NY to NZ – our gain

24/08/2014

Federated Farmers vice president Anders Crofoot  reacts to emotive opposition to foreign investment:

When it comes to the foreign ownership of farmland my family has a unique perspective. 

Before my wife and I moved our family thousands of miles from upstate New York to the Wairarapa, we did research.  A great deal of it.  We’d narrowed our choices to English speaking Canada, Australia and of course, New Zealand.  Adding a new language, when you are moving thousands of kilometres, adds too much complexity.  Since moving downunder, we’ve learned that being a “good b..tard” is a complement. Maybe Winston Churchill was right when he said “Britain and America are two nations divided by a common language”. 

While Emily was the farmer, I was an investment analyst.  Together, we learned more about the country, its political stability, history, economy, agricultural system, climate and the rural property market.  Of course, being ‘foreign investors’, we checked out whether we’d be welcomed or not. 

We quickly dropped Canada from consideration for being even colder than New York.  We also wanted to break out of the closeted subsidy culture prevalent in North America. While Australia offered space aplenty, dealing with years of drought followed by floods was a challenge too far.  Our preference was for New Zealand’s more benign climate.

To farmers overseas, New Zealand is the mecca of farming.  Nowhere else had an organisation like Federated Farmers worked with a left-wing government to end subsidies.  Farmers there, we learned, were judged on their abilities as farmers and not the size of their subsidy cheque. New Zealand was at the forefront of pastoral research and practice too.  It also had plenty of migrant farmers who had integrated and excelled. New Zealand felt right.

Being in Federated Farmers a few years later, I came across one farmer who made Winston Peters look like a weak-kneed liberal.  Proving the debate is seemingly two-thirds heart and one-third brain, I later learned that he’d bought a farm in Australia but he still opposed foreign investment, albeit, slightly sheepishly. 

Sadly this hypocrisy isn’t unusual.

Deciding on a country is one thing, but it’s quite another to get the ideal farm. We were very fortunate to convince Castlepoint’s Board that New York Yankees were fit custodians for their iconic Wairarapa station.  That was 1998 and we’ve never looked back. 

Kiwis are the most hospitable people with an unerring knack of convincing you to take on more responsibilities. I was one of two non-New Zealand born farmers on the Federated Farmers National Board.  I’m also on the Board of Grow Wellington and to keep my feet firmly on the ground, I’m also Castlepoint’s Fire Chief.  Emily is similarly involved and our children are now working in New Zealand.

The Crofoots have and continue to contribute a lot to their local community, farming and the country.

Their decision to move from new York to New Zealand has been our gain.

Politicians are quick to say that families like us are their ‘ideal’ business migrants.  The message is that ‘people like us’ will continue to be welcomed, whichever party wins on 20 September. 

Unfortunately, that nuance is lost if you’re thousands of miles away reading herald.co.nz or watching news on-demand.  The streaming of talkback radio means Albany, New York can listen to ZB just as easily as someone in Albany, Auckland. 

If we were researching New Zealand, today, would we make the biggest of big moves?  Possibly not. 

The tone around foreign investment has hardened for the worse.  To outsiders, politics and cultish popularity now seem big determinants.  There’s also a nasty undercurrent which reflects poorly on us as Kiwis.  Who this is putting off we’ll never know, but it is off-putting.

That might be what those opposed to foreign investment want but it’s not necessarily in the best interests of New Zealand.

Farming is the most international industry we have.  It’s this mix of people that makes New Zealand agriculture unique and the success it is.  The Green Party opposed Shania Twain’s High Country purchase but look at what British record producer Robert “Mutt” Lange has given back; 53,000 hectares and a whole landscape permanently protected. The restoration and enhancement of Young Nicks Head would never have taken place had a Kiwi farmer purchased it rather than New York financier, John Griffin.  We’re even near neighbours of James Cameron, that’s in a rural sense because we’re over an hour away by car. 

Politics must come out of the ‘foreign investment’ debate because it can so easily spiral into the gutter.  Rules are important and we Kiwis accept that with sport, why not overseas investment? 

We have rules on foreign investment and those rules have been toughened since National has been leading the government.

It hasn’t been easy for foreigners to buy farms here for a long time and it’s harder now.

If the rules still aren’t tough enough it is fair enough to look at the m again.

But that look must be a rational one, mindful of both the costs and benefits of foreign investment, our obligations to trading partners and the benefits New Zealand and New Zealanders get from investing in other countries.

 

I know another couple from the USA who have made a big investment in New Zealand in hospitality and tourism. They are an asset to the community in which they’ve settled, the wider hospitality and tourism industry and the country.

I wonder how many others like that might write New Zealand off their list of countries to visit and possibly invest and settle in because of political opportunism?


We were invited . . .

05/07/2010

. . . to a friend’s 50th birthday party in New York today.

We were tempted but sometimes life gets in the way of temptation and this was one of those times.

It’s -1 degrees here and forecast to be in the 30s there.

Sigh.


