CK to save $billions

October 15, 2018

The government has a new strategy to save billions of dollars – relying on common knowledge (CK) instead of research and facts.

The seed for the initiative was planted by Energy Minister Megan Woods.

When asked about advice to back up her assertion that MBIE was wrong to say a ban on oil and gas exploration would have a negligible impact on domestic emissions and likely increase global emissions she said it was “very common knowledge” that was “widely held”.

“When the Prime Minsiter heard this she said a light went on and she immediately ordered a whole-of-government strategy to base all policy on CK,” spokesperson Bright Spark said.

”We’ll be able to ditch all the working groups for a start and that will save millions, but that’s only the beginning.

”With CK to guide us there will be no need for most of the roles at Treasury and the research positions in policy development at all the ministries and government departments will go too.

”We’ll be able to get rid of all the research bodies and a lot of the work of universities will become redundant.

”We won’t need robust data and scientific methods if we’ve got CK, especially if it’s widely held.

MS Spark said she didn’t have exact figures for the savings, but based on CK, she could confidently say they would soon amount to billions.

When asked about National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Jonathan Young‘s assertion that Woods had failed to defend the indefensible, Ms Spark said it was common knowledge that this was merely an opposition tactic to discredit assertions based on facts.

”With CK, facts are an outmoded, and expensive concept. We won’t be taking any notice of them.”

Ms Spark said the government was working on an even more radical suggestion to base all policy on common sense (CS) as well as, or instead of, CK.

”But we’re having difficulty finding any. It’s a pretty rare commodity around here and we’re not sure there will be enough to make it work.”

 

 


Two taxes missing

October 13, 2018

On Monday Jacinda Ardern told us fuel companies were fleecing us.

Yesterday we learned two taxes were missing from her numbers:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s calculation of how much extra tax Kiwis are paying at the petrol pump on Monday did not include the recent excise tax or Auckland’s Regional Fuel tax.

National Leader Simon Bridges said the Prime Minister has got this “badly wrong,” and has made a “staggering mistake.”

But a spokesman for the Prime Minister said her comments were “based on the most accurate information Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) had compiled at that time.” . . 

Between October 27, 2017 and September 28 this year, petrol prices have risen 39c, according to MBIE data – Ardern said just 6.8c of that increase was due to “taxes and levies.”

That 6.8c increase is made up of a 1.77c increase in Emissions Trading Scheme (EST) taxes and 5.04c of GST over the same period, MBIE data shows.

But the 10c a litre Auckland Regional Fuel Tax and 3.5c a litre fuel excise tax, introduced on September 30, were not included in the “taxes and levies” side of Ardern’s equation. 

What’s worse: a Ministry that doesn’t know what almost every motorist could have told them, or a Prime Minister and staff who don’t ensure the numbers are right, which means right up to date?

 


Rural round-up

October 3, 2018
Government blamed for pessimism – Neal Wallace:

Growing pessimism among dairy farmers has sent confidence plunging into negative territory for the first time since early 2016. The quarterly Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey of 450 farmers reveals confidence in the agricultural economy has fallen from plus 2% in June to minus 3% in September.

Those expecting an improvement in the next 12 months fell from 26% to 20% while those expecting conditions to worsen rose slightly from 23% to 24%. . .

Farmer group aims at land best practice  – Simon Hartley:

A farmer-led initiative covering six Aparima catchments in Southland is looking at ways to improve land management practices to benefit the environment and local communities.

The Aparima Community Engagement (ACE) project, which represents six local catchment groups, has been under way since March this year, and a fortnight ago briefed Environment Minister David Parker on its aims during his visit to the area.

The type of issues being tackled includes identifying best practice around the likes of buffer zones for wintering, and the use of crops and fertiliser. . . 

McDonald’s lauds Maori beef farm  – Hugh Stringleman:

Hapū-owned Whangara Farms, on the East Coast north of Gisborne, has been accredited to the McDonald’s Flagship Farmers programme, the first such appointment in the Southern Hemisphere. Under general manager Richard Scholefield for the past 12 years, the 8500ha group has become the 28th Flagship Farmer for the worldwide restaurant chain and the seventh beef supplier. . .

Hunting lobby wins concessions over tahr cull  – Kate Gudsell, Eric Fryberg:

The powerful hunting lobby has won concessions in the heated fight over the cull of thousands of Himalayan Tahr.

A meeting was held yesterday between Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and hunting groups including the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association and the Game Animal Council as well as conservation groups such as Forest and Bird, and iwi Ngāi Tahu with the hunting industry emerging confident at the outcome.

The hunting fraternity say Ms Sage has pulled back from positions which the industry had found unacceptable and forced her to re-think plans to cull 10,000 Himalayan Tahr from the Southern Alps.  . .

Seeka warns of possible PSA outbreak in Victorian orchard – Gavin Evans:

(BusinessDesk) – Seeka, New Zealand’s biggest kiwifruit grower, says it may have found the fruit disease PSA in an orchard it is developing in Australia.

It has notified Agriculture Victoria of unusual bacterial symptoms and is removing suspicious plant material pending further test results. . .

Pāmu releases first Integrated Report – returns to paying a dividend

Pāmu Farms of New Zealand (Landcorp) has released its first truly integrated Annual Report for 2018 today.

Chief Financial Officer Steve McJorrow said the 2018 EBITDAR[1] of $48.5 million, announced on 31 August, was very pleasing, and reflected good milk and red meat returns, along with revaluation of carbon holdings (NZUs).

“We are also pleased to be back to paying our shareholders a dividend, which will be $5 million for the 2017/18 financial year. . .

Dairy Hub farm reserach to be revealed at field day:  – Yvonne O’Hara:

Kale versus fodder beet, phosphorous supplementation and buffer widths will be the focus of the Southern dairy hub’s next field day at Makarewa on October 10.

DairyNZ senior scientist Dawn Dalley said they would be updating those attending about the early results of the studies being carried out on site.

Farm manager Shane Griffin will be talking about the hub farm’s progress and Dr Ross Monaghan, of AgResearch, will discuss results of the nitrogen leaching study.

Dairy apprenticeship programme celebrates first birthday:

Federated Farmers is wishing happy birthday today to the Federated Farmers Apprenticeship Dairy Programme on its first anniversary.

