Ross (28), of Longridge North, near Balfour, is one of five young primary industry leaders to receive the inaugural ANZ Future Leaders scholarship.

Open to New Zealand Young Farmer members, the scholarship, worth up to $10,000, was designed to give future leaders in the primary sector a “step up” by providing them with financial support for their planned path of study or professional development. . . 

Tertiary training demand falls – Neal Wallace:

Primary sector productivity rates will remain stalled unless more people are trained and issues with training providers are addressed, DairyNZ strategy leader Mark Paine says.

Industry studies and the Productivity Commission had found primary sector productivity had plateaued and part of the answer to improve that was a strong, flexible training structure, Paine, who is responsible for strategy and investment for people and business, said.

Last week the Farmers Weekly revealed providers responsible for training about 1000 sub-degree trainees were closing or considering doing so. . .

The sale of all sales – Annette Scott:

A national shortage of store cattle and grass-derived demand pushed weaner calf prices to record levels at the last ever cattle sale at Tinwald.

As the hammer went down on the annual consignment of calves, the Ashburton IHC calf and rural scheme fundraiser hit the record books in more ways than one.

The organisation’s calf prices not only hit record highs but the cattle sale was also the last for Tinwald sale yards, destined for closure this month.

The wet weather failed to dampen bidders’ spirits. . . 

NZ taking world leadership role against invasive species:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today announced that New Zealand will take on a leadership role internationally, working with others to control and eradicate invasive alien species and protect native habitats.

The Minister has made the announcement at the International Convention on Biological Diversity which is currently meeting in Cancun, Mexico to consider the best way to meets targets to reduce the impact of invasive species on global biodiversity.

“New Zealand’s commitment to Predator Free 2050 is the largest and most ambitious invasive species eradication project ever attempted.  We are already seen as world leaders in pest control,” says Ms Barry. . . 

Going, going, gone :

PGG Wrightson senior auctioneer John McKone  sells a ram at the Merrydowns Romney and Southdown ram fair at Waikoikoi last week.

Blair and Sally Robertson sold 194 rams as far afield as Warkworth for an average price of $1130.

Romney rams ranged from $600 to $3800,  the top priced ram purchased by Peter and Diane Lowe from Ashburton, and Southdown rams sold from $450 to $3000. . . 

Gorse set to fire Chinese barbecues in win-win for for farmers and the environment – Carol Rääbus:

Take a drive along the Midland Highway through Tasmania and you will see hillsides covered in thousands of gorse plants.

The spikey evergreen has become a major problem for farmers and the state’s environment since it was introduced with the arrival of Europeans.

It tends to like the conditions down here,” John Boland from Gorse Power told Leon Compton on 936 ABC Hobart. . . .

IR8 – the miracle rice which saved millions of lives – Justin Rowlatt:

Last week I received a very unusual invitation indeed. It was to a 50th birthday party in a swanky Delhi hotel, but the party was for a plant: a strain of rice known only by its initials, IR8.

A celebration for an angry rice variety; who could refuse?

The Indian Agriculture Minister, Shri Sudarshan Bhagat, opened the event, describing the introduction of IR8 as “a great moment in India’s history”. . . 

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Rural round-up

November 30, 2016

Training isn’t meeting needs – Neal Wallace:

It requires a liberal dose of lateral thinking to grasp the paradox that is primary sector training.

Recently the Tertiary Education Commission said it wanted to invest more money into primary sector training because there were plenty of jobs.

The primary sector continues to struggle to find staff and this week the Government announced an extension to the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme allowing another 1000 foreigners to work on the coming harvest.

But, incongruously, primary sector training is in upheaval with several high-profile providers responsible for training about 1000 young people, exiting the industry, others looking for a new provider and, in the case of Lincoln University, making 51 staff redundant to balance its books. . . 

Show deal boosts export potential – Colin Ley:

The southern hemisphere’s biggest agribusiness exhibition, the National Fieldays, and Europe’s largest agricultural show, have signed a collaboration deal.

They have signed memorandum of understanding as part of an initiative to boost farm business and trading links between New Zealand and the European Union.

The move would deliver major benefits to NZ’s 130,000-visitor event, held near Hamilton each June, and Eurotier’s 160,000-visitor show held in Hannover, Germany, every second year, Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation said. . .

Govt working with wine industry to secure 2017 Marlborough vintage:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy are working with the Marlborough wine industry to respond to the challenges of the November 14 earthquake and assist with the 2017 vintage.

