Rural round-up

December 21, 2018

Taratahi agri training operator in interim liquidation – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – The Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre has been placed into interim liquidation at the request of its board of trustees as declining student numbers saw its funding drop faster than it could cut costs.

The High Court yesterday appointed David Ruscoe and Russell Moore of Grant Thornton as interim liquidators after the board sought to protect the position of its staff, students, creditors and other stakeholders, the accounting firm said.

Taratahi is a private training establishment, employing 250 staff, and educating 2,850 students this year. It owns and manages eight farms across the country. . . 

IrrigationNZ welcomes new chief executive:

IrrigationNZ has appointed Elizabeth Soal as its new Chief Executive.

“IrrigationNZ has recently adopted a new strategy which focuses on creating an environment for the responsible use of water for food production. As part of the strategy we will be focusing on advocacy, encouraging innovation through sharing ideas and adopting new technology, developing a robust information base, bringing the irrigation sector, researchers and decision makers together to make better decisions for our future and creating world‑leading irrigation standards,” says Nicky Hyslop, IrrigationNZ Board Chair.

“Elizabeth has a strong background in water management, law and policy and she will help contribute to all of these goals but she is particularly well qualified to contribute to national discussions as we seek to achieve solutions to complex issues around water allocation which result in good outcomes for both communities and the environment.” . . 

Feds welcome new IrrigationNZ chief executive:

Federated Farmers welcomes Elizabeth Soal as the new chief executive of Irrigation New Zealand.

Federated Farmers maintains an excellent working relationship with Irrigation New Zealand,” Feds water and environment spokesperson Chris Allen says.

Elizabeth has the credentials and background, including her strategy and policy work for the Waitaki Irrigators Collective, to help ensure INZ continues its excellent work.” . .

Federated Farmers disputes E Coli claims – Eric Frykberg:

There is no proof that E. Coli found in three Canterbury rivers came from cows, according to Federated Farmers.

Research commissioned by Fish and Game found dangerous pathogens in three Canterbury rivers – the Ashley, Selwyn and Rangitata.

Fish and Game insisted the cause was leaching from dairy farms.

But Federated Farmers water spokesperson Chris Allen said the problem could be caused by wildlife, or human activity, as well as from animals. . . 

Research suggests we should take a harder look at the benefits of organic foods – Point of Order:

The Green Party’s food policy may need revisiting, in the light of research published in the past week.

The policy was introduced in May 2017 by Green Party MP Mojo Mathers, who lost her list place in Parliament at the general election.

How we produce, distribute and consume food is of critical importance to growing resilient healthy communities, minimising our ecological footprint and maintaining a
stable economy, she said.  That’s why food policy lies at the heart of Green policy. . . 

Reflections on the year that was – Allan Barber:

From a New Zealand domestic perspective the attempt to eradicate Mycoplasma Bovis has had the biggest impact on farming, most of it focused on the relatively small number of properties forced to cull their entire herd, some of it directed at those properties under surveillance or Notice of Direction, and some of it on the agricultural service industry, including meat processors, cartage contractors, stock agents and saleyards, as well as calf clubs and A&P shows.

MPI is cautiously optimistic the disease can be eradicated which would be the first time any country has achieved such an outcome. However there is still plenty of water to flow under the bridge before anyone can say with confidence that the hitherto impossible has been achieved. 2019 will almost certainly be the year we know for certain, one way or the other. . . 

Guy Trafford finishes 2018 with a GDT review, news of a new Fish & Game river survey, calling out plant-based-milk, and an update on the MPB eradication – Guy Trafford:

An ever so slight increase in the Global Dairy Trade price for whole milk powder with a +0.3% lift. It may not put much of a smile on farmers faces but at least it is a not a drop.

Overall the GDT went up by +1.7% with both butter and cheddar making gains with lifts of +4.9% and +2.2% respectively so not such a poor result. With this now being the second – be they small – lift in a row and we have to go back almost 12 months before we had a repeat of two consecutive sales lifting. Dairy Futures had predicted a higher 3% lift in WMP for this period and with volumes sold down 0.7% on the previous sale, which was also down, the remainder of the season still looks precarious. The next sale is on the 2nd of January 2019. . . 

New captain for 2019 Meat Blacks:

One of the final jobs of 2018 is to take a look at the 2019 Meat Blacks team that will lead the sector next year.

There haven’t been too many adjustments to make, though the sector has had a couple of big retirements from the leadership, lock Sir Graeme Harrison (ANZCO) and number eight James Parsons (B+LNZ Ltd) have departed this year. Linesman Martyn Dunne also retired from MPI and has been replaced by Ray Smith, fresh from Corrections (Ed: appropriately!).