The pilot programme supported by MBIE, the PrimaryITO and Feds, was launched last year with the intention of finding more Kiwis keen to work in the dairy industry on farm, and keen to upskill into a farming career.

After almost a year Feds is proud to say we’ve had 193 employer expressions of interest, and 98 completed farm charters, enabling employers to enter the programme along with 180 eligible apprentice expressions of interest and 62 apprentices in the programme. . .

 

What are the benefits?

June 6, 2018

The decision to ban future offshore petroleum exploration was a political one that didn’t go before Cabinet:

The Cabinet has made no decision on ending oil exploration, documents being released today will show, with April’s announcement made on the basis of a political agreement between the coalition parties.

On April 12, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led a group of ministerial colleagues into the Beehive theatrette to confirm news that the Government had decided it would offer no new offshore permits for oil and gas exploration, with onshore permits offered in Taranaki for as little as three years.

Although the news was delivered by ministers affected by the decision and in a forum usually used to discuss decisions made by the Cabinet, politicians made the decision in their roles as party leaders.

Today the Government will release a series of documents generated in the making of the oil and gas exploration decision, but it has already confirmed to Stuff that no Cabinet paper was created and that the Cabinet has not voted on the matter. . . 

We already knew this major decision with large and detrimental economic, environmental and social impacts was made without consultation with affected parties.

Now we know it was a political decision made without even consulting with Cabinet.

That is no way to run a government or a country.

But wait, there’s more and it’s worse – MBIE produced a paper that warned of the detrimental impacts of the ban  which include but aren’t limited to:

* Increased risk to security of future gas supply to major gas users, most notably Methanex at a time when New Zealand has its lowest reserve to production ratio since the Maui reserve re-determination of 2003. The lead time from exploration success to commercial production takes years, so it is not possible to simply turn on gas supplies once they become tight.

* Increased gas prices to consumers following an tightness in future gas supply.

* Increased uncertainty for major gas users in the industrial sector that rely on gas as an input to their processes.

* A negligible impact in reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions but a likely increase in global gas emissions (from methanol produced from gas in New Zealand being displaced by methanol produced from coal in China). It also removes the opportunity, both domestically and internationally, of any future gas discovery being used to displace coal.

A negligible impact in reducing domestic greenhouse gases and a likely increase in global gas emissions?

This isn’t thinking globally, actIng locally. This isn’t thinking at all.

* Increase perceptions of sovereign risk as this would mark a Marjory policy shift.

* Potentially accelerating decommissioning timeframes, alongside the associated Crown liabilities (measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars) for a portion of these decommissioning costs that represent the amount of taxes and royalties that have effectively been overpaid over the life cycle of the field’s production. . . 

* A detrimental economic impact on the Taranaki region. Methane alone contributed 8 percent of the regional economy of Taranaki in 2017. Methane will be the first company affected by future tightness in gas supply. . . 

To sum up, the ban increases risk around security of supply, costs to consumers and global gas emissions and reduces Crown revenue from future royalties and decreases economic activity in Taranaki.

Added to the detrimental impacts MBIE lists, are decreasing trust in the government and increasing jitters over the Labour, NZ First, Green coalition which now looks more like an Ardern-Peters-Shaw dictatorship.

If it can do this to the energy business and Taranaki without warning or consultation what might it drop on other businesses and other areas?

And the benefits?

I can’t think of any that justify the economic, environmental and social sabotage of the ban and the way it was delivered by decree.


Dairy audit results unacceptable – Feds

April 2, 2015

The high level of non-compliance with employment law found by labour inspectors is unacceptable:

Enforcement action is being taken against 19 employers in the dairy industry for breaching employment law following a three month operation by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The Ministry’s Labour Inspectorate visited 29 dairy farms in nine regions to check their compliance with employment laws. More than half were targeted due to information about likely non-compliance.

“The level of non-compliance identified during this operation was extremely high and it was disappointing to find that a significant number of farmers still do not have systems in place to keep accurate time and wage records that are compliant with employment legislation,” says Natalie Gardiner, Labour Inspectorate Central Regional Manager.

Mrs Gardiner says MBIE issued 15 Improvement Notices and four Enforceable Undertakings for a total of 71 minimum employment standard breaches. The majority of breaches related to poor record keeping but several farms had significant minimum wage breaches and there is estimated arrears owed – of more than 120,000. Nine of the more serious cases are being considered for filing with the Employment Relations Authority.

Poor record keeping is a breech which doesn’t necessarily impact on employees but paying poorly is exploitation which does.

“The Ministry takes the exploitation of workers very seriously and is working proactively to crackdown on it through compliance operations targeting sectors and at risk workers across New Zealand.

“We are also working with the industry to help equip farmers with the skills and knowledge to be better employers by ensuring they get the basics right.

“We will not hesitate to take action for breaches of employment law. Breaches will be subject to compliance action and potential penalties of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies,” says Mrs Gardiner.

The Ministry encourages anyone in this situation, or who knows of anyone in this situation, to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20 where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.

Federated Farmers, rightly, says the breeches aren’t acceptable:

Federated Farmers is disappointed in the findings released today by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment in their compliance operation.

Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy Chair, says “It is not a great look for our industry to have this number of dairy farmers not meeting the minimum employment requirements. This is why Federated Farmers has and will continue to focus on this area.”

“MBIE inspectors targeted some of the farmers who were known to have existing employment compliance concerns, while others were random, so ratios of compliance cannot be generalised to dairy farmers at large.  But this does not take away the stern reminder of where the industry is at or our motivation to achieve the task we have set ourselves to get the whole industry to achieve above minimum standards.”

“We have a significant hurdle ahead of us in terms of attracting the next generation into the industry. To me it is not just about meeting the minimum compliance under the law, but changing perceptions of the dairy industry as a career. This means we need to change the reality on some farms in a number of situations.”

Hoggard says lifting employment standards is a high priority for the Federation which has developed industry standard employment contracts and tools, such as the time and wage records, all at heavily discounted rates for members.

“The support for farmers is out there, Federated Farmers has its 0800 number along with top notch, low cost contracts for members, and DairyNZ has fantastic resources available free to levy payers.”

Federated Farmers has been taking its support on the road holding Employment Compliance Workshops’ that cover what MBIE’s minimum standards are.

“The high farmer turnouts have been encouraging, so we are looking to set up more.”

