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GROWTH in the name of immigration

It seems that the Government are happy to have very open borders, bringing in 70,000 people annually because it keeps growth in the economy.That is probably true, but there are some serious distortions appearing.I also appreciate that these figures include Kiwis returning home to New Zealand; and a caveat here is that if the world turns grumpy there will be a massive rush back "home" for all those with a Kiwi passport. Let's consider some of the issues : 70,000 people is a city the size of ...

March 24, 2017

THE KIWI DISCONNECT and wilful blindness

It occurs to me that there is a lot happening in the world as people go away from globalisation and back to identifying with their own continent and ethnicity.Is it the Brexit and Trumpet? Everywhere in New Zealand there seems to be this Kiwi disconnect between reality and what is happening.Examples could include Friends who are building a new home on a very economic kiwifruit and avocado block only to be told they have to demolish the existing sound four bedroom home that is already on the...

March 19, 2017

Remember when....

We milked a house cow out in the paddock sitting on an old wooden stool using a stainless steel bucket jammed between our knees. And when walk-through cowsheds had that special smell and we cleaned up the yard by scooping the muck up with a square mouth shovel into a "konaki" and then swilled the yard clear with buckets of water scooped out of the trough. We had small tractors, towing big implements with a steel seat and no roof over or air conditioning. They had dodgy brakes and low horsepowe...

March 5, 2017

BREXIT and TRUMPET like it or lump it!

The world has changed forever. Globalisation is now threatening the people and they are voting against bureaucracy, control and the money in their country going into the hands of a few. Mr Trump's election has shone the spotlight right on an over controlled society. We are starting to see the media as an authority on all information. They give opinion on all matters right through to economics with the information age and mobile devices we are all connected to exactly what is happening at any mo...

February 3, 2017

What goes up will come down!

I well remember Professor Philpot at Lincoln University lecturing us on this very point ... "what goes up will come down" – and down, it will. Just ask any dairy farmer who saw his payout crash to half after an $8 payout. For New Zealand the simplest economic formula applies around supply and demand, with the housing market demand way exceeding supply for housing - we have about 60,000 extra people arriving and we are building about 20,000 houses. So, as demand exceeds supply – prices rise....

November 29, 2016

Social Isolation and Farmers

Social isolation is not exclusive to farmers – let me make that point clear. Apparently there are two ends of the scale for socialization. At one end of the scale you have high maintenance people (like me apparently) who need feed-back from people to make them function properly and feel valued. At the other end of the scale are those who don't need feed-back. If everything is going well they are fine, and they only want to know when there is a problem. Lighthouse keepers and many farmers tend...

November 29, 2016

Passive Income And ‘Retirement’

Given that I am semi-retired, still as busy as ever, and given that I see and hear a lot about life I thought I should traverse some of the key issues around passive income. It is tough enough giving up our farms and orchards to the next generation or selling to a new purchaser, let alone having to face lack of retirement cash flow. I admit right here that I had scant regard as to how our twilight years might look 10 years ago with very little passive income organised. I am a bit like the mech...

November 29, 2016

Hero to Zero

There has been a lot written about our aging farmers and the issues they face over succession and "moving on", but the stark reality for most is that it is absolutely frightening. What I am talking about here is the transition from being important and fully engaged in your business to being unimportant and disengaged. I thought it appropriate at the start of 2016 to explore some of the issues around it. More than that I am experiencing it myself so can speak from a personal point of view too. W...

November 29, 2016

Keep It Simple

We see people with such complicated lives and complicated businesses and you wonder how they cope. In fact, many don't. They often get completely overrun with everything which can lead to ill health, heart attack and so on. A great friend of mind had a small farm in the South Island. He ran some breeding ewes and kept replacements. He grew wheat, barley, white clover seed and rye grass seed. He reared calves and fattened them. He bought extra cattle and sold them. He had all has own gear and di...

November 29, 2016

This is a Bank Led Recession

The banking led recession started in the United States and flowed through into rest of the world. The banks got out of control, lent too much money and created a sub-prime mortgage market in the United States and other Western countries. Easy Credit and 100% finance on housing created the problems we now face. More than that, there were no international finance structures between countries so it was like a free for all. It appears there were very few checks and balances within the finance st...

November 8, 2016

Are the Economies of New Zealand and the World Deflating?

The world has spent about 80 years with inflation. Every day we have seen prices rise and almost every day we need more dollars to purchase the basics. The price of land has almost always needed more dollars to make a purchase reality. A barrel of oil has always needed more dollars for its acquisition as well. About four months ago we started needing fewer dollars. You only need half the dollars to purchase a barrel of oil now. You can buy real estate and shares for less than you paid before. ...

November 8, 2016

Is The Party Over?

Ten years of unprecedented good times are over! It has been a generational thing. New Zealand's economy (also the worlds) has been very cyclical. If you look at the passport section of the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, it is displayed on a wall how up and down our small economy has been over the decades. Unfortunately for us, the recent good times have lasted for ten years. Cycles normally have a three to five year span. This ten year cycle has given us a false level of financial confidenc...

November 8, 2016

Strong global demand - but how is it going to look back home for NZ agriculture

NZ Agriculture looks to be in a strong position. The world-wide shortage of food is going to make New Zealand one of the lucky countries. Lucky because we are well away from the bulging hungry populations; Lucky because we are a food producing nation that does not eat all its products and has plenty to sell; Lucky because we are in a temperate climate with relatively regular rainfalls. Distance from our consumers was a disadvantage and now I think it will become our main advantage. Why?...

November 8, 2016

How is the New Zealand economy going to look three years from now?

In January 2005, three years ago, I wrote a philosophy about how New Zealand agriculture might look ten years on. I thought I had taken a huge risk at the time in outlining what I foresaw. In this article I will cover off initially what I saw as the issues then and then I will cover off how I see the issues coming in over the next three to five years. What I predicted: Big corporates and dynasties would own much of our farm land. There would be more leasing and share farming and 50:50 share...

November 8, 2016

The Year that Was and the Year to Come

2007 was a year of adjustment. We saw Fonterra offering us their capital restructuring programme hoping for a 75% vote in 2008. They need to stop farmers cashing up their shares and going to unshared supply. I am personally concerned at the mass exodus as farmers I know cash up their shares. We saw the flight to quality in New Zealand as the subprime market in the US unfolded. We also watched as a number of finance companies in New Zealand collapse and I think, sadly, there may be more to ...

November 8, 2016

Some interesting facts on the US economy

Should the economic downturn of the US economy play out then the impact on our economy will be noticeable. Countries are moving away from the Greenback to the Euro and Yen. NZ trades more and more in these other currencies as well. I have studied some of the facts around what is happening in the US economy and set them out as follows: Many of the US population eat highly processed food and subsequently have health costs double that of any other nation in the world. The US is a large contine...

November 8, 2016

Food Producers - not Farmers

Well the only thing for certain is it is going to be less certain. To look at our own rural fortunes, going forward, we need to firstly check out the international scene. We are a global economy and what happens overseas directly impacts on us in New Zealand. New Zealand is a very small country at the bottom of the world and we need to remember this. New Zealand is one big farm with some tourism and a few other industries thrown in. We need to keep this in mind as the government is always tryi...

November 8, 2016

A food revolution?

A food revolution, can you see one coming? Having witnessed the rapid rise of all food prices, but particularly dairy on the back of a world food shortage, it is time to give this matter some serious consideration. What has happened is demand has exceeded supply resulting in a considerable price rise. Skim milk power, for example, has doubled in price in recent months. The demand for all grain has risen along with world prices. Grain is now in the three way competition: For stock feed (95%...

November 8, 2016

A permanent and substantial shift in the money market has occurred

The fallout from the finance company failure is a flight to quality. Money is being removed, at a rapid rate, from various finance companies and deposited with the banks and those that have the perceived quality. The problem is that suddenly all the second tier money has vanished. Apparently, one broker recently went to seven lenders to find only two had money to lend. More than that, their appetite for risk has gone. Only the safer deals with a wide security margin are being funded. So borrower...

November 8, 2016

A two-speed economy?

It's all getting very interesting, isn't it? New Zealand is blessed; we have for sale what the world is demanding. Food. Furthermore, we have good quality food, still with the clean green image. Something that must be maintained at all costs. The world is short of food. The butter and food mountains have vanished, subsidies are off. Australia has had a rough season. India and China want to eat protein as their standard of living rises, only to find the world food larder empty. It really is emp...

November 8, 2016

Where is the National Plan for Agriculture?

New Zealand's agriculture provides 60% of overseas income. With this huge percentage of exported agriculture, should we not have a National Agriculture Plan? At the very least to honour this great country that provides our export earnings, and allows us the lifestyle and standards that we have become accustomed to. More than that, the sudden demand for all foods across all sectors, on the back of a hungry world, puts us even more in the spotlight. It is little wonder our dollar has been slow to ...

November 8, 2016

Boom times in dairying?

The outlook for dairying appears to be very strong. What are the issues surrounding this? And how might the industry look in 3 to 5 years? Well to begin with, I feel that it is noteworthy to state that our dairy product is unique in many ways. It can be made into 140 different products and many are not just food items either. Dairy products are a basic necessity to our lives. The rapid rise in price for all dairy products has taken most people by surprise. Many commentators said they never s...

November 8, 2016

Oil: the life blood - or black gold

Much is written about the role of oil in our economies. More is written about its scarcity. Recent media releases indicate that the OPEC ( Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) are cutting back oil supply, which has forced the price up, which will affect our economy. If the dollar drops oil prices will soar. We now have grain prices rising rapidly. This is due to biofuel production from grain competing with grain scarcity for animal production; 95% of the world's milk production is fr...

November 8, 2016

Farmers' Gross National Happiness

After recently meeting a student doing IB (International Baccalaureate) exams on Gross National Happiness, I was inspired to write about "Farmers Happiness". Gross National Happiness is as distinct from Gross Domestic Product. GDP is a financial index of economic well-being which includes a lot of negativity and has very little recognition of the environment and its people. The GNH (Gross National Happiness) concept originated in Bhutan over 20 years ago and is now used internationally to mea...

November 8, 2016

Priority is the name of the game

How often do we keep on doing what we are comfortable with? We just keep on doing what is easy and will cause us the least amount of stress. If we have had a bad experience with something, we may not like to go back there! Examples might include; running out of money, getting hopelessly in debt or not wanting to open the bank statements for fear we are out of money again. Sound familiar? It is to me. It's easier just to think about milking the cows and going down the farm. We can all too of...

November 8, 2016 Posts 1-25 of 183 | Page next
 

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