As a result, we have a new captain Murray Taggart (Alliance), promoted from vice-captain, and new vice-captain Tony Egan (Greenlea Premier Meats) to lead the team. . . 

T&G Global profit dented by cheaper tomatoes, small grape harvest  – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – T&G Global says its annual profit will more than halve this year after cheaper tomatoes and a weather-affected grape harvest in Peru dented earnings.

Net profit will be $8-10 million this calendar year, down from $22.6 million in 2017, it said in a statement.

Lower tomato prices affected T&G’s covered crops unit while its Peru grapes division dealt with a smaller harvest, it said. . .


Conspiracy theories

March 3, 2014

Yesterday the NZ Herald started a story headlined  Green MP’s 800km taxpayer-funded trip questioned by saying:

Questions are being asked about a taxpayer-funded trip for deaf MP Mojo Mathers to be interviewed on a small provincial radio station.

The Green MP says the 800km trip on the taxpayer dollar was essential, but a taxpayer group queries whether it was fiscally and environmentally responsible. . .

That sounds like the taxpayer group prompted the story by asking the question.

The story continues:

On Friday, Parliament’s only deaf MP flew from Christchurch to Wellington, then drove to Masterton, to participate in ArrowFM’s Wheels on Fire programme for people with disabilities.

ArrowFM is one of 12 Community Access Radio stations in New Zealand, and the only community station in Wairarapa. Its audience is not known, but its Facebook page has 132 “likes”.

Last night Ms Mathers said the journey was a necessary expense because it was “almost impossible for me to do live interviews over the phone”.

 She needed to be face-to-face with the interviewer in order to lip read, she said, especially for a one-hour show.

“As the only disabled Member of Parliament it is really important I represent disabled New Zealanders, which make up one in five New Zealanders,” she said.

“MPs do have to fly a fair bit to get out to our communities. All Green MPs offset our air travel and try to minimise it as much as possible.

“I consider all requests to meet very carefully, including this one, and I felt it was really important to take this opportunity to speak to disabled New Zealanders living in rural communities.”

She did not know the cost of the trip, she said, but it would be declared as part of her expenses, and was planned in line with other work she had to undertake in Wellington.

Planned in line with other work in Wellington means the cost of the airfare wasn’t just for the trip to Masterton, so the extra expense was just the rental car.

But still:

The Taxpayers Union questioned whether it was value for money.

“It’s amazing that she has so little to do with her time to actually travel to a community radio that probably has as many listeners as you can count on your hand,” director Jordan Williams said. . .

That, with the headline and first paragraph strongly suggest this story came at the instigation of the Taxpayers Union. But it didn’t.

This morning there has been some criticism of my comments in a story on the Herald website about a trip Mojo Mathers took to Masterton from Christchurch apparently just for a short interview on a community radio station.

For clarification:

  • The Taxpayers’ Union did not seek media attention on this story. There is no associated press release. The Herald called yesterday evening asking for comment, as happens often.
  • The Taxpayers’ Union operate 24 hour media line for comment on taxpayer issues. Yesterday’s call came through to me and I was asked whether it was value for money for an MP to fly 800km for a radio interview on a small community station. I said it was not value for money when the interview could have been done on Skype as well as the comments that are quoted in the story.
  • I’ve made no comment about Ms Mathers disability. In fact, if the travel was necessary I would not criticise the spending. But answering questions posed by the Herald, on matter which as far as I know are completely unrelated to her disability, is legitimate.
  • Accusations that I (or the Union) sought to go after Mathers are ridiculous. To repeat, we were asked for comment by the Herald who were running the story. The comments would have been the same whoever the MP.
  • Accusations that the Taxpayers’ Union are partisan are also silly. I am proud that the Union has gone after National MPs and the current government for expenses, wasteful expenditure and corporate welfare. Seehttp://info.scoop.co.nz/New_Zealand_Taxpayers’_Union 

On reflection, I wonder why an MP from a party that prides itself for having a low environmental footprint choose to fly to a radio interview that could have been done on Skype. Perhaps Ms Mathers had other engagements in Masterton. If so, that was not the information provided to me at the time by the Herald reporter.

I too wondered if the interview could have been done on Skype but Ms Mathers tweeted that the quality wasn’t high enough for lip reading.

The story looked like an attack on Ms Mathers instigated by the Taxpayers’ Union which was petty to start with and even more so when you take into account the information she planned the trip around other work.

The explanation provided later by the TU shows it was merely responding to a question and it looks like it didn’t have the information that the trip was planned round other activities.