“Federated Farmers wants to take the industry well above just being compliant. That’s why we’ve been developing a Workplace Accord with DairyNZ and other industry stakeholders.”

“The Accord is about setting goals for the industry to achieve quality work environments through helping farmers implement good people management practices.”

“While there have been some aspects of employment practices that were once considered standard, things have changed and we need to change with them. However the expectation that all staff should have an employment agreement has been around for well over 20 years now so there is no excuse for not having one.”

“Failure here will not only put your business into employment law quicksand, but will cost you in productivity. It was interesting to note that those farmers who were using the IMS, MYOB and I Payroll systems were all fully compliant. So the message also goes out to those firms that provide accountancy solutions to farmers to ensure their products are as modern and easy to use as they can be.“

“Federated Farmers has industry standard contracts and agreements that include comprehensive notes on the minimum wage, holidays act, seasonal averaging, accommodation and the like.  It is also written in plain-English for farmers too. So there are systems that will help farmers stay on the right side of the law.”

“I have seen a lot of progress made, but we have a long way to go yet. Dairy farmers need to take this as a reminder about what is expected of them.

The number found in breech of the law is a small percentage of the total number of dairy farms but no exploitation of workers is acceptable.

There is no  justification for paying below the legal minimum and most work on dairy farms should be worth more than that.

Consumers are looking for sustainably produced food which encompasses responsible environmental, economic and social considerations. Being a good employer is an important part of any social standards.

 

 


Rural round-up

January 30, 2015

Fonterra Milk Volume Forecast Reduced:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has reduced its milk volume forecast for the 2014-15 season to 1,532 million kgMS, reflecting the impact of dry weather on production in recent weeks.

The new forecast is 3.3 per cent lower than the 1,584 million kgMS collected last season. The previous milk volume forecast, made in December last year, was 1,584 million kgMS.

Group Director Co-operative Affairs Miles Hurrell said daily milk production was now 6.1 per cent lower than at the same time last season, as farmers appear to be using more traditional practices to manage their farm businesses with the low payout forecast. . .

 

Dollar Drop Helps Push up Wool:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that the rapidly weakening New Zealand dollar against the US and GBP aided by recent active customer buying activity saw the local prices lift in all areas.

Of the 21,600 bales on offer, 93.7 percent sold with mainly some Merino’s being held back.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was down 2.28 percent accounting for most of the price gain in the carpet wool sector with sales/supply pressure pushing Lambs wool and Fine Crossbred’s higher. . .

 

Americans the biggest buyers of New Zealand land since 2010, Linz data shows – :

(BusinessDesk) – Americans have been the biggest buyers of New Zealand land in the past five years although the Chinese topped the list in 2014 alone.

Figures released by Land Information New Zealand of approved investments since 2010 shows a breakdown of buyers by country and by industry. The figures come amid renewed concern over foreign buyers contributing to rising house prices, particularly in Auckland, and of increasing amounts of farmland heading into offshore hands.

Of the 646,190 hectares sold during the five years, Americans bought the most at 168,154 hectares. UK residents, who headed the list in 2010, came in second over the five-year period buying a total 66,932 hectares, followed by Israel on 52,325 hectares and Switzerland on 36,965.Chinese buyers came in fifth at 34,908 hectares, although they headed the list with 10,989 hectares bought in 2014, a big jump from just 53 hectares in 2010, and attracted the most criticism. . .

$5m to expand Food Innovation Network:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced that Callaghan Innovation will invest almost $5 million over five years in a project that will expand New Zealand’s Food Innovation Network.

FoodSouth, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC), will use the funding to build a food innovation centre and pilot production plant at Lincoln University to support South Island food and beverages businesses.

“The FoodSouth facility will provide South Island-based food and beverage companies with a one-stop-shop range of product development services, expertise, and equipment to help accelerate the development of innovative high-value products,” says Mr Joyce. . .

Two new PGPs approved:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed approval for two exciting new programmes to join the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP).

The first, ‘Passion2Profit’, aims to develop new markets for chilled venison and to help deer farmers to become more productive and profitable.

A total investment of $16 million has been secured for this project, with MPI contributing almost $7.4 million and the balance coming from Deer Industry New Zealand and its partners.

The other, ‘Targeting New Wealth with High Health’ looks to reach existing and emerging markets with a new class of premium lamb products with improved health qualities – including lower levels of saturated fat and higher levels of polyunsaturated fat and healthy omega-3 oils.

This is a seven year $25 million programme, with half the funding contributed by MPI. . .

New PGP programme to turn passion into profit:

Deer Industry New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have today announced they will partner in a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme called Passion2Profit.

The $16 million, seven-year programme is intended to be a game-changer in the production and marketing of venison. It’s expected to deliver $56 million in extra revenues a year from the end of the programme, and reverse the ongoing decline in the size of the national deer herd.

A total investment of $16 million has been committed to Passion2Profit, with a $7.4 million contribution from the PGP over the life of the programme, and the balance coming from Deer Industry New Zealand and its commercial partners. . .

 

MBIE takes enforcement action against Opotiki kiwifruit industry employers:

Enforcement action has been taken against eight employers in the Kiwifruit sector in the Opotiki area of the Bay of Plenty following an operation carried out last year by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The Ministry’s Labour Inspectorate and Immigration New Zealand, together with Inland Revenue visited 29 businesses including orchards, pack houses and administrative offices to check their compliance with employment, immigration and tax laws. . .

 

Dairy conversions – getting it right from the start:

Farmers contemplating a land use conversion to dairying can get a new online environmental ‘how to’ planning guide to help ensure any new farm meets the industry’s standards.

Responsible dairy conversions outlines farmer environmental responsibilities during the conversion process. It has been produced by industry body DairyNZ to help farmers understand what the requirements are for new dairy farms and what is expected under the industry’s commitments in the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord.

“It is important to get the conversion process right from the start. Detailed planning will pay off,” says Dairy NZ’s environment manager Dr Mike Scarsbrook. “I recommend a three-step planning process for farmers. Take advice, talk to your regional council and talk to your prospective dairy company. These actions will stand you in good stead for the future,” he says. . . .

 Longer skiing season at Cardrona:

With winter approaching, Cardrona Alpine Resort have decided to lengthen their winter season and have invested heavily into improving the quality and number of groomed trails for all types of skiers and snowboarders.

