New flag has champions

February 18, 2016

On my walk this morning I was thinking about the flag referendum and concluded that the alternative one needs some champions.

I got home and found it has several:

All Blacks’ great Dan Carter is just one of a number of high profile New Zealanders to have joined a campaign to support changing the New Zealand flag.

The 112-Test veteran appears in a short video along with other sports, business, cultural and civic leaders. Other kiwis stepping up to vote for change include Silver Fern Maria Tutaia, New Zealander of the year finalist Rob Fenwick, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, former Mayor Sir Bob Parker, business leader Rob Fyfe and playwright Roger Hall to name just a few.

There’s another champion not in the video.

New Zealander of the Year Richie McCaw has just told Kathryn Ryan he favours the new flag.

Back to the media release:

These leaders come from a wide variety of backgrounds and political persuasions, and more leaders are expected to join the campaign. The video also features members of the public advocating for change.

New Zealand is the only country in the world to vote on its flag and the campaign encourages kiwis to take the once in a lifetime chance to change it.

Campaign Chairman Lewis Holden says he was struck by the passion of the high profile New Zealanders who have joined the campaign.

“Though the polls show we’re the underdogs, we’ve got a great team that’s prepared to advocate for change and explain why having a new flag makes sense economically, culturally and internationally.”

Mr Holden says a recent poll of 1000 people by Curia Research showed support for the new flag was growing, while support for the old flag had dropped to just 56% from a high of 69% last September.

“The trend suggests it could be much closer than people think and we believe that momentum is swinging towards change. I think New Zealand is ready for a new flag after 114 years of the old one.”

Mr Holden said the video would be highly visible on social media, with more than half a million views expected over the coming weeks.

“I think people will engage with this campaign and would like to hear the arguments for change from some of our most successful New Zealanders.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to vote for change and get a flag that represents New Zealand and New Zealanders in the 21st Century.” 

Some people genuinely don’t want change and some are open to it but are not enthusiastic about the alternative to vote for it.

There are also people who want change and will vote for it.

Then there are the people who want change but have let politics and what they see as an opportunity to knock Prime Minister John Key trump that.

It would disappointing and a waste of both money and opportunity if those political tragics held sway.

It is good to see people across the political spectrum and with no overt political preferences in the video because this shouldn’t be about political partisanship.

The first country in the world to give women the vote is the first to offer its citizens a choice about its flag.

We should celebrate that and vote for change or not because that’s what we want and not waste the vote on petty politics.


Rural round-up

December 16, 2014

Largest ever control campaign knocks back predators:

The Department of Conservation’s largest ever aerial 1080 campaign to combat this year’s rat and stoat plague has successfully knocked down predator populations in key target areas.

Over the last four months, DOC has completed an unprecedented 25 aerial 1080 operations over about 550,000 hectares to combat the biggest beech seed-fuelled rodent plague seen in 15 years.

Rat numbers reached extreme levels at some sites but early results from the Battle for Our Birds 1080 programme show rat populations crashing giving much needed protection to breeding populations of vulnerable native birds and bats. (see attached graph). . .

EPA 1080 annual report released:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has released its seventh annual report on the aerial use of 1080. Findings are again consistent with previous years. The 1080 regime is working as intended with the benefits of using 1080 being seen while the risks are minimised.

1080, also known as sodium fluoroacetate, is used to control animal pests such as possums, rabbits, stoats and rats, to reduce the impacts on native animals and plants, and to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis. Aerial application uses aircraft to distribute baits and is considered by users to be a key advantage where pest control is undertaken on rugged or remote land. . .

 Farmhand graduate praises training – Sally Rae:

”Oh, mate, I’m just overwhelmingly chuffed,” a delighted Emma Hollamby said after graduating from the inaugural Farmhand training programme.

Ms Hollamby was among the first intake of the pilot programme, which was launched in Dunedin in September.

The programme, which ran for 12 weeks, aimed to expose the city’s disengaged youth to rural work opportunities. . . 

Allflex acquisition set to help Australasian producers:

Allflex, the worldwide market leader in animal identification products, has announced a $250 million dollar acquisition of livestock monitoring and intelligent milking solutions company, SCR Engineers Ltd.

Based in Israel, SCR Engineers is highly regarded across the globe for its cutting-edge cow-monitoring systems, which gather data via activity and rumination sensors.

