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.

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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.

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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 »

Concrete Cancer Coverup – Winston has Nick Smith over a barrel

Like a shark, Winston Peters can smell blood from a mile away and his target this time is Minister of Building and Housing Nick Smith.

The Government has been warned about the concrete cancer issue for near on six months now, and yesterday we saw a flustered looking Nick Smith start the ol’ political trick of shifting the blame to his officials.

Nick Smith gets up and tried to crack a funny about carpets and curtains, then tries to fob off the seriousness of the concrete cancer issue happening under his watch by saying there’s competitive issues at play within the building sector.

Really? Is that the best you can do Nick? Of course there are competitive issues inside the building industry, just like there are competitive issues across all sectors – But it doesn’t stop the very simple fact that there is a very real problem here.

You’ve got to give Winston credit when credit is due. Read more »

Concrete Cancer Coverup, Ctd – What does the government know?


You would think that with millions of tax-payers money being poured into the construction of the Manukau District Court, the Government would want to have confidence in the integrity of the building.

Following this explosive Concrete Cancer Cover-Up series on Whaleoil, government officials have had to rely on information from Rob Gaimster, the CEO of the Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ).

If you listened to CCANZ, who on Monday quietly posted an update on their website, they are desperate to say that everything is all right, nothing to see here, move along.

That line didn’t work for Helen Clark.

WOBH is hearing that questions about high alkali cement problems are being raised in Wellington; not only about the potential exposure from the Manukau Court building constructed with dodgy cement from Vietnam, but whether buildings in Wellington are potentially affected.

But CAANZ seems desperate to keep digging the hole they have got themselves in, thanks in part to their support of member company Drymix.   Read more »

Concrete Cancer Coverup: What is industry body telling govt?


We’ve seen a right palaver as Whaleoil has gradually unpicked and exposed the cover-up in New Zealand’s $400 million concrete industry.

We’ve also exposed how Fonterra’s $120 million Waitoa UHT plant and the Government’s $40.6 million Manukau Court Building was supplied dodgy cement that is likely to see those buildings subject to a problem called alkali silica reaction or more commonly known as concrete cancer.   Read more »

Concrete Cancer Coverup – More sunlight needed


The Whaleoil investigation into a cover-up in the $400 million concrete industry now has documents that show the new $40.6 million Manuaku District Court and Fonterra’s $120 million Waitoa UHT factory have been made with dodgy cement.

As more documents are provided to Whaleoil, the more the cover-up becomes not only  a case of incompetence on the part of the officials responsible for overseeing construction of buildings, but also a desperate attempt at trying to confuse anyone that looks into this issue.   Read more »