Cardrona have extended their season by two weeks which gives the ski area the longest scheduled winter season in the South Island. Cardrona’s 2015 Opening Day will now be on June 13 and the final day of the season is scheduled for October 11. Dates are weather dependent and the first week of the season will see limited beginner’s terrain on offer with additional terrain opening as snowfall allows. . .

 

 

 


Rural round-up

January 22, 2015

Fuel price falls should mean lower farm costs:

The continuing fall in fuel prices should be reflected in lower farm input costs Federated Farmers believes.

Petrol and diesel pump prices have declined by more than 40 cents per litre since October.

Federated Famers transport spokesperson, Ian Mackenzie says he expects the persistent decline in the cost of fuel to be reflected in farm expenses.

“The direct expenses of running machinery are accounted for with a lower fuel bill for the farmer. But there are other high fuel use industries, in particular transport, where we would expect to see some reduction in the costs from now on,” he says. . . .

Court case reconfirms QEII covenants’ clout:

For the second time in less than 12 months the durability of QEII National Trust covenants has been confirmed by the High Court.

The first case was considered by the High Court earlier in 2014 when a landowner wanted to subdivide and build 20 houses on an area of covenanted indigenous forest land he had bought on the Coromandel Peninsula. He challenged the legal status of the covenant agreement because it prevented him from developing the land.

The High Court decision declared that the National Trust’s covenant agreements were ‘indefeasible’, meaning the covenant cannot be annulled. . .

 

Stock theft affects us all – Chris Irons:

Around Christmas time stock rustling seems to rear its head and this holiday season has been no different. Concerns are mounting around stock rustling and the ability to stop it. Ironically, the morning of writing this I was actually out hunting down one of my own heifers, which in the end I found but it gets the heart pumping when you think it has been stolen.

Following the event where a farmer’s cows were shot with a crossbow at the southern end of the Hunua Ranges, questions are being raised as to what rights farmers have to stop a poacher or thief on their property? Not only do farmers have limited rights to stop people stealing their stock, but we’ve got to ask whether the penalties imposed are serious enough to be a deterrent for either rustling or poaching?  Based on the Federation’s experience to date they are not. . . .

DWN conference heads to Southland:

Dairy Women’s Network is excited to be holding its 2015 annual conference in one of New Zealand’s fastest growing dairy regions.

The Network’s key annual event is sponsored by Lifetime Insurance and Travel Advisors, and is taking place in Southland on 18-19 March at the ILT Stadium in Invercargill.

Network chief executive Zelda De Villiers said the 2015 conference theme ‘Entering tomorrow’s world’ would be evident in the eight workshops offered, comprising financial management, sustainable environments, a presentation by High Performance Sport NZ psychologist David Galbraith, farmer wellness, animal lameness, legal liability and more. . .

MBIE report backs primary sector careers:

Lincoln University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Business Development, Jeremy Baker, has welcomed the findings of a Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) report which shows particularly favourable prospects for those exploring primary sector and associated land-based careers.

The Occupation Outlook 2015  report is a comprehensive industry document designed to provide key information for those contemplating study and career options. The report rated the job prospects for agricultural scientists as very high, and projected an annual growth for the profession of 4 percent for 2013-18 and 3.2 percent for 2018-23.

Identical figures are listed for environmental scientists and food technicians, while the job prospects for farmers and farm managers is also rated as very high.

“The report lends weight to the message Lincoln University has been making for some time. Namely, that there are many exciting career opportunities in the primary sector for those who are prepared to open themselves up to the possibilities,” says Jeremy Baker. . .

Boosting food production through phosphorus: Lincoln works with Chilean university:

Lincoln University is joining forces with a prominent Chilean university research institute to address pressing issues involving the essential role of phosphorus in global food production.

Professor Leo Condron, of Lincoln University’s Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, recently spent six weeks at the Scientific and Technological Bioresources Nucleus (BIOREN) of the Universidad de La Frontera in Temuco, Chile, as part of a Biological Resource Management Fellowship funded by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“The fellowship involved bringing together the complementary skills of Lincoln University and Universidad de La Frontera to investigate ways of improving the usability of phosphorus in agricultural systems,” said Professor Condron.

The productivity of ecosystems is largely determined by the presence of phosphorus in soil. However, the world’s known phosphorus reserves are steadily being depleted, and demand is expected to exceed supply within 100 years. . .

Primary industry sector on verge of a technological revolution:

While farmers and other rural industries have always been innovators and pioneers, many city dwellers still think of them as tough, hardworking people who do without ‘modern’ technologies such as smart phones, tablets and big screen TVs.

Times have changed. The reality is something quite different. These and an array of new and innovative technologies are now a vital component of most rural businesses.

City dwellers can use their latest mobile gadget as they make their way into work. Modern farmers would rather use their latest UAV (drone) for a spin around the property or set up their new driverless tractor for the day’s operations – all while tracking everything via their tablets using GPS and wireless networks. . .

Manuka Health – recognised for excellence in International Business Awards

Manuka Health is delighted to be recognised as a finalist in the 2015 New Zealand International Business Awards (NZIBA) in the $10 – $50 million General Award Category. This signals the extraordinary growth experienced by Manuka Health over the past eight years and is also an acknowledgement of recent investment in a multi-million dollar plant in Te Awamutu.

Opened officially in November 2014, the Manuka Health facility is a high tech, internationally accredited laboratory, honey processing factory and global distribution centre which enables the Company to produce award-winning innovative natural healthcare products.

“We are honoured to have been recognised for our success in international business,” says Kerry Paul, CEO Manuka Health. “This comes on top of an exciting year with the opening of our world-class facility and a prestigious Gold Innovation Award for our ManukaClear™ Intensive BB Gel in the USA. . . .

 


Rural round-up

August 15, 2014

Commission releases draft report on 2013/14 review of Fonterra’s base milk price calculation:

The Commerce Commission today released its draft report on Fonterra’s base milk price calculation for the 2013/14 dairy season. The base milk price is the price Fonterra pays to farmers for raw milk.

The Commission is required to review Fonterra’s calculation of the base milk price each year as part of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act’s milk price monitoring regime. The review assesses if Fonterra’s calculation approach provides incentives for it to operate efficiently and provides for contestability in the market for purchasing farmers’ milk.