March 29 in history

29/03/2010

On March 29:

1461 Battle of Towton – Edward of York defeated Queen Margaret to become King Edward IV of England.

 
Roses-York victory.svg

1549 Salvador da Bahia, the first capital of Brazil, was founded.


Flag

1632 Treaty of Saint-Germain was signed, returning Quebec to French control after the English had seized it in 1629.

1638 Swedish colonists established the first settlement in Delaware, naming it New Sweden.

1790 John Tyler, 10th President of the United States, was born.

1792 King Gustav III of Sweden died after being shot in the back at a midnight masquerade ball 13 days earlier.

1799 New York passed a law aimed at gradually abolishing slavery in the state.

1799 Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.

1806 Construction was authorised of the Great National Pike, better known as the Cumberland Road, the first United States federal highway.

 

1809 King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden abdicated after a coup d’état. 

 

1809 At the Diet of Porvoo, Finland’s four Estates pledged allegiance to Alexander I of Russia, commencing the secession of the Grand Duchy of Finland from Sweden.

 

1831 Great Bosnian uprising: Bosniak rebel against Turkey.

1847 Mexican-American War: United States forces led by General Winfield Scott took Veracruz after a siege.

Battle of Veracruz.jpg

1849 The United Kingdom annexed the Punjab.

1857 Sepoy Mangal Pandey of the 34th Regiment, Bengal Native Infantry revolted against the British rule in India and inspired a long-drawn War of Independence of 1857 also known as the Sepoy Mutiny.

Mangal pandey gimp.jpg

1865 American Civil War: The Battle of Appomattox Court House began.

 

1867 Queen Victoria gave Royal Assent to the British North America Act which established the Dominion of Canada on July 1.

1870 Pavlos Melas, Greek officer who organized and participated in the Greek Struggle for Macedonia, was born.

Pavlos Melas.jpg

1871 The Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria.

 

1879 Anglo-Zulu War: Battle of Kambula: British forces defeated 20,000 Zulus.

Défense de Rorke's Drift.jpg

1882 The Knights of Columbus were established.

1886 Dr John Pemberton brewed the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta, Georgia.

1900 John McEwen, eighteenth Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1902 William Walton, English composer, was born.

1911 The M1911 .45 ACP pistol became the official U.S. Army side arm.

Mid-1945 produced M1911A1 U.S. Army semi-automatic pistol by Remington Rand. This one was re-built by Anniston Army Depot, October 1972, and carries the ANAD 1072 stamp. The cartridges shown are the .45 ACP (left) and 7.65 mm Browning/.32 ACP (right).

1916 Eugene McCarthy, American politician, was born.

1930 Heinrich Brüning was appointed German Reichskanzler.

1936 In Germany, Adolf Hitler received 99% of the votes in a referendum to ratify Germany’s illegal reoccupation of the Rhineland, receiving 44.5 million votes out of 45.5 million registered voters.

1941 World War II: British Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy forces defeated those of the Italian Regia Marina off the Peloponnesus coast of Greece in the Battle of Cape Matapan.

1942 Nazi sabotage hoax – career criminal Sydney Ross met the minister of national service, Robert Semple, in Wellington and claimed he had been approached by a German agent to join a sabotage cell and that Nazi agents had landed by submarine and were living at Ngongotaha, Rotorua. Ross was taken to see Prime Minister Peter Fraser, who referred the matter to Major Kenneth Folkes, a British intelligence officer brought to New Zealand to set up the Security Intelligence Bureau.

1942 The Bombing of Lübeck  was the first major success for the RAF Bomber Command against Germany and a German city.

 

1943 Eric Idle, English actor, writer, and composer, was born.

1943 Sir John Major, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.

Head and shoulders of man in suit with grey hair in side parting, wearing large glasses with brown frame.

1943 Vangelis, Greek musician and composer, was born.

1945  Last day of V-1 flying bomb attacks on England.

 

1957 The New York, Ontario and Western Railway made its final run.

"NYOW diesel locomotive 104" 

1961 The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote in presidential elections.

 

1963 Elle Macpherson, Australian model, was born.

1968 Lucy Lawless, New Zealand actress and singer, was born.

 

1971 – A Los Angeles, California jury recommended the death penalty for Charles Manson and three female followers.

1973 Vietnam War: The last United States combat soldiers left South Vietnam.

1974 NASA’s Mariner 10 became the first spaceprobe to fly by Mercury.

 

1982 The Telegu Desam Party (India’s regional political party) was established by N. T. Rama Rao.

 
TDPFlag.PNG

1982 – The Canada Act 1982 (U.K.) received the Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth II, setting the stage for the Queen of Canada to proclaim the Constitution Act, 1982.

1987 WrestleMania III set a world indoor attendance record at the Pontiac Silverdome with 93,173 fans.

1993 Catherine Callbeck became premier of Prince Edward Island and Canada’s first female to be elected in a general election as a premier.

1999 The Dow Jones Industrial Average closesdabove the 10,000 mark (10,006.78) for the first time ever, during the height of the internet boom.

