Guest Post: Never make predictions, especially about the future


Casey Stengel was a talker.  He could also ‘walk the talk’.  He was a very successful baseball player and coach who was nicknamed “The Old Perfessor” for the wisdom of his quotes.  One of his wittiest was, “Never make predictions, especially about the future.”

Even well-informed and experienced analysts get their predictions wrong sometimes. A few years ago the leading milk product packaging company Tetrapak made the prediction that dairy prices, internationally, would continue to rise well into the 2020s.  Their graphs showed no blips, just a steady widening of the gap between supply and demand leading to increasing prices. Tetrapak had put together a group of very smart analysts who had developed a reputation for having a credible grasp of the world dairy scene and an ability to understand trends and changes.

Of course, they didn’t see the Russian boycott coming but they may have been able to better understand the removal of restrictions on production in Europe and factor that in because history shows that the Irish, French, Dutch and Germans can all ramp up production very quickly with their access to high quality foodstuffs and the various subsidy support measures they have as a rural industry.   Read more »


1080 blackmailer gets nearly nine years in prison

The greedy bastard who wanted to blackmail Fonterra to promote his own poison business has today been sentenced to nearly nine years in prison.

1080 blackmailer Jeremy Kerr will spend eight years and six months behind bars after his blackmail attempts cost businesses and the Government $37 million.

The 60-year-old had the country on high alert in 2014 after he posted two letters to Fonterra and Federated Farmers threatening to contaminate baby formula milk powder with 1080 poison, unless the Government agreed to stop using it by March 2015.

It was revealed on Wednesday that Kerr’s blackmail attempts had cost Fonterra, Federated Farmers, Foodstuffs, police, the Government and other dairy companies $37 million in investigation and increased security.

The substantial loss prompted the Crown to ask Justice Geoffrey Venning to consider the top end of the maximum penalty possible – 14 years imprisonment.    Read more »


Sledge of the Day

John Key sledges out Grant Robertson.

It’s a bit rich of Robbo to moan about juvenile politicking as he’s one of the worst.   Read more »

Why the Ruataniwha Dam is poked

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council has been pushing its forlorn dam proposal hard.

I’ve been covering the whole shemozzle for years now but the Council is just pushing ahead.

Quite apart from the environmental concerns and the wrecking of a river to build a dam for a few farmers, there are other issues which explain why it is that farmers aren’t signing up for the water and why the Council is trying to get sneaky water uptake from its subsidiary councils.

Basically, the economics of the business case don’t stack up: not for the ratepayers and also not for the prospective customers of the water.

Economist Peter Fraser explains how it is all related to the dairy industry and the problems that are besetting them:

First and foremost the Government has a competition policy problem in that Fonterra is hamstrung by a milk-pricing manual of its own design that prices milk based on “an imaginary friend” rather than Fonterra’s actual performance – and this imaginary friend is likely to cause more damage to Fonterra than to its competitors. It also reduces the level of contestability in relevant markets, and by favouring static productive efficiency over dynamic efficiency arguably stifles the sector of innovation by reducing firm-level profitability.   Read more »

Name suppression dropped on Jeremy Hamish Kerr – the 1080 guy


Todd Niall / via RNZ

An Auckland businessman who threatened to contaminate infant milk formula with 1080 has rejected the Crown’s argument that he did it for money.

Name suppression has lapsed for Jeremy Hamish Kerr, who has admitted two charges of attempted blackmail relating to threats in November 2014 but disputes the Crown’s version of why he did it.

Crown prosecutor Christine Gordon QC said the blackmail letters to Fonterra and Federated Farmers were motivated by financial gain.

Read more »

Domestic 1080 terrorist pleads guilty, but we are not allowed to know who he is

via 3 News

via 3 News

The Auckland businessman who threatened to poison infant formula with 1080 has admitted two charges of blackmail.

The 60-year-old appeared in the High Court at Auckland today, and has continued name suppression.

He was arrested earlier this month following an 11-month, $3 million investigation into two anonymous letters sent to Fonterra and Federated Farmers in November last year. Read more »

Well, Russel Norman’s more effective at Greenpeace than at the Greens

So who's been telling porkies then?    via

Going straight for the nation’s largest income earner.

Millions of people across South East Asia are facing a catastrophic smog problem due to the fires, which are caused by the systematic destruction of rainforests and peatlands by the relentless clearing of land for palm plantations.

Described as the biggest environmental crime of the 21st century, the fires are also rapidly destroying the habitat of a third of the world’s wild orangutans and other endangered species. Read more »

Thanks Labour for declaring a crisis in dairy


Dairy prices have risen for fourth consecutive auction, all since Labour declared a crisis in dairy.

Dairy product prices climbed in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, increasing for a fourth consecutive time after nearly six months of declines.

The GDT average winning prices rallied 9.9% to US$2834, the highest level since March, up from $US2568 at the previous auction three weeks ago. Some 35,243 tonnes of product was sold, down from 36,050 tonnes of product three weeks ago.

The AgriHQ 2015-16 Farmgate Milk Price increased 74c to $5.39 per kilogram milk solids, compared with Fonterra’s 2015-16 milk price forecast of $4.60/kgMS.   Read more »

Could Labour start declaring a crisis everywhere please


Less than a month ago Labour declared a crisis in dairy.

They have previously declared a crisis in emigration (since reversed) and  a crisis in manufacturing (it’s now one of the fastest growing sectors). Both of those areas have reversed simply by Labour claiming a crisis. It can’t have been them who fixed the problems, they are in opposition, and John Key’s government barely lifts a finger over anything…so it can only have been Labour declaring a crisis that has been the catalyst for change.

That appears to have happened in dairy as well with the second successive milk auction experiencing a rise after 10 previous declines in prices.

Dairy prices rise again in another positive GlobalDairyTrade auction.

Prices at the overnight auction lifted 10.9 per cent, hitting an average price of US$2226 per metric tonne (FAS).    Read more »


Fonterra parties on while Farmers seek mental health counselling

Photo/ Supplied - via tipline

Photo/ Supplied – via tipline

Whilst farmers are taking huge hits as dairy prices continue to track low – Fonterra still has the money to throw small party gatherings at Auckland CBD restaurants.

Last night a group of Fonterra executives partied at Vivace in High Street.

Whilst it was apparently for a couple of staff who were leaving – now is not the time to be seen in public spending up on the company credit card.   Read more »