Rural Delivery reprieve

January 26, 2018

Last year Rural Delivery failed to get NZ On Air funding which threatened its ability to continue.

An email from NZ On Air told me:

Rural Delivery was successful in a resubmitted bid for funding at the end of last year. My understanding is the programme will return to screens in 2018. They are securing third party funding in order to receive just under $300,000 funding from NZ On Air.

This is very good news.

Rural Delivery provides a much needed window on the interesting and innovative work being done in rural New Zealand.


Rural round-up

November 13, 2017

Fresh Food – Out of Reach:

Amy Wiggins writes in the front page of the NZ Herald on Friday November 10th 2017, that as the prices for fresh fruit and vegetables rise they are becoming out of reach for low income families. The article goes on to say that many New Zealanders are struggling to afford to buy enough fresh produce to feed their families a healthy diet.

I agree with both of these statements and in fact when you take into account the land use restrictions on the horticultural industry, contained within the Healthy Rivers Proposed Plan Change 1 (PC1); this is going to create extremely serious food security problems into the future.

A huge percentage of the country’s population rely on the Waikato Region’s fruit and vegetable producers for security of their food supply and with the restrictions on horticultural land use that occur as a result of PC1, they are going to lose the security of supply that they currently have. . . 

TPP back on with new name, Canada apparently back on board – Pattrick Smellie:

Nov. 11 walked away from the deal, but returned to the negotiating table claiming “a misunderstanding”.

Briefing New Zealand media ahead of the APEC Leaders’ Retreat in Da Nang, Viet Nam, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said : “I wouldn’t want to speculate but I think probably we’re in a more stable place than we were yesterday.”

Asked whether Canada was back in the tent and TPP was back on she said: “I would characterise it in that way, yes.” . . 

Red Meat sector welcomes TPP deal and its significant boost to regional growth:

Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) welcome the announcement a deal has been struck to move ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which is now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Sam McIvor, chief executive of B+LNZ, says the CPTPP will deliver significant gains to the sector. . . 

The death of rural programmes – Craig Wiggins:

The announcement that NZ on Air funding has been cut for the Rural Delivery television programme has not come as a surprise to me, having witnessed the demise of support for the Young Farmer Contest from those in control of the programming and funding of what we get to watch on television.

The time slot allocations and in turn the lack of viewers engaged in the topics being covered don’t stack up against the mind-dumbing and increasingly popular reality television series we get these days.

It’s a sign of the times that people turn on their televisions to escape reality and be entertained, not really informed now.

I would suggest that if Country Calendar didn’t have as much of an entertainment and voyeuristic content as it does then it would be in for the chop as well. . . 

Sheep shearing in New Zealand -World’s toughest jobs:

If you think you’re tough enough to do sheep shearing in New Zealand, here’s what you need to know…

About the job

Summer (December to March) is usually peak season, but this can vary by location and type of sheep, and there tend to be some opportunities available throughout the year.

The work is physically hard and whilst sheep shearing is a skill that takes years to perfect, the more basic work is ‘crutching’ which is something you can learn in a week or so. Crutchers shave just the rear legs of the sheep to keep them clean through the summer. In general, crutchers get paid around $0.50 per sheep and after a couple of weeks should be churning out around 400 – 600 sheep per day, or $200 – $300 per day (£103-£154).  . .


No more Rural Delivery?

October 10, 2017

The future of Rural Delivery is under threat after missing out on NZ On Air funding:

Federated Farmers is disappointed to learn that TVNZ’s Rural Delivery programme has missed out on the latest round of NZ on Air funding.

The programme which profiles rural New Zealand and the primary sector, highlighting farmer ingenuity and innovation is now facing an uncertain future as it considers other funding options.

“One has to question the decision making at the NZ on Air. From what I know their programming is supposed to reflect and develop New Zealand identity and culture, ” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers National President.

“Rural Delivery surely meets that criteria and has done for the past 13 years-so what has changed?”

“This show has been attracting on average over 50,000 viewers per episode, which in the today’s competitive broadcasting environment is pretty reasonable for screening at 7am on weekends.”

The timing of decision is also unfortunate as the agriculture sector, especially farming is becoming increasingly concerned about its image among urban New Zealanders highlighted by the recent political campaigning.

“We’ve been saying this for some time now, the need for urban and rural New Zealand to reconnect. Our challenge, as farmers, is to tell our story and we rely on programming like Rural Delivery to help get that message across.”

Katie says the programme deserves a future and perhaps a different time slot from the current weekend time, would attract a bigger and more diverse audience.

“I’m not convinced that NZ on Air’s decision reflects the opinions of most kiwis. This type of programming is still popular with the mainstream and if it can’t be saved it will be a sad day for New Zealand broadcasting, as was the case with the The Dog Show,” says Katie.

Rural Delivery is available on demand  so the 7am Saturday time slot isn’t much of an issue.

The programme is sponsored by Rabobank and it might be able to find more sponsors but the failure to get NZ On Air funding threatens its ability to continue.

The loss of one of the few  programmes which informs and educates, treats its audience as intelligent and showcases positive rural people and developments is concerning.

New Zealand is unique in the developed world for the importance of agriculture to its economy.

When the majority of the population are urban based and have little connection to or knowledge of agriculture and wider rural issues,  the media plays a vital role in bridging the rural-urban divide.

There aren’t many quality planks in the bridge between town and country. It would be a great loss if this one was cut out.


5 day rural post 3 day urban

October 23, 2013

The Updated Deed of Understanding between the government and New Zealand Post has agreed to retain rural mail deliveries at five a week but urban deliveries could go down to three a week.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams says changes were required to ensure the postal service remains viable.

Under the agreement reached between the Government and New Zealand Post, changes to the Deed will not apply until 30 June, 2015.

“Around the world postal volumes are declining. In New Zealand this is at a rate of about 8 per cent per annum,” Ms Adams says.

“It is clear that if changes are not made to the Deed, then significant and on-going government subsidisation in excess of $30 million per year may be required.

“The decision to update the Deed reflects the need to balance the immediate interests of postal users with the longer term need for greater flexibility for New Zealand Post, given the dramatic reduction in the volume of postal items over the past 11 years.

“From their peak in 2002 mail volumes have dropped considerably, with about 328 million fewer items being posted in 2013 compared to 2002.”

New Zealand Post had sought the flexibility to reduce the frequency of mail delivery for standard delivery letters to a minimum of three days per week nationwide.

However, the Government was concerned about the sustainability of rural delivery services and rural contractors in general through fewer deliver days.

“Through negotiations, I have secured agreement from New Zealand Post that it will limit any introduction of a minimum three-day delivery to only urban areas, maintaining five-day delivery in rural delivery areas.

We currently get mail six days a week unless it’s a long weekend when there’s no delivery on Saturdays and Mondays.

Newspapers will be grateful that five-day deliveries are to be maintained because in most rural areas papers are delivered with the mail. If deliveries reduced to three a week most people wouldn’t bother subscribing.

“It is important to note that three-day delivery is the minimum standard New Zealand Post must meet. This means that New Zealand Post may continue to provide a higher frequency of delivery in some non-rural areas.

“The minimum standards in the Deed only apply to basic or standard postal services. The Deed does not apply to other types of postal products or services such as express mail, courier post, parcel post or premium services such as Fast Post.”

Changes to the Deed will also require New Zealand Post to continue to maintain a retail network of at least 880 points of presence, but permit this to be comprised of self-service kiosks, well as physical postal outlets.

Of the 880 points of presence, New Zealand Post has agreed to maintain at least 240 outlets where customers can receive personal assistance from an employee or agent of New Zealand Post.

“This will give comfort to members of the public who may feel anxious at the prospect of the introduction of self-service kiosks.”

The 880 and 240 figures are unchanged from the current Deed, but the specifics in each case have been modified to meet current requirements.

The timeframe for implementing any changes will be a commercial decision for New Zealand Post, after 30 June, 2015.

Minimum service requirements for New Zealand Post are set out in the Deed of Understanding it signed with the Crown in 1998. The Deed has not been significantly reviewed since it was signed.

Federated Farmers welcomes the announcement.

“This is great news for rural people, as many businesses are still heavily reliant on a five day service,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers National President.

“New Zealand Post and the Government have clearly listened to our members concerns and we are pleased that they have recognised the uniqueness of the rural business model in their Deed of Understanding.

“Whilst technology is changing the way we communicate and eventually we will see a decline in postal deliveries, we are not there yet. There are still some 86,000 rural people off-line, where rural post is a daily fixture in the running of their business and household.

“We would like to thank all parties involved for highlighting the unique situation that rural New Zealand is in when it comes to postal delivery,” concluded Mr Wills.

Rural Women NZ is also pleased:

“In our submission, which Minister Amy Adams has acknowledged, we highlighted that the rural delivery is so much more than just a mail service and anything that threatened its sustainability would have widespread unintended consequences,” says Rural Women national president, Liz Evans.

“It is a wraparound distribution service that is part of the fabric that holds rural communities together.

“Our rural delivery contractors provide a lifeline, delivering supplies, repairs and spare parts, animal health remedies, medicines, and courier parcels.

People pay for these services but it would be more expensive and less regular if the rural delivery contractors weren’t able to provide them five days a week.

“The five day service ensures people are able to run their farming enterprises and other rural businesses effectively, even from remote locations.”

Rural delivery contractors also pick up mail and parcels, meaning that it’s feasible to run a production-based business from a rural location. These businesses breathe life into rural communities, as we have seen through our Enterprising Rural Women Awards. Rural Women NZ’s plea to preserve the existing rural delivery service was also based on the limitations of other communications facilities, that urban people take for granted.

“In many rural areas there is limited or no cellphone coverage and we are still dealing with dial-up broadband connections in many cases.”

The mail service is used a lot less than it used to be and the decline is likely to continue.

That decline will be hastened by NZ Post’s reduction in service.
Mail is much slower than it used to be and people are using alternatives because of that.
We used to get killing sheets in the mail but now we can’t rely on timely deliveries we’re getting them emailed.
There will always be some things that can’t be delivered electronically but as technology improves the need for mail services will drop.

Rural round-up

February 2, 2013

Low prices worry sheep farmers – Gerald Piddock:

Sheep prices rather than feed issues is the major cause for concern for South Canterbury sheep farmers midway through the 2012-2013 season.

Feed levels were good because of the periodic rain throughout the summer. While that was a positive, the returns farmers were receiving for their sheep was a big pill that was hard to swallow, South Canterbury Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman Neil Campbell said.

“At least we’re not having to sell stock on a depressed store market,” he said. . .

Farmers fume at silence on power line route – Chris Gardner:

Waipa Networks is facing a backlash from angry landowners over its refusal to reveal where it plans to build a 110kv power line, which will cross three Waikato districts.

 Ray Milner, chief executive of the Te Awamutu-based network provider, refused to detail exactly where the company wants to erect the $20 million line when he spoke at Otorohanga District Council yesterday despite being told of landowners’ frustrations.

The line will start near Fonterra’s dairy factory on the outskirts of Te Awamutu and end near the Hangatiki intersection near Waitomo village. The distance by road is approximately 40km. . .

Farming lobby group denies organising geese cull – Paul Gorman:

Federated Farmers is distancing itself from last year’s bloody Lake Ellesmere cull in which Canada geese were bludgeoned to death with clubs and baseball bats.

Rotting carcasses were left floating in the lake after the controversial cull, raising fears of waterway pollution.

Federated Farmers high-country regional policy adviser Bob Douglas said this week that the organisation was not planning further culls of the pest bird.

Instead, it was working with people badly affected by the geese on their land to find a better solution. . .

Experts dump on dung beetle – Richard Rennie:

LEADING scientists and health experts believe there are major risks if dung beetles are released in New Zealand.

The beetles are in caged field trials in Northland after approval was granted by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) for 11 species to be imported.

ERMA has since been disbanded and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has taken over its role.

Championed by Landcare, the beetles are intended to assist rapid breakdown of animal waste, help reduce fly infestations resulting from dung presence, and possibly reduce the need for drench use. . .

Wheels may come off rural delivery – Richard Rennie

THE viability of rural mail contractors will be threatened if NZ Post pushes delivery services to only three times a week.

The state-owned enterprise is seeking to adjust the 1998 deed of understanding it has with the government on delivery conditions for standard letters and postal outlet services.

 NZ Post’s proposal document acknowledges rural New Zealand will be most affected by changes, particularly rural delivery contractors.

 One adjustment option the SOE has is to reduce mail services to three days a week . . .

High Value Harvest Underway:

New Zealand’s annual seed harvest is about to hit overdrive, and if last year’s official trade figures are any indication, there’s a surprising amount of money riding on the next few weeks.

Vegetable and forage seed exports were worth NZ$168million for the year ended 31 December 2012, up from NZ$138million the previous year, reports Statistics New Zealand.

Seed industry leaders have welcomed the result, especially considering the exchange rate, and are now eyeing up ways to grow the trade further while maintaining the rigorous standards that position New Zealand at the top end of a large, competitive global market. . .

Rabobank supports red meat sector collaboration program for greater farmer profitability:

Agricultural banking specialist Rabobank has welcomed the newly-announced red meat sector collaboration between industry and government to enhance the long-term profitability of New Zealand’s beef and lamb industries.

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said the bank was pleased to confirm its support as a participant in the proposed program. Rabobank notes the program is reliant on the forthcoming vote by farmers on Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s contribution. . .

Thorn Park Provides Highlights on Karaka Select Sale Day 2:

The momentum has continued right throughout Day 2 of New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2013 Select Yearling Sale today, with buyers reporting tough competition ringside.

By the close of play, 285 of the 611 Select Sale lots had sold for $12,809,000, with the average currently at $44,944 with the clearance rate strengthening slightly to 70%.

The top price was provided early in the day by Lot 707, the Thorn Park colt from Windsor Park Stud that was purchased for $140,000 by NZB as agent. The second foal of the Montjeu mare Kashira, he is from the family of dual Group 1 winners Military Plume and Monaco Consul.

Thorn Park colt Lot 718 fetched the second top price of the day. . .

Judging Underway in 2013 Dairy Awards:

Judging gets underway this week in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the judges will begin the process to determine the 2013 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year winners.

All entrants participate in the judging process that will select the 34 regional winners in the 12 regional competitions.

“Entrants had been invited to attend information evenings during the past couple of weeks to give them a bit of an idea of what to expect when judges visit on their farms – in the case of sharemilker/equity farmer and farm manager entrants – and what is expected of them. . .

Self-sufficient dairy farm placed on the market:

A well developed dairy farm on the north-east coast of the South Island has been placed on the market for sale.

The 187 hectare Mahunga Farm, 23 kilometres south of Kaikoura, is being marketed by Bayleys Real Estate as an attractive investment to an entry-level dairy farmer, or a group looking for a low-cost and low-output farm to draw healthy profits from. It is flat and well equipped with quality infrastructure. This farm has a sale price of $4.2million (plus GST if any).

Bayleys Canterbury salesperson Ruth Hodges said the current owners invested in Mahunga Farm with a long-term view – focusing on improving pasture quality and developing the farm into a low-input, profitable operation. . .


Rural delivery surcharge for parcels

January 28, 2012

Our rural delivery bloke called in a few weeks ago to ask if we’d mind if an extra mailbox was added to the row at our gate for the people in the new house up the road.

New Zealand Post had decreed there would be no extensions to the mail routes because of rising costs and our gate would be the nearest existing stop to the new house.

Now the company is increasing all parcel post rates and adding a $2.80 rural delivery charge to cover the cost of petrol.

I can’t argue about cost recovery and user-pays but I wonder if they’ll also increase charges to senders of junk mail?

Without junk mail fewer stops would be required because not everyone gets mail every day, but with junk mail the driver has to stop at all boxes which must add to delivery time and therefore fuel used.


Truths

November 3, 2010

This Tuesday’s poem is Truths by Helen Heath.

Alicia Ponder who selected it says:

On the surface it is straighforward, but underneath it has an elegance and grace that is quite breathtaking.  I could wax lyrical, but that is hardly necessary as the poem speaks for itself. It stands alone, a beautiful truth, as rare as any jewel,. . .

It is. I’ve read it six times since coming across it on Tuesday and each time I find something more in it.

Among the links to other Tuesday poets in the sidebar are:

if it be your will by Leonard Cohen at Type What You See.

Beyond Silence by Saradha Koirala at Lalialand.

What You Take With You by Mary Mcallum.

Rural Delivery by Vivienne Plumb at Winged Ink.

The Pensioner by Harvey McQueen.


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