Rural round-up

March 3, 2019

Stemming lifestyle bock growth – Richard Rennie:

 Soaring kiwifruit orchard values have helped take some steam from the lure of subdividing quality land into smaller blocks in Western Bay of Plenty.

However, the Western Bay of Plenty District Council has also had to tighten up on development plans to help prevent the loss to uneconomic lifestyle blocks.

Alongside Tauranga City, Western Bay of Plenty is one of the country’s fastest-growing districts, recording a population increase from 27,000 in 1986 to 46,000 in 2013. . .

Farmingin the city – Luke Chivers:

When New Zealanders think of Auckland few think of farming. But a young Karaka dairying couple are combining their love of the city with their passion for the land. Luke Chivers reports.

IT WAS Gypsy Day 2016.

Traditionally, it is the start of the dairying calendar when accounts are settled, stock is bought and sold or moved to a new farm and new careers are launched. At least that was what Chris and Sally Guy hoped when their sharemilking agreement on a well-nurtured and developed inland slice of rural New Zealand kicked in. The couple are 50:50 sharemilkers with his parents Allan and Wendy who own the 80ha Oakview Farm in South Auckland.

New fertigation trial examines effects on nutrient loss – Pat Deavoll:

A new project to trial the use of fertigation, which could help reduce nitrogen leaching on farms, is underway.

State-owned farmer Pāmu was working with IrrigationNZ and Ballance Agri-Nutrients on the trial which had received funding from the Sustainable Farming Fund.

Fertigation is the application of small quantities of fertiliser through an irrigation system. Fertigation is used overseas but was uncommon in New Zealand. . .

Shearers clip for cancer – Toni Williams:

They came, they shore and they conquered, raising more than $85,000 for charity.

Around 70 vintage shearers from New Zealand and overseas, including current and former world champions, stars of the movie She Shears and All Black greats, appeared on the stands at the Shear For Life event at the Ewing Family property, at Hinds in Mid Canterbury on Saturday.

It was the brainchild of shearing mates Rocky Bull, Alan ”Bimbo” Bramley and Steven ”Dixy” Lynch, who wanted a chance to catch up with a few of the old shearing crowd. . .

Wyndham farmer Matt McRae’s community engagement contributes to Otago/Southland Young Farmer of the Year award  – Blair Jackson:

 Community engagement is something Wyndham farmer Matt McRae values highly.

It’s part of the reason he was recently named Otago/Southland Young Farmer of the Year.

Although his rugby career has taken a hit – he will play in Wyndham’s second string side to focus on his farming study and work – he enjoys what he does. . .

Glass bottles. Make a come-back on Country Calendar – Melenie Parkes:

A Nelson dairy farm is looking to the past to take it into the future. These dairy disruptors are using new technology to reinvent an old-fashioned favourite.

When Julian and Cathy Raine’s winter contract was cancelled by Fonterra in 2012, they had to come up with a plan to generate another source of income.

Their solution was to sell milk direct to the consumer using innovative vending machines, sourced from Europe and dotted throughout Nelson. . .

 


What did Hunua & Tauranga learn that Northland should know?

March 21, 2015

Winston Peters won the seat of Hunua in 1978 but lost it again in 1981.

He won Tauranga in 1984 and lost it again in 2008.

What did the people of Hunua and Tauranga learn that voters in Northland should know?
"Send him a message."


Little hints

March 9, 2015

Labour leader Andrew leader can’t quite bring himself to tell Northland voters not to vote for his party’s candidate Willow-Jean Prime but he’s dropping little – or should that be Little? – hints:

Mr Little told TVNZ One’s Q+A programme that Labour will not pull its candidate Willow-Jean Prime from the by-election contest, despite a Q+A Colmar Brunton poll showing Mr Peters would win if she was not in the running.

However, he called for left voters to be “realistic” with their candidate choice.

“They’ve got a vote they should use it. If they want to vote to send a message to the Government …

“They are intelligent enough to see how they can do that.” . .

Every election Labour has criticised National for electoral accommodations in Epsom and Ohariu but now he thinks it would be too his advantage, Little is indicating he’s willing to do just that.

He’s throwing his candidate under the wheels of Peters’ bus, not to help Labour or Northland but, as Rodney Hide points out, to get a New Zealand First list MP in Invercargill and give more power to Peter Dunne:

. . . A Peters win would destabilise the Government and power up a Wellington electorate MP. Ohariu would benefit – not Northland. On winning Northland, Peters would resign as a list MP to clear the way for the next candidate on New Zealand First’s list. That candidate is Ria Bond … from Invercargill.

That’s right. In choosing Peters, Northland voters would be electing an MP from Invercargill.

Those in the Far North would elect a candidate from the deep south.

But it gets better.

Peters lives in Auckland. Parliament is in Wellington. That’s how he divides his time. Kerikeri is 250km north of Auckland. So Peters is asking the people of Northland to vote for an Aucklander to elect an MP from Invercargill and empower an MP from Wellington. . .

This would not bring down the government but it would make it more difficult for it to pass legislation and give Dunne and the two other government partners – Act and the Maori Party – a lot more bargaining power.

That won’t help Labour this term, nor will it make it any easier for it and its potential coalition partners to gain enough seats to govern next term.

In fact it might make it more difficult because the Little hints make him look downright shifty.

When National campaigns in Epsom and Ohariu it is open about campaigning only for the party vote and it ensures its candidates are high enough on its list to get into parliament.

Little isn’t being open, he’s trying to have a bob each way. He hasn’t clearly said voters should ditch Prime for Peters but nor has he said they shouldn’t. Yet he’s prevaricating enough to handicap his candidate and there’s no list seats up for grabs in a by-election to compensate her for her wasted efforts.

And what’s in this political playing for the people of Northland?

. . . Peters is 70 this year. It’s a long way from Auckland to Northland. It’s even further across the electorate. Peters will be bogged down and busy doing the bare minimum needed to be local MP. I doubt the region will be much troubled by him.

And he would lose in 2017. Northland will return a National candidate in a General Election.

It has been 40 years since Peters stood for Northern Maori. He’s late in rediscovering the north but his campaign is exciting.

I believe he prefers a close second. Winning would be altogether too much work.

Little is willing to sabotage his candidate to help Peters who will have neither the will nor the energy to service the large Northland electorate and its many communities while also attending to the demands of party leadership.

We can but hope the people of Northland will have learned from Tauranga voters who saw through him and send both him and Labour a message: they need an MP who lives in the electorate who will be in government and who will represent them well and work hard for them.

There’s only one of those standing – National’s Mark Osborne.

 

 


Wharfies can’t win this one

January 5, 2012

Wharfies used to be renowned for industrial action designed to cause maximum disruption to their employers and the public whether or not it accomplished anything.

The on-going strikes on the Auckland waterfront shows some are still stuck back in those bad-old days but it is a battle they can’t win.

The workers appear to be very well-paid for what isn’t generally highly skilled work:

The  average annual wage of an Auckland wharfie is about  $91,480 – reportedly for a 26-hour week, employees and their  families get free medical insurance, and three weeks sick  leave entitlement is written into contracts. They also get  five weeks annual leave.

And the POA offer is not ungenerous:

They include a 10 per cent increase in the hourly rate, performance bonuses of up to 20 per cent, retention of existing benefits and provisions, and “full operational flexibility for Ports of Auckland”. No doubt the last is causing unionists most angst. It would allow port management, not them, to manage the business.

Added costs on the waterfront mean higher costs for exports and imports. The country couldn’t afford that in good times and it certainly can’t afford it when so much of the world is mired in recession.

Other ports have workers who have moved into the 21st century ready and are willing to pick up any business lost from Auckland.

Last month the port lost Maresk’s business to Tauranga and yesterday Fonterra announced it would shift its $27m weekly trade  to Tauranga and Napier.

Auckland’s loss is Tauranaga’s gain. Port of Tauranga stocks rose 1.5 percent to $10.10, its highest ever close after news that Fonterra was moving its business from Auckland.


Chch earthquake aid policy helping Tauranga

November 22, 2011

One of the unheralded acts by the government in the wake of last September’s earthquake was providing money to enable businesses to keep operating in the immediate aftermath.

The same thing was done after the February quake and it was instrumental in protecting jobs and reducing the number of businesses which collapsed.

