Fonterra

Leaks tell PR nightmare about to get worse for Countdown

unnamed-1Today in the NZ Herald, Countdown’s boss Dave Chambers has a nice little PR puff piece…banging on about how proud he is of the way Countdown conducts its business.

His line “Kiwis like to buy local products, because of the high quality of our nation’s produce” is soon to be proven to be nothing more than PR spin.

All is not well in Countdown land by the amount of information flooding into the tip-line from disgruntled employees, who are seeing Kiwis protesting outside their supermarkets, Facebook hate pages and constant negative media attention.

The buzz from the tip-line is hinting at a massive hit to New Zealand’s dairy suppliers is about to be announced soon. If my source prove out then Dave’s PR woes will only deepen. If he thinks he can laugh off John Campbell and Mike Hosking and bluff his way around Shane Jones’s accusations, this announcement will hit at the core of New Zealand’s heartland.   Read more »

Let’s have a living tax on companies

David Farrar discusses a “living tax” proposal for offshore companies who pay little or no tax in New Zealand…like APN and Fairfax.

This old fashioned concept of paying tax on profit must be disposed of. We should demand a fair tax system. Let’s calling it a living tax – the level of tax a company should pay so that it no longer feels wretched and is helping fund a civilised society.

I think a 15% tax on revenue would be a fair living tax.  Both the Herald and the Dom Post have repeatedly run stories and editorials comparing tax to turnover, not profit. So we should start the living tax campaign with them. Here’s how it would work:  Read more »

More hand outs to bludging farmers

The Taxpayers’ Union is highlighting yet another example of farmers with their hands out.  This time sheep and beef farmers are getting a cool $15 million from Steven Joyce for genetic engineering research. It blogs:

As Mr Joyce goes on to point out in the release, New Zealand already leads the world in pastoral animal and plant genetics.

“As a nation, we are already leading the world in pastoral animal and plant genetics. This partnership will help us maintain this critical position and to continue to build on it through further research and development in sheep and beef genetics.”

The first part of that paragraph is correct – NZ does lead the word. What is not clear is why taxpayers need to stump up to keep us there. Why does this multi-billion dollar export industry suddenly need the Government pouring millions into it? Expecting increases in farmers’ profits is not justification.

This funding is for good headlines, not good economics. What other industries have their normal research and development costs borne by the taxpayer?

Here here.  I wonder if Joyce will be dolling money out to Fonterra next week…

Some proper facts on the Fonterra cream recall

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Recall is just 350 of these type of crates of cream

The media are making much of the recall of 8700 bottles of cream…it sounds like a large number but is it really?

I made a few calls and ascertained that cream is not delivered in pallets, but in crates and 8700 bottles is only 350 crates of cream.

I then enquired as to how many supermarkets this could affect and the answer was 350 crates would easily be consumed by just two decent sized PaknSave supermarkets.

In other words stuff all.

So there you have it…reality…a very small product recall, of just 350 crates of maybe, possibly, dodgy cream.

Readers have also commented that recalls happen frequently.  Read more »

The World is coming to an End?

As predicted, MSM repeaters are so desperate for stories that this Fonterra cream recall suddenly is taking all their attention.

Take TVNZ’s Matty McLean. He’s crawling the ‘burbs (from his desk) looking for a busy-body nana desperate to be listened to.

If it’s not the berms she’s moaning about, it’ll be her baking. So when Matty McLean calls up granny, she’ll complain bitterly about her cream being off and her pav didn’t rise like it used to.

Read more »

Calm Down, move On

Better circle the wagons.

In what is a typical product recall, Fonterra is recalling a few thousand bottles of cream.

Nothing strange about that, yet, as typical of most lightweight young MSM journalists you’d think the plague had struck New Zealand.

8,700 bottles of cream is a slightly different situation to 38 tonnes of whey protein. Perspective is needed.

Sensible comments from Federated Farmers’ Willy Leferink who said:

“If you don’t trust your product you do a recall. It probably shouldn’t have gone into the marketplace in the first place but food safety is paramount, so if you then find there is problems with the product then a recall is justified,” he said.  Read more »

Fonterra – a Pharmaceutical supplier?

by blokeintakapuna

With the inevitability of Marijuana becoming fully legal in NZ at some point in the future, as it is currently doing in the very same corners of the World where NZ “copied & followed” their lead on legislation – thereby creating World-wide prohibition – so its inevitable at some point in the future, NZ will also re-legislate that this God-given natural plant should also be treated like all other natural plants and herbs… and be available for personal use however the individual wishes.

The fallacy that all pot smokers are complete stoners, is akin to saying all wine drinkers are alcoholics. Yet, wine is treated as “holy” in the Church for Sacraments, people drink moderate amounts with meals…. Cooking with it, sometimes even adding it to the food, as well as drinking sociably – and to the extreme – abusing it in bouts of binge drinking too.

The hypocrisy of outlawing a natural herb and plant, whilst trying to legislate for “safe” man-made alternative derivates of the very natural plant/herb now illegal – where the man-made product is now proven to be highly dangerous to the individual and society – is simply bizarre beyond any sense of sensibility. It is ideology completely out of step with today’s observed reality.

…and tying to “ban/prohibit” adults from utilising a natural, God-given herb because some might try and abuse it’s intoxicating properties, is like trying to stop an entire country from enjoying a gambling/convention centre venue because a few create problems for themselves. Or, because NZ has “boy-racers” speeding and killing innocent people on the roads – all vehicles will be made illegal. Surely a much better option would be to allow adults free-use and pour the funds and resources that would have otherwise gone into legislation/enforcement into assistance for anyone that has “problems/issues” with continued use. Of course, there’s also the very valid option of just not doing it anymore if you don’t like/enjoy/want to.   Read more »

How the Aussies view our economy…with jealousy

Michael Pascoe writes about the NZ economy in the Sydney Morning Herald.

It’s bad enough losing the rugby, but in 2014 Australians will have to suffer Kiwis getting uppity about their economy as well.

While our economic growth is stuck around 2.5 per cent, there’s talk New Zealand could be doing double that by the middle of the year.

For so long the poor cousins across the ditch, it’s the Kiwis’ turn to ride the China resources roller coaster, with all the fun and fear that can engender. The commodity is different but the fundamental story is much the same as the China boom that lifted Australia over the past decade.

What iron ore and coking coal did for Oz, milk powder is doing for New Zealand. Forget the clichés about New Zealanders and sheep – it’s cows that are making Kiwis feel good now, as well as the All Blacks having an undefeated year.

And they are feeling good. An ANZ bank survey this month found NZ businesses the most confident they’ve been since 1994. House prices and wages are rising and consumers are spending more – the government is expecting consumption growth of 2.8 per cent while Australia struggles to manage 2 per cent.

New Zealand’s terms of trade are at their highest since 1974, giving the average Kiwi sharply stronger buying power. It’s not so expensive for Kiwis to visit the relatives in Australia – but the land of the strangled dipthong is no longer a cheap holiday for Australians. The Kiwi dollar started the year above $1.26 to the Aussie. It’s finishing at $1.09.

Milk powder prices are up by more than 50 per cent this year and China has overtaken Australia as New Zealand’s biggest trading partner. Fonterra, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, can’t keep up with the demand and finds itself caught by its cheese and butter operations holding back overall performance.

The impact of Chinese demand for milk solids is also behind the never-ending Warrnambool Cheese and Butter takeover saga. It must sadden those who saw productive Victorian dairy farms turned over to tax-driven blue gum plantations.

Its all about protein…and we are best at producing it, whether it is in milk or meat. Pascoe trips up though and quotes Bernard hickey who is more often wrong than right in his prognostications.

But the extent of New Zealand’s reliance on a single commodity and a single customer worries some. New Zealand Herald commentator Bernard Hickey makes the point that the country’s second-largest trade partner, Australia, also is reliant on China and that Kiwis carry much more debt than when they last depended on a single market – England. He didn’t use the term “Dutch Disease”, but it was there between the lines.

Just as China has encouraged a greater diversity of iron ore sources, it can be expected not to rely indefinitely on NZ. The Middle Kingdom also desires to increase and improve its own dairy capacity, but faces water limitations for what is a very water-intensive industry. (That’s why those soggy Kiwis are so good at it, despite suffering what they thought was a drought last year.)

In the meantime, the $NZ40 billion rebuilding of Christchurch will provide its own increasing stimulus for the NZ economy. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is expected to start increasing interest rates in 2014. It’s already attempting to cool the housing market through macro prudential means – a move the Reserve Bank of Australia admits it’s watching with interest. And rising rates should further support the Kiwi dollar.

While our Treasury forecasts Australia’s unemployment will nudge up to 6.25 per cent, New Zealand’s is 6.2 and falling from a high of 7.3 last year, twin factors that can be expected to reduce the usual migration flow. Australia has done well out of its Kiwi migrants. Given the direction of the New Zealand currency, we might have left it a wee bit late to stock up on five-eighths and sauvignon blanc.

Yet there’s always a silver lining. The last time Kiwis were this chipper was 1994 – when the Wallabies won the Bledisloe Cup with “that tackle” by George Gregan. Maybe a richer New Zealand also is a softer one.

Matt McCarten’s own Yeah/Nah moment

Matt McCarten appears to be changing his mind to suit his latest rant about oil drilling. He has had his very own Yeah/Nah moment.

In today’s Herald on Sunday opinion piece:

“Half of all New Zealand jobs and 70 per cent of our export revenue are directly linked to our clean, green reputation. Deep-sea oil drilling interests claim our Government could receive $300 million from it. That’s $75 per New Zealander. We trade away our best marketing brand for that?”  Read more »

Leaked docs show MOH woefully unprepared for Botulism outbreak

via the tipline

Oh dear oh dear. Leaked documents showing Ministry of Health advice to Tony Ryall and Jo Goodhew over the Fonterra botulism scare point to the MOH being woefully underprepared for an outbreak.

Remember just a few months ago, Botulism Siouxie – recent recipient of the $100,000 Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize, caused widespread angst by saying “Botulinum toxin A is one of the most toxic substance known to man. One kilogram of it would be enough to kill the entire human population”.

You’d hope the MOH would be able to cope, but documents show an alarming admission.

In an August 2013 MOH Situation Report, the Acting Director of Public Health, Dr Fran McGrath provided an update on the MOH’s actions in response to Fonterra’s contaminated Whey Protein Concentrate and Nutricia Karicare Recall.

McGrath must have been desperate to give Ministers confidence that the MOH was all over the issue like a rash, especially just in case botulism started spreading like wildfire among the population.

At the start of the SitRep, McGrath states “There have been no cases of infant botulism reported in New Zealand in the last 20 years”. From that you’d expect a sigh of relief from Ministers.   Read more »