Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Japan a country of contrasts

October 11, 2018

After three weeks on holiday in Japan, I am still reeling from the enormous contrast to any other country I have ever visited. When I first went there on business 40 years ago, I was getting used to life in New Zealand after immigrating from the UK, so probably didn’t register the size of the contrast, apart from the total lack of any street signs in English and the politeness of the people. All these years later the differences in lifestyle and behaviour have become even more apparent, especially when set against the huge progress in infrastructure and technology around the world, a lot of it invented by the Japanese. (more…)

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Trade outlook still bright, but not without challenges

August 2, 2018

Vangelis Vitalis, Deputy Secretary for trade at MFAT and chief negotiator for the CPTPP due to take effect early next year, gave a very thorough and enthralling presentation on the trade landscape to the Red Meat Sector Conference in Napier on Monday. Free trade and market access are a key area of interest to the New Zealand meat industry and the economy as a whole. (more…)

China presents opportunity and complexity

August 2, 2018

Rabobank’s China expert and GM Food and Agribusiness across Australia and New Zealand, Tim Hunt, provided Red Meat Sector Conference attendees with an in depth analysis of the enormous opportunities that China offers agricultural exporters, as well as the complexities of doing business there. (more…)

Decision made, but important to find the cause

May 31, 2018

The Government decision to eradicate rather than contain Mp. Bovis has the merit of drawing a line under the first stage of the disease outbreak. There were three options under consideration: eradicate, manage or do nothing; the third was clearly not seriously considered, but there must have been a serious debate between the first two. In the end the eradication course of action was chosen because it gives ‘the best shot’ at eliminating the disease to the benefit of the New Zealand agricultural sector, particularly the dairy industry, and the economy. (more…)

Doubtful Landcorp will ever deliver acceptable return

March 22, 2018

The latest half year result to 31 December gives rise to serious doubt whether Landcorp, or Pamu Farms as it now likes to be known, will ever justify the taxpayer investment in a national farming enterprise. Published after tax profit was $21.9 million compared to $37.9 million in 2016 on revenue which was 3% lower at $106.4 million, but the EBITDAR was actually a loss of $6.0 million against a $6.9 million profit the previous year. The main difference accounting for the apparent contrast was a livestock revaluation of $39 million. (more…)

Free trade trumps protectionism, we hope

March 22, 2018

It’s ironical the same week the CPTPP agreement was signed President Trump proudly announced new tariffs on steel and aluminium which threaten to undermine the World Trade Organisation’s function as the global regulator of international trade. The jury is still out on whether Trump can get the tariffs signed off by Congress and he has already created exemptions, at the time of writing for Australia, Canada and Mexico. But it’s an uneasy period, particularly for a country as dependent on trade for its economic survival as New Zealand, because we might well get caught in the crossfire from a trade war. (more…)

My tips for 2018

February 18, 2018

It’s the time of year for making predictions, some of which may turn out to be close to the mark, but most, like horse racing tips or economists’ forecasts, will end up looking slightly silly, if anybody takes the trouble to remember what they were. The luxury of writing a column is the ability to speculate without being held to account for any inaccuracies. (more…)

European Meat Sector issues dire warning about impact of hard Brexit

December 5, 2017

The European Livestock and Meat Trades Union (UECBV), the body that represents producers, consumers and distributors of meat, has commissioned a report entitled The EU Meat Industry in a hard Brexit scenario – CRISIS. The major finding of the report concludes the impact of a hard Brexit would be a catastrophic disaster for both UK and Europe because of the reversion to WTO tariff arrangements. (more…)

CPTPP to the rescue

November 23, 2017

This is truly the age of acronyms – TPP morphed into TPP11 which has now added a couple of initials while actually shrinking in scope from its original intent. But unlikely as it has seemed at several points along its tortuous journey, the mother of all trade deals, or maybe now the stepmother, is still alive in spite of Trump’s and Trudeau’s unsubtle efforts to hijack it. (more…)

Brexit problems proliferate while negotiators procrastinate

October 27, 2017

An Agri Brigade piece in the latest Private Eye, that marvellous example of good old-fashioned investigative journalism, made me acutely aware of the law of unintended consequences that inevitably applies to trade agreements. With less than 18 months until Brexit, UK negotiators don’t appear to have made any tangible progress towards a workable agreement with their EU counterparts. (more…)