Here’s the conspiracy theory – was the story a set up to discredit the TU?

The group was set up as a counter to all the left wing groups which are continually asking for more money, regardless of whether or not it gives value.

The TU by contrast:

We stand for value for money for government spending

We want our politicians spending money as if they’d worked as hard as us for it and believe that new taxes should only be introduced when there are equal decreases in other taxes.  We believe in a fair and efficient tax system.  We are not a political party, or aligned to any.

We promote sensible restraint of government expenditure by:

  • Scrutinising government spending;
  • Publicising government waste;
  • Arguing for an end to corporate and union welfare; and
  • Promoting an efficient tax system.

 We are independent and incorporated under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 to pursue the following objectives:

  • To give taxpayers a voice in the corridors of power;
  • To educate New Zealanders against excessive and wasteful government spending;
  • To scrutinise government spending;
  • To publicise government waste;
  • To promote an efficient tax system;
  • To promote discussion on the balance of activities best undertaken by the private sector and the public sector;
  • To promote public policies to advance New Zealanders’ prosperity;
  • To identify, research and monitor issues affecting these objects;
  • To co-operate or join with other associations or bodies having similar objects; and
  • Generally to do all such things as would help to attain or further the Taxpayers’ Union’s objects.

The aims of the Taxpayers’ Union are:

  • To reduce wasteful spending by central and local government;
  • To increase transparency and accountability of government spending;
  • To increase institutional checks on government spending;
  • To enable New Zealanders to easily scrutinise government spending;
  • To lower the tax burden on New Zealanders; and
  • To promote evidence based public policy.

If getting attention for wasteful spending is any gauge the TU has already been successful – and contrary to accusations it’s biased towards the government, is hasn’t been partisan in identifying and publicising waste.

It has been critical of the government.

That should alert all politicians and bureaucrats, in central and local government, to the risk that wasteful spending will be outed.

Those on the left will have greater cause for concern than those on the right who usually, but not always, have greater regard for careful use of other people’s money.

That gets me back to the conspiracy theory.

The Herald headlined and opened the story with the assertion questions were being asked about the trip and quotes only the TU.

It doesn’t say who asked the initial question, nor who told the reporter about the trip and the paper could well use the right to not divulge its sources to keep that in confidence.

But it does leave a question over whether the aim of the story was really to discredit the TU.

If so, while it is justified at feeling aggrieved by a set-up, it could take that as a compliment that it is worrying people and parties who don’t have its regard for the necessity for fiscal prudence.

In the interests of transparency – I have made a donation to the TU.


Disabled doesn’t mean stupid

December 11, 2011

Mojo Mathers’ entry to parliament should be something to celebrate.

Her profound deafness will make her a very strong advocate for people with disabilities and inspire other people.

Sadly not everyone shares this view. Dave at Big News has been looking at the Facebook page of Conservative Party campaign manager Kevin Campbell and found this:

Campbell questioned whether new Green MP Mojo Mathers, who is the world’s fifth profoundly deaf MP, should even be an MP as she didn’t have all her “faculties” – and only people who have all their faculties should be MPs. In other words, because she is deaf, she is unsuitable as an MP. Mathers became an MP after special votes were counted and I think she is perfectly suitable to be an effective MP.
I was one of many who pulled him up on this. Just after I did this, my comment was deleted, I was defriended, and Campbell changed his profile picture. He has now taken the post and all its 30 -odd comments down after he reiterated that there was nothing wrong with what he said, adding that because Mathers was also a Green MP she, by definition can’t be effective.

Having a physical disability doesn’t affect your intellectual ability, though Campbell shows that not having a disability doesn’t stop you being ignorant.

I don’t share Mathers’ political views. It is certainly easier to make progress in government than opposition but being a Green MP by definition make her ineffective.

Being deaf will present challenges but it won’t stop Mathers being effective and it could make her even more so in some areas.


Final count – Nats lose seat, MMP stays

December 10, 2011

National has lost an MP in the final election result.

Aaron Gilmore was the last on the list to gain a seat on election night. He lost that at the expense of the Green Party which gained an MP, Mojo Mathers, our first deaf MP.