The scope of the Commission’s review is only to look at the base milk price, not the retail price that consumers pay for processed milk. . . .

 

Fonterra’s farmgate milk price out of step with efficiency – Pattrick Smellie:

 (BusinessDesk) – The Commerce Commission says Fonterra Cooperative Group’s decision to cut the last season’s forecast payout to farmer shareholders by 55 cents per kilogram of milksolids below the result produced by its Farm Gate Milk Price calculation is not consistent with the milk price regime’s intention to make Fonterra operate efficiently.

However, it says the decision – the first ever taken to vary the payout from the calculated level since the Farm Gate Milk Price regime came into force in 2009 – was consistent with ensuring competitive provision of milk to alternative suppliers, the commission concluded in its annual review of the regime.

Under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act, which allowed a merger to create Fonterra despite creating a dominant local market player, the commission must monitor how Fonterra sets the price it pays farmers for milk as part of efforts to ensure it’s possible for local dairy market competitors, such as Synlait or Westland Milk, to emerge.

Under the monitoring and reporting regime, the commission has no ability to force any change on Fonterra. . .

 

Latest dairy farm visits reveal poor record keeping:

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Labour Inspectorate has released the results of the third phase of its national dairy strategy, which involved visits to farms that employ migrant workers.

The findings show that while no exploitative conduct was found, a quarter of the farms visited were in breach of employment laws for poor record keeping.

Senior Labour Inspector Kris Metcalf says the visits were part of a long-term operation to check compliance with minimum employment obligations at dairy farms across the country.

“The majority of the 42 dairy farms visited in this phase were meeting minimum employment standards,” says Kris Metcalf.

“However, 11 farms were found to be in breach of their minimum employment obligations which is disappointing. . .

Government migrant dairy worker survey highlights procedure hole:

Following the third phase of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) dairy strategy, focussed on migrant workers, Federated Farmers knows a sizable minority of farmers still need to meet basic employment law and the Federation is offering to help.

“The latest information from MBIE shows that there has been a significant improvement in the performance of dairy farmers, but far too many are failing to take accurate time sheets seriously enough,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Employment Spokesperson.

“We are pleased MBIE inspectors did not find any exploitative behaviour of migrant workers on the 42 farms they visited. That said we’ve still got a bit of work to do with our guys on record keeping and basic employment practices. . . .

Softening the dairy blow:

• NZ dollar is under pressure
• Interest rate predictions delayed
• Meat sector outlook remains bullish

While eleven of the last twelve dairy auctions have recorded price falls, the sheer magnitude of the falls is bringing other factors in to play, according to the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report.

“With dairy prices down by 37 percent on a year ago, the NZD has finally come under some pressure” says Nathan Penny, ASB Rural Economist.

“The NZD has passed its peak. We expect the NZD to trade at around 85 US cents for the rest of the year.”

“The dairy price falls are also a major reason why we’ve pushed back our interest rate call.” ASB Economics now expects the next OCR increase in March 2014 rather than their previous call for a December 2014 hike. . .

 

Working group for dairy processing sector:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced the establishment of a working group to develop a ‘roadmap’ on how to meet the future capability needs of the dairy processing sector.

“This was a recommendation of the independent Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Incident last year. It found that our food safety regulatory model for dairy is among the best in the world, but also recommended improving people capability to strengthen the food safety system.

“The inquiry highlighted the shortage of experienced people with processing expertise across the industry’s regulatory sector, and at all levels of the system. . .

 Does Australia want to compete? – Jo Bills :

Recently the Business Council of Australia released a report it commissioned from McKinsey & Co – Compete to Prosper: Improving Australia’s global competitiveness.

It was fascinating reading – taking a helicopter view of the Australian economy and the global competitiveness of industry sectors.

Most of us probably regard Australia as a trading nation, but the McKinsey analysis highlights the fact that our economy remains quite inwardly focussed – while we are the world’s 12th largest economy, we rank 21st in terms of global trade – well behind some that you might assume we should be ahead of.

As part of the study, the McKinsey number-crunchers developed a Relative Competitiveness Score, applied it to all sectors of the Australian economy and found that only one sector – agriculture – stood out as truly competitive. . .

Boost for wilding tree control in Waimakariri:

A group of volunteers dedicated to clearing wilding trees around Flock Hill in upper Waimakariri is to receive a major funding boost, Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner announced today.

Waimakariri Ecological and Landscape Restoration Alliance will receive $309,000 over the next three years from the Department of Conservation’s Community Conservation Partnership Fund.

“Wilding trees are now the most significant threat to biodiversity and infrastructure in the 60,000 hectares of public and privately owned lands in the upper Waimakariri Basin. . .

Forest contractors welcome WorkSafe submission:

Today the government’s safety agency for forestry, WorkSafe NZ, has publicly released its submission to the panel of the Independent Forest Safety Review. The Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA), the industry group that originally initiated the review, has welcomed the comments from the regulator.

“We’re pleased that some vital issues have been highlighted by Gordon MacDonald’s WorkSafe NZ team,” says spokesman John Stulen of the Forest Industry Contractors Association, “They’ve made some very practical observations vital to making change in our industry.”

Stulen says WorkSafe NZ has been open and frank in their criticism of some shortcomings, yet has also been constructive at the same time. . .

Feed Partnership Set to Shake Up South Island Mag Regime:

South Island dairy farmers can now reap the rewards of a revolutionary new Magnesium product, which is transforming Magnesium use in dairying.

Animal feed ingredient supplier, BEC Feed Solutions, is partnering with South Island animal feed manufacturer and blender, James & Son (NZ) Pty Ltd, to give the region’s dairy farmers convenient access to its Bolifor® MGP+ product.

Bolifor® MGP+ is a unique alternative to messy pasture dusting and laborious daily drenching, and contains the essential minerals Magnesium and Phosphorus in the one product. It’s anticipated thatBolifor® MGP+ will be well received in the South Island, given that farmers, vets and animal nutritionists are observing an increase in Phosphorus deficiency due to the region’s dependency on fodder beet crops and changing land use. . .


Lower power price increases

July 17, 2014

Power price rises are one of the sticks with which opposition parties try to beat the government.

It’s an easy hit because all but the self-sufficient use power and the lower people’s budgets are the greater the proportion of them has to be spent on the power bill.

