Alastair Scott Nat candidate for Wairarapa

April 26, 2014

Alastair Scott has been selected by the National Party to contest the seat of Wairarapa.

Alastair Scott, 48, is owner and director of Wairarapa’s Matahiwi Estate winery. He is also Chairman of Henergy Cage Free Eggs, a director of Transpower, Councillor of Massey University, and Trustee of the Wairarapa Region Irrigation Trust and NZ Scout Youth Foundation.

His successful business career sits alongside a strong track record of community involvement as a founding Trustee of  ‘Kiwi Can’ Charitable Trust Wellington, Deputy Chair of the Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce, and a Member of the Wairarapa Development Group.

Mr Scott is a father of three. He lives between residences in Masterton and Wellington with partner RobynNoble-Campbell and their blended family.

A successful business career and a strong track record of community involvement are far better credentials for an aspiring MP than most candidates standing for parties, and many sitting MPs,  on the left.


Rural round-up

November 8, 2013

‘Farmers understand need to improve water quality’:

PRIMARY INDUSTRIES Minister Nathan Guy believes most farmers are environmentalists and understand the need to improve our water quality.

Speaking at the launch of freshwater proposals yesterday, he said farmers want to leave the environment in a better state than they found they found it.

“Farmers recognise the importance of our freshwater resource and understand there will be costs; and they have shown they want to work constructively,” he says. . .

China helps lifts co-op’s returns:

Meat co-op Alliance Group has reported a net profit before restructuring costs and tax of $10.9 million for the year ending 30 September 2013. The co-op’s turnover for the year topped $1.4 billion

After providing for restructuring costs of $2.5 million and tax of $2.8 million, the company recorded a net profit after tax of $5.6 million.

The company’s balance sheet is also strengthening with an equity ratio of 61% and an operating cash flow surplus of $89 million.

In announcing the result, Alliance Group chairman, Murray Taggart, said the return to profitability was a positive result, albeit at an unsatisfactory level, and follows a year with widespread drought conditions and lingering economic weakness in key export markets. . .

Wild pigs a potential TB risk in Waikato:

Reports of wild pigs being illegally released and the risky disposal of their remains has prompted a Waikato farmer to speak out about the bovine tuberculosis (TB) threat it potentially poses to domestic cattle and deer.

Pigs can carry TB and spread the disease when infected carcasses are scavenged by wild animals, mainly possums and ferrets. Bovine TB-infected possums are responsible for the majority of new herd infections in TB risk areas.

Local farmer and Waikato TBfree Committee Chairman John Bubb expressed concern over the reported practices on behalf of herdowners in the region.

“People need to consider the possible consequences of dumping wild pig remains that could be infected with TB,” said Mr Bubb. . .

Public perception vital in a crisis – Hugh Stringleman:

Rescuing Fonterra’s reputation after its botulism scare is problematic, crisis communications researcher and adviser Professor William Hallman says.

“The first thing they taught me as a psychologist is that perception is reality,” Hallman said.

“The fact that it was a false alarm is important, but reputation isn’t entirely based on facts.”

Hallman is head of the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers, the New Jersey state university.

He was contracted to provide information to the Fonterra independent inquiry into the whey protein concentrate recall on best practise in crisis communications, his principal area of expertise. . .

Southern land producing quality wool – Alan Williams:

Good, clean Southland pasture through spring and early summer helps Jeff Farm produce lambs’ wool to the standard required by United Kingdom fabric manufacturer Camira.

“We put the wool in from 10,000-12,000 lambs and most of it gets accepted,” farm manager John Chittock said.

The wool has to have 0% vegetable matter (VM) and be pesticide-free to meet Camira’s exacting standards under the Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) contract.

“At this time of year we don’t have any problem with the VM. The country here is pretty clean and we don’t have to do anything special with them,” Chittock said.

Mixed response to buffer zone compromise – Richard Rennie:

Western Bay of Plenty landowners have gained a compromise on proposed buffer zones sought by Transpower around electricity lines on their land.