Polling Places Counted: 6,660 of 6,660 (100.0%)
Total Votes Counted: 2,257,336
Party Party Votes % Votes Electorate Seats List Seats Total Seats
National Party 1,058,638 47.31 41 18 59
Labour Party 614,936 27.48 23 11 34
Green Party 247,370 11.06 0 14 14
New Zealand First Party 147,544 6.59 0 8 8
Māori Party 31,982 1.43 3 0 3
Mana 24,168 1.08 1 0 1
ACT New Zealand 23,889 1.07 1 0 1
United Future 13,443 0.60 1 0 1
Conservative Party 59,236 2.65 0 0 0
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 11,738 0.52 0 0 0
Democrats for Social Credit 1,714 0.08 0 0 0
Libertarianz 1,595 0.07 0 0 0
Alliance 1,209 0.05 0 0 0
70 51 121

Nicky Wagner has gained the Christchurch Central seat with a majority of 45 votes over Brendon Burns and Carmel Sepuloni has won Waitakere by 11 votes from Paula Bennett.

Prime Minsiter has the highest majority – 21,066 followed by Amy Adams on 19,451, Simon O’Connor with 17, 786 and Tony Ryall with a majority of 17,760.

All winners and their majorities are:

Electorate Result Winning Candidate 2nd Place Margin
Auckland Central 100.0% KAYE, Nikki (NAT) ARDERN, Jacinda (LAB) 717
Bay of Plenty 100.0% RYALL, Tony (NAT) DEVOY-HEENA, Carol (LAB) 17,760
Botany 100.0% ROSS, Jami-Lee (NAT) WU, Chao-Fu (LAB) 10,741
Christchurch Central 100.0% WAGNER, Nicky (NAT) BURNS, Brendon (LAB) 45
Christchurch East 100.0% DALZIEL, Lianne (LAB) GILMORE, Aaron (NAT) 5,334
Clutha-Southland 100.0% ENGLISH, Bill (NAT) LOO, Tat (LAB) 16,168
Coromandel 100.0% SIMPSON, Scott (NAT) KININMONTH, Hugh (LAB) 12,740
Dunedin North 100.0% CLARK, David (LAB) WOODHOUSE, Michael (NAT) 3,489
Dunedin South 100.0% CURRAN, Clare (LAB) HAYES, Joanne (NAT) 4,175
East Coast 100.0% TOLLEY, Anne (NAT) MACKEY, Moana (LAB) 4,774
East Coast Bays 100.0% McCULLY, Murray (NAT) GOLDSMITH, Vivienne (LAB) 14,641
Epsom 100.0% BANKS, John (ACT) GOLDSMITH, Paul (NAT) 2,261
Hamilton East 100.0% BENNETT, David (NAT) ORGAD, Sehai (LAB) 8,275
Hamilton West 100.0% MACINDOE, Tim (NAT) MORONEY, Sue (LAB) 4,418
Helensville 100.0% KEY, John (NAT) GREENBROOK-HELD, Piers Jeremy (LAB) 21,066
Hunua 100.0% HUTCHISON, Paul (NAT) HILLS, Richard (LAB) 16,797
Hutt South 100.0% MALLARD, Trevor (LAB) QUINN, Paul (NAT) 4,825
Ilam 100.0% BROWNLEE, Gerry (NAT) PARSONS, John (LAB) 13,312
Invercargill 100.0% ROY, Eric (NAT) SOPER, Lesley (LAB) 6,263
Kaikōura 100.0% KING, Colin (NAT) COLLYNS, Liz (LAB) 11,445
Mana 100.0% FAAFOI, Kris (LAB) PARATA, Hekia (NAT) 2,230
Māngere 100.0% SIO, Sua William (LAB) HAUITI, Claudette (NAT) 15,159
Manukau East 100.0% ROBERTSON, Ross (LAB) BAKSHI, Kanwaljit Singh (NAT) 15,838
Manurewa 100.0% WALL, Louisa (LAB) CALDER, Cam (NAT) 8,610
Maungakiekie 100.0% LOTU-IIGA, Peseta Sam (NAT) BEAUMONT, Carol (LAB) 3,021
Mt Albert 100.0% SHEARER, David (LAB) LEE, Melissa (NAT) 10,021
Mt Roskill 100.0% GOFF, Phil (LAB) BLUE, Jackie (NAT) 7,271
Napier 100.0% TREMAIN, Chris (NAT) NASH, Stuart (LAB) 3,701
Nelson 100.0% SMITH, Nick (NAT) STREET, Maryan (LAB) 7,088