High-tech analysis then converts the data into real-time reports to help monitor individual animals as well as provide reliable data around herd performance. . .

Dairy prices end 2014 low, in contrast to where they started the year:

Beef prices end 2014 still flying high

The Reserve Bank delivers an early Christmas present

It’s a mixed end to 2014 according to the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report, with dairy prices low compared to the high prices at the start of the year.

“Beef prices, on the other hand, are providing farmers with some festive joy and are currently 23 percent higher than last Christmas,” explains ASB Rural Economist Nathan Penny. “Lamb prices peaked ahead of the previous two seasons this year, although prices have softened recently.” . . .

Seeka announces record returns for Class 2 kiwifruit into Australia:

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries Ltd (NZX:SEK) has delivered record returns to growers from its SeekaFresh programmes, primarily into Australia, the company said today.

In its latest grower forecast, Seeka said that Class 2 returns per Class 1 tray averaged $0.24 for Hayward Green (conventional) and $0.50 for Hayward Green (organic) in 2014, well up on last year and significantly ahead of industry average forecasts of $0.14 for conventional and $0.16 for organic green. The season also saw record returns for SeekaFresh-marketed avocados and kiwiberries.

“Lean overhead cost structures plus an Australia programme directed at major retailers rather than wholesalers, supported by promotions, planning and quality, have delivered Seeka growers record returns,” said Seeka chief executive Michael Franks. . .

Move to protect farm information:

Farmers can be more confident their information is being protected as organisations handling their data sign up to a new code of practice.

DairyNZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries have funded development of the new Farm Data Code of Practice and associated data standards through the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), with a contribution from FarmIQ Systems in the first year and co-funding from the Red Meat Profit Partnership this year.

The funding organisations are all involved in PGP programmes that focus on innovation in farming and food processing, and as part of this they are driving new developments in farm data recording, storage, analysis and reporting. This led to awareness of the need for a code to guide fair behaviour and standards to get consistency. . .

Determining the origin of insect pests:

Researchers in the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University are developing a new way to reveal the birthplace of unwanted insect pests – information that is vital for managing pest incursions. . .

Despite stringent biosecurity measures, unwanted insects occasionally arrive in New Zealand from overseas in shipping containers and imported goods. If these pests breed and spread, they could have a huge impact on agriculture, horticulture, forestry and the environment. . .

Pinpointing the birthplace of an exotic insect pest is crucial for determining whether it is an isolated ‘hitchhiker’ or part of an established breeding population. This knowledge is helpful for biosecurity agencies, such as the Ministry for Primary Industries, to decide the best approach for dealing with an incursion. . .

Fyfe Joins Craggy Range – Strategic role supports winery’s global growth:

Craggy Range today announces that Icebreaker CEO Rob Fyfe is joining the award winning winery in a newly created position of strategic advisor reporting to the board and CEO Michael Wilding.

Mr Fyfe has been working in a consultancy capacity with Craggy Range, for more than 12 months. The move formalises his involvement with the winery that was recently named the New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast.

A former CEO of Air New Zealand, Mr Fyfe says his long-standing passion for businesses and NZ brands are behind his decision to accept the role. . .

Origin Earth Drops Price of Milk:

Local boutique dairy company Origin Earth has announced a reduction in the price of their 2 litre bottles of milk.

Origin Earth director, Joanie Williams said “The price that we pay for our raw milk is inextricably linked with the price that farmers receive from Fonterra.”

She went on to say, “As you will be aware Fonterra has reduced its forecast payout for the coming season which in turn has the reduced the cost of our raw milk. As a result we are pleased to be able to pass this cost saving on our Hawke’s Bay customers and as from today, 12 December 2014, the recommended retail price for our 2 litre bottles of milk drops from $5.80 to $5.50. We also feel that this price drop will put our all natural whole milk within reach of even more customers and look forward to welcoming these new customers to enjoying milk the way it used to be.” . . . 

Origin Earth produces Hawke’s Bay’s own Chocolate Milk:

Origin Earth’s Chocolate Milk combines the popular Hawke’s Bay sourced Origin Earth cow’s milk with organic and fair trade chocolate and cocoa powder from Hawke’s Bay chocolatier La Petite Chocolat, then adds a dash of Hawke’s Bay honey and a drop of Heilala vanilla extract and that’s it. Just like our milk it is not homogenised, just pasteurised, and there are no thickeners, emulsifiers, milk powders, additives or stabilisers.