The State-owned enterprise had wanted zones on existing lines inluded in a district plan change, which put it offside with horticulturalists, farmers, and even Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

The dispute was destined to be heard in the Environment Court after Transpower appealed the council decision to follow the recommendation of a commissioner, which was to note the buffer areas in planning documents.

Federated Farmers has arrived at a compromise on the changes being sought by Transpower, with the proposed buffer zones significantly reduced. . .

Great Start for 2014 Dairy Awards:

Nearly 100 people have entered the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards since entries opened a week ago, up 10 on the same time last year.

“The signs are promising that the 2014 awards are going to be a boomer,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“What is really satisfying is the number of people who are entering for a second or successive time. We work really hard to make sure all entrants – not just the winners – gain real value and benefits from their experience and so it is heartening to see that about half the entries so far are from those that have entered in the past.” . . .

#gigatownoamaru has had a great start too.

 


Rural round-up

June 8, 2013

Rules more of a worry – Marty Sharpe:

Farmers are more concerned about the economic and regulatory impacts from climate change than its physical and climatic effects, a study has found.

The study, by University of California PhD candidate Meredith Niles, involved 313 farmers in Hawke’s Bay and 177 in Marlborough.

Niles found that:

– When it came to concerns for the future, farmers were “very concerned” about more economic and policy matters such as regulation, higher fuel and energy prices, new pests and diseases and more volatile markets. . .

Meat consolidation is happening already – Tim Fulton:

The number of New Zealand sheep meat exporters using European lamb and beef quota in the past decade has fallen on the back of mergers, financial failures and new tactics. Tim Fulton reports.

A shake-up of meat processing has been churning away for years with barely a farmer involved, New Zealand Meat Board figures indicate.

The evidence for this, if not the explanation, is in the annual record of companies granted access to European sheep and goat meat quota – and also in the pattern for quota-linked United States beef and veal.

In 2003 the tally of our sheep and goat meat merchants in Europe could fill a sheet of A4 paper, listed alphabetically from Abco Meats to Wrightson. . .

Farming through future eyes – Sue O’Dowd:

Taranaki farmers planning the transition of their farms to the next generation can get help at a forum later this month.

A scheme that provides training for farmers in areas like governance, transition planning, financial systems and establishing health and safety programmes will be explained at a seminar in Hawera on June 20.

It is being hosted by the Taranaki branch of the Institute of Directors, and speakers will include 2012 Dairy Woman of the Year Barbara Kuriger, of New Plymouth, and Bay of Plenty corporate farmer Trevor Hamilton. . .

No deal likely for Feds, Transpower – Richard Rennie:

Despite Horticulture NZ reaching an agreement with Transpower over power line buffer zones on growers’ properties, Federated Farmers is not intending to follow the same path.

The grower group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Transpower agreeing to work with it on issues of access and land use under lines and pylons.

The memorandum follows long-running conflict between growers, farmers and Transpower as it seeks to adjust council district plans to ensure buffer zones exist around transmission infrastructure.

The conflict has been most intense in Western Bay of Plenty, with the issue about to be heard by the Environment Court. . .

Appointment of CEO At Deer Industry NZ:

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dan Coup as its new chief executive.

DINZ Chairman, Andy Macfarlane, noted that Coup, currently Trade and Economic Manager at the Meat Industry Association (MIA), has a unique background, combining an honours degree in genetics and molecular biology with an MBA. Together with his experience at MIA dealing with trade and market access issues, he is well-positioned to leverage off the outstanding work completed by outgoing chief executive, Mark O’Connor. O’Connor departs after 13 years to run his family-owned investment business. . . .

‘Mantis’ and ‘Shrimp’ the new farming robots in Oz:

Moving carefully along a row of apple trees, two of Australia’s newest agricultural workers check if the fruit is ripe or the soil needs water or fertilizer.