“The Marlborough wine industry faces some challenges,” Mr Joyce says. “The key impact has been damage to around 20 per cent of the wine storage tanks in the region, and the potential that a lack of storage will affect the ability of the industry to process the full 2017 harvest, which commences in around 15 weeks.” . . 

Animal blamers got it all wrong – Alan Emmerson:

I wrote back in September that we needed to stop playing the blame game over the Havelock North water crisis. We needed to find out and quickly how to fix the problem.

Last week that game reached new heights of absurdity with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council issuing proceedings against the Hastings District Council.

What they’re actually doing is suing their own ratepayers, which won’t achieve anything except lining the pockets of lawyers.

The interesting point is that it’s not farmers who are now in the gun but the Hastings council over bore maintenance and siting. . . 

Westland lifts its payout prediction:

Hokitika-based Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second largest dairy co-operative, has lifted its total operating surplus ( payout) predictionfor the 2016-17 season to range of $5.50 to $5.90 per kilo of milk solids (kgMS).

This is estimated to produce a net return to shareholders (after retained earnings) of $5.30 to $5.70 per kgMS. The co-operative’s previous estimate for the season was a net range (after retained earnings) of $4.55 to $4.95 per kgMS.

Chief Executive Toni Brendish said the lift in payout prediction has been made possible by two factors. . . 

Synlait Increases Forecast Milk Price to $6.00kgMS:

Synlait Milk (NZX: SML; ASX: SM1) has increased their forecast milk price from $5.00 kgMS to $6.00 kgMS for the 2016 / 2017 season.

Synlait planned to provide an updated forecast at the start of February 2017, however Mr Milne said an update now is more appropriate and beneficial for Synlait’s 200 Canterbury milk suppliers.

“We’ve kept a close eye on the global dairy market and the trending increase in dairy prices can’t be ignored. As a result, we’ve increased our forecast milk price to $6.00 kgMS,” said Graeme Milne, Chairman.

Mr Milne said reduced European production over the past three months shows European dairy farmers are responding to lower milk prices. . . 

Dairy volatility has not gone away – Keith Woodford:

Fonterra’s recent upgraded estimate of $6 per kg milksolids (fat plus protein) for the 2016/7 milk price has been welcomed by everyone in the industry. Given that it is only six months since Fonterra’s initial for this season of $4.25, the current estimate should also remind us of the impossibility of predicting milk prices with any accuracy.

This level of inaccuracy is typical of the last three years, where Fonterra’s initial estimates compared to the final price were out by $1.40 in 2014, $2.60 in 2015 and $1.35 in 2016.

Currently, we are about half way through the milk season in terms of production, and most companies will have sold about half of their total seasonal production. With some forward selling, they may even be ahead of this.  It is about this stage of the season that I bring in my price-range estimate to about $1.80 (i.e. plus or minus 90c around a mid-point).   . . 

Plan to diversify Southland economy:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced government support for a new regional growth plan to bolster the Southland economy.

The Southland Regional Development Strategy Action Plan was developed by the Southland Regional Development Strategy Governance Group and is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Programme, which aims to increase jobs, incomes and investment in regional New Zealand.

“Southland has a relatively small economy which relies on a limited number of industries. While the regional population is growing, for the past ten years population growth has been significantly slower than in the rest of the country,” Mr Joyce says. . .

Predator Free 2050 Ltd board appointed:

The company which will be a key player in achieving New Zealand’s Predator Free 2050 ambition is now up and running, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

“Today marks the official establishment of Predator Free 2050 Ltd and the appointment of a skilled board of nine directors,” Ms Barry says.

“This company, and its leadership, will be absolutely integral to the success of the Predator Free 2050 programme. Their role will be to direct investment into regionally significant predator eradication projects and the breakthrough science solutions we need to achieve predator free status.”

Formation of the company was signalled in July, when the Government committed to the ambitious goal of eradicating rats, stoats and possums from New Zealand by 2050. . . 

HortNZ celebrates 100 years of representing growers:

 

Today, Horticulture New Zealand celebrates 100 years of representing growers, with its foundations in the New Zealand Fruitgrowers Federation formed in 1916.

“Our focus is on uniting fruit and vegetable growers to give a strong and unified voice on matters related to our part of food supply in New Zealand and our export markets,” Horticulture New Zealand President Julian Raine says.

“Looking back at the history of the organisation, there is very much a recurring theme of creating an environment where growers can innovate and grow and in doing so, contribute to the economy with jobs and exports.” . . .

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