A historical graph. From a starting point of under 50 in the late 1890s to a high reached above 14,000 in the late 2000s, the Dow rises periodically through the decades with corrections along the way eventually settling in the mid-10,000 range within the last 10 years. 

2004 Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia joined NATO as full members.

2004 The Republic of Ireland becomes the first country in the world to ban smoking in all work places, including bars and restaurants.

 

2008 35 Countries & more 370 cities joined Earth Hour for the first time.

 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


February 2 in history

02/02/2010

On February 2:

962 Pope John XII crowned Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor.

 

1032 Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor became King of Burgundy.

1536  Pedro de Mendoza founded Buenos Aires, Argentina.

1653  New Amsterdam (later renamed The City of New York) was incorporated.

1709 Alexander Selkirk was rescued after being shipwrecked on a desert island, inspiring the book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

Statue of Alexander Selkirk in Lower Largo

1790 The U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time.

Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg

1812 Russia established a fur trading colony at Fort Ross, California.

1929  William Stanley, inventor and engineer, was born.

1848 Mexican-American War: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed.

 

1848 California Gold Rush: The first ship with Chinese emigrants arrives in San Francisco, California.

1876 The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs of Major League Baseball was formed.

1880 The first electric streetlight was installed in Wabash, Indiana.

1882 James Joyce, Irish author, was born.

Half-length portrait of man in his thirties. He looks to his right so that his face is in profile. He has a mustache, a thin beard, and medium-length hair slicked back, and wears a pince-nez and a plain dark greatcoat, looking vaguely like a Russian revolutionary. 

1882 The Knights of Columbus were formed in New Haven, Connecticut.

1887 In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first Groundhog Day was observed.

1899 The Australian Premiers’ Conference decided to locate Australia’s capital (Canberra) between Sydney and Melbourne.

1901 Queen Victoria’s funeral took place.

1905 Ayn Rand, Russian-born American author and philosopher, was born.

Half-length monochrome portrait photo of Ayn Rand, seated, holding a cigarette

1913 Grand Central Station opened in New York City.

Grand Central test.jpg

1922 Ulysses by James Joyce was published.

UlyssesCover.jpg

1925 Serum run to Nome: Dog sleds reached Nome, Alaska with diphtheria serum, inspiring the Iditarod race.

 Statue of Balto, the lead dog on the last relay team.

  • 1925 – The Charlevoix-Kamouraska earthquake strikes northeastern North America.
  • 1931 – Les Dawson, British comedian, was born.

    1933 Adolf Hitler dissolved the German Parliament.

    1934 The Export-Import Bank of the United States was incorporated.

    1935 Leonarde Keeler tested the first polygraph machine.

     

    1940 David Jason, English actor, was born.

    1940  Frank Sinatra debuted with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra.

    1946 The Proclamation of Hungarian Republic was made.

     
       

    1947 Farrah Fawcett, American actress, was born.

    1948 Al McKay, American guitarist and songwriter (Earth, Wind & Fire), was born.

    1957 Iskander Mirza of Pakistan laid the foundation-stone of the Guddu Barrage.

    1967 The American Basketball Association was formed.

    1971 Idi Amin replaced President Milton Obote as leader of Uganda.

    1972  The British embassy in Dublin was destroyed in protest over Bloody Sunday.

    1974 The men’s 1500-metre final at the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games is called the greatest middle distance race of all time. Tanzanian Filbert Bayi won in a new world record time of 3 minutes 32.16 seconds. New Zealand’s emerging middle distance star John Walker came second, also breaking the existing world record. The remarkable feature of this race was the fact that the third, fourth (New Zealander Rod Dixon) and fifth place getters ran the fourth, fifth, and seventh fastest 1500m times to that date. The national records of five countries – Tanzania, Kenya, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand – were all broken in this race.

    ‘The greatest middle distance race of all time’

    1974 The F-16 Fighting Falcon flew for the first time.

    1976 The Groundhog Day gale hits the north-eastern United States and south-eastern Canada.

    Groundhog Day gale of 1976
    {{{alt}}}

    1987 The Philippines made a new constitution.

    1989 Soviet war in Afghanistan: The last Soviet Union armored column left Kabul.

    1989 Satellite television service Sky Television plc launched.

    1990  F.W. de Klerk allowed the African National Congress to function legally and promised to release Nelson Mandela.

    ANC logo

    1998 A Cebu Pacific Flight 387 DC-9-32 crashed into a mountain near Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, killing 104.

    2002 Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange married Máxima Zorreguieta.

     

    2007 Four tornadoes hit Central Florida, killing 21 people.

    Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


    Charity with principles

    13/09/2008

    A New York charity turned down a share of a $3m jackpot because it didn’t want to send the wrong message to gambling addicts.

    Some New Zealand charities don’t accept the donations from casinos and the proceeds from other gambling for the same reason.

    Some New Zealand charities may have accepted money from New Zealand First which ought to have gone to Parliamentary Services, but we have only got Winston Peters’ word for that.


    <span>%d</span> bloggers like this: