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Like Solid Energy, hubris behind Landcorp’s predicament

Written By: - Date published: 2:22 pm, August 22nd, 2015 - 54 comments
Categories: Economy, farming - Tags: , , , , ,

By Simon Louisson

Brace for another State-Owned Enterprise debacle when Landcorp releases its annual result next week.

Solid Energy was this month placed in Voluntary Administration following its financial collapse.

Landcorp may not be in quite the same pit as the coal miner, but negative cash-flow and rising debt will almost certainly mean it has breached banking covenants.

The Government has opted on a laissez faire attitude to its assets, so Landcorp will be forced by its banks, ANZ, ASB and Westpac, to sell assets at the bottom of market to repay debt.

The predicament of both companies is due to the same underlying factor – management hubris and inept governance.

Solid Energy, under former CEO Don Elder built grandiose plans on coal prices staying close to the multi-year highs they reached in the late 2000s despite all the historical evidence saying otherwise.

Under Dr Elder’s direction, Solid Energy, valued at $2.5 billion, invested heavily in alternative energy. It also built headquarters in Christchurch akin to one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces that housed hundreds of highly paid head office staff.

To the seeming surprise of Dr Elder, but not to experienced observers, coal prices fell so the cost of maintaining the $400 million of debt accumulated to fund Dr Elder’s grand plans became unmanageable. It had to flog off its alternative energy assets, but these were only at the fledgling stage and as the price of oil and coal had collapsed, were far from attractive.

There are many similarities with Landcorp. Spurred by the rise in price of milk powder, Landcorp has bet heavily on dairy, committing multi millions to converting sheep and forestry land to dairy farms.

Already holding a big dairy exposure, it took a long lease on the Wairakei Estate in the Central North Island where forests and nine dairy farms, previously owned by wealthy Auckland investors, will be expanded into 39 farms carrying 42,000 cows by 2021. The 26,000 hectares of conversions will cost “hundreds of millions of dollars,” according to SOE Minister Todd McClay.

Last year’s annual report shows contracted capital for conversions will cost $35 million until 2019 and it then escalates to $229 million.

The problem with Wairakei Estate, Landcorp’s General Manager of Dairy Operations, Mark Julian, told The Waikato Times recently, is the first 10 years will be “pretty tough”. The land is problematic for dairying because it has high production costs and poor levels of dry matter grown, he said.

In 2013/14, costs ran at $4.82/kg of milk solids against Fonterra’s forecast payout this year of $3.85/kg. And that’s before debt servicing costs.

Landcorp was already struggling with negative cashflow in the first half year. While it traditionally generates more positive cash in the second half, in the six months to December 31 it had receipts of $109.3 million, of which $57.5 million was milk, but payments of $121.6 million – a deficit of $12.3 million. Milk receipts are going to fall steeply.

There are other interesting aspects to Landcorp’s accounts. Its operating profit was $1.0 million, down from $13.1 million in the year ago period, but its net profit of $62.7 million, down from $109.3  million a year ago, included $62.6 million of unrealised gains on the value of its livestock.

I know only about enough of farming to distinguish sheep from cows, but my guess is that if milk prices are as dire as Fonterra’s Global Dairy Trade auctions show, then it is likely to affect cow prices.

Landcorp had debt of $359 million at December 31, up from $320 million at June 30, 2014. It has equity of $1.4 billion, but former CEO Chris Kelly pointed out on Radio NZ this week that the problem is that Landcorp, like most farmers is farming for capital gain and is cash poor, but Treasury has insisted it pay high dividends.

The Government extracted a $7 million dividend in October, up from $5 million a year earlier, and it has consistently taken out higher dividends than cashflow warranted.

The end result of this is that Taxpayers will have to endure the lunacy of a Government entity investing heavily at the top of the market and, having got into trouble, watch as the Government sits with its hands in pockets refusing to help, while Landcorp conducts a fire-sale of farms at the bottom of the market.

“My concern is that if you start making short-term decisions based on short-term commodity prices then you are just going to jump all over the place and will have no long-term strategy at all,” Mr Kelly said.

Foreign buyers, such as Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin, which purchased the Crafar farms, will salivate at the prospect of basement bargains.

Questions must be asked about governance. How is it that the managers and boards of SOEs such as Solid Energy and Landcorp get so excited about the normal waves of the commodities cycle that they over-invest and risk the Government’s (taxpayers’) billion dollar businesses?

Where is the oversight from the directors, each of whom is paid over $35,000 for 11 meetings a year while Chairwoman Tracy Houpapa collects over $50,000? What has Treasury’s Crown Ownership Monitoring Unit done to rein in the grandiose plans of SOE bosses and do their most basic job of protecting the taxpayers’ assets?

And what has SOE Minister Todd McClay done to earn his huge salary?

During the 1970s, former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon saw oil prices soar and, egged on by his advisers, spent many billions of dollars on his “Think Big” energy projects that aimed to cash in on the oil boom . But it ended in unmitigated disaster when oil sank to US$ 10/barrel.

Then in the 1980s we had state owned entities including the Bank of New Zealand, Development Finance Corporation and NZ Insurance being driven to the wall trying to ride the property boom.

It seems the more our politicians, managers and advisers swill at the trough, the greater the mess.

54 comments on “Like Solid Energy, hubris behind Landcorp’s predicament”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Privatisation by Crisis.

    Next up DoC. Parachute in a political cronies, run the organisation into crisis mode – sell out.

    • hoom 1.1

      Indeed.
      Was Nick Smith SOE Minister for a while?

    • Ad 1.2

      No, the ones to watch are Kiwirail, National Radio, TVNZ, and Kiwibank.

      English has ruled out further SOE privatisations this term, but he has been pretty clear that those are on the block if they get in next election.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    It seems the more our politicians, managers and advisers swill at the trough, the greater the mess.

    RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us
    Really, we should be paying directors, CEOs, and MPs about the average hourly wage.

  3. Keith 3

    Was Landcorp forced by the government to borrow money to pay dividends to the government, as per Solid Energy?

  4. b waghorn 4

    The best thing landcorp could do is start to liquidate there live stock and lease there farms out to kiwi resident farmers. This would be very popular with rural voters as landcorp has few fans outside there own gates.
    It would also reinvigorate an ageing farming population as our best and brightest would see a pathway to ownership which is denied most young kiwis .
    It is well known that landcorp is all but a not for profit operation who over capitalize there farms .

    • lprent 4.1

      Tell me, what exactly is the historic mission of Landcorp?

      They create or upgrade land and farms to workable economic farms and then sell them to young farmers. Your idiotic strategy would simply mean that process of improvement simply wouldn’t happen…

      Even these days they do the same thing, albeit less explicitly.

      Perhaps you shouldn’t comment on things that you are too stupid to understand.

      • b waghorn 4.1.1

        I like to chuck ideas out to see what happens it always, amuses me when I get arrogant old fuckwits like you playing the man and not the idea..
        While I do base my views on mostly anecdotal evidence there known for under performing compared to owner operates.
        Still sweat as if key sells them off a?

        • Shona 4.1.1.1

          Their not there! Learn to spell. moron! Your spelling and grammar is on a par with your thinking.

      • Weepus beard 4.1.2

        That mission statement is interesting.

        You would think that is government strategy to be applauded but instead National party lapdogs are baying for Landcorp’s blood, presumably in order to balance Blinglish’s books short term.

        I can only assume Farrar and co. would prefer these new farms to be sold to the Chinese rather than to young Kiwis.

      • b waghorn 4.1.3

        “”Properties that have ceased to have strategic value will be sold. In
        all instances market value will be sought through valuations from
        registered valuers and where appropriate through a competitive
        tender process.””
        This is from there strategic plan , I’ve could find no mention of selling to young farmers .

      • Gosman 4.1.4

        Is that in their mission statement or explicitly stated anywhere?

    • weka 4.2

      “The best thing landcorp could do is start to liquidate there live stock and lease there farms out to kiwi resident farmers.”

      according to wiki they already do.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landcorp

      • b waghorn 4.2.1

        They lease land off others of which some is the environmental vandalism their carrying out in south Waikato. I’m not aware of any helping hands being given to independent kiwis but would be trilled to be proven wrong.

        • weka 4.2.1.1

          ok, thanks for clarifying that.

        • Tracey 4.2.1.2

          use them as a base for training and then low cost loan some farmers onto their land? or run a kind of share milking scheme?

          • b waghorn 4.2.1.2.1

            Just a straight out lease to the best and brightest kiwi resident farmers at commercial rates.Possible with a few rules to keep the big players from cutting out new entrants.
            By keeping them in government ownership they get a income, the rates payed and can set the rules around environmental issues.
            The average age of kiwi farmers is rapidly increasing and staffing farms in some areas is becoming a real issue due in part to there being no pathway to ownership.
            There is alreaedy a training industry in nz , taratahi , smedley , whanganui atihau and aratiatia the last being a landcorp one .
            Edit, I was thinking sheep and beef , but yes 50/50 for the dairy farms would be good, its a system that’s works well.

  5. Detrie 5

    Seen this sort of thing when we worked in the Corporate & SOE sectors years back. Greed, managerial gut instincts and the promise of riches always outweighing common sense. Directors only seeing the profit estimates and commissions. I suspect there were middle mangers in these organisations that provided them ample market and risk analysis, but most likely brushed aside as being too ‘negative’.

  6. Jenny Kirk 6

    Who is Simon Louisson ? Its a good article, but what are his credentials for writing it ?

    • Simon Louisson 6.1

      In regard to who is Simon Louisson, I am a former journo who worked for Reuters, NZPA, AP Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal, The Press and The Jerusalem Post

      • Redbaiter 6.1.1

        Amazed to find this article on the Standard.

        Very informative and well done.

      • lprent 6.1.2

        My apologies. I meant to write a intro comment (I’m a bit vague in my 4th cold this year damnit).

        https://www.google.co.nz/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=%22Simon+Louisson%22

        He was also a political and media advisor for the Greens for some months, now retired to doing Shotts?

        I remember his business reporting before that.

        Because of that previous political connection when he sent me a post back at the budget, it got auto-filed as a press release. Eventually he wrote a sarcastic email and attracted my attention 🙂

        BTW: I like how the SEO has the search for his name with The Standard up on the first page in the google. Means that I have that working pretty well.

      • Jenny Kirk 6.1.3

        Thanks Simon – that clarifies it. And you will no doubt have noticed in today’s Sunday Star Times Rod Oram saying similar things about Landcorp.

  7. mickysavage 7

    I think the Government should be held at least partially to blame for Solid Energy’s demise. In May 2009 then SOE Minister Simon Power wrote to the Solid Energy Board and said this:

    “I am disappointed with the forecast decline in Solid Energy’s financial performance over the next three years, in particular the dramatic decline in profitability and dividends. While this is understandable, given the significant decline in forecast coal prices, it is far from clear why Solid Energy forecasts [redacted].”

    So Solid energy was getting bearish in its views but National insisted on the increased dividends being paid.

    $130 million in dividends were then paid including $30 million in a year when a hefty loss was recorded.

  8. BM 8

    The directors only see what the senior management is willing to show.

    Company could be crashing and burning and the directors wouldn’t have a clue.

    • Ad 8.1

      All SOE Boards should be “refreshed” every two years.
      Just good governance, done in a carefully managed sequence.
      Helps keep the CEO fully on their toes, under threat of replacement.

      Also, if a Board hasn’t figured out how to “deep dive” into specific areas of performance, then they are incompetent.

  9. Ad 9

    +100

    To have a look at what local capital can do with a set of dairy farms in a similar Taupo area, have a look at: http://www.miraka.co.nz

    Just a tiny little iwi really, but gutsy and determined to make dairy farming work for Maori. So they built up difficult central North Island land, converted to dairying, made it successful, but most importantly, instead of bowing to supply Oh Wise Monopoly Fonterra, they decided to go it alone and form their own little dairy factory.

    That meant scraping together their own capital, schooling up their own expertise, doing it small, but winning prizes, going international by themselves.

    Whereas Landcorp, as usual, too the easy way out. And are paying for it. There is absolutely no reason that a public shareholder could cut their dividend requirement, allow them to aggregate their own capital, so long as the focus was less on bulk commodities and more on higher value exported products.

    It’s also incomprehensible why Landcorp don’t their voice heard much louder around the table of the Fonterra Shareholder group. They’ve got enough of percentage. It’s as if it’s impossible for the interests of the state to be shouted loud and clear to our largest company.

  10. Saarbo 10

    This could get interesting, it does seem that Key/Nats will force Landcorp to sell farms, assuming that they want to make a material dent in its Debt of $359m, then they will have to sell at least $100m of farms. Very few farmers in NZ will be in a position to purchase these as the scale of these farms are very large, and placing a number of farms on the current market could be disastrous. If they do sell in this market then this will be another classic Kiwi government sale, the buyer will make all of the money out of it.

  11. Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 11

    How many farms in NZ trace back to land ballots of Crown land by egalitarian governments?

    http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nzlscant/run.htm

    http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/1966/land-settlement/page-6

    • weka 11.1

      egalitarian if you were white 😉 (and male).

      • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 11.1.1

        Yes that was a flaw of the 1891 -1912 Liberal government -they believed Pakeha could more productively use land than Maori would. There was an implicit racial superiority belief system.

        The male part was a little more complicated. The Liberals gave woman the vote, which was the first in the world. No doubt this continued a liberalising trend but it was also because they wanted to support family farming as part of their agrarianism political and economic belief system. They believed small, competitive, anti-monopolistic, egalitarian family farms would be the basis for a successful democracy and economy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Liberal_Party#Agrarianism

        I suspect Mackenzie/Liberals thought women who were wives of male farmers would vote for the family farms self interest -which of course would be for the Liberal party.

        The Liberals won 7 consecutive elections, they are the longest serving government administration in New Zealand’s history. They had a huge impact on NZ society, our belief system, our economy, even to this day.

        The Liberals failed because they became a staid conservative party. Aspects of the Liberal party are now split between National and Labour.

  12. saarbo 12

    @brendan Harre

    Many. It would have been a great move for Key/Nats to do Ballot out of these except I think they are too large.

  13. saarbo 13

    @brendan Harre

    Many. It would have been a great move for Key/Nats to do Ballot out of these except I think they are too large.

  14. amy 14

    More evidence of why governments should keep out of business. Will be beneficial when Chinese buyers no doubt buy solid energy and landcorp. Nz lacks the capital, the managers and the attitude to run very large business.

    No doubt the racist trolls will jump on me but there are many ways to achieve the ends that most on this sight share. It’s just a pity some extremists don’t tolerate non abusive discussion on the means. And as I have previously stated on here I am ethnic Chinese so bring on the racism guys!

  15. DH 15

    I’m not so sure that terms like hubris, incompetence, idealism etc are appropriate here. These people aren’t fools, they know what they’re doing and to suggest they’re just left Landcorp to its own devices for the last 7 years is a bit naive IMO. English in particular is a micro manager, he tries to control everything.

    Their treatment of assets doesn’t make sense unless there’s agenda(s) we don’t know about. NZ’s ability to borrow is reliant on our positive balance sheet of which the asset register is largely comprised of physical assets such as Crown enterprises and large land holdings etc.

    If NZ didn’t own significant assets English would have been unable to borrow like he did when the Nats came into power. Without assets he’d have struggled to get anyone to lend to us and what loans we would have been advanced would have been at usurious rates of interest.

    Fortunately for us we had enough assets to borrow against to weather the GFC storm and work our way back to surplus again. But now we’re left with a very low balance sheet which needs to be replenished to insure us against a future GFC which is 100% certain will happen sometime.

    In selling off our assets this National party is effectively sabotaging the nation’s future ability to borrow and that doesn’t make any sense to me. But… when you consider that the parties responsible will be doing very nicely for themselves then maybe it does start to make sense.

    • Ad 15.1

      Oram’s point today in newspaper was precisely how English should back off Landcorp because they have made a success well beyond any one commodity cycle.

      Exact opposite of Solid Energy; too little too late.

      National incompetent either way.

  16. Ad 16

    Oram made comparable points in SStar today.

  17. I know everyone goes on about how Solid Energy made a big mistake investing in renewable energy/biomass, but nobody seems to recognise that the National Government did move the goalposts here, by removing the mandatory biofuel legislation that Solid was relying on as a market for its biofuels.

    Sure, Solid’s actual rollout of planting was pretty flawed (remember the John Campbell piece down in the McKenzie country were all the farmers were laughing at Solid), but the goalpost moving was Government-driven.

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    Since invading in 2001, the US has consistently claimed that their war in Afghanistan has been going well, even when it continued year after year after year. Of course, they were lying, and thanks to the Washington Post and the US Freedom of Information Act, we get to see just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Artificial Intelligence and You
    How should we think about artificial intelligence and the implications that it has for our work and leisure? There are many articles on artificial intelligence and its potential impacts on jobs, and the ethics of applications. These are important topics, but I want to focus on some less discussed aspects, ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
    I love data. It’s amazing the sort of “discoveries” I can make given a data set and computer statistical package. It’s just so easy to search for relationships and test their statistical significance. Maybe relationships which ...
    6 days ago
  • More lies on the Twitter (Dan Hodges edition)
    The other big story concerning Leeds Hospital is Boris Johnson's bizzare behaviour at Leeds Hospital, where he was confronted by a journalist and challenged about a four year old boy with suspected pneumonia who was left sleeping on the floor, rather than getting  abed like a sick kid would in ...
    6 days ago
  • LabourActivistPunchedMattHancock’sSPADGate
    So, for a brief period of history, it was alleged that a protester had punched Matt Hancock's SPAD (not a euphemism; special adviser) when Hancock visited Leeds Hospital.This was reported by the likes of Robert Peston and Laura Keunssberg, as well as the less credible Guido Fawkes.  It also quickly ...
    6 days ago
  • France’s anti-Zionism is anti-liberté
    by Daphna Whitmore Last week France passed a law that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. It is based on a definition of anti-Semitism that includes criticism of Israel such as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Another bus lockout
    Over the past year we've seen major bus problems in Hamilton and Wellington, as drivers have sought better wages and an end to the bullshit of split shifts, which basicly see them "married to the job". And now its Auckland's turn. When NZBus's drivers planned low-level strike action of not ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Showing us how its done
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. But those targets are insufficient. Meanwhile, Denmark is showing us how its done:Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Public sector dysfunction should not be allowed to undermine freedom of information
    Another day, another piece of legislation with a secrecy clause. This time its the innocuous-seeming Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, which (after establishing a new body and making it subject to the OIA in three different ways) includes the rapidly-becoming-standard clauses enabling it to request information from other public ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • “This is England, this knife of Sheffield steel…”
    The state of the United Kingdom is fractured, torn up, shredded. The Empire is gone, it died a long time ago. And yet, the country is still tracking with a lead in favour of the ones who play to the ingrained, class-bound division for political gain. It is a disgrace ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you
    On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Cloaking hate speech and fake news in the right to free expression.
    It should be obvious by now but let’s be clear: The same folk who regularly traffic in disinformation, misinformation and “fake news” are also those who most strongly claim that their freedom of expression rights are being violated when moves are made to curb hate speech (as opposed to protected ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • The Physics (and Economics, and Politics) of Wheelchairs on Planes
    Michael Schulson When Shane Burcaw flies on an airplane, he brings along a customized gel cushion, a car seat, and about 10 pieces of memory foam. The whole arsenal costs around $1,000, but for Burcaw it’s a necessity. The 27-year-old author and speaker — who, alongside his fiancée, Hannah ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism
    We are very pleased to publish this submission is from Lucinda Stoan. She is a social justice activist, mother, and educator, based in Washington State in the  US.   This detailed and comprehensive source-linked overview of trans issues and what is at stake will be useful for many people, especially in ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Faafoi should be fired
    Newshub last night reported that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had apparently promised to help out a mate with an immigration issue. While its normal for people to approach MPs for assistance in this area, when you're a Minister, the rules are different: as the Cabinet Manual says, Ministers must "at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    1 week ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    1 week ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 weeks ago
  • How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries
    Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington and Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain Hell Pizza offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based. Some customers complained to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 weeks ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Maori voice to help shape tertiary education
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced the members of Te Taumata Aronui, a group to work with Government on tertiary education policy from a Māori community and employer perspective. “Te Taumata Aronui is an opportunity for Māori and the Crown to work more closely on changes to the tertiary education ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    28 mins ago
  • Courthouse redesign a model for the future
    The Government will invest $100 million on a new courthouse in Tauranga which will be a model for future courthouse design for New Zealand, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced. The courthouse will be designed in partnership with iwi, the local community, the judiciary, the legal profession, court staff and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Government enables early access to 5G spectrum
    The Government has given the go ahead to enable further development of 5G networks by making appropriate spectrum available. The Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister, Kris Faafoi, has confirmed Cabinet approval for the allocation of short-term rights to an unused portion of 3.5 GHz spectrum. 3.5GHz is the first ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Record export highs picked for primary sector
    Sustained high growth in primary industry exports looks set to continue over the next two years with strong prices predicted for farmers, fishers, growers and rural communities. Minister of Agriculture and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor today released the latest Situation and Outlook report for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New partnership to boost screen sector job opportunities
