Rural round-up

September 29, 2015

PM announces Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary:

Prime Minister John Key has announced the creation of a 620,000 km2 Ocean Sanctuary in the Kermadec region, one of the most pristine and unique environments on Earth.

“The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary will be one of the world’s largest and most significant fully-protected areas, preserving important habitats for seabirds, whales and dolphins, endangered marine turtles and thousands of species of fish and other marine life,” Mr Key says.

“It will cover 15 per cent of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, an area twice the size of our landmass, and 50 times the size of our largest national park in Fiordland. . . 

John Key's photo.

“Pretty damned exciting news” say Kermadec campaigners:

Champagne corks popped as the news was released that the Kermadec region has become an ocean sanctuary. Kermadec campaigners Forest & Bird, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and WWF-New Zealand were together when they heard the news.

The Prime Minister John Key made the momentous announcement at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The creation of the Sanctuary once again puts New Zealand at the forefront of marine protection on the international stage.

The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary is located in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,000 km northeast of the Bay of Plenty New Zealand. The area is one of the most geologically diverse in the world. It contains the world’s longest chain of submerged volcanoes and the second deepest ocean trench with a depth of 10 kilometres. . . .

Proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary:

With no forewarning from Government the industry needs time to consider the full implications, Seafood New Zealand Chairman George Clement said.

“The seafood industry is committed to rational and effective marine conservation measures. These include a representative network of BPAs (Benthic Protected Areas) established at the industry’s behest and implemented throughout 30 per cent of the Exclusive Economic Zone, covering an area larger than the Kermadecs. . . 

Tatua Cooperative beats market with $7.10/kgMS payout for 2015 – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Tatua Cooperative Dairy Co, the Tatuanui-based dairy company founded 100 years ago, set the 2015 payout for its farmer suppliers at $7.10 per kilogram of milk solids, the highest of any New Zealand processor, while affirming a drop in payout for 2016.

Revenue rose to $286 million in the 12 months ended July 31, from $266 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Earnings before milk payout, retentions and tax fell to $121.2 million, from $136.4 million a year earlier.

Chairman Stephen Allen said the decline in pretax earnings reflected an increase in overall milk collection from farmers in the latest year and the “dramatic decline” in dairy prices. It equates to a payout $7.73/kgMS before retentions and tax. The company retained 63 cents/kgMS before tax. . . 

Migrant worker scam uncovered:

More than 30 Filipino workers reportedly paid $15,000 to obtain false documents clearing them to work on New Zealand dairy farms.

Immigration New Zealand has confirmed multiple Filipino workers have provided false and misleading information when applying for visas here.

Immigration NZ assistant general manager Peter Elms said the department started scrutinising visas more closely after discovering multiple issues, relating to claimed work experience and qualifications.

The department has not confirmed the number of cases that it is aware of, nor whether it was investigating, but the Philippine government said it was investigating at least 30 cases. The Philippine government’s Overseas Employment Administration is also looking into the claims. . . 

Alliance says merger with Silver Fern would risk creating ‘beached whale’ as rival tackles over-capacity – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Alliance Group chairman Murray Taggart says any merger with Silver Fern Farms risks creating a “big beached whale” of the New Zealand meat industry because its rival needs the capital offered by China’s Bright Food just to rationalise plant capacity and reduce its debt burden.

Bright Foods’ Shanghai Maling Aquarius unit has offered to invest $261 million cash in Silver Fern Farms (SFF) to become a 50-50 partner with the Dunedin-based meat company in a deal that would leave the business debt free and with funds to upgrade plants, spend more marketing higher-value meat products and provide a new route into China.

The injection of funds has stoked speculation a stronger SFF could subsequently dictate terms for a tie-up with Alliance, something the two firms have failed to achieve in a decade of sporadic talks. Alliance says it made an offer to SFF prior to the rival embarking on its capital-raising process and had “worked hard to engage with SFF and discuss opportunities for industry consolidation” over the past 10 years. . . 

Partnering with China – Keith Woodford:

This last week I have been in Beijing at the NZ –China Council Forum. Led by Minister Steven Joyce and co-chaired by Sir Don McKinnon, it has been all about building partnerships.

There were about fifty New Zealanders there, including industry folk and staff from the relevant Government ministries – Trade and Enterprise, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Primary Industries. And there was a similar number of Chinese people from industry and their government.

Now to some people, the idea of building partnerships with China is anathema. Ten days ago I was involved in a passionate debate in Wellington about just that topic. It is all right to trade with the Chinese, so the argument went, but we should not think of partnering. The Chinese are different, and we should not in any way imply support for their way of doing business. . . 

Surge in water data for World Rivers Day:

To mark World Rivers Day this Sunday, regional councils are releasing their latest water quality data on the Land, Air, Water, Aotearoa website, which this year includes lake quality monitoring.

Launched in March 2014, www.lawa.org.nz began reporting water quality results at 1100 river sites. Since then, it has expanded into coastal bathing beaches and water allocation, tripling the number of monitoring sites for which data is available.

From this weekend, users will also be able access water quality data for monitored lakes, providing a more complete picture of the quality of New Zealand’s freshwater.

Stephen Woodhead, chair of the regional sector group of Local Government New Zealand, said that public debate showed that rivers and lakes were  important to New Zealanders and regional councils took their role in water stewardship very seriously. . . 

Drought-hit farmers sow grass seed donations – Annabelle Tukia:

Ten north Canterbury farmers are about to get some relief from the drought that has plagued their region for the past year after a group of business owners got together to try to ease the financial burden of the dry spell.

It’s been a tough 12 months on Damian Harrison’s Cheviot farm.

“This drought has been like driving in a tunnel, and you drive and drive and drive and never see daylight at the end,” says Mr Harrison.

But today at last there was a little ray of hope, in the form of Murray Stackhouse and his tractor and drill. The local contractor, along with a machinery company, have got together and are re-sowing grass onto 10 drought-stricken north Canterbury farms for free. . . 

Indonesia reopens door to NZ beef imports:

Indonesian media are reporting that trade officials there have done a u-turn on efforts to cut down imports of beef from New Zealand.

The Indonesian Trade Ministry has issued permits for the State Logistics Agency to import as much as 10,000 tonnes of beef from New Zealand.

The ministry said it wanted to stabilise meat prices in the country, and New Zealand was chosen because the price of beef from here was lower than the cost of Australian meat. . . 

NZ Honey fights MPI over alleged health claims on Manuka Doctor, Manuka Pharm branding – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand Honey International, the closely-held honey products maker, wants a judicial declaration on whether its trademarks Manuka Doctor and Manuka Pharm amount to health claims after the Ministry of Primary Industries withdrew export approvals, blocking the firm’s sales into certain markets.

MPI has been cracking down on the manuka honey industry amid international criticism there was more manuka honey coming out of the country than New Zealand actually produces. With no industry consensus on what constitutes manuka honey, MPI introduced an interim labelling guideline in July 2014 to give the industry clarity and protect consumers from false claims, as well as to try to improve credibility of the manuka products. . . 

Calf collection paves way for fertility project:

A huge logistical exercise that involved collecting hundreds of calves from farms all over the North Island has set the scene for a ground-breaking research programme aimed at lifting fertility rates in the dairy industry.

In recent weeks, heifer calves from 619 farms across Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay have been collected so that they can be reared and milked together as one herd. The “Animal Model” research herd will comprise equal numbers of Holstein Friesian calves with very high and very low fertility genetics, carefully selected from contract matings in spring last year and purchased from farmers by DairyNZ. . . 


When does ownership start?

February 8, 2012

The New Zealand Maori Council lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal  over Maori ownership rights to water.

If they do own the water when does the ownership start?

Do they own rain and snow or does ownership come somewhere later in the journey from the sky to the sea?


Parking meters in the way of Speights’ spring

July 8, 2009

A tap delivering spring water outside Speights brewery is used by  hundreds of Dunedin people a day in search of  something superior to the city’s supply.

But now the city council has put pay and display parking metres in the street   and people are worried they’ll have to pay while they fill their containers with water.

The chances of getting a ticket in the few minutes it takes to fill a bottle or two aren’t great. But you’d think a council which knew its city would have had the wit to put a five minute free park beside the tap.


Aa for water

July 2, 2009

Oamaru’s water supply used to be so bad the freezing works at Pukeuri had to have its own supply.

The water the people of the town drank wasn’t good enough to wash export meat in.

Seven years ago it had an Ee grading but the Waitaki District Council has done an extensive upgrade to the supply and it’s jsut been rewarded with an Aa grade.

Potable water is essential but having systems which treat it doesn’t reduce the importance of measures to ensure waterways stay clean in the first place.


Govt announces fresh water reform process

June 8, 2009

Agriculture Minister David Carter and Environment Minister Nick Smith have announced a reform process for fresh water management.

“Reform of New Zealand’s fresh water management is needed to address deteriorating water quality and poor incentives for water allocation and storage, Nick Smith said.

“New Zealand’s abundant fresh water resources are the envy of many other countries and the key to our competitive advantage in agriculture and renewable energy – as well as being essential to our environment and lifestyle. The problem is that our system of management has not kept up with the extra pressure on our water system . . .

He’s right. An improved system of management which safeguards water quality while allowing some to be used for irrigation is desperately needed.

David Carter said some parts of New Zealand are approaching water resource limits and the issue needs to be addressed.

“New Zealand has plenty of water, but not always in the right places and at the right times. This has led to demand outstripping supply and economic opportunities being constrained. Water is a vital input for the primary sectors, which are collectively the biggest export earner and employer in New Zealand.

“The focus of the new direction will be on water quality, water quantity, allocation, and infrastructure including water storage.

“We need to ensure that the changes we make are workable and carefully balance New Zealand’s important environmental reputation with the potential for ongoing economic growth from the primary sector.

We don’t have a water shortage per se, it’s as Carter says when and where we have it which causes problems.

There are also concerns over water quality and allocation which must be addressed and his mention of infrastructure and water storeage are encouraging.


Water

April 11, 2009

Today’s contribution to poetry month is Water  by Philip Larkin from The Whitson Weddings, published by Faber, 1964.

Water

 

If I were called in

To construct a religion

I should make use of water.

 

Going to church

Would entail a fording

To dry, different clothes;

 

My liturgy would employ

Images of sousing,

A furious devout drench,

 

And I should raise in the east

A glass of water

Where any-angled light

Would congregate endlessly.

 

     – Philip Larkin –


Let’s bank it

March 8, 2009

Federated Farmers is campaigning for more water storeage.

The slogan is compelling: water – let’s bank it.

This bill board, spotted at Wellington Airport yesterday, looks good:

feds-001

I hope they’ve got plans to explain it on their website too because when I looked for more information all I could find was a couple of press releases on the issue but I didn’t find anything on the campaign.

Water – quantity and quality – is vitally important and as is almost always the case the issue is dominated by emotion rather than facts.

This campaign by Feds puts the facts while appealing to feelings which ought to make it a winner.


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