Meet “Mantis” and “Shrimp”, agricultural robots being tested to do these tasks and more in a bid to cut costs and improve productivity in Australia’s economically vital farm sector, which exported the U.S. equivalent of $38.8 billion of produce in 2012.

Australia is one of the leaders in the field and, with a minimum wage of about $15 U.S. an hour and a limited workforce, has a big incentive to use robots and other technology such as unmanned aircraft to improve efficiency. . .


Feds fear Transpower land grab

March 15, 2012

Federated Farmers is concerned Transpower is attempting to use councils’ district plan processes to nationalise up to 42,000 hectares (ha) of private property.

The issue has arisen because the SOE is requesting that Western Bay of Plenty District Council create 32 metre wide buffer zones either side of its transmission lines on private land under the district plan.

The buffer zones will restrict landowner rights and normal farming activities within a vast swathe of private land, without compensation.

“It is deeply concerning Transpower is trying to use district plan processes to achieve a result it ought to get through negotiation with landowners,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers electricity spokesperson.

“Developments in the Western Bay of Plenty District potentially set a major and disturbing precedent. Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty province has submitted strongly against the proposed buffer zones and is organising landowner groups to support the cause.

“If Transpower has its way there, it will control 64 metre wide strips of private land. In comparison, a typical two way urban road is around 14 metres wide. Why does Transpower need so much land?

“We believe this is a disingenuous way of gaining substantial commercial benefits at landowners’ expense, using the community-owned Resource Management Act (RMA) process. Federated Farmers thinks Transpower is trying to sidestep compensation to landowners.

“Some people are telling me Transpower is trying to exploit a loophole in the RMA, which says no compensation is payable when landowners are affected by District Plan rules.

“There is no way Federated Farmers will accept a State Owned Enterprise forcing legal landowners into the farcical situation of applying for resource consents to use their own land because it has been labelled a transmission buffer zone.

“If applied nationally, we are talking about tens of thousands of hectares of private land potentially affected and regulated. That is a lot of disgruntled people if Transpower doesn’t wish to sit down and negotiate terms with landowners. . . “

Transmission lines on farm land, and compensation for them, has been a contentious issue for some time.

This looks like Transpower is trying to get councils to give them more rights over the land their lines cross than the landowners.


Rural round-up

February 20, 2012

Council and Transpower overstep mark with buffer zone proposal:

Federated Farmers is opposing the Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s moves to create buffer zones of up to 32 metres either side of electricity transmission lines.

“Federated Farmers strongly opposes the creation of these Electricity Transmission Buffer Zones, because they are solely designed to protect transmission line companies’ interests and circumnavigate individual easement agreements with landowners,” Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty provincial president John Scrimgeour says.

“Transpower says it wants these buffer zones to ensure safety and supply continuity. However, Federated Farmers feels the width of the zones is excessive, as is the level of proposed regulation around them.

“We believe the resulting raft of new rules for earthworks, buildings and subdivision within those zones would hamper landowners’ ability to farm, without meeting Transpower’s original goals. . .

Dairy farmers are better-off  with  industry competition:

All New Zealand dairy farmers are better off because Synlait Milk and other independent dairy companies exist, says Synlait Milk Chief Executive John Penno.

“While independent dairy companies make up a very small portion of the industry, the competitive pressure that Synlait Milk and others bring has brought about faster change within Fonterra than would have occurred had competition not emerged,” Penno said.

Competition between New Zealand dairy companies is not about the international markets. It is all about competition for farmer’s milk. Because of competition, Fonterra pays farmers more for their milk, which forces independent dairy companies to develop their businesses faster to keep one step ahead, says Penno. . .

Visit to top kiwi farm impresses Swedish delegation:

Members of a Swedish delegation will go home with positive views of New Zealand agriculture after visiting an award-winning farm in the Waikato

On February 9, delegates from the Swedish Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Agriculture were hosted by the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust on Gray and Marilyn Baldwin’s organic dairy farm near Putaruru.

