Who is getting rich off our milk?


The cost of milk just keeps rising; prices have gone up 8 percent in two years.

We’re paying more for it than Australians and the British, but New Zealand farmers are not reaping the rewards. …

Consumer affairs spokesman David Shearer [told] Paul Henry … Read more »

What a good idea Damien, let’s try it on the Labour caucus

The Labour Party is showing just how out of touch with reality it is by calling on Fonterra’s Theo Spierings to take a pay cut, ostensibly because of performance, but also as Damien O’Connor claims “to restore credibility with farmers and staff”.

The Labour Party has launched into the controversy surrounding Fonterra’s latest restructuring by saying chief executive Theo Spierings should take a voluntary pay cut “to restore credibility with farmers and staff”.

Spierings’ salary has been estimated to be worth about $4 million a year.

“The events of the last week have shaken the farming sector’s confidence in Fonterra, and the chief executive must take responsibility,” Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor said in a statement.

“Theo Spierings should lead by example and voluntarily reduce his pay by half,” he said.

Read more »

Dirty Media shill expunging the record?

Last week we looked at the propensity of spin-ster Fran O’Sullivan to shill people she and her co-workers at New Zealand Inc have shilled for before.

The post showed how Fran O’Sullivan, who is now the NZME. Business Editorial Director seems to write or repeat puff pieces for the dairy industry that originally appeared on the New Zealand Inc website and has them published on the NZ Herald.

It all seems rather cosy.

Well today some thing interesting has happened.

The entire website of New Zealand Inc. has been expunged and a placeholder erected in its place.

spin-ster-Osullivan Read more »

Guest Post – Cooperatives – another form of socialist mediocrity

The big issue that dominates the discussion on our dairy industry is falling prices. Our seeming inbred predilection for negative news means we overlook important issues about the future of milk, what is happening internationally and how New Zealand should be responding.

There is sufficient pessimism in some quarters to suggest that dairying is a lost cause and that there should be a deliberate effort to scale it back and stimulate investment in different economic activity.

While diversity is usually a helpful goal in an economy it is far too early to write off dairying. Conservative predictions are for the consumption of milk and milk products to rise by 36% over the next 10 years, away ahead of even the most optimistic numbers on production growth. China is only one of many countries to have growing needs for protein.

Milk2 Read more »


Is weak dairy the dry rot of the New Zealand economy?

Farmers say they aren’t seeing any signs of a milk price recovery.

It’s just fallen for the third consecutive time, down 3.6 percent overnight in the GlobalDairyTrade online auction, and it’s at its lowest level since the end of 2014.

Federated Farmers dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard says the trend makes a lift in this season’s payout less likely.

“We really do need to see some signs of a recovery, and so far we are not seeing them,” he said today.

“The Chinese market is weak, European exports to Russia have been dislocated, dairy regions around the world have enjoyed good weather and the northern hemisphere is awash with cheap feed grain.”

Mr Hoggard says there’s not much the industry can do about those issues.

“Struggling farmers need to talk to their banks and their accountants,” he said. “Especially in the drought areas there is a real need to keep a close eye on how much feed farmers have on hand and how much they will need through to the spring.”

Apart from the economy doing well on the back of Auckland immigrants and Christchurch rebuilding, a soft dairy sector is going to continue to provide challenges for the government as they try to balance the books and bring in that elusive surplus.

Weak dairy also provides the opposition with a convenient stick.

Read more »

Looks like Bill will need to keep ACC high for a bit longer


The economy looks to take another hit as dairy prices crash overnight

International dairy prices fell by 8.8 per cent at this morning’s GlobalDairyTrade auction – the first sale to be held since last week’s 1080 infant formula contamination scare. Read more »

Josie Pagani: 1080 threat totally mismanaged by men

Last November very powerful men discovered that parents feeding their babies infant formula were being threatened by an insane blackmailer who said he intended to poison babies to make a twisted political point.

Senior police, agriculture, business and political figures knew a lot about the risk. But they didn’t know enough to make the most important decision of all: whether the child should continue to be fed the infant formula.

Only parents can make that judgment.

The decision to refuse to tell parents what they knew or that they were opting to take a lunatic at his word that the poisoning wouldn’t begin until the end of March, was despicable and stomach-churning – a denial of the essential human right to make a decision about the welfare of your own child based on all available information.

It’s like a doctor deciding not to tell a patient they could be at risk.

You don’t get to defend the lack of consent by saying, “I think I made the right judgment.”

The right thing to do is always – always – trust people, and make as much information available as possible. Even to the extent of being upfront about what you don’t know. When that doesn’t happen, people learn that governments can’t be trusted.

The Centre for Disease Control in the United States has a manual on how best to communicate in health scares such as Ebola: “Describe the steps you are using to get the facts and help the audience deal with the uncertainty while all the facts are uncovered.”

In other words, tell people what you know, what you don’t know, and what you’re doing to find out what you don’t know.

Read more »

1080 threat falls flat

Countdown said it could not comment specifically on sales for commercially sensitive reasons.

“But to be honest we haven’t seen a significant change in customer behaviour in our stores,” said spokeswoman Kate Porter.

“On the whole our customers seem very positive about the steps we’ve taken – they are feeling assured that Countdown is taking the threat seriously and keeping the product as safe as we can.”

Countdown stores have had signage in place since Tuesday evening when the Government revealed that a threat had been made to taint infant milk formula with 1080 poison.

Foodstuffs, which owns the New World, Pak ‘n Save and Four Square brands, said it also appeared that consumer demand for infant formula was unchanged.

Extra security checks had been put into place through the supply chain and in its stores, some of it covert and some of it obvious.

At New World and Pak ‘n Save, CCTV monitoring of the shelves continued and signs advised customers of the threat. There was also an “infant formula milk monitor” who was keeping an eye on products.

Well, in that case, we really can’t say that the Government, Police and companies involved in this were wrong.   It seems that, once again, the media were the most excitable of the lot.   Read more »

Powdered 1080 sent to Fonterra not from New Zealand, claims manufacturer

This is an interesting twist

New Zealand’s biggest manufacturer of 1080 products believes concentrated 1080 sent to Fonterra and Federated Farmers as part of a blackmail threat came from overseas.

Police yesterday revealed they had spent more than three months investigating a blackmail threat to poison New Zealand milk products but said they now needed help from the public.

Fonterra and Federated Farmers were sent a letter each in November containing a blackmail threat and powder, which tested positive for concentrated forms of 1080. No more correspondence had been received from the letter writer since. Read more »


The 1080/Infant milk scandal – a high level summary

There isn’t much point going over the issue with a fine toothed comb – you’ll have had trouble avoiding it all since yesterday afternoon.  But I do think it may pay just to touch on the important bits.

Police say the threat was received by Fonterra and Federated Farmers in November.

They want public help to catch the blackmailer and if you have any information then call 0800 72 36 65 or email [email protected]). Anonymous calls can be made to Crimestoppers on 0800 55 51 11.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says even tighter security measures have been introduced around the production and sale of milk products in the past three months.

During this time, a new testing regime was introduced and more than 40,000 milk products have been tested. None had tested positive for 1080. Read more »