Royal Society report heaps more pressure on government to review GM law – but Green extremists are an obstacle

At  last there’s some  recognition  from  the government  that it needs to  revise   its  policy on   gene editing.   It  follows  a   report  from  the  Royal Society   Te  Aparangi  on the considerable benefits  gene editing  can bring to our lives.

Climate change is being widely accepted  as  one of the greatest  threats  facing mankind.

The  more  extreme  Green lobbyists contend  it could lead to  the  extinction  of the human race —  but the  same  Green lobbyists  resist  the  gene editing  science.

Largely  as a  result  of pressure  from the  Green  Party, the provisions governing gene editing, including genetically modified organisms (GMOs), were amended in 2003 in line with the government’s overall policy of proceeding with caution while preserving opportunities.

Work  in  gene  editing  was  not  prohibited ,  but scientists  found  the policy  so  difficult to  navigate   that those     working  in the  field   have been  forced to   conduct  experiments and   trials   abroad. Continue reading “Royal Society report heaps more pressure on government to review GM law – but Green extremists are an obstacle”

Farmers are getting more milk from each cow – they deserve a much better performance from Fonterra

This   is the second  chapter  in the  woes  of  Fonterra, and  behind  it   the  dairy industry,  on  which the  New Zealand  economy is  so  dependent.

Point of Order   listed  some of those  woes    last  week.  Now, in the  wake  of  the latest  revelation,  Fonterra  will  have to absorb a loss of between $590m and $675m for the current financial year.

Critics   of the industry have  sprung  to the attack:  Minister of Regional Economic Development Shane Jones is calling Fonterra’s management “corporate eunuchs” and labels Fonterra’s board as “grossly inept”.

Greenpeace    has  a  simple solution:  halve  the   dairy herd, a move that would cost the country $8.3bn in lost exports, and lower the standard of living  of every  New Zealander.

Jones’ ideas  to resolve  Fonterra’s financial  difficulties  are hardly  more  realistic.

Sacking the board  won’t   solve anything:  nor  trying to  recruit  a new  executive team  (though it might be worth  asking Chris Luxon  if he’d take a look). Continue reading “Farmers are getting more milk from each cow – they deserve a much better performance from Fonterra”

Fonterra’s financial wellbeing and global auction prices are among the dairy sector’s challenges

It’s shaping   up as a  tough  season  for  New Zealand’s  dairy farmers,  who  once  proudly  wore  the  label  of  the  “backbone of the  NZ  economy” , earning  by far the  largest  share of the country’s  export income.

So  what  are  the  problems  confronting  the industry?

Uncertainty in markets, for starters.   Prices  at the latest  Global Dairy  Trade  auction this  week slid  downward for  the fifth  time in  six  auctions.

The  Chinese  economy is under pressure   as  Trump steps up  his tariff  war.  Brexit  is a  threat which  could disrupt  NZ’s  dairy trade to  both the UK and EU markets.

At  home the big  question is whether  Fonterra,  after  racking up  a  $196m  loss last season,  can claw its  way back to profit. Continue reading “Fonterra’s financial wellbeing and global auction prices are among the dairy sector’s challenges”

Senior diplomat is named to represent NZ on International Whaling Commission

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters  has named  senior diplomat Jan Henderson as NZ’s representative to the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

He  says   her experience will enable NZ to make a constructive contribution to this important body.  Henderson’s career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade includes roles as High Commissioner based in Bridgetown, Barbados, as well as New Zealand’s High Commissioner based in New Delhi, India, and Ambassador based in Ankara, Turkey.   She also served as the Director of Environment Division where she was directly involved in International Whaling Commission issues.

Peters  says  NZ  strongly supports the IWC’s efforts to protect the ocean’s ecosystems.

The IWC is the intergovernmental body established under the International Convention to Regulate Whaling 1946. It is comprised of 89 members. It meets biennially and will next meet in Slovenia  in  2020. Continue reading “Senior diplomat is named to represent NZ on International Whaling Commission”

ANZ economic comment draws clouds over Robertson’s sunny outlook – but Stats NZ brings good job market news

Finance  Minister Grant Robertson  insists  the NZ  economy has  “solid fundamentals”,  as  Point of Order   noted last week.   He concedes  there is  uncertainty   because of slowing  global  growth,  Brexit,  and trade wars but argues NZ’s  economy is  doing  better than what he calls  its international peers.

He reckons there are “many, many signs that things are getting better under this government”.

So what  to make   of the   report  this  week  from ANZ Bank economists titled “That Sinking Feeling”?

Bracing for this week’s release of Q2 labour market statistics and the RBNZ’s August Monetary Policy Statement, they look at some of the key developments the RBNZ will have to consider, “and it’s not looking pretty”. Continue reading “ANZ economic comment draws clouds over Robertson’s sunny outlook – but Stats NZ brings good job market news”

Sure, the PM made the Vogue cover – but polls suggest some of the lustre has been lost

PM Jacinda Ardern has been flying her government’s flag in the  Tokelaus,  as  well  as  featuring on the cover  of  Vogue,  achievements  few of  her  predecessors   have managed.

Such  events   have almost  certainly  strengthened  the  conviction of  those  who believe   she has  focussed  the eyes of the world as never before   on this country.

In  any case, when  Opposition  Leader  Simon Bridges  attacked Ardern  for  being  a  “part-time prime minister”  it  was almost  as if he had committed  some  kind of  sacrilege.  The  NZ Herald’s cartoonist reacted  with what he no doubt thought was a  clever  drawing  showing Bridges scraping  the bottom of the barrel.

Ardern’s  mate  Grant  Robertson  was  hot under the collar, too.  He raged that Bridges  had  been  “disrespectful to the office of  prime minister”  and was engaging  in  “dirty politics”.  Not  only that, but there  were  “sexist overtones”   in   what Bridges  was  saying. Continue reading “Sure, the PM made the Vogue cover – but polls suggest some of the lustre has been lost”

The Green Gospel on GM is under challenge – from Shane Jones as well as Sir Peter Gluckman

You’ve got to  hand it to  Shane  Jones.   Even  when  he is not  playing the fairy godfather role in the provinces   he  can   make the headlines.

There  he  was  on the  front page of the  NZ  Herald  last week  with  the message that  NZ  needs  to  review its genetic modification-free “gospel”.

Of  course this raises  alarm bells  among the   Green lobbies,  because  it is an article of  faith among Green  politicians  that they  “saved”  NZ  when  a  ban  was  applied  to the  application of  GM  in this country.

But Jones  reckons  if  NZ is  going to  find a  solution to meet the climate change transition, then it must apply weapons from the arsenal of science and technology.  His intervention followed the concerns raised by the government’s  Interim Climate  Change  Committee  that  laws surrounding  GM could be a  barrier to  lowering  farm emissions.

Continue reading “The Green Gospel on GM is under challenge – from Shane Jones as well as Sir Peter Gluckman”