The Baldwins and their sharemilkers, Hamish and Jane Putt, were Supreme winners of the 2009 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards. . .

Dairy debate is getting really interesting – Allan Barber:

My piece last week supporting the OIO decision on the Crafar farms deal provoked a lot of comment, most of it negative, but also, interestingly, it sparked a sometimes acrimonious debate between several respondents about the Israeli – Palestinian situation. Now that was something I didn’t expect, not considering myself to be remotely competent to cover that sort of global issue.

Since my piece appeared I have picked up some really interesting columns by Fran O’Sullivan in the NZ Herald and Rod Oram in the Sunday Star Times which took diametrically opposing views on the same topic, O’Sullivan in support and Oram totally against. . .

Hawke’s Bay shearers head to world champs:

Two Hawke’s Bay shearers will represent New Zealand at the world shearing championships, to be held during the Golden Shears in Masterton, later this month.

It is an upset for David Fagan who was the favourite heading into the final shear-off, the Southern Shears, in Gore at the weekend. . .

RD1 gets behind Dairy Women’s Network:

In an exclusive agreement, RD1 has committed to sponsoring the Dairy Women’s Network regional groups. The partnership is aimed at growing the reach and effectiveness of these groups over a three year period, helping to increase the success of women in dairying.

RD1 CEO Sarah Kennedy, now a leading woman in the dairy industry, sees some direct correlations between the two organisations.

“RD1 and the Dairy Women’s Network aspire to add value to dairy businesses. We also both have nationwide networks with a strong regional focus” says Kennedy. “The Dairy Women’s Network regional groups are not only the heart of that organisation, they are the grassroots of our industry, much like the RD1 store network. . .

Dairy Women’s Network partners with training leader AgITO:

Dairy Women’s Network has announced its partnership with one of New Zealand’s largest and most respected industry training organisations, AgITO. The partnership was formed in an effort to open up further education possibilities for New Zealand dairying women.

“We are very excited about this partnership,” said Kevin Bryant, Chief Executive for AgITO. “It gives us the opportunity to further support and help upskill women who are such an important group in making the daily business management decisions within the dairy industry.”

According to Mr Bryant, AgITO has a number of qualification options suitable for dairy women who are looking to further develop their careers or gain skills and knowledge in specific key areas from improving milk quality to business management and planning. . .


Transpower’s talking to farmers

March 21, 2010

Transpower must be taking farmer discontent over pylons on their properties seriously.

We got a phone call this afternoon inviting us to a meeting with the company to discuss any issues we might have.

In the old days when power was a public utility most farmers didn’t expect any compensation for the inconvenience of pylons on their land.

Forntunately few are so angry they’ll have a stand off when there’s a power failure. But many now feel that they should receive some sort of payment for putting up with pylons.

Federated Farmers has been working with Transpower to get agreement. The meeting we were invited to suggests that some sort of progress is being made and the company is genuinely willing to listen to farmers’ concerns.


It’s about property rights

January 31, 2010

Waikato farmer Steve Meier isn’t the best advertisement for landowners in the debate with Transpower over pylons on their land.

Auckland lost power for several hours and if reports are correct, his actions may have been at least in part to blame.

But moving from the details of that farm and that farmer, to the general principle, do farmers have a point in the on-going debate with Transpower?

The Herald editorial doesn’t think so:

It is the luck of the draw that the pylons are on their land and that more will come in the planned $830m network upgrade. Like the homeowners who will be uprooted by the Waterview Connection roading project, the farmers are paying the price of living in the middle of the route to the future; unlike the homeowners, they are not entitled to compensation, which is hardly unfair, since their actual loss is minimal.

But it’s not the actual loss that’s in question. It’s property rights.

If any landowner has to put up with other people, or the state, doing or putting things on their property, it compromises their property rights, regardless of whether it’s a quarter acre section in town or several thousand acres in the country.


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