Chocolate and flavoured milks have long been Kiwi favourites and it was in response to requests from customers wanting a product made using Origin Earth milk that got Origin Earth director, Joanie Williams, into the testing room and trying out different combinations/recipes. . .

 Christmas ‘lights’ from Whitecliff:

Whitecliff’s newly released 2014 low alcohol wines give Kiwi wine drinkers a refreshing, low alcohol option, perfect for Christmas festivities and to help lighten up the season of excess.

Whitecliff low alcohol Sauvignon Blanc 2014 and low alcohol Pinot Gris 2014 are ideal wines for those people wanting to enjoy the festive season but still fulfil their New Year’s resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle.

Whether it is for a Boxing Day barbecue or a casual Christmas catch up with friends, these wines from the 2014 vintage offer reduced alcohol and calories without compromising on flavour. . .


Rural round-up

July 4, 2013

To be or not to be questions for red meat: Speech by Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson, to the 2013 Meat & Fibre Annual General Meeting, Ashburton

In writing my address to you today, where we will be discussing the biggest change red meat has faced for a generation, the first four lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet come to mind. Especially since there seems to be something rotten in the state of our red-meat industry.

“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles…”

Right there I seem to have exhausted my knowledge of Shakespeare!

Suffice to say Hamlet was a tragedy, which is not what we want for New Zealand’s red meat sector. Yet those lines pretty much sum up the position we are in. Do we leave things to chance, or do we do something about it? . . .

New pastoral lease rent system bedding in:

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson says 17 South Island High Country Crown pastoral leases are from this week on a new rent system.

There are 221 pastoral leases and each one has its rent reviewed every 11 years.

“The 17 leases were the first reviewed under new legislation (Crown Pastoral Land Amendment Act 2012) which bases rents on the earning capacity of the land and not on the value of the land exclusive of improvements. . .

Icebreaker Appoints Rob Fyfe as New Executive Chairman:

Rob Fyfe has stepped up his involvement in Icebreaker to become the Executive Chairman in September of this year.

Icebreaker founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Moon says he is thrilled to have Rob Fyfe more involved in the business.

“The chairman’s role is critical and works very closely with the CEO to steer the ship and set the priorities and objectives of the business for the future. I can think of no one better than Rob to be able to do this, given his wealth of experience. . .

Winter storms sends farm feed prices soaring:

Winter storms which which dumped heavy snow through much of the South Island and left some areas under water have sent supplementary feed prices soaring.

Southern farmers have been warned that feed shortages could become an issue if they get hit with more wild winter weather.

Otago Federated Farmers president Stephen Korteweg says farmers in the south did not go into winter with big surpluses of hay or straw. . .

New research trial shows blueberries’ potential:

New research trial shows blueberries’ potential for reducing hyperglycemia, weight gain and cholesterol levels.

“The blueberry’s ability to intervene in conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity is of critical importance,” says trial leader.

The results of a recently published research study highlight blueberries’ potential to play a significant role in helping to manage weight and prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. . .


Air NZ looking to South America

February 27, 2012

Air New Zealand is trialling flights to South America with a charter flight for fans going to the first four nations Rugby Championship match between the All Blacks and Pumas in Argentina.

Radio NZ reports the company is watching developments in the region before scheduling regular flights.

. . . But the airline did announce its first foray into South America, with a flight in September using its black Boeing 777-300.

The charter flight will be aimed at All Blacks fans travelling to Buenos Aires for the team’s first game against Argentina in the expanded Four Nations competition.

Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe says the airline is very interested in South America as a potential route in its global network.

He says the company hasn’t yet made a decision about its overall strategy for South America.

Mr Fyfe says the Brazilian airline TAM is about to go through a merger with Chile’s LAN and Air New Zealand wants to see which alliance the new airline LATAM ends up in before finalising its preferred strategy.

When we went to Argentina a couple of weeks ago there were no Star Alliance airlines flying to South America.

The options were a direct flight from Auckland to Buenos Aires with Aerolineas Argentina, Lan Chile which goes Auckland-Santiago-Buenos Aires, Qantas which would have necessitated flying east to Sydney before flying west or Emerites which is the long way round and required a two-day stop in Dubai en-route.