    Auckland’s growing screen sector is the catalyst for a new partnership between the Ministry of Social Development and Auckland’s economic development agency Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED). The launch today at FilmFX in Henderson, is to celebrate the partnership which looks to capitalise on the social and economic development opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • A minute’s silence for Whakaari White Island victims
    A minute’s silence will be observed at 2.11pm on Monday 16 December in honour of the victims of the Whakaari White Island eruption, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed. “Wherever you are in New Zealand, or around the world, this is a moment we can stand alongside those who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ to help fund fight against measles in the Pacific region
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced New Zealand will contribute NZ$1 million of funding towards the joint United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Pacific Regional Action Plan for Measles.   “Prevention through vaccination is the most effective way of avoiding illness and a costly health emergency. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand remembers Sir Peter Snell
    New Zealand is today remembering one of our true sporting heroes, triple Olympic gold medal winner Sir Peter Snell. “He was a legend, here and around the world,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “Our thoughts are with Sir Peter’s wife Miki and their family.” “Sir Peter is recognised as New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • PM congratulates Boris Johnson on election victory
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his election victory.  “New Zealand and the United Kingdom are close friends and despite our distance we are strongly connected by our history and people,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “I look forward to continuing to work with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Building a platform for the future of rail
    The Government has released its long term vision for a sustainable 21st Century rail network that gets our cities moving, connects our regions and gets more freight off the roads.   Deputy Prime Minister and State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters said the Government is committed to rebuilding New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister statement Whakaari White Island recovery operation
    I want to start by acknowledging the families who have experienced such grief and such loss since the extraordinary tragedy on Monday. Today was all about reuniting them with their loved ones. We've just come from the airport where many of them were gathered and in amongst what you can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand medical specialists to provide further support to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further support for Samoa’s longer term needs as it continues to respond to a devastating measles epidemic. “Samoa’s health system has experienced massive strain in the wake of the measles epidemic. The volume of patients needing care during this outbreak, and the number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Discounted electric-bikes offered to public sector workers
    Discounted electric bikes will be offered up to public sector staff across the country as part of the Government’s work to reduce transport emissions and support healthier transport options.  Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter officially launched the new initiative at Wellington Hospital today.  “The Government has negotiated bulk-purchase ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Australia and New Zealand confirm joint bid for FIFA Women’s World Cup
    The Australian and New Zealand Governments today launch an historic joint bid to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Australian Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck and New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson will announce the bold campaign, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Blackwater gold mine gets PGF boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has approved a $15 million loan to help re-establish a gold mining operation at Blackwater Gold Mine, near Reefton, Rural Communities Minister and local MP Damien O’Connor announced at an event on the West Coast today. “This is great news for the Coast that could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being
    Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being A housing project by Kohupātiki whānau in Hastings is an outstanding example of a Māori-led housing initiative that can reduce financial pressure and reconnect whānau to their whakapapa says the Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Minister Mahuta officially opened the Aroha Te Rangi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government provides more funding for major community wetland restoration project
    Restoration efforts for a significant wetland in the Hawke’s Bay are getting more support announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. “Wetlands are vital to healthy landscapes and ecosystems. They function as nature’s ‘kidneys’, filtering and protecting water quality, acting as nature’s sponges after rain and are home to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Housing First to help Nelson Tasman homeless
    Nelson has today seen the launch of Housing First Nelson Tasman. Today’s launch marks the expansion of the Government’s homelessness programme, Housing First, to the top of the South Island. “Housing First is a proven programme that puts people who are experiencing homelessness and multiple, high and complex needs into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New funding to support Environment Centres working for sustainable local solutions
    New Government funding announced today will help communities make a difference in tackling environmental issues Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced in Hawkes Bay today. The Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund is dedicating $243,101 to growing the capacity and capability of the Environment Hubs Aotearoa’s (EHA) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government takes bite out of loan sharks
    The days of vulnerable consumers falling victim to loan sharks, truck shops and other predatory lenders are numbered, following the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill passing its third reading tonight. “Too many Kiwis are being given loans that are unaffordable and unsuitable, trapping them in debt and leaving their families ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand safer as Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders Bill) becomes law
    A Bill that prevents terrorism and supports the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas has passed its third reading, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill is a carefully targeted response to manage the risk posed by a small number of New Zealanders who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Foreign Minister and Pacific Peoples Minister to visit Samoa