It has provided a template which has been used in Tauranga after the oil spill from the Rena:

One thing that resonated with business owners in Mount Maunganui was the response from the Government in helping pay      wages. While there were still some who wanted more government handouts, most were strongly supportive of National’s actions. 

Not all contributions from politicians has been appreciated, however:

The Green Party and Labour leader Phil Goff have done themselves no favours in Mt Maunganui.   

Local retailers complained to Taking the Pulse on Saturday that both the Greens and Mr Goff keep drawing attention to  the stricken Rena which hit the Astrolabe Reef on  October 5, spilling oil. . .

Publicity from the oil spill also hurt visitor numbers; people likened it to the Gulf of Mexico spill, which wrecked both tourism and fisheries along the coast of Louisiana.   

The damage caused by the negative publicity during the election campaign is starting to worry a few. . .

But the main political issue that annoyed nearly everyone spoken to in about two hours was grandstanding – both in Mt  Maunganui and Epsom. Voters were absolutely over the side issues and complained it reminded them of when New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was in full flight. Then, they remembered that Mr Peters was again in full flight.   

There was no love lost on the Mount for Mr Peters. No particular reason could be nailed down, but the dislike was palpable.  

 Obviously people of good sense and discernment.


Bob’s done enough

September 28, 2011

Bob Clarkson did a great public service by winning the seat of Tauranga which got rid of New Zealand First’s lifeline and kept Winston Peters from returning to parliament in 2008.

However, I suspect there will be a great many Act members and supporters who think he’s done enough and will be relieved that he has no intention of standing for that party.


Bean here, growin’ that

October 15, 2009

Scoop reports New Zealand’s first vanilla harvest is underway.

This is the first harvest of vanilla grown outside the tropics.

 Heilala Vanilla is a family owned and run business in Tauranga.

It sounds good and I’m impressed by the entrepreneurial approach. But I wonder how the costs of production compare with those for growing these orchids in the tropics where nature put them.


Peters MIA

November 6, 2008

Morning Report  interviewed the leaders of all the wee parties this morning – well all but that of New Zealand First because Winston Peters didn’t turn up.

He didn’t turn up for the RadioNZ  foreign policy debate either.

Does he have a problem with radio or is today’s no-show related to a RadioNZ news story that he’s given up on Tauranga?

Morning Report discussed that in more detail.

And what does Helen Clark’s comment yesterday that he was a victim of a malicious campaign mean?

“It’s one thing to try to take people out of politics on the basis of their policies, it’s another to mount a campaign based on smears and we’ve now had three inquiries which have fallen completely flat on their face.

“Wouldn’t I look a chump today if I had sacked Mr Peters because of those inquiries.”

No, she’d have been seen to treat him as she’d treated other errant ministers and she does look a chump for backing him in the face of the privileges committee censure.

But what happens now?  Will she tell the Labour candidate in Rimutaka to pull back to give Ron Mark a better chance?  

That’s the only electorate where NZ First has a chance and if they don’t win it they’ll need 5% of the party vote which is possible but not probable.


5 more sleeps . . .

November 3, 2008

. . . until election day and the man who was happy to be MP for Tauranga will be unhappy with the TV1 poll.


Taking the Pulse of Tauranga

October 31, 2008

The ODT’s Dene Mackenzie has reached Tauranga as he takes the political pulse of the country.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters faces a voter backlash in Tauranga that could prove terminal unless his party squeaks across the 5% threshold and he can return to Parliament through the party vote.

There is a chance, albeit an outside one, that his law and order spokesman, Ron Mark, will win Rimutaka and take Mr Peters back into Parliament with him, but Mr Peters better not count on that.

At a meet-the-candidates night in Tauranga on Wednesday night, Mr Peters had to contend with hecklers calling out “baubles of office” as the stood-down foreign affairs minister tried to get his message across.

He was not above attacking National Party leader John Key either, attracting some hissing from people near where Taking the Pulse was sitting.

. . . Outside the election meeting, three retired farmers (you could just tell from a distance) were in earnest conversation.

“So, Winston did well tonight,” I volunteered.

The reaction could not have been stronger. Words that cannot be printed here were used to describe the MP for whom two had voted twice.

Richard (72) – he would not give his last name – believed he should give his vote to Act New Zealand this time, to get rid of Mr Peters once and for all.

When asked if he understood how to use the party vote strategically to change the government, he admitted he did not.

Neither did the other two. And that was part of the problem for other voters. They wanted National to win but were not going to vote National for the party vote, voting only for Mr Bridges.

Labour voters were on the money with their voting preferences. No splitting the vote for them.

. . . National-leaning voters believed that Tauranga voters were seen as supporting all the bad things that were happening in Parliament.

Labour voters disliked Mr Peters for dragging Prime Minister Helen Clark into the donations scandals and “forcing her to defend that b . . .”.

They hated the idea that Mr Peters could again be in Cabinet if Labour won the election.

At the RSA club, Mr Peters still had some loyal supporters.

The Gold Card had not proved too helpful for them, but the slogan “Seniors First” on Mr Peters’ election signs meant a lot to those voters.

Interesting that the policy he’s responsible for did little for them but they still trust what he says.

There’s little doubt that Peters will lose the seat. But he needs only 5% of voters to think like the people at the RSA to enable him and his party to crawl back to parliament and maybe into government.


No means . . .

October 28, 2008

The Tauranage Special from the Free Speech Coalition.

Hat Tip: John Ansell


Vote NZ First to get Labour

October 26, 2008

Political scientists Nigel Roberts and Barry Gustafson say people who want a Labour government should vote for Winston Peters in Tuaranga and give New Zealand First the party vote elsewhere.

Labour voters in Tauranga had enough votes to swing the seat to the New Zealand First leader, guaranteeing the party a presence in parliament and providing a coalition partner for Labour, Roberts told the Sunday Star-Times.

And if enough Labour voters outside Tauranga switched their party vote to New Zealand First, the party would exceed the 5% threshold and provide at least six seats for a Labour-led coalition.

Just as so many have been saying: a vote for NZ First is a vote for Labour and a vote for Labour is a vote for Peters in cabinet:

Labour First

Labour First

Gustafson, a former National Party candidate and now emeritus professor of politics at Auckland University, said National leader John Key had made a tactical error by refusing to accept New Zealand First as a possible coalition partner.

Sometimes you have to make a stand, have a bottom line and put principle before politics.

Key has done that and given voters a choice – a National led government without Peters or a Labour led one with him, and probably three other parties and five other leaders.

But Key said yesterday he was well aware that his decision to rule out New Zealand First as a coalition partner could cost him the chance to be prime minister. “We didn’t walk into that press conference and make that announcement lightly but in the end New Zealanders will decide who they want to lead the next government.

“If they want a party that is committed to economic recovery and is committed to our economy then they will support a National government with very few moving parts. If they consider the other option they’ve got to consider a five-headed monster.”

Or more likely a seven headed monster:

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EFA rules ok – yeah right

August 1, 2008

A Tui billboard  in Tauranga may breach the Electoral Finance Act.

It says: When Winston says no he means no. Yeah right.

The billboard is in the Tauranga electorate Winston Peters is desperate to win, and the Electoral Commission told the Herald it would write to brewers Tui saying it could be “election advertising” against him.

If that’s breaching the Act ,what about the giant wrap around bill board I noticed on a building on the corner of Albert and (I think) Customs Streets? It had a counter showing how much NZ profit goes from overseas banks each day.

It was bright green with an anti foreign-ownership message so I thought it was a political hoarding until I looked again and saw it was for Kiwi Bank.

My first impression  was that it was a political message rather than a commercial one so given NZ First and Greens are strongly against foreign ownership of NZ assets might this ad persaude people to vote for one of them or against other parties with more sensible views on investment?

Then there’s the ad which shows a couple of blokes driving across a paddock in a red ute. There’s a bump, they stop, get out and realise they’ve hit a bull. The driver turns to his passenger and says “Should’ve bought a blue one.”

It’s advertising Ford utes but there is a subliminal political message there too. It could be seen as words or graphics which persuade people to vote for or against a party.

But the EFA isn’t that stupid. Yeah right.


Winners & losers in donations saga

July 28, 2008

Gordon Campbell sorts out the winenrs and losers in the NZ First donations saga:

At half time in the Winston Peters latest scandal – which seems to involve several money trails complex enough to merit inclusion in the Winebox – likely winners are beginning to emerge. And the main beneficiary is undoubtedly….the much reviled Electoral Finance Act. If New Zealand First’s shenanigans don’t make a convincing case for cleaning up the system by which political donations were formerly made in New Zealand, then nothing will. Unfortunately, most of the nanny state mileage has already been wrung out of the EFA – but at least the Act may now be spared further pounding during the election campaign.

Most opponents of the EFA accepted there were problems with the old system which needed to be addressed. But replacing an Act with flaws with a flawed Act created more problems than it solved.

Will the whole affair end up hurting Peters? It depends in which capacity. Peters has two levels of concern : seeing NZF get over 5 % nationwide, and winning back his seat in Tauranga. I think this affair will hurt him in Tauranga by making him look even more like the old, tainted goods that he was already portrayed as by Simon Bridges, the young National candidate and former Crown prosecutor standing against him. It is less clear the affair will hurt his party’s chances of getting over the 5 % MMP threshold in the election.

How so ? Peters will spin the criticism over the donations in exactly the same way that he spins the criticisms he gets over racism. Normally, around this point in the election cycle, Peters plays his triennial race card, and will attack ‘Asian’ migration – lumping together in the process Asians of all nationalities, brown people and Arabs into the same suspect category.

The donations affair has the same media dynamic. Conveniently for Peters, the media handling of his race gambit habitually assumes that Winston’s supporters are a bunch of rednecks, waiting only for the master manipulator to throw the switch. In fact, it is the response to this criticism that lifts New Zealand First’s boat, not the racism per se. What unites NZF supporters is their tribal dislike of Peters’ opponents, who are legion, and who include the big corporates and media commentariat. The trigger that fires up NZF’s poll ratings is the sense of persecution that these voters hold in common, rather than a shared belief system.

In previous decades, they used to call this the Citizens for Rowling syndrome. It entails an elite holding forth, unaware of how much it is disliked by the people that it aims to influence and enlighten. Rob Muldoon, Peters avowed mentor, would play those kind of critiques like a violin.

Peters is equally adept at fiddling though he’s striking more than a few wrong notes with this piece.

As the race tightens, the prospect is that a National-led government may become beholden to Peters once again, jeopardising any revolutionary centre-right agenda. John Key can probably take care of his enemies – but what is he telling the boardrooms about how he proposes to handle his budding friend from Tauranga, post election? This week, Key is telling the public is that he will wait for the election result. Thereby, National will be able to blame the public for landing him with the necessity of making an arrangement with Peters. In fact, both major parties can claim a reluctance to deal with Peters in future, but invoke democracy as the rationale for doing so. Neat.

So at half time and in a Graham Henry sense, who are the winners and losers?

Winners. for the reasons stated : New Zealand First, the Electoral Finance Act, and Winston Peters as party leader. Rodney Hide, who gets to play the indignant touch judge, in a situation where neither Helen Clark nor John Key can afford to complain directly to the ref. National, who were just starting to get stick for not releasing any substantive policy, when this affair obligingly swept everything else off the political agenda.

Losers: Winston Peters, as Tauranga candidate, for the reasons stated. Also : the New Zealand Herald, and the Dominion-Post. Both newspapers railed against the EFA, and – with a straight face – have now railed against the kind of arrangements practiced by NZF ( and in all likelihood, by other political parties who were laundering anonymous donations via trusts) that made the EFA, or legislation akin to it, essential. And oh, the public.

And oh, the truth which gets buried deeper by the day.


He helped racing, racing helped him

July 27, 2008

Tony Wall’s Sunday Star Times feature explains how Winston Peters helped the racing industry and how racing people helped him.

You can read the full story here  but this summary is not on line:

What Racing Has Done For Winston:

* Vela family, with interests in NZ Bloodstock at Karaka and Pencarrow Stud in the Waikato, reportedly donated at least $150,000 in amounts under $10,000 between 1999 and 2003 to NZ First.

* Wealthy breeder Sir Patrick Hogan, of Cambridge Stud, launched his own campaign to get NZ First back into parliament, spending thousands of his own money on newspaper advertsiements. The racing industry also backed the party through its Fair Tax campaign.

* Billionaire expat Owen Glenn, a racehorse owner, donated $100,000 to NZ First’s electoral challenge of the 2005 result in Tauranga.

What Winston Has Done For Racing:

* Reduced totalisator duty to 4% from a headline rate of 20%, pumping around $32 million a year into the industry.

* Decreased the tax write-down period for stallions and broodmares, encouraging more people to buy racehorses for tax advantages and potentially benefitting breeders by millions.

*This year’s Budget allocated a further $19m for a co-sponsorship scheme over a three-year period to enable “substantially higher prize money offered by the creme de la creme of New Zealand races.”

I don’t have a problem with people donating to political parties providing they are decalred as required by electoral law. But New Zealand First has declared few donations while the party and its leader have been staunch critics of the influence of big business and anonymous donors in politics.

The more we learn the more it looks like gross hypocrisy


Stop digging start apologising.

July 21, 2008

The Herald uses its editorial to tell Winston Peters to stop digging. He should also start apologising.

It was one thing to make a denial without checking all possible sources of his financial support, and flourish a silly sign to news cameras, but Mr Peters did not hear alarm bells even when the Herald discovered an email in which Mr Glenn asked a public relations adviser, “You are saying I should deny giving a donation to NZ First? When I did?”

A wiser man would have run a quick check on all sources of funds related to his personal political activities and his party. Instead our Foreign Minister descended to baseless and disgraceful allegations of his own – against the integrity of this newspaper, its editor, and our fair-minded political editor, Audrey Young.

Definitely not the actions of a wise man.

We were not particularly surprised by that response. Mr Peters has made a career of bluff and bluster and convincing enough poor voters that the media is the enemy. But we have been surprised at his behaviour since he was forced on Friday to concede Audrey Young’s disclosures are true.

At least, that is what he should have conceded. An honourable and decent public figure would acknowledged his error and apologised to her in the course of explaining himself. Mr Peters did neither. After his lawyer, Brian Henry, told him Mr Glenn had in fact contributed $100,000 to his legal costs in 2006, Mr Peters put out a statement that was not only devoid of apology or regret but attempted to give himself some wriggle room in semantics.

This was not an honorable or decent statement.

He did not make a donation to the NZ First Party,” he said of Mr Glenn, “he made a donation to a legal action he thought justified”. Later, at his party’s 15th anniversary conference, Mr Peters maintained this desperate distinction. “Not one cent went to NZ First and not one cent went to me,” he insisted. “A donation was made to a legal case which is a massive difference … “

No, it is not. He brought a case against the election spending of the MP who captured his Tauranga seat. The law hears those actions in the name of individuals, not parties. Had the petition succeeded, the beneficiaries would have been Mr Peters, if the seat had been restored to him, and his party, since an electorate gives a party more secure representation in Parliament. Mr Glenn obviously believed he was contributing to NZ First and to all intents and purposes, he was.

Indeed, it might disturb Mr Glenn to hear that the donation was technically not for a party’s legal action but for an individual MP’s, because that MP is the country’s Foreign Minister and the Monaco-based billionaire would like to be appointed our honorary consul there. It is a humble enough request from an expatriate who leads a multi-national logistics enterprise and has given millions to his country of birth, most recently to endow the new Auckland University business school that carries his name.

Except that buying honary appointments isn’t supposed to happen in an open democracy.

He was also the Labour Party’s largest donor at the last election, a connection noted when he was named in the New Year Honours. Labour weathered that news easily enough and NZ First could have done likewise, had Mr Peters not foolishly denied it. He has put himself in this hole and he would be smarter to stop digging.

And start apologising. Sorry really isn’t that hard to say if you understand what you’ve done is wrong; refusing to say it suggests he either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care.


Bomb Scare a Hoax

June 27, 2008

No surprise here, yesterday’s bomb scare  which led to the evacuation of shops and offices in Oamaru’s main street was a hoax.

A bomb scare closed part of the Oamaru central business district for more than five hours yesterday in a hoax police branded “irresponsible”.

The business district in lower Thames St was brought to a halt just before 3pm as police evacuated buildings and cordoned off the area after a bomb threat was received at 1.50pm through a call centre operator at TrustPower in Tauranga.

The target was Oamaru’s three-storey TrustPower and Pulse Business Solutions building, which houses TrustPower’s South Island call centre.

 

 


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