The Aerolineas flight is 11 1/2 hours there and 13 home which isn’t too bad but an Air New Zealand flight or a Star Alliance option would be even better.

Football is the most popular sport in Argentina but we met some rugby fans when we were there who were pleased the Pumas were joining the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies in the Rugby Championship.


Green could be competitive advantage

July 9, 2011

Being greener could bring both environmental and financial gains and this week Environment Minister Nick Smith and Agriculture Minister David Carter launched a green growth discussion document:

New Zealand needs to consider how it leverages off its clean green brand in global markets and how new technologies can be developed to reduce environmental impacts, Environment Minister Nick Smith and Acting Minister for Economic Development David Carter say.

The Ministers today launched the Advisory Group on Green Growth’s discussion paper in Wellington. The eight-member Advisory Group was announced by the Government in January to ensure the Government receives the best advice on green growth initiatives.

“There is significant work occurring internationally on green growth, green jobs, and clean technology. We need to ensure Government policy helps New Zealand take up the opportunities,” Dr Smith said. . .

Mr Carter said: “This is another part of the Government’s plan to build a faster growing economy. The world is looking for products and services that have lower environmental impacts and we want New Zealand to be well placed to take up these opportunities.

The government’s actions haven’t impressed Pure Advantage a group of business people who believe there’s a huge opportunity in enhancing New Zealand’s natural environment in order to improve our competitive positioning in the global shift to green growth.

We have developed a campaign to work with communities, businesses, Government and iwi to create sustainable economic growth, and assist New Zealand to become a leading exporter of high-value produce, renewable energy and clean technology, with a top-tier in-bound tourism industry.

The founding members have funded the campaign – there’s no corporate mandates or shadowy Government funding. Just successful Kiwis interested in seeing a lot more successful Kiwis.

The group wants to open the debate and fund research and discussion in the hope of getting broad agreement about the best way forward.

Once the way forward is understood, we will drive the change to make it happen.

Underpinning our goal will be robust economic research showing the scale of the challenge and why all New Zealanders must reach for the exciting opportunities arising from green growth.

Members of the group include Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe, former General Motors chief financial officer Chris Liddell, IceBreaker founder Jeremy Moon and brothers, Lloyd and Rob Morrison.

The environmental gains from being green are obvious, providing that is based on science and not emotion.

Pure Advantage and the government both also see the potential for financial gain.


Rural round-up

June 5, 2011

Dairy farmers can produce a green dairy industry – Pasture to Profit writes:

The Dairy Industry has the potential to produce its own electricity & be clear of the National Grid. What a PR victory that will be for the first UK dairy company & their suppliers. What a wonderful image that will be for milk, cheese & butter! Every dairy farmer must get involved to “kick this goal” for the dairy industry. We have a fantastic opportunity right now with interest free loans & massive incentives . . .

Volunteer will help in Samoa – David Bruce reports:

From farming crocodiles to helping improve small agricultural businesses, Bill and Shirley Kingan have had a wide variety of experiences under Volunteer Service Abroad.

Mr and Mrs Kingan leased out their Enfield farm, then joined the New Zealand organisation which, since 1962, has been sending volunteers overseas to help other countries and communities improve their lives. . .

Integrity, beauty and strength – Sally Rae writes:

There’s something special about a Clydesdale horse. Clydesdale Horse Society of New Zealand president Bill Affleck believes the allure stems from what the gentle giants have achieved in the farming world.

Coupled with a very placid nature, “there’s something there that’s very appealing”. . .

Future’s glowing –  Sally Rae again:

If you had told former Stewart Island fisherman Dil Belworthy that he would end up owning a chain of clothing stores, he would have said being abducted by aliens was more likely.

Mr Belworthy is not kidding when he says the path he and his wife, Catherine, have taken to owning five Glowing Sky Merino stores, as well as a manufacturing facility, is “quite bizarre”. . .

Who will Fonterra’s new boss be?  – Andrea Fox asks:

With the clock ticking down to the announcement of Fonterra’s new chief executive, ex-General Motors financial chief Chris Liddell and Air New Zealand’s Rob Fyfe have been ruled out of contention, with the money on an internal appointment.

Sources said number two at the dairy giant, trade and operations managing director Gary Romano, is strongly favoured to succeed Canadian Andrew Ferrier, who will leave in the second half of this year. . .

A dairy farm to impress the world – Jon Morgan writes:

Rick Morrison and Sharleen Hutching are a quiet, unassuming couple who prefer to let their actions speak louder than words.

When the judges in the Horizons region of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave them warning of a visit to their 200-cow dairy farm near Eketahuna, they didn’t change a thing. “It was, ‘Oh yeah, whatever’,” Mr Morrison says. “We just carried on as normal, no need to rush around tidying things up.” . . .

Firms plan $3.7m Gore investment

Two Southland-based farm-machinery firms plan to make $3.7million investments in Gore.

Advance Agricentre and Southland Farm Machinery agree their investments are a vote of confidence in the district’s economy. . .

Robots to takeover meat works:

After 20 months’ intensive research and development, the Ovine Automation Consortium is ready to go to market with two robots that signal the start of a new era in automated sheepmeat processing.

Funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and nine industry members, with the support of two research organisations, the research consortium aims to enhance sheep processing productivity and quality through the use of automation. . .

Wine the organic puzzle –  Rebecca Gibb writes:

Patting cows and admiring piles of dung was not what I had envisaged when leaving Auckland behind for rural Marborough.

I thought I was there to tour organic vineyards for the vital purpose of tasting wines, but instead found myself transported to the set of The Good Life. Had I mistakenly been picked up by Richard Briars and Felicity Kendal at Blenheim airport, or are cows, sheep, and a gaggle of geese really what organic wine is all about? . . .

Beekeeping in a nutshell – Raymond Huber posts:

It’s Bee Week, celebrating our partnership with honey bees. Hand-made beehives date back 3000 years (in Israel) and early hives were made of clay or straw. Bees and humans helped each other expand into new lands: as settlers took the bees with them for crop pollination. For centuries beekeepers melted the comb to get the honey out, forcing bees to rebuild it. Then in 1851 pastor Lorenzo Langstroth designed a hive like a filing cabinet that could be used over and over. . .

Talk about succession – Gerald Piddock writes:

One of the deer industry’s next generation is urging farmers to talk more openly about the issues around succession.

The average age of the New Zealand farmer was over 50. At that stage many would soon be wanting to exit the industry, Hamish Fraser told farmers at the Deer Industry Conference in Timaru.

“Getting succession right will be key to allowing this to happen,” he said. . .


Key tops Listener power list

December 1, 2009

It’s no surprise that Prime Minister John Key tops the Listener’s top 10 in its 2009 Power List.

The panel says he is:

being identified by leadership scholars as pioneering an entirely new style of political leadership in this country. Sceptics may cite his pragmatism as evidence of overt risk-aversion, but so far his reasonable, moderate demeanour and light-handed management has worked magic for the Government’s standing. He has been the polar opposite of Helen Clark, resisting both the micromanagement of others’ portfolios and playing favourites in the caucus. His cheerful tolerance of coalition partners’ ructions – “The bulk of people who come into politics have type-A personalities!” – has saved National from being embroiled in their crises.

Bill English is second followed by Alan Bollard, Rodney Hide, Steven Joyce and Rob Fyfe.

Then comes Michael Stiassny, the country’s senior receiver. The introduction to the list explains:

Perhaps the most telling detail about this year’s Power List . . .  is that a receiver (Micahel Stiassny) comes in at No 7. Yes, it has been a tough year; a year when debt became a dirty word, when old power bases were weakened by the recession. . .

Tariana Turia is ninth then John Whitehead and Peter Jackson. The top 10 has an 11th place – it’s filled by Phil Goff.

Then there’s those who have been delisted:

Craig Norgate who was 4th in the Business and economy section last year; Andrew West who was 3rd in agriculture  and Pat Snedden who was 4th in health and medicine.

The panel that selected the 2009 almanac of influence was chaired by Listener senior write Rebecca Macfie. Members were Lynn Freeman who hosts Radio NZ’s arts programme; Karl Du Fresne, Chris Wikaira, director of PR firm Busby Ramshaw Grice; Jane Clifton; Jacqueline Rowarth, Director of Agriculture at Massey; Bernard Hickey, Alan Isaac who chairs NZ Cricket, is a director of Wakefield Health, trsutee of NZ COmmunity Trust, chair of McGrathNicol & Co and advisor to Opus International; and Stephen Franks.

The full list and commentary won’t be online until Boxing Day. I subscribe to the magazine and if I didn’t I’d fork out the $3.90 for this issue.


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