Remember the consultative working group being established to develop the Wellington Regional Biodiversity Framework?
Sure you do. It’s the group which gives more voting powers to Maori than to non-Maori members in electing co-leaders and – while it has been set up in the name of diversity – wants members to have a good grasp of Treaty stuff.
Encouraging signs emerged this week that key elements in the structure of NZ’s largest export industry are whipping themselves back into the shape they should be.
The giant co-op Fonterra has gone back into the black with a net profit of $80 million in the first half, after previously recording a net loss of $186m.
Meanwhile Westland Milk Products, NZ’s second biggest dairy co-op, is in line to be sold to China’s biggest dairy company, Yili, in a $588m transaction that would inject nearly half a million dollars into the operations of each of its suppliers.
Hamilton’s Aerospace Ltd’s turboprop P-750 light utility aircraft has been developed into an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in conjunction with a group of Chinese organisations for commercial and military applications.
The AT200 has been developed by Chinese company Star UAV with the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Engineering Thermophysics and other Chinese state organisations.
Launch customer SF Express, a Chinese delivery services company based in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, and the second largest courier in China will acquire three AT200 for testing and evaluation. Test flights have already begun.
SF Express provides domestic and international express delivery.
The plan is to use the aircraft for unmanned cargo flights. The AT200 will carry 1500 kg over ranges of up to 2000 km.
Attracting interest from agencies outside China is how SF Express would integrate the AT200 into its intensive network of logistical support for the Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army, notably its new network of militarised islands in the disputed South China Sea.
Aerospace developed the P-750 from the legendary Fletcher Fu24 aerial topdressing machine. It is in widespread use around the world for tasks ranging from light freight to sky-diving.
The company says its extremely short capabilities put it in a class of its own.
It is certified in the US as well as NZ and is supported by major US firms including Pratt & Whitney, engine-makers.
In China where skydiving has taken off as a recreational activity, Aerospace’s P-750 is used extensively because of its ability to carry up to 17 skydivers to jump height fast and effortlessly and to return quickly to pick up more thrill-seekers.
Last year the company was taken to court and fined $74,000 for breaking UN sanctions by shipping parts to North Korea.
It’s rare for a politician in New Zealand to be mugged while out walking, broadcaster Barry Soper observed after Green Party co-leader James was assaulted in Wellington last week, although many had got into “skirmishes” when out doing their job.
The attack on Shaw prompted the PM to say New Zealanders should be proud of the access New Zealanders have to their politicians, whose job is to serve the people, but this assault showed they can’t take that for granted.
Soper recalled National’s Lockwood Smith once being forced to take a back door out of a university rather than face angry students as Education Minister.
Move over Shane Jones – Grant Robertson might be keen to join you in assailing Air NZ for its appalling exercise in yield management at the weekend in jacking up round fares to Christchurch to $747 and $787.
It took a crisp call from Finance Minister Robertson, who holds Air NZ’s shares for the Crown, to boot common sense into the Auckland warriors who run the national carrier.
Fares were capped and compassionate fares made available.
Air NZ furthermore cancelled 17 regional services from Christchurch, saying, it was not possible to screen customers and their baggage.
But wait a minute. Those flights (on ATRs and Q300s) aren’t screened anyway.
As New Zealand grapples with the enormities of the Christchurch terrorist attack and their implications for the country’s diverse social fabric, security and law and order, some issues are paramount.
High on the list is the importance to NZ of the Five-Eyes intelligence network, no matter what some the government’s coalition partners might think. Five-Eyes has been forwarding significantly important information in recent months. Without it, NZ would be bereft.
For example, the presence of a noxious NZ Islamist in Iraq has been monitored carefully over several months, extending to the presence there of other New Zealanders, not extremists, working in various nursing and assistance roles in precarious situations.