New Lynn 100.0% CUNLIFFE, David (LAB) GROSER, Tim (NAT) 5,190
New Plymouth 100.0% YOUNG, Jonathan (NAT) LITTLE, Andrew (LAB) 4,270
North Shore 100.0% BARRY, Maggie (NAT) CLARK, Ben (LAB) 15,228
Northcote 100.0% COLEMAN, Jonathan (NAT) GILLON, Paula (LAB) 9,379
Northland 100.0% SABIN, Mike (NAT) STEWART, Lynette (LAB) 11,362
Ōhariu 100.0% DUNNE, Peter (UFNZ) CHAUVEL, Charles (LAB) 1,392
Ōtaki 100.0% GUY, Nathan (NAT) FOSTER, Peter (LAB) 5,231
Pakuranga 100.0% WILLIAMSON, Maurice (NAT) KAUSHAL, Sunny (LAB) 13,846
Palmerston North 100.0% LEES-GALLOWAY, Iain (LAB) HAPETA, Leonie (NAT) 3,285
Papakura 100.0% COLLINS, Judith (NAT) MIKA, Jerome (LAB) 9,890
Port Hills 100.0% DYSON, Ruth (LAB) CARTER, David (NAT) 3,097
Rangitata 100.0% GOODHEW, Jo (NAT) BLANCHARD, Julian (LAB) 6,537
Rangitīkei 100.0% McKELVIE, Ian (NAT) PAGANI, Josie (LAB) 9,382
Rimutaka 100.0% HIPKINS, Chris (LAB) FLETCHER, Jonathan (NAT) 3,286
Rodney 100.0% MITCHELL, Mark (NAT) CRAIG, Colin (CNSP) 12,222
Rongotai 100.0% KING, Annette (LAB) FINLAYSON, Christopher (NAT) 9,047
Rotorua 100.0% McCLAY, Todd (NAT) CHADWICK, Steve (Stephanie) (LAB) 7,357
Selwyn 100.0% ADAMS, Amy (NAT) McLEAN, Jo (LAB) 19,451
Tāmaki 100.0% O’CONNOR, Simon (NAT) BAKULICH, Nick Iusitini (LAB) 17,786
Taranaki-King Country 100.0% ARDERN, Shane (NAT) BARKER, Rick (LAB) 15,089
Taupō 100.0% UPSTON, Louise (NAT) CAMPBELL, Frances (LAB) 14,115
Tauranga 100.0% BRIDGES, Simon (NAT) MAHUTA-COYLE, Deborah (LAB) 17,264
Te Atatū 100.0% TWYFORD, Phil (LAB) HENARE, Tau (NAT) 5,416
Tukituki 100.0% FOSS, Craig (NAT) HAYDON-CARR, Julia (LAB) 9,660
Waikato 100.0% TISCH, Lindsay (NAT) SUTTON, Kate (LAB) 14,198
Waimakariri 100.0% WILKINSON, Kate (NAT) COSGROVE, Clayton (LAB) 642
Wairarapa 100.0% HAYES, John (NAT) BOTT, Michael (LAB) 7,135
Waitakere 100.0% SEPULONI, Carmel (LAB) BENNETT, Paula (NAT) 11
Waitaki 100.0% DEAN, Jacqui (NAT) MONKS, Barry (LAB) 14,143
Wellington Central 100.0% ROBERTSON, Grant (LAB) FOSTER-BELL, Paul (NAT) 6,376
West Coast-Tasman 100.0% O’CONNOR, Damien (LAB) AUCHINVOLE, Chris (NAT) 2,539
Whanganui 100.0% BORROWS, Chester (NAT) McDOUALL, Hamish (LAB) 5,046
Whangarei 100.0% HEATLEY, Phil (NAT) NEWMAN, Pat (LAB) 12,447
Wigram 100.0% WOODS, Megan (LAB) COLLINS, Sam (NAT) 1,500
Hauraki-Waikato 100.0% MAHUTA, Nanaia (LAB) GREENSILL, Angeline (MANA) 5,935
Ikaroa-Rāwhiti 100.0% HOROMIA, Parekura (LAB) RAIHANIA, Na (MAOR) 6,541
Tāmaki Makaurau 100.0% SHARPLES, Pita (MAOR) JONES, Shane (LAB) 936
Te Tai Hauāuru 100.0% TURIA, Tariana (MAOR) PEKE-MASON, Soraya Waiata (LAB) 3,221
Te Tai Tokerau 100.0% HARAWIRA, Hone Pani Tamati Waka Nene (MANA) DAVIS, Kelvin (LAB) 1,165
Te Tai Tonga 100.0% TIRIKATENE, Rino (LAB) KĀTENE, Rāhui (MAOR) 1,475
Waiariki 100.0% FLAVELL, Te Ururoa James (MAOR) SYKES, Annette Te Imaima (MANA) 1,883

Kiwiblog has the figures on the demographics of the new parliament.

MMP was confirmed with  57.77% suport and 42.24% voting for change.


%d bloggers like this: