Lone voice not answer

January 13, 2015

The ODT editorialises on climate change and concludes:

. . . No sudden shift in policy by the Government will stop the forces of nature. Mr Groser says New Zealand is taking a balanced approach to climate change and New Zealand is playing its part in avoiding imposing excessive costs on households and businesses.

In that sentence is the nub of the problem. The New Zealand economy is going against the trend seen in Australia, Japan and the euro zone with economic growth set to rise in the coming year. Imposing energy charges on households and businesses will slow growth and put jobs at risk.

Climate change is an important issue for communities facing previously unheard weather conditions but New Zealand being a lone voice on change is not the answer. A balanced approach is the best solution.


Sustainability is the balance of economic, environmental and social considerations.

Handicapping the economy and hurting the poor by imposing excessive costs which would have little if any impact on the climate would be the triumph of politics over science and common sense.


Rural round-up

December 23, 2014

New Zealand-Korea FTA initialled:

Trade Minister Tim Groser welcomed today’s initialling by Chief Negotiators of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

“Initialling marks the end of the text’s legal verification process. It’s another milestone as we progress towards bringing the FTA into force,” says Mr Groser.

“The next step is translation of the text into Korean, which will be completed early next year. Following translation, the FTA will be signed.

“This FTA will deliver real economic benefits to both our countries. It will secure our position in the Korean market and will create more opportunities for traders as tariffs are gradually removed.” . . .


Stay safe on the farm this summer:

On average, 850 people each year are injured riding quad bikes on farms. Five die.

It is because of these unacceptable statistics that Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment inspectors will visit farms this summer to ensure key quad bike safety steps are recognised and understood.

Rural Women New Zealand joins the Ministry in urging farmers and their families to take extra care on the farm over summer, particularly when it comes to quad bike safety.

As it gets closer to the holiday season the pace of work picks up and more tasks are fitted into the longer days.

“Long hours can lead to fatigue and an increase in accidents,” says the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s General Manager – Central, Ona de Rooy.

There is also a real need for vigilance once the school holidays begin and children are spending more time around the farm. . .

Signs of new interest in soil science:

Soil scientists worried about a decline in the numbers working in that field have taken heart at signs that interest may be growing among a new generation of scientists.

Science Strategy Manager at Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Warwick Catto said a national soil science conference in Hamilton earlier this month was notable for the number of younger scientists attending.

And he was hoping that showed interest was on the rise, because as he pointed out, the soil and what it produces was the basis for much of the country’s economy .

“There were a lot of young people in the audience, which is either a reflection that I’m getting older, or that there are lot of people looking at careers in soil science and I think the latter is that there are issues going on with soil, be it nitrogen leaching, soil erosion into water water ways. . .

Scientists breed cattle to thrive in tropics:

Livestock improvement co-operative LIC sees South America, Asia and possibly Africa as potential markets for a new breed of heat tolerant dairy cattle it is developing.

LIC has started a breeding programme crossing the Senepol breed from the Caribbean with New Zealand Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle.

The programme came about, ironically, from scientists’ investigations into a genetic mutation in one of its breeding bulls that produced very hairy off-spring, prone to over-heating. . .

New Zealand’s Food Safety Regulations Are Not About Food Safety, But Rather International Trade & Politics – Milking on the Moove:

New Zealand’s food safety regulations are not simply about food safety. It’s also about international trade & politics.

Once I understood that, the regulations & procedures around dairy products begins to make sense to me.

I’m going to be quite charitable to the regulators in this post.

Biddys Story

Last night Seven Sharp did a follow up story on Biddy and her micro cheese making business. You can view the 7 minute video here. http://bit.ly/1xRsYT8

Biddys story is, she milks 3 cows and makes the milk into cheese. She has won international awards etc etc. 5 years ago she was featured on Country Calendar. This alerted the authorities to her small operation and she was required to meet the dairy regulations.    . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Director Elections:

Nominations have now closed for two farmer-elected positions on the Beef + Lamb New Zealand board.

A director election in the Northern North Island electorate will not be required. James Parsons (incumbent) is elected unopposed.

Two nominations have been received for the Northern South Island electorate. The candidates are Nigel Harwood of Takaka and Phil Smith of Culverden. . . .

Rural round-up

December 1, 2014

Mining can help revive struggling rural economies:

• Rural regions and their manufacturing-based economies are shrinking
• Decline at odds with high mineral endowment in rural areas
• RMA and lack of incentives are major hurdles to resource development

The minerals sector can help revive New Zealand’s struggling rural economies, but only if the government reduces the complexity of the Resource Management Act and creates financial incentives for local government.

This is a key finding of Poverty of Wealth: Why Minerals Need to be Part of the Rural Economy, the latest report produced by public policy think tank, The New Zealand Initiative. . .

Fonterra farm fund seen as stepping stone – Andrea Fox:

Dairy farmers interested in buying land through an equity partnership trust being proposed by Fonterra would need to show they would be profitable enough to one day buy back the farm, says the co-operative’s shareholder council.

Fonterra is planning a new fund to invest in farms and has begun talks with potential investors.

The trust would be a partner that would invest in farming operations through a minority stake.

Council chairman Ian Brown said the trust could be particularly helpful to young farmers wanting to buy their first farm. Established farmers wanting to buy the next-door property and those involved in equity farming partnerships could also find it useful, he said.

Whatever the type of farming operation, it would have to be profitable, and profitable enough, to have the ability to buy the trust out at some point, Brown said. . .

Maniototo farm impresses Peren Cup judges -Sally Rae:

When the judges of the Sir Geoffrey Peren Cup competition visited the Lindsay family’s farm in the Maniototo, they were impressed with what they saw.

Creekside Farms Ltd is farmed by Adam Lindsay, his partner Jules Blanchard, and his mother Karen Lindsay.

The family was one of four entrants in this year’s competition, which is held annually in the region that is hosting Perendale New Zealand’s national conference.

A field day was held last week at Creekside Farms, between Kyeburn and Ranfurly, where an impressive farming operation, including extensive development, was outlined. . .

Hailstorm misses strawberries – Sally Brooker:

Waimate’s main strawberry fields escaped last week’s hailstorm and are looking good for the season.

Donald Butler, who, with wife Jackie, owns Butler’s Berry Farm and Cafe, said they were lucky the hail that bombarded the east coast last Wednesday skirted around their property alongside State Highway 1 at Hook, just north of Waimate.

”It was close, but it’s all good.”

The fruit was ”all coming on quite nicely”, with strawberries already on sale. Those he took to the Otago Farmers’ Market in Dunedin on Saturday sold quickly and customers told him they were ”tasting good”. . .

One year anniversary of trade deal marked:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Trade Minister Tim Groser have welcomed the one year anniversary today of the Economic Cooperation Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC).

“Since then exports to  have increased over 20 percent compared with the same period the previous year, a $150 million increase,” says Mr Groser.

“Over 69 percent of New Zealand’s exports to Chinese Taipei are now tariff free, representing savings of around $78.4 million to date.”

The agreement will see complete removal of tariffs on New Zealand’s current exports to Chinese Taipei, with 99 percent eliminated in four years.  . .

Timber exports scheme cuts greenhouse gases:

Associate Minister for Primary Industries Jo Goodhew has welcomed the implementation of a programme that allows timber products to be exported to Australia without chemical treatment.

“After a successful trial last summer, the Secure Pathway Programme has been opened up to industry in a bid to reduce the use of methyl bromide during the flight season of the burnt pine longhorn beetle,” Mrs Goodhew says.

“All exporters now have a new option for treating products such as sawn timber, timber mouldings, panel products and veneer sheets.

“The alternative process creates a physical barrier between the wood product and this wood boring beetle, preventing infestation and reducing the usage of methyl bromide.” . .

Trade barriers economically and morally indefensible.

November 27, 2014

Federated Farmers’ vice president Anders Crofoot  spoke to the Australian Farm Institute’s Agriculture Roundtable Conference on the role free trade has played in sustaining and growing the New Zealand farm system.

In many ways my speaking to you, a New York Yankee from the Wairarapa, underscores a dimension of our farm system and human capital that is underrated.  That being how international it is.  I would argue the primary industries are the most international aspect of New Zealand business.

Our isolation means we have to be, and that has been ingrained since the first waves of organised European migrations in the 19th Century.

At first, the majority of the New Zealand farms were focused on producing wool and meat from sheep, and milk from cattle. Exports were limited to non-refrigerated or salted items.

Technology, in the form of refrigeration, towards the end of the 19th Century, had a disruptive influence and radically transformed farming from a domestic focus, to an export one.  Of course this was within the British Imperial family.

Refrigeration saw meat and dairy products being exported, the firs shipment leaving New Zealand on the 18th of February 1882, from Dunedin. The creation of these new markets changed farming by attracting skilled migrants to New Zealand, which lies in a pastoral “sweet spot.”  The right water, sunshine hours, temperature and soils.

Capital enabled mechanisation and technology to be imported, while inventiveness and the ‘no.8 wire’ mentality here started to create new technology.

Refrigeration and a large guaranteed market in Britain saw a first golden period for farming here, which lasted until 1973, when Britain joined the European Union.

Farming then became less prosperous due to the country’s reliance on one market and a narrow basket on primary exports.  In the 1970’s, on-farm costs rose with oil shocks, returns fell, but land prices remained high.

1984 Reforms

This resulted in a cornucopia of subsidies and tariffs in a vainglorious attempt to hold back the world.  These crumpled in 1984 with the defeat of Rob Muldoon’s National Government, and the election of a radically reforming Labour Government of David Lange and Roger Douglas.

Suddenly and expectantly subsidies and trade protection were removed, and New Zealand trade was gradually liberalised. Remarkably it was cheered on and championed by Federated Farmers, who foresaw the cancerous effect of subsidies and protection. Since 1986, productivity in New Zealand’s agricultural sector has improved by an average of  5.9% per year.

Until then, nearly 40 percent of the average New Zealand sheep and beef farmer’s gross income came from government subsidies.  Farmers were paid to rip out native vegetation, ironic given today’s environmental climate.

They were encouraged to produce without regard to markets; but unfortunately we don’t get rich by selling to ourselves.

By 1985 UK trade was dramatically decreased. However, Muldoon’s parting gift of a free trade agreement with Australia in 1983 (CER) started to blossom.

The effect of reforms on outlook and trade

You may think that this major policy change, of removing farm subsidies, would have destroyed the make-up of our farm systems.

On the contrary, our farmers came through that experience stronger than ever.

For farming, there is life after subsidies, and while the late David Lange predicted that farming was a sunset industry in the 1980’s, and that manufacturing and tourism would take its place, a compatriot of mine, Mark Twain, would answer in reply that the rumours of agriculture’s death have been greatly exaggerated!

A lack of subsidies and tariff barriers forced New Zealand producers to grow up and talk to the markets they were selling into.

The removal of farm subsidies in New Zealand has given birth to a vibrant, diversified and growing rural economy. Early predictions were  that 8,000 farms would fail, but in the end, only 800 did.

As of 2013, 73 percent of New Zealand’s merchandise exports were from the primary sector.  That is five percent higher than in 2008.  Of the 2013 figure, about 45 percent is from the traditional pastoral side of meat, wool, dairy, seeds and crops.

The removal of subsidies has proven to be a catalyst for productivity gains. In the twenty years since 1986-87, the value of economic activity in New Zealand’s farm sector had grown by 40% in constant dollar terms and continues to do so. Such improvements in productivity are readily apparent at the level of the individual family farm.

Lambing percentages, lamb export slaughter weight and milk fat processed per cow have massively increased. The diversification of land use prompted by the removal of subsidies has been beneficial for farmers and has increased the size and scope of the New Zealand agricultural sector as new innovative products have been developed.

Farmers are now farming better than ever, contributing $14 billion (6%) to our countries GDP from behind the farm gate.

They are much more conscious that their activities must make good business sense.  No longer are they chasing subsidies, pursuing maximum production at any cost.  Farmers maintain cost structures that reflect the real earning capacity of their farms.  They invest in protecting their environment and the value of their land is based on its earning capacity in the market.

Good management of the environment is an integral part of sustainable agricultural practice by farmers, where farmers are producing more from less.

With the removal of subsidies, agricultural practice is now driven by the demands of the market and by consumers.  The removal of subsidies has also broadened the base of farming to encompass diversified activities, such as rural tourism, and blended forms of agriculture where dairy farms in the Bay of Plenty and Nelson also grow horticultural products.

New Zealand now boasts the lowest level of agricultural support for industrialised countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  The level of assistance to agriculture in New Zealand now represents only one percent of farming income.

In 2013, the worst drought in 70-years, covering the South Island’s west coast and the entire North Island saw only 146 Rural Assistance Payments (RAP) granted.  Given these are means and asset tested it underscores just how little support farming receives here in contrast with the EU, where farmers are getting payments due to Russian sanctions!

What support New Zealand farmers do receive is mainly in the form of government funding for agricultural research.

Agricultural labour productivity is consistently the leading sector for labour productivity.

A key difference between New Zealand and other countries is that New Zealand exports the vast majority of its agricultural production.  Upwards of 95 percent is exported. We produce enough food to feed at least 24.4 million people, although some estimates are higher.

This makes New Zealand a significant player in world trade of foodstuffs, being the largest dairy exporter and the largest exporter of lamb, while by no means being the largest producers.  We are also the largest global exporter of a number of herbage seeds.

This also goes to highlight the knife edge the world sits on between food surplus and food deficit; food security.

External perspectives on trade

Thanks to a structural realignment domestically, New Zealand farming turned from a myopic dependence upon “mother Britain” to having to hustle for markets and opportunity.

Before I address that opportunity I wish to highlight something Federated Farmers President, Dr William Rolleston, recently wrote about.

We have become accustomed to looking at trade barriers and threats “symmetrically” – things like quotas, subsidies and tariffs, “Buy Local” campaigns, or British farmers objecting to Tescos promoting New Zealand lamb.

Earlier this year, The Economist magazine noted the United States’ Farm Bill was

“A strange piece of legislation, which costs nearly a trillion dollars. It mixes benefits that mostly go to the poor (food stamps) with agricultural subsidies that mostly go to the rich (crop subsidies for large farms).  Given a blank slate, nobody with an interest in either alleviating poverty or improving farming would construct such a law. Yet here it is again.”

As an American New Zealander I must concur with the Economist’s conclusion.

Yet there are also “Asymmetrical Trade Threats,” highlighted recently by Fonterra Co-operative Group Chief Executive, Theo Spierings.

On TV3’s The Nation, he put the impact of Ebola to New Zealand at $150 million, yet not one New Zealander is infected.

What has been affected is about six percent of Fonterra sales.

Animal disease provides another threat.

A new assessment of Foot & Mouth Disease puts the estimated cost of a large-scale outbreak at $16 billion over six years for New Zealand.  This would also tip us into recession.

Markets live on fear and rumour and last year’s non-Botulism scare gives a hint as to what effect a major animal disease outbreak could result in.

Ebola and potentially Foot and Mouth Disease join another example of an “Asymmetrical Trade Threat;” the Eastern Ukraine.

Even what Russian separatists do in the Ukraine materially impacts the price of our dairy exports and our wealth as a country.  So the knock-on effect Ebola has upon the economies we trade with and the dislocation of up to three billion litres of milk caused by Russian sanctions.

These largely unforeseen and unpredictable, Asymmetric Trade Threats are costing us hundreds of millions of dollars.  The now discredited ‘food miles’ concept could have fallen into this category as could future consumer movements.

I put that out there because we need to be attuned to “a tree falling in the forest.”  No matter how removed, technology disease and political events seemingly unrelated could impact us..

Trade today, trade tomorrow

Now for the good news.

The Helen Clark-led Labour Government and the John Key-led National Government have built on a platform laid down since 1984.

You cannot secure free trade if you do not live the dream, and Exhibit A is China.  Our exports to China have jumped 160% since the FTA came into force in 2008.

In 2004-06 we exported some $2 billion worth of goods to China.

In the year to September 2014, that stood at $11.35 billion and 37 percent up on the same point in 2013.

Last December we signed a free trade agreement with Taiwan that has seen trade break the billion dollar barrier being 19.5 percent up on the same point in 2013. It is now our seventh largest trading partner.

Even Britain remains our sixth largest with exports up over ten percent in the year to September.

Free Trade has enabled and not hindered New Zealand.  We are richer and better off for it.

Our trading partners rely heavily on the Asia Pacific, which underscores why we need the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).  But it must be a partnership we can embrace.

When it comes to the TPP, Dr Rolleston recently wrote:

“I find it remarkable you can largely tell a persons position by the acronym they use.  As we call it the TPP we fall into the supporter category, but those who add an ‘A,’ making it the TPPA, generally fall into the opposing camp.  Supporters use partnership, opponents prefer agreement.”

Whatever your view, no one under the age of 40 will realistically recall what New Zealand was like when we had a tariff for every occasion.  Something a comprehensive TPP must aim to put on the path to extinction.

If TPP members play favourites with certain countries over others, we could easily end up being worse off than we were before a TPP.

A TPP that doesn’t address trade barriers at and behind the border is no agreement.

If some countries cannot stand the trade heat then they need to get out of the negotiation kitchen, allowing others who can to cook up an agreement which New Zealand has deserved since the 1984 reforms.

There’s also no reason why countries in the slow lane cannot join later when the scale and ambition of the TPP is known.  The Three Musketeers’ motto, “all for one, and one for all,” defines whether the TPP will stand as a beacon or fall into the trade abyss, like Doha sadly seems to have done.

If we compromise just to get agreement over the line, agriculture will be trapped permanently in a too hard basket.

While there’s much conjecture about TPP benefits, Tim Groser, our Trade Minister, has correctly noted that the China Free Trade Agreement underestimated economic benefits “by between 10 and 17 times.”

The recent agreement with Taiwan has seen bilateral trade surge 19.5 percent in the year to September, bearing in mind it was signed only last December.   It seems we do very well if agriculture and agri-food is enabled and not hindered by such agreements.

This is why the TPP must address trade barriers at and behind the border

If everyone plays ball the members of the TPP will account for a quarter of global trade.  This is a huge prize and winning a two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council has to give us some diplomatic clout.

Trade restrictions open up opportunities for corruption.

They interfere in relationships between producers and consumers and promote inefficiency.

They are expensive and the people who are hit hardest by that are the poor.

Trade barriers are economically and morally indefensible.

New Cabinet announced

October 6, 2014

Prime Minister John Key has announced the Cabinet for his third term:

“There is a lot of work ahead to continue implementing our plans to build a stronger economy, reduce debt and create more jobs,” Mr Key says.

“The new Ministry builds on the experience of the past two terms in office, and combines experience with some fresh talent.

“A number of Ministers have had significant portfolio changes, reflecting the need to give Ministers new challenges as well as providing a fresh set of eyes in some portfolio areas.”

Mr Key says a number of Ministers have been promoted either to the front bench, or further up the front bench, to reflect their strong performance in recent years and their promise for the future.

“Paula Bennett has been promoted to number five in the rankings, and picks up State Services, Social Housing and Associate Finance in addition to retaining her Local Government portfolio.

“Dr Jonathan Coleman becomes Minister of Health, and also picks up the Sport and Recreation portfolio, which will link nicely together.

“Amy Adams and Simon Bridges are promoted to the front bench, both with significant new responsibilities. Ms Adams becomes Justice Minister and Mr Bridges Transport Minister.

“Christopher Finlayson remains Treaty Negotiations Minister and Attorney-General, while picking up significant new responsibilities in the intelligence area. He becomes Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence Service and Minister Responsible for the GCSB, working closely with me in my new role as Minister for National Security and Intelligence.

“In this role I will continue to be responsible for leading the national security system, including policy settings and the legislative framework. Mr Finlayson will operate within the framework I set and exercise ministerial oversight of the NZSIS and GCSB, including approval of warrants.

“Officials have examined models used overseas and what we are adopting is very similar to what is seen with our closest partners.

“Housing continues to be a key area of focus for the Government, and a Ministerial team of Bill English, Paula Bennett and Nick Smith has been assembled to lead that work. Mr English will have direct responsibility for Housing New Zealand; Ms Bennett will focus on social housing, while Dr Smith will work on housing affordability and construction issues. The Social Housing portfolio will have responsibility for the government’s social housing functions, and for its relationship with the social housing sector.

Other changes include:

Gerry Brownlee becomes Minister of Defence, while retaining the role of Leader of the House and his Canterbury Earthquake Recovery and EQC portfolios.

Anne Tolley becomes Minister for Social Development.

Dr Nick Smith becomes Minister for the Environment.

Nikki Kaye becomes Minister for ACC.

Michael Woodhouse becomes Minister of Police. He also becomes Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety – a new portfolio title to reflect the modern focus of what had previously been the Labour portfolio.

Jo Goodhew becomes Minister for Food Safety.

Mr Key says, in announcing his new line up, three new Ministers will be appointed. Maggie Barry is to go straight into Cabinet as Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Minister of Conservation and Minister for Senior Citizens. Louise Upston and Paul Goldsmith will be Ministers outside Cabinet holding a variety of portfolios.

“Two ministers previously outside Cabinet have been promoted to Cabinet. Todd McClay will be Minister of Revenue and Minister for State Owned Enterprises, while Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga will be Minister of Corrections, Minister for Ethnic Communities and Minister for Pacific Peoples.

“Craig Foss remains a Minister, but will now serve outside Cabinet as Minister for Small Business, Minister of Statistics and Minister of Veteran’s Affairs.

“Chester Borrows will not be appointed to the new Ministry. He will, however, be National’s nominee for Deputy Speaker, and I want to thank Chester for his service as a Minister,” Mr Key says.

A number of Ministers continue largely in their current portfolio responsibilities. These include Steven Joyce in Economic Development, Hekia Parata in Education, Murray McCully in Foreign Affairs, Nathan Guy in Primary Industries, Tim Groser in Trade and Climate Change, and Nicky Wagner in Customs.

“The support party Ministerial and Under Secretary roles have already been announced, but I want to acknowledge again their contribution to the formation of a strong, stable National-led Government.”

Mr Key says the National Caucus will meet tomorrow (Tuesday 7 October) to elect its three whips for the coming parliamentary term.

The new Ministry will be sworn in at Government House in Wellington at 11am on Wednesday morning.

The list of names, positions and rankings is here.


Free trade fairest

August 28, 2014

Prime Minister John Key says free trade will lift kiwi incomes:

National today released a set of policies that reinforces the Party’s commitment to openness with the world as the path to lift New Zealanders’ incomes, in contrast with opposition parties that want to isolate us from the rest of the world.

“New Zealand’s economic prosperity relies on selling our goods and services to the rest of the world,” says National Party Leader John Key.  “The fewer barriers there are for our exporters, the better off New Zealanders will be.”

“That is why as Prime Minister I have been working hard on behalf of New Zealanders to crack open more doors to free trade, alongside Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Trade Minister Tim Groser.

“This includes pushing for a high-quality free trade agreement under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes economic giants like the United States and Japan.

“The choice for voters in this area, like so many others, is stark.

“The Greens want to end free trade and Labour, riven by caucus division, is very confused about what it wants after previously being in favour of free trade.  The Dotcom party, of course, is totally opposed to free trade.

“There can be no doubt that this combination in government would damage the cause of New Zealand’s exporters and damage New Zealand’s economic prosperity.

“Raising barriers to the rest of the world and halting the momentum of trade agreements with key markets like the US, Japan and Korea, would be disastrous,” says Mr Key.

“Our policy to encourage free trade is one of the most important ways we can become more prosperous.

“Trade agreements allow New Zealand companies to access big international markets as if they were part of New Zealand’s domestic market.  For a small country they are hugely important.”

Mr Key made the comments at the opening of the New Zealand Winegrowers conference in Blenheim today as National released its Trade, Foreign Affairs and Tourism policies.

“The wine industry is a leading example of New Zealand companies thriving on the world stage,” says Mr Key.

“The policies we are releasing today show our commitment to remaining open to trade with the world, having an independent foreign policy, and encouraging and supporting our crucial tourism industry.

“Should National have the privilege of forming a government after the election, I would continue as Minister of Tourism, working hard to promote New Zealand as a tourism destination,” he says.

Mr Key also announced along with Education Minister Hekia Parata that the National Government has decided to create a $10 million fund over five years to increase the provision of Asian languages in schools.

“These policies together demonstrate National is committed to seeing New Zealand remaining open to the world, continuing to generate economic prosperity through good relations with other countries, and lowering barriers to trade.”

New Zealand would not be where it is economically or socially if it wasn’t for the free trade agreements negotiated by successive governments.

Until recently National and Labour have had a reasonable degree of consensus on the importance of free trade.

That is no longer the case.

Labour is back tracking on its commitment to open borders and it would be dragged further back if it needed the support of the Green, New Zealand First and Internet Mana parties to govern.

Only a National-led government will guarantee continuing focus on free trade and the economic and social benefits which come from that.


Rural round-up

August 8, 2014

 Anti-foreigner stance ‘short-sighted’:

A New Zealand farming leader says he’s frustrated that a range of political parties are targetting foreigners and saying they shouldn’t be allowed to buy farms.

Federated Farmers vice president Anders Crofoot bought Castlepoint Station in Wairarapa after moving to New Zealand from the United States in the 1990s and went through the Overseas Investment Commission to do so.

The Labour Party has said that if it wins the general election sales of rural land to most foreigners will be banned. . .

Dairy farm purchase boosts employment -

The purchase of a North Otago dairy farm by a company founded by a South Canterbury businessman will create more local jobs, the company says.

Craigmore Sustainables has received Overseas Investment Office approval to purchase a dairy farm in Tussocky Rd, months after buying three other farms in North Otago.

Craigmore is the brainchild of South Canterbury businessman and farmer Forbes Elworthy and is based in London. It also has offices around New Zealand.

“We have an extensive development programme in place for this property, including building a dairy shed, new effluent system, and native planting to assist with nutrient management,” the company’s director of commercial development, Hamish Blackman, said. . .

Lochinver owners want sale money for development – Patrick Gower:

The Kiwi seller of Lochinver Station is a century-old Kiwi business and wants to use the $70 million for a major property development that will help the expansion of Auckland.

Sir William Stevenson was the driving force behind his family’s business empire. He bought Lochinver Station 60 years ago, turning it from a vast wasteland into thriving farmland with 100,000 sheep.

Now, the family’s attempt to sell could be blocked by politics. Sir William’s friend Morrin Cooper says he wouldn’t like that.

“The Stevenson family deserve better than this: to be used as a chopping block just because there happens to be an election around the corner.” . . .

Trade talks failure may cost NZ in Korea:

The Agricultural Trade Envoy, Mike Petersen, is warning that farmers are in danger of losing out in the lucrative South Korean markets if trade talks fail.

The latest round of negotiations have been taking place in Seoul this week.

Last week the Minister for Trade, Tim Groser said he had given his final offer to the Koreans to resolve issues such as easing tariffs for New Zealand’s farmers, which cost exporters $195 million a year. . .

In lean times, it’s still vital to look after your workers – Chris Lewis:

The buzz about town is the revised pay-outs announced by Fonterra and Westland, which have both dropped significantly. So the pressure will be mounting this spring as farmers try to keep their heads above water. In times like these it is important to run a tight ship, not only financially but with your staff.

Stress has a way of brushing off onto those near you so look after yourself and bear a thought for your staff and your family who will not be immune to the pressure. A farm has many different aspects to it and a well cared for and oiled machine will ride out the tough times a lot smoother than one that has been roughing it or neglecting it. . .

Farmers take over yarn mill – Alan Wood:

Wool farmers have an agreement in place to buy a Christchurch yarn mill, describing the deal as a “significant” industry event to supply the carpet manufacturing industry.

Christchurch Yarns NZ went into receivership in April with the high kiwi dollar one of the challenges the business was up against at that time.

The dollar has remained stubbornly high since then and yesterday was trading around US84 cents and A90 cents.

The business was originally Christchurch Carpet Yarns and has its production facility based at a leased Sheffield Cres, Harewood property near Canterbury Technology park. . .

$3m grant boosts agri chemical research – Sue O’Dowd:

Research funding will help a Taranaki chemical-manufacturing company develop products its customers want.

Zelam is one of 52 Taranaki businesses to have received government research grants in the past three years to help them take their ideas for products and services to market.

For the next five years 20 per cent of Zelam’s eligible research costs will be refunded by Callaghan Innovation, a government agency that provides money to businesses that invest in research and development. Each year Zelam invests up to $3 million in chemistry and field trials. . .

"LA PRODUCCIÓN AGROPECUARIA EMPUJA TODA LA ECONOMÍA" Pepe Mujica – Presidente de Uruguay “No estoy de acuerdo con el dejo peyorativo, muy urbanizado, de creer que el campo es estático, que no hay progreso tecnológico ni inversión técnica. Eso es no conocer al país y, quien no lo conoce, no puede quererlo. Y es lo que más me duele”. “La producción agropecuaria empuja a toda la economía y encadena una masa laboral y de energía por los insumos que consume, los apoyos que necesita y el transporte” que requiere, aseguró el presidente oriental. Mujica explicó que las naciones avanzadas son aquellas que producen un bien al menor costo posible para venderlo al mayor valor posible. “ En cuanto al concepto de “valor agregado”, Mujica dijo que, más que la naturaleza del producto en cuestión, es necesario “tener claro cuál es el conjunto tecnológico que hay atrás para llegar a ese producto: es mucho más complejo el (mero) concepto de industrializar”. COMPARTÍ si estás de acuerdo con Pepe Mujica sobre su opinión del sector agropecuario.

The future is in the country.


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