However, the facts don’t support their criticism:

New power price data released today shows the Government’s 2010 electricity reforms are making a real difference for consumers, says Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges.

“The sales data released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for the year ending March 2014, shows the lowest annual price increase since 2001 at 2.3 per cent,” Mr Bridges says.

“Discounts and other benefits from retailers are becoming the new norm in an increasingly competitive electricity market and the new data captures what consumers have actually paid for their power, rather than the advertised price.”

MBIE has also released the June quarter of the price indicator known as the Quarterly Survey of Domestic Electricity Prices (QSDEP), which captures the latest April price increases.

For the June quarter, there has been an increase of 2.3 per cent.  This was driven by a 6.7 per cent increase in lines charges — the component regulated by the Commerce Commission — as retailers passed on the significant investment costs associated with upgrading local networks.

The energy component — the part subject to competition — decreased by 0.7 per cent.

Mr Bridges says competition is the best way to keep prices down and the latest electricity data shows that the Government’s 2010 reforms have helped bring runaway power price increases under control.

“Since the National-led Government took office in 2008, we have halved the power price increases seen under the previous Labour Government.”

Latest figures released by the Electricity Authority show that consumers can save, on average, $155 per year by switching power retailers.

“I encourage consumers to continue to shop around for the best deal,” Mr Bridges says.

The latest electricity price data can be found here: http://www.med.govt.nz/sectors-industries/energy/energy-modelling/data/prices/electricity-prices

Editor’s notes:

In March 2014, the Minister of Energy and Resources announced changes to improve electricity price monitoring and provide more accurate information about how the market is performing. http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/changes-improve-electricity-price-monitoring

The previous way electricity prices were monitored wasn’t detailed enough to capture all the discounts and benefits being offered as a result of an increasingly competitive electricity market.

MBIE has worked with electricity retailers to develop the new approach, which reflects what people have actually paid for their electricity, including discounts and benefits.

The new data is based on the actual volume of electricity sold and the total revenue, to give the average price paid per kilowatt hour.  It includes prompt payment, multi-fuel and online discounts, as well as incentive and retention payments, and rates paid by consumers on fixed-term plans.

MBIE and the Electricity Authority will continue to work to improve electricity price data, including access to, and analysis of, more detailed consumption data with a view to making this publicly available in 2015.

 The reforms are working and they are far better than the back-to-the-future power play proposed by Labour and the Green Party.

Our 2010 electricity reforms are making a real difference for consumers. national.org.nz/news/news/media-releases/detail/2014/07/15/new-price-monitoring-shows-competition-strengthening #Working4NZ


Politics Daily

June 11, 2014

This is an attempt to replace Dr Bryce Edwards’ daily political round-up while he’s taking a break.

I’m not pretending to be balanced.

While I link to a range of news stories, the blogs I link to are usually from the centre to the bluer end of the political spectrum or the more reasonable or witty bits of the pink to red end.

You’re welcome to leave links to other news and blogs in comments.

Employment

Andrea Vance @ Stuff – Name and shame rulebreakers, Government says

John Anthony @ Stuff – Work trial helps disadvantaged

Jonathan Underhill @ Business Desk – Pass mark for 90-day trials in new MBIE survey

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog –

Simon Bridges – Feedback sought on minimum employment standards

Stuff – @ Stuff Demand for workers remains strong

EPMA – EMA backs employment standards ‘white paper’

Local government

Taxpayers’ Union – Ratepayers’ report

Andrea Vance @ Stuff – Which place has the highest rates?

Andrea Vance @ Stuff – Balancing the council books

Stuff – Politicians talk about keeping it local

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – The Ratepayers’ Report

Peter Creswell @ Not PC – And the country’s most indebted council is …

Peter Creswell @ Not PC – Well, that’s awkward

Beehive

Nikki Kaye – Funding for councils to support young people

Business Growth Agenda

Employers and Manufacturers’ Association – Growth Agenda massive, thorough, committed

Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment  – Research report on employment law changes released

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Manufacturing still in crisis. Yeah right.

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – The manufactured crisis gets worse

Election

Luke Balvert  @ SunLive – Students prefer Key as PM

Stuff – David Cunliffe hits out at coat-tailing

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – More Cunliffe hypocrisy

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Quelle surprise…

Hamish Rutherford @ Stuff – Rodney MP dismisses deal with Conservatives

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – There will be no deal in Rodney

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Rudman on coat-tailing and rorts

iPredict – 2014 Election Update #21: Maori Party in Trouble

Pete George @ YourNZ – Epsom Circus

Peter Creswell @ Not PC – At least Joe might get to laugh, instead of cry

IMP

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Photo of the Day – 11 June 2014

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – 99.5% of New Zealanders can see right through the scam

Geoffrey Miller @ Liberation – Three reasons the Internet Party might be successful

Geoffrey Miller @ LIberation – Three reasons why the Internet Party might not succeed

Adolf Fiinkensein @ No Minister – Who will pay on the final day?

Peter Dunne – Rich boys and their toys

Chris Trotter @ Bowalley Road – Favourable Reference: Why John Key’s Worst Enemy Is The Left’s Best Friend.

Lew @ Kiwi Politico – What is success for Internet MANA?

Social Media

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Tweet of the Day – 11 June 2014

Matthew Beveridge – MPs’ response to storm in Auckland

Matthew Beveridge – Colin Craig on social media

Matthew Beveridge – Labour’s Christchurch earthquake policy graphic

Labour

Scott Yorke @ Imperator Fish – Winning in 2014 – a prescription for Labour

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Smith on Mr Cunliffe’s tales of woe

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Astonishing hypocrisy and sanctimony from David Cunliffe

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Labour’s 10,000 outstanding earthquake claims is actually less than 1500, busted again

Other

Fran O”Sullivan @ NZ Herald – Cash donors have expectations

Dominion Post – Today in politics: Wednesday, June 11

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Imagine the outcry if the the Business Roundtable wrote policy for the Right…

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – The success of US charter schools

ACC – ACC levy consultation – it’s easier than ever to have your say

Rob Salmond @ Polity – Easy flowchart for “political analysts”

 


Employment law changes working

June 11, 2014

Employment law changes are working as intended a  Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment research report shows.

The report evaluated the short-term outcomes of the 2011 changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Holidays Act 2003.

Key changes to the legislation included allowing all employers the option to use trial periods of up to 90 days, the ability for employees to cash in up to one week of annual holidays, and changes to union access and problem resolution processes.

The changes were designed to improve the operation of the labour market by achieving lower compliance costs for employers, faster problem resolution, greater clarity and more choice and flexibility for employers and employees.

MBIE’s Research, Evaluation and Analysis manager Abby Johnston says while it’s too soon to assess the full impact of the changes, there are indications that some of the changes are working as intended.

“The report shows that extending the use of trial periods to all employers has resulted in more employment opportunities, with one third of employers surveyed saying the provision has led to them hiring people they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Employers are far more likely to take on new staff when the risk of having to keep them if they’re not up tot he job is lower.

Contrary to claims by unions before the law was changed, it hasn’t encouraged employers to churn through staff. The time, effort and money involved in recruitment and training are too great to lead to employers exploiting the trial period

“The report also shows that changes to the Holidays Act have promoted flexibility and increased choices for employers and employees. Ongoing advice and education for both employers and employees will improve awareness around the amendments, which some are still getting to grips with.”  . . .

Lower compliance costs, faster problem resolution and greater clarity, and more choice and flexibility are better for both employers and employees.

The opposition and unions opposed the changes, as they do, failing to realise that while safeguards against exploitation are necessary, the easier it is to employ people and the more flexibility there is, the better for everyone.

The report is here.


Rural round-up

May 9, 2014

Solid Energy sells farms – Collette Devlin:

Solid Energy has sold its Southland dairy farms, but the state-owned company is yet to release the price it got.

About 2,000 hectares of the Eastern Southland rural property was sold by tender.

The properties included three dairy farms, two dairy support or conversion farms, and four properties considered as dairy support farms.

The farms, ranging from 33ha to 399ha, were within a 5-kilometre radius between Mataura and Gore.
Solid Energy bought the properties to secure access to the large lignite coal resource in the district, but no longer required the land. . .

Robo cows ready for milking – Diane Joyce:

Robots will be milking cows in Havelock North by early next year, and everyone will be able to stop in and see for themselves how it works.

Dairy farming could become a substantial earner for Hawke’s Bay if the latest robot technology is taken up by farmers, says the man behind the plan, Michael Whittaker.

A state-of-the-art 3500 square metre dairy barn is being built, in which the cows will decide how often they want to be milked and how often they want to head outside into the sunshine. For the 120 cows there will be two “self-milking” bays, to which the cows can wander whenever they chose. . .

Steady rise in milk prices over 50 years – Andrea Fox:

The milk price paid to dairy farmers has increased by an average of 11c a kilogram of milksolids a year over the past 50 years, new analysis by DairyNZ shows.

For DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman that was one of most interesting findings of the industry organisation’s economic survey for 2012-13, which also marked 50 years of economic analysis of key financial data from dairy farmers.

“That the milk price has continued to increase is not a recent phenomenon, although in the last 25 years it has shown more volatility and even increased volatility in the past six or seven years,” Newman said.

The trend had implications for farmers around risk management and how to manage changing prices, he said.  . .

MBIE’s dairy farm employee position statement positive:

With the employment practices of dairy farmers in the media spotlight, the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Labour Inspectorate’s newly released position statement, is to be followed up by both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ.

“Dairy farmers can expect a joint Industry Best Practice Guidance note next week,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers employment spokesperson.

“Both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ endorses MBIE’s common sense position statement, which not only reminds employers about the Minimum Wage Act 1983, but reminds them ‘seasonal averaging’ has gone the same way as 245-T. . . .

Scales’ target continued growth – Alan Williams:

Apple grower Scales Corporation expects to lift production every year until about 2020 to take advantage of increasing demand in Asian and Middle East markets.

Apple consumption was growing strongly in big-population markets such as Thailand, China, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates, and was growing in India, chief executive Andy Borland said.

Scales subsidiary Mr Apple had been steadily replanting its Hawke’s Bay orchards with redder, sweet varieties such as Gala, NZ Queen, and Fuji, Borland said.

It was getting the increased production now and that would continue, because apples took 5-7 years to reach production peak, he said. . .

Tasked to wake sleeping giant – Alan Williams:

Nick Berry is off to work for the opposition, but he has never seen it that way.

In his 30 years in Fonterra’s retail store business RD1, it was always RD1 as a dairy specialist and PGG Wrightson a sheep-and-beef farm supplier.

“We didn’t see Wrightson as a real competitor. It was more CRT and Farmlands as the competitors,” Berry said.

Because of that background it isn’t such a big wrench that he’s going now to help Wrightson build its supply network to dairy farmers.

“We spoke of it as more of a sleeping giant, with its 100-plus stores, and I’ll be happy to help it grow,” he said. . .


Unholy mess

April 23, 2014

Prime Minister John Key says Easter trading laws aren’t working well and need to be changed.

He’s right on both counts, the law is an unholy mess.

Anyone can trade in Queenstown and Taupo but only some can in neighbouring Wanaka and Rotorua.

Outside the designated tourist areas a petrol station or dairy can sell magazines and milk but a book shop and supermarket can’t.

We were in Wanaka at the weekend, the town was full and almost all shops were open every day.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has released a statement saying it doesn’t discuss its enforcement approach with external parties and that it takes a reactive approach to trading laws, only investigating when complaints are made.

As of 1pm today, MBIE had received 18 complaints, most of them in the North Island, but one from Wanaka. . . .

At least we now don’t have the ridiculous situation of MBIE staff working to police those who shouldn’t be working, but having some busy-bodies reporting businesses doing what they shouldn’t in one place when they could in another isn’t much better.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean has been trying to get some sense into the situation but it’s a conscience vote and with the left block voting the union way she hasn’t been able to get the numbers.

But one of the guests on RadioNZ’s panel last week came up with a compromise that might work – treat Good Friday and Easter Sunday like Anzac Day – have all businesses close in the morning but able to open in the afternoon.

This would be a compromise which won’t please everyone, but it would be better than the unholy mess we have now.


Rural round-up

September 15, 2013

Getting low riding out the big blow – Tim Fulton:

Tom Kearney, his wife and family hunkered down in a bedroom and rode it out when the nor’wester whacked their farm near Ashburton.

The Kearneys’ home at Winslow was well sheltered but it felt for a while like the windows might blow in, Kearney said.

“We’ve got a young daughter and another one on the way in about three weeks time so it could have got a bit frightening if it (the baby) decided to turn up a bit early.”

The sheep farmers expect they lost up to 1000 trees in the gale, about half the trees on the property. Some of thee shelter-belt trees were 50-60 years old. . .

Response needed on black grass – Annette Scott:

The black grass damage is done and the focus now must go on establishing a robust response plan, Methven cropping farmer Ian Letham says.

Letham farms along the route the contaminated seed took on its journey to a Methven seed-dressing plant.

“I’m extremely concerned about this issue,” he said of a biosecurity breach that resulted in the spillage of the noxious weed black grass in Mid Canterbury. . .

NZ-linked Chinese dairy firms rank highly – Jamie Gray:

Chinese dairy companies Yili and Mengniu – both of which will soon have factories in New Zealand – now rate among the top 15 of the world’s biggest dairy companies in terms of turnover, rural lending specialist Rabobank said.

Rabobank said Yili is now ranked at 12th, up from 15th last year, while Mengniu went to 15th from 16th.

Yili has plans to manufacture in South Canterbury while Yashili – which is in the throes of being taken over by Mengniu – is building a factory at Pokeno, on the southern outskirts of Auckland.

The top five rankings – with Fonterra at number four – remained unchanged from last year. . .

Genetics programme critical for improving productivity – Allan Barber:

Two complementary programmes have just been announced which promise to deliver improved sheep traits which will compensate for lower production and generate greater profits.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics is a proposed new partnership between B+LNZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) which will combine existing levy payer funding of $2.9 million with $1.5 million of third party investment to be matched by $4.4 million from MBIE.

B+LNZ currently invests its share in the activities of Sheep Improvement Limited, Central Progeny Test and Ovita which has been a joint venture with AgResearch for the last 10 years. This will now be wrapped up into B+LNZ Genetics, while AgResearch will provide major input into the new programme which will broaden the historical breeding excellence focus to determine breeding values and genetic ability to perform on hill country. . .

Vision projects #4 – Credo Quia Absurdum Est:

I see agribusiness biotechnology startups in the news every week.  They usually have the words “Massey University”, or occasionally the school for backward farm kids “Lincoln” attached to them.

There’s no reason why they shouldn’t have Invercargill attached to them.

But we have had decades of wasteful spending on airport runways, pastoral land at Awarua and other ridiculous projects that are not going to create community wealth or jobs.

Invercargill needs to play to its strengths. . .

Pāua Data Logging to Better Manage the Fishery:
Commercial pāua diving is entering the electronic age with logging of every shellfish taken.

When the new season opens on Oct 1, every diver in the Pāua 2 fishery will be wearing a data logger that will record each captured pāua’s location, depth, weight and the water temperature.

The small electronic boxes strapped to wetsuits unload their data on the supporting dive boat, which will provide a reef by reef picture of what is happening in the fishery.

“This will allow us to spread the catch effort, ensure an area is not over exploited and better manage a sustainable fishery,” Tony Craig, Pāua 2 Management Group chairman, said. . .


Better protection for migrant workers welcome

June 24, 2013

Different cultures have different rules and different ideas of what is acceptable including over the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers.

In New Zealand it isn’t acceptable to exploit workers and changes to the law protecting migrants are welcome:

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has announced measures to combat the exploitation of migrant workers, and make it clear that unlawful and exploitative behaviour will not be tolerated in New Zealand.

“By breaking the law, unscrupulous employers not only harm their staff but they also gain an unfair advantage over their law-abiding competitors.

“New proposals will see exploitative employers face lengthy prison time, hefty fines, and in some cases deportation back to their country of origin. Changes have also been made to encourage victims of exploitation to come forward.

“I plan to amend the Immigration Act to make it a specific offence to exploit migrants who hold temporary work visas. The proposed penalty will reflect the seriousness of the offence – imprisonment for up to seven years, a fine not exceeding $100,000, or both.

“Unlawful migrants are already protected by the Act in this way, and it is only right that lawful migrants have the same protections,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“I also propose to make exploitative employers with residence visas liable for deportation if the offence was committed within 10 years of gaining residence. We are seeing an increasing number of cases where the crooked employer is themself a migrant, taking advantage of vulnerable people from their own community.

“Changing the law to make such employers liable for deportation sends a strong message that the government will not tolerate such behaviour.”

This is a good move. Not all expoitative employers are immigrants but those who are must learn what is and isn’t acceptable practice here regardless of whether it might or might not be in their home countries.

Mr Woodhouse says that the legislative changes are likely to be introduced by August, and are in addition to a number of other steps being taken by the government to address the issue of migrant exploitation.

“Last week I signed off on an immigration policy change to encourage victims of exploitation to come forward so that action can be taken. There are currently few incentives for migrants to report exploitative practices by employers – particularly when the worker is in breach of their visa conditions, or is unlawful.

“The new policy means that in cases of serious workplace exploitation, migrants who come forward will be allowed to remain in New Zealand while they apply for a new visa. This will also help us better understand the true extent of migrant exploitation in New Zealand.

“I am also working closely with the Minister of Labour, Simon Bridges, to ensure cross-agency collaboration on this important issue. He is looking at operational and legislative mechanisms to improve enforcement of minimum employment standards, including proportionate and severe sanctions for serious breaches.”

“Ministers have made it clear to agencies that we expect a whole-of-government response to combating migrant exploitation, and MBIE’s Labour Inspectorate and Immigration New Zealand are undertaking joint enforcement actions targeting the fishing, hospitality, horticulture and viticulture industries.

“The decision last year to require the reflagging of foreign-owned fishing vessels clearly demonstrated that putting a stop to illegal exploitation is a priority for the Government. These new immigration changes are another important step towards achieving that goal.”

Migrant workers who may not have good language English and an understanding of their rights are particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

There is no excuse for migrant employers who exploit their workers and there is even less for local employers who should be familiar with their responsibilities to staff.

The main victims of exploitation are the workers who are being exploited. The exploitation also creates unfair competition for other workers and employers who follow the law.

A transcript of the interview of the minister on Q&A is here.


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