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Samoa on Friday, where New Zealand medical teams are helping Samoa respond to an outbreak of measles. “New Zealand has been working closely with the Government of Samoa and offering our assistance from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Pastoral Care Code will support tertiary students in 2020
    The Government has changed the law to improve student safety and welfare in university halls of residence and other student accommodation. The Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill passed its third reading this afternoon and details of an interim Code of Practice setting out the Government’s expectations of tertiary providers have also been released. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New infrastructure funding tool to build housing developments faster
    A new tool to help councils fund and finance infrastructure could mean some housing developments happen a decade earlier than currently planned, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. “This new tool, developed by the Government in partnership with industry and high-growth councils, will allow councils to access private debt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Vision to unite the primary sector launched today
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has welcomed the release of a bold new vision for the country’s vital food and fibre sector. “I’m delighted that New Zealand’s major farmer and grower organisations are today supporting the Primary Sector Council’s vision – Fit for a Better World,” he said. “The international consumers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ congratulates PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government on referendum
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has congratulated the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for completing a well-conducted referendum on the future political status of Bougainville. “New Zealand supported the referendum process by providing technical advice through the New Zealand Electoral Commission and leading a Regional Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Next steps for Upper North Island logistics
    In light of Cabinet’s position that freight operations on prime land in downtown Auckland are no longer viable, the Government will now embark on a short work programme to enable decision-making in the first half of next year, Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones is today releasing the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University. The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh. “The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai a milestone for drinking water safety
    The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai , introduced to Parliament today, is a milestone for drinking water safety in New Zealand and will help improve environmental outcomes for urban waterways, rivers and lakes.  “This is a breakthrough for New Zealanders in terms of providing safe drinking water throughout ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to new direction for criminal justice reform announcement
    Kia ora koutouE ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā matā wakaTēnā koutou katoaHaere ngā, moe maiKoutou ma ngā Rangatira Ko Anaru ahauKo au te Minita mo ngā TureHe Honore tino nui kei roto I ahau No reira tena koutou katoa Today, we are releasing two reports that are the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New direction for criminal justice reform
    The Government is looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending to ensure there are fewer victims of crime. Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New law sets up $300m Venture Capital Fund
    New Zealand firms expanding beyond the start-up phase are set for more support after today’s passage of the Venture Capital Fund Bill, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said. The Bill, which establishes a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, puts in place a key initiative of the Wellbeing Budget’s economic package. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand’s National Statement to COP25
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Señora Presidenta, Excellencies, Delegates. International action A common thread that runs through the Paris Agreement is the commitment we have made to each other to do what we can to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Strong economy, careful spending gives $12bn of surpluses
    The Government is forecast to run $12 billion worth of surpluses across the four years to 2023/24 as the economy continues to grow. The surpluses will help fund day-to-day capital requirements each year. These include fixing leaky hospitals, building new classrooms to cover population growth and take pressure off class ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Priorities for 2020 Wellbeing Budget outlined
    Budget 2020 will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also investing to future-proof the economy. When the Government took office in 2017 it was left with crumbling infrastructure, severe underinvestment in public services, degraded rivers and lakes, a housing crisis and rising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $12 billion in extra infrastructure investment
    The Government is lifting capital investment to the highest level in more than 20 years as it takes the next step to future-proof New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced $12 billion of new investment, with $8 billion for specific capital projects and $4 billion to be added to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister welcomes data-rich coastline mapping tool
    The Minister responsible for the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (te Takutai Moana Act 2011), Andrew Little has welcomed the launch of an online geospatial tool that provides data-rich, dynamic coastline maps that will significantly boost research and evidence-gathering under the Act. Te Kete Kōrero a Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Chief Victims Advisor reappointed for a further two years
    The Chief Victims Advisor to Government Dr Kim McGregor, QSO, has been reappointed in her role for a further two years. Dr McGregor has held the role since it was established in November 2015. She provides independent advice to government on how to improve the criminal justice system for victims. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand tsunami monitoring and detection system to be established
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have today announced the deployment of a network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys. “New Zealand and the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. It is vital we have adequate warning systems in place,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • DART Buoys Announcement
    DART Buoys Announcement Aotea Wharf, 9.30am 11 December 2019   Acknowledgements Acknowledgements to Minister for Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare also here today. White Island It is with regret that this event shadows the tragic natural disaster two days ago. The volcanic eruptions on White Island have claimed 5 lives, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago