milk

Kiwis to pay more for medicine to line Fonterra shareholder pockets?

The TPP is starting to take its toll on John Key.

When the Trade Minister has to dictate to his favourite newspaper columnist then you know they are in trouble.

But now it is starting to look like we are going to have to pay more for our medicines so Fonterra shareholders can put more cash into their pockets.

John Key is gathering international support for a dairy deal as Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks edge towards agreement.

Dairy products represent 20 percent of New Zealand’s exports and open access to the 11 other TPP countries would be a huge gain.

The Prime Minister says he’s making calls around the world.

“We’re getting more support from some of the other countries,” he told reporters today.

“I’m in the process of making phone calls to leaders and others to encourage them to see it our way – we’re presenting the strongest case we possibly can.”

Access for agricultural products is one of the most contentious issues at the TPP negotiations.   Read more »

Parroting the obvious

In August 2014 real reporters around the world ran stories about China’s milk stockpile, and everyone in China who was anybody, knew China was stockpiling those resources.

The news that Russia is banning imports of dairy products from all EU states should be the least of our concerns.

What dairy farmers here should be doing, rather, is looking even further to the east, to China.

For there are some ominous signs that that country’s snapping up of massive volumes of dried milk powder produced in the west may well have been a stockpiling exercise and that it is now coming to an end ahead of an anticipated downturn in the Chinese economy.

That could have quite severe repercussions here where a lot of the ‘surplus’ milk, which has been sloshing about in the market, has gone to drying plants in an exercise which acts as a useful price stabiliser. The effects are already being felt in the arena of global dairy auctions, where prices dropped 8.4 per cent this week and are now 50 per cent lower than they were in February – and it’s worth noting that whole milk powder (down 11.5 per cent) and skim milk powder (down 6.5 per cent) were among the big losers.

So stand by for even more price cuts at the farm gate…

Yet, despite how many junkets to China and resources put in by NZ Inc and a newspaper, it’s only when Bill English makes comment on it off his own bat, does Frances O’Sullivan – a newspaper’s pre-eminent repeater – actually even record it as happening.

It was Bill English who finally punctured the myth that the lengthy price slump that has carved billions of dollars off New Zealand dairy returns is simply a short-run thing.

Not so, said the Finance Minister on his return from China this week.   Read more »

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Labour lies and lazy media just repeat it

Yesterday David Shearer made the following statement about the price of milk:

Shearer said Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy had some explaining to do, as it was “all looking a bit too cosy”.

It was “perverse” that Coca-Cola was more affordable than fresh milk, at a time when child obesity and diabetes were causing major problems in the health system, he said.

And Fairfax ran this headline:

milk

What a shame that Aimee Gulliver couldn’t use the internet before she banged out her rehash of Labour’s press release.

I can, howeve,r and it took me just a few seconds to establish that David Shearer is lying, or being deliberately deceptive.   Read more »

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WARNING: The Breastapo are back and they are outraged and offended

Some people just will never get it. Case in point the $416,250 taxpayer funded The Breastapo.

They’re all in a flutter about Lewis Road Creamery repackaging its milk “breast milk” for charity.

3,2,1 and out comes the Breastapo representative Julie Stufkens who says “the move was disrespectful towards women” and “labelling a cow’s milk product as breast milk is not acceptable.”

But then Stufkens said something that demonstrates how out of touch she really is.

“she was concerned mother’s could mistake the product as breast milk”

Really? Does she think mothers are that dumb? Or is it just Stufkens that’s dumb?

Here’s some feedback for Stufkens;

unnamed-5 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 »

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Is Dairy Rooted?

The boom in the New Zealand economy has been led by massive dairy intensification. It is also the driver behind silly socialist projects like the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme where townie councillors have bought into government and Federated Farmers spin about the future being dairy and they are promoting economic models based on boom years that are unsustainable in bust years. Even so the proposals can’t work without massive subsidies or government grants even in boom years.

Yet no one has really stopped to question what the real long-term price of milk solids is, and if it is a sustainable long-term path to prosperity for New Zealand.

After last years boom prices there was not much consideration to what was going on world-wide, especially with the Chinese Market.

In the Sydney Morning Herald, their business editor wrote a good article comparing dairy in New Zealand to iron ore in Australia. I slammed it at the time, but have had a bit more of a think about it, plus some additional research over the holiday break.

Uppity Kiwis feeling boastful about their dollar approaching parity with the mighty Aussie might do well to stick to rugby for their kicks. Their China-driven boom is coming to an end as quickly as Australia’s. And they have less to fall back on when it does.

Meanwhile, reports of Gina Rinehart going long on dairy farms could prove as reliable a warning as many another billionaire diversifying outside his or her area of expertise.

The New Zealand economy’s resurgence has owed much to China’s demand for milk products and getting in early for a comprehensive free trade agreement with the Middle Kingdom.

Trouble is, China has been busily investing and encouraging others to invest in increased and globally diversified milking. Just as iron ore miners have ramped up production both from existing provinces and new projects from Africa to Mongolia, New Zealand’s farmers are facing increased competition from South America to Russia and all points in between, including Australia.

[…]    Read more »

You can buy milk at 75c per litre in Iceland stores, and UK farmers say it’s killing them

Fascinating tale of how supermarkets use a product as a loss leader, but that apparently causes problems up the supply chain:

Farmers are threatening protests after Iceland cut the price of a four-pint milk carton from £1 to 89p.

The budget store is using milk as a loss leader – selling below cost price to lure in customers – with the result it is even undercutting discount chains Aldi and Lidl.

However, the news has angered dairy farmers who complain they have been hit with a succession of punishing price cuts which are forcing them out of business.

FFA chairman David Handley said: ‘This move by Iceland is a disgrace. It will feed through to lower prices paid to farmers.

‘The supermarkets are devaluing milk. We are almost getting to the point it is so cheap that people will buy it because it doesn’t matter if they throw it away.

Rob Harrison, chairman of the National Farmers’ Union dairy board, said: ‘We will be speaking to Iceland. This continual devaluation of milk is a real concern to our industry.

‘It is rather rash and stupid to do this when lots of dairy farmers are suffering with low prices. Read more »

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Robertson misleads parliament over Oravida claims

Yesterday in parliament Grant Robertson hurled the accusation that another company who used the same milk and packaging as Oravida has their products blocked while Oravida’s products are flowing across the border.

Pete George has identified that this claim is in fact false, that Grant Robertson is misleading parliament and also misleading the public in his pursuit of Judith Collins.

Grant Robertson has claimed that “same milk”, “milk from the same supplier” and “the same two litre bottles” was given different Chinese border control treatment, with Oravida milk accepted while Ruima Food milk was rejected.

Corrie Den Haring, general manager of Green Valley Dairies who supplies the milk to both the companies, says the milk products involved were not the same, and he is “not aware of any favouritism”.

Robertson continued his ‘holding to account’ of Judith Collins yesterday on Oravida. Most of the media focus was on the drama and the pressure on Collins, for example Judith Collins survives torrid session in Parliament and Collins survives bruising barrage.

Much less emphasis is being put on holding Grant Robertson to account for his accusations.

Grant Robertson needs to provide proof of the accusations. He mustn’t resort to the bully antics of Trevor Mallard who is now insisting that Judith Collins disprove his smear, when he has no evidence to even make his smear in the first place. Robertson has made claims and now he needs to back them up…which may prove difficult given the supplier of milk has stated the exact opposite.

Meanwhile, Corrie Den Haring, general manager of Green Valley Dairies which supplies milk to both Oravida and Ruimi, said Mr Robertson’s initial attack about Oravida receiving preferential treatment from Chinese authorities was wide of the mark.

“It is not the same two-litre bottles simply with a different label,” he told National Radio. Ruimi’s milk was a flavoured or extra-calcium product which required extra testing at the border. Delays meant the milk was too old for sale and was destroyed.

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Photo Of The Day

Nat Farbman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images Brownie gets the milk as Blackie waits his turn

Nat Farbman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Brownie gets the milk as Blackie waits his turn

Udder Bliss: One Cow, Three Cats and Some (Very) Fresh Milk

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The real milk controversy