Beingmate has muted Fonterra’s Chinese hum

Fonterra is “humming” in China, according  to  a headline  in the  NZ  Herald,  although the  text  of the article beneath it mentioned  the  “woes”  associated with  the co-op’s investment  in Beingmate.

The  co-op  is having to absorb   an impairment of   $405m    on the value of its 18.8%  holding in Beingmate.  On top of the $183m payment it has had to make  French  giant  Danone, the  writedown  takes the gloss off that  otherwise  “humming”  performance.

Some of its farmer-shareholders may be looking over the  fence to  the rather different  outcome  for A2 Milk, which lifted its annual  sales  68% in the June year,  with  revenue   rising  from $549m in the June  2017 year  to  $922m.  During  the latest  year A2  Milk achieved gross margins  up  to  49%.   Continue reading “Beingmate has muted Fonterra’s Chinese hum”

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The LGNZ power grab: some matters should be surrendered to central govt

Local Government New Zealand president Dave Cull made “revitalising democracy” the highly worthy subject of his opening address to the 2018 LGNZ Conference.

He made no mention of increasing pressures on local authorities to make special arrangements for Maori representation with processes which distort the democratic concept of one citizen, one vote and – when put to the test in local referendums – are found to be unpopular with most voters.

Cull talked. rather, of

” … the strong importance of local and central government partnership on the economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being of New Zealanders; working together to address the country’s needs, common priorities and agreed of work agreed around housing, water, climate change and regional development…”

Continue reading “The LGNZ power grab: some matters should be surrendered to central govt”

Not much fallout from Trump’s trade wars? Not yet – so be prepared

New Zealand has been braced for the economic fallout from the trade wars triggered by Donald Trump.  Worse, Trump’s disdain for the World Trade Organisation threatens to cripple the rules-based global trading system which enables small countries to get a fair deal from much bigger ones.

But so far the economic and financial fallout from the trade wars has been minor.

What’s going on?

Just wait, says American economist Barry Eichengreen, who warns we should expect a lagged effect. Continue reading “Not much fallout from Trump’s trade wars? Not yet – so be prepared”

Psst! If you want to keep a secret, put it in Clare Curran’s custody

We learn today of two Cabinet ministers attending a dinner hosted by Google’s top lawyer under secretive “Chatham House” rules, but they made no notes of what was discussed.

According to a report at Stuff, Google’s chief counsel, Kent Walker, hosted the dinner at  the capital’s Wellington Club. Among the guests were Justice Minister Andrew Little, Open Government Minister Clare Curran and top public servants and lawyers.

In response to requests under the Official Information Act, Little and Curran both said they kept no notes or memos from the event.

National’s spokesman for open government, Nick Smith, accordingly is complaining of Continue reading “Psst! If you want to keep a secret, put it in Clare Curran’s custody”

An Aussie upholds the right to give deep and profound offence…

A quote in bold type leapt from the pages of The Guardian this week, while a heated discussion was raging in this country about the rights of two Canadians to speak in Auckland and – if so – whether they should be allowed to speak at a venue owned by the Auckland Council.

The prospect that Muslims might be offended was among the objections raised by the forces of suppression and censorship.

The counter-argument was articulated – among others – by a group of lawyers, academics and former politicians called the Free Speech Coalition.  This organisation announced on Tuesday it had raised $50,000 for a judicial review of the decision by the council agency Auckland Live to bar the Canadians from using its venues.

The quote highlighted in The Guardian tells us which side Barry Humphries, the Aussie-born creator of Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson, would support: Continue reading “An Aussie upholds the right to give deep and profound offence…”

Why striking nurses expect more from Labour Ministers


Nurses  aren’t  greedy and they are undervalued  in  modern society.  So  why doesn’t the government meet their demands and  avert  the  kind of  industrial  action  the nursing  profession has been  undertaking?  Surely the country can afford  it?

The  economy  is  doing very  well,  or  so the   government  says.  The  acting Prime  Minister,  Winston  Peters,  cites  the sharemarket  hitting  new peaks and Finance  Minister  Grant Robertson  month  by month points to the substantial  surpluses being recorded in the government’s  books as evidence  the   economy is sound and growing.

So where’s the problem? Continue reading “Why striking nurses expect more from Labour Ministers”

Feedback is sought on revised Bill on country-of-origin food labelling

While the Australians are counting the blessings that come from country-of-origin food labelling, similar legislation in this country is to be the subject of further submissions.

Parliament’s Primary Production Committee yesterday published its interim report on the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill. The report was presented to provide an update on the proposed recommendations for amendment to the bill and seek feedback from submitters on the changes.

The purpose of the Bill, when introduced, was to provide a mandatory labelling system that provides consumers with accurate information about the country of origin of ‘single component’ foods to enable them to make informed food purchasing decisions. Continue reading “Feedback is sought on revised Bill on country-of-origin food labelling”