Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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…)

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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…)

Overseas land ownership not just a New Zealand concern

October 27, 2017

On a recent trip to Australia I read an article about overseas land holdings on that side of the Tasman which illustrates

the dramatic growth in Chinese investment in Australian agricultural land. In contrast to the rather sketchy and out of date statistics available in New Zealand, the Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Register provides very specific figures at 30th June this year. (more…)

Coalition never benefits smaller partner

October 13, 2017

Now the special votes have been counted New Zealand can expect a decision on the formation of a government for the next three years. Who knows, by the time you read this it’s possible if unlikely a result might even be known. But one thing is almost certain – whichever partner New Zealand First chooses will end up getting the credit for a successful coalition, while the junior partner or partners will get the blame for what goes wrong. (more…)

EU – Japan trade deal ups the ante

July 13, 2017

The FTA announced just before the G20 meeting in Hamburg is touted to bring substantial benefits to EU agricultural producers. It will put EU exporters on a level playing field with countries like Australia which already have an agreement, but notably it will put New Zealand at an even greater disadvantage until our trade negotiators can achieve a similar outcome. (more…)