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By Newsroom America Feeds at 15 Feb 2018


/////////////////////////////////////////// Drought recovery focuses on feed

Posted: 15 Feb 2018 05:06 PM PST

Rain has brought relief to some drought-affected regions but farmers need to carefully review their feed budgets and plans for winter, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Mr O’Connor has previously announced a medium-scale adverse event, due to dry conditions, for Southland, Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago, Clutha, Grey and Buller districts, Wellington, Taranaki and Manawatu-Whanganui. The Government has provided funding for Rural Support Trusts and agencies to help those farming communities. Mr O’Connor said while recent rain had helped to green up parts of the country, NIWA’s NZ Drought Index showed soil moisture levels were still lower than normal in Southland, and in the North Island’s coastal areas from Taranaki and the Manawatu southwards. “I encourage farmers to make the most of Federated Farmers’ feedline at, which is a free service to both members and non-members. Farmers should also talk to their advisors about feed planning options. “The Rural Support Trust is doing great work in helping farmers manage the situation and I thank them for it.’’ Mr O’Connor said that in the lower North Island particularly, farmers had been unable to make their usual feed supplements due to a prolonged wet winter, short spring and then drought. “In Southland where rivers and groundwater levels are getting back to normal thanks to great rainfall recently, there is no question that the number one focus of our farmers is getting enough feed produced for the winter. “Rural Advisory Groups are active in each drought-affected area, co-ordinating information between Rural Support Trusts, industry and agri-business organisations and government agencies to support farmers with access to resources and information.” Mr O’Connor said industry groups Dairy NZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand were doing good work helping their members. He encouraged farmers to talk to their accountants, banks and rural professionals about other forms of managing financially through recovery. Contact: Kelly Spring 021 824 890

More information Rural Support Trusts offer a free and confidential support service to rural people. Call them on 0800 787 354 (0800 RURAL HELP) or go to Federated Farmers' Feedline is open to both members and non-members sourcing or offering feed:

/////////////////////////////////////////// Minister Sepuloni shows support for our Winter Games Paralympians

Posted: 15 Feb 2018 04:55 PM PST

Letters of support and a special video message from Minister for Disability Issues Hon Carmel Sepuloni are on their way to our Paralympians as they prepare to compete in South Korea. “On behalf of all New Zealanders I want to wish the team the very best for competing in the upcoming 2018 Paralympic Winter Games,” Minister Sepuloni said. The Minister today met with the support team and acknowledged the hard work they are doing in preparing the Paralympians for the event. The dedicated support team will share the video and hand deliver the letters when they join the athletes in PyeongChang. “Paralympics has an important role in challenging common misconceptions about disabled people,” Minister Sepuloni said. “It’s important to me we show our appreciation for the talent and hard work that has taken our Paralympians to the top of their sports. Representing New Zealand are para alpine skiers Corey Peters and Adam Hall and para snowboarder Carl Murphy. Aaron Ewen, an alpine skier, has unfortunately withdrawn due to injury. The city of PyeongChang is hosting the games which run from 9 to18 March and our New Zealand team is hoping to win at least two medals. “New Zealand has a great tradition of achievement in the Paralympics, which all New Zealand can be proud of,” says Minister Sepuloni. -ENDS- Media contact: Amanda Snow 021 282 0078

/////////////////////////////////////////// Unity of effort a key to lifting Māori economic performance

Posted: 15 Feb 2018 04:19 PM PST

A strong partnership between central Government, Māori business and whānau, and their partners in the wider community, is essential to further boosting Māori economic performance, says Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta. In speech notes for an address to the National Māori Business Networks and Māori Enterprises Conference, Te Hekenga III, in Tauranga today, the minister said improving the lives of all whānau and addressing inequality were a key part of the Government’s priorities. “There is significant scope to raise the contribution of the Māori economy, for example, through iwi-led business initiatives such as the ones successfully carried out by the likes of Ngāi Tahu and Waikato-Tainui. “Besides improving the well-being and security of whānau, this will benefit New Zealand as a whole. What’s good for Māori is good for the rest of New Zealand.” But Nanaia Mahuta said an important element of achieving better whānau development outcomes is successful smaller-scale whānau enterprise, noting that small-to-medium Māori enterprises – employers or self-employed Māori - make up a large portion of the growing Māori economy. “A growing body of evidence tells us when you build up whanaungatanga, the strength of quality whānau relationships, Māori get much better outcomes across the board.” Nanaia Mahuta noted that the biggest current Māori contribution to the wider econ­omy is Māori earning salaries and wages, and with a young Māori population, this contribution will significantly increase over the next 20 years. She said Māori already have the inherent skill, knowledge and passion to do even better in the economy. “All of us here have a critical part to play, and a responsibility, to unleash that potential, connect it to practical support and make it a soaring reality for us all to enjoy.” Nanaia Mahuta outlined a series of steps for further success by Māori businesses, including working together, innovating in areas of established strength and boosting capability. “The Government is committed to doing its bit in building capability in Māori business, leadership and governance to improve economic and social outcomes for Māori – with a focus on rangatahi to ensure future success.” The government’s Crown-Māori strategy for Māori economic development He kai kei aku ringa sets some ambitious targets for Māori progress from 2017 to 2021 – with the overarching goal being to increase Māori median income by 20 per cent. “When we all work together – Government, Māori business and whānau and our partners in the wider community – all of our aspirations stand a greater, more powerful chance of truly being achieved.”

/////////////////////////////////////////// Temporary Accommodation Service activated for West Coast flooding

Posted: 15 Feb 2018 02:57 PM PST

West Coast residents hit by flooding caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Fehi can now access help finding temporary accommodation with the Government activating the Temporary Accommodation Service, Associate Minister of Housing and Urban Development Jenny Salesa announced today. “The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help people whose homes were damaged by the extreme weather and flooding on 1 February 2018, when ex-Tropical Cyclone Fehi hit New Zealand,” says Ms Salesa. “TAS is working with local authorities to assess the damage and establish how many homes will need to be repaired or rebuilt, but it is clear assistance finding temporary accommodation will be required for a number of households. “The TAS team will collect registrations from displaced people who require temporary accommodation, establish what accommodation options are suitable, and match them accordingly. “The service has proved very successful in the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes, and the Edgecumbe floods, and the level of damage and displacement justifies us establishing this service in the West Coast. “I urge anyone who has a current or expected need following the flooding on the West Coast to register their details at or alternatively, call 0508 754 163 to discuss your requirements. “I would also urge tenants and landlords of rental properties to visit to familiarise themselves with their tenancy rights and obligations following an event like this.” The Temporary Accommodation Service continues to provide support to households following the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, and the April 2017 Edgecumbe floods, and has received 434 and 147 registrations from households in those areas respectively. The same team also helped more than 6,500 households affected by the Canterbury earthquakes find temporary accommodation, over 1,100 of which were in Government established villages. Contact: Kieran Meredith, 027 879 2336

/////////////////////////////////////////// Newly launched book on Social Investment timely and thought provoking

Posted: 15 Feb 2018 02:48 PM PST

Speaking at the launch of Social Investment – A New Zealand Policy Experiment, the Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, said that the book couldn’t have come at a better time. A collection of articles from 28 thought-leaders, the book is Aotearoa’s first independent, critical look at what Social Investment could be – discussing both its potential and its limitations. Minister Sepuloni said, “This book – with its analysis, critique, discussion and observations makes a huge contribution to our Government’s thinking on social investment. “It’s an exciting resource for us as we look to repackage Social Investment. “Particularly for the insights and different approaches the Government might take and exploring how social investment might evolve to serve the needs of New Zealanders.” Minister Sepuloni said that she hoped the book’s publication will generate greater engagement and discussion about Social Investment – both amongst sector specialists and the general public. “It’s important that we discuss Social Investment more widely than in political circles – in particular amongst those who more often than not may be directly impacted but have very little say. Minister Sepuloni said that Social Investment had great potential, and could be a powerful tool to help New Zealanders, as long as careful, considered steps are taken to determine how and when it is used. “This Government came into leadership with a distinct set of principles, that these same principles will guide our refinement of the Social Investment Approach. “We are committed to treating people with dignity and respect – this includes being respectful to their right to privacy; believing in people – focussing on their strengths; and consulting people about decisions that impact them. While the Minister embraced the potential of Social Investment, she stressed that both analytical and non-analytical information are important. “People’s real and lived experiences are important to me. So when we are thinking about data and social investment we also need to understand, professional judgement, moral and ethical positions the diverse social and cultural contexts of people’s lives. “These are all pivotal factors to interrogating data, interpreting insights and understanding how services need to respond on the ground. Data and analytics are important but they cannot be divorced from the human experience of how and why we use them. “I want to congratulate the editors, Jonathan Boston and Derek Gill, and all the contributors – this book is a credit to all those involved and I look forward to drawing on their many insights as we travel this road together. “ -ENDS- Media contact: Amanda Snow 021 282 0078

Background Edited by Professor Jonathan Boston of Victoria University and Derek Gill New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), Social Investment – A New Zealand Policy Experiment is a culmination of a joint project between the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) and the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research (NZIER) to explore New Zealand’s social investment approach. The book brings together thought pieces from a diverse group of contributors’ - from professors, economists, advisors, researchers, chief executives – to a former deputy prime minister Jonathan Boston (Editor) – Professor of Public Policy in the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), and is published widely on public management, social policy, comparative government and New Zealand Politics. Derek Gill (Editor) – Principal Economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), and Senior Associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, with significant experience working in the public and private not-for-profit sectors.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Government to review law on protection for whistle blowers

Posted: 15 Feb 2018 02:11 PM PST

Work has begun on a review of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today.

The Government is exploring whether the law and procedures to protect whistle blowers need to be strengthened. The review will start with a series of targeted workshops next week.

“Getting this right is critical to building public confidence in the integrity of government and business in New Zealand,” Mr Hipkins says.

“It is crucial that employees feel safe to report cases of serious misconduct. Anyone who raises issues of serious misconduct or wrongdoing needs to have faith that their role, reputation, and career development will not be jeopardised when speaking up.

“The first step in this review is to identify possible gaps and weaknesses in the current Act.”

The Act aims to promote the public interest by facilitating the disclosure and investigation of serious wrongdoing in the workplace, and providing protection for individuals who report concerns.

However, recent analysis and misconduct cases suggest New Zealand’s legislation may not be working as effectively as it could and lags behind international practice in a number of key areas.

Next week’s workshops will be attended by stakeholders in the public and private sectors who have knowledge and experience with the Act. The aim is to gather perspectives on the key issues and challenges and discuss the benefits and risks of different reform choices.

Feedback from the workshops will inform the next step in the process, including the issue of a wider public discussion.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill passed

Posted: 14 Feb 2018 11:02 PM PST

Provisions to manage Fonterra’s dominant position in New Zealand’s dairy markets will continue under changes to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA). Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor says the law change, passed by Parliament today, means the efficiency and contestability provisions of the Act will no longer expire in the South Island on 31 May 2018. The Government will now undertake a comprehensive review of the DIRA and consult fully with the dairy sector. Minister O’Connor says the review will consider key issues facing the dairy industry, including, for example, environmental impact, land use, Fonterra’s obligation to collect milk, and how to achieve the best outcomes for farmers, consumers and the New Zealand economy. Details on timing, delivery and definitive scope will be considered by Cabinet in the coming weeks. “It was not in the interest of farmers, dairy processors, consumers, or the wider New Zealand economy to let these key DIRA provisions expire in the South Island and tinkering with the Act would not answer some of the bigger questions facing the industry. “By rolling over the Act and committing ourselves to a wide-ranging review we are taking a considered and strategic approach to the changing needs of the dairy industry.’’ A report from the Commerce Commission, published in 2016, found that competition was not yet sufficient to warrant the removal of the DIRA provisions. This Government is satisfied that it is appropriate to retain the existing provisions while the review is conducted. “Officials are currently working on the terms of reference for the review, and I intend to share these with the New Zealand public and the dairy industry in the first half of this year,” says Mr O’Connor. The DIRA was passed in 2001 to manage Fonterra’s dominant position in dairy markets, until sufficient competition emerged. Its automatic expiry provisions were triggered in 2015, when other dairy processors collected more than 20 percent of milksolids in the South Island. Key DIRA provisions to remain in the South Island Fonterra must accept applications to become a shareholding supplier, except in limited circumstances, and allow shareholding suppliers to withdraw from the Cooperative in a timely manner. The Commerce Commission must each year review the calculation of Fonterra’s farm gate milk price for the dairy season that has just concluded. It must also review Fonterra’s methodology for calculating this price. Fonterra suppliers are permitted to sell 20 percent of their season’s milk production to another processor.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Education Amendment Bill passes first reading

Posted: 14 Feb 2018 09:50 PM PST

A Government Bill to strengthen our public education system passed its first reading in Parliament today, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Education Amendment Bill guarantees places for staff and student representatives on Tertiary Education Institution councils; introduces a new offence for lying in a fees free eligibility declaration; and ends the Charter School model and National Standards. It does not affect existing charter schools, which are currently in negotiations with the Ministry of Education. The House voted 63 for: 46 Labour, 9 NZ First, 8 Greens; and 57 against: 56 National. Act 1. “This is a major step in fulfilling several of our election promises for education. “The Bill recognises the important perspective staff and students bring to the governance of our tertiary institutions. It will also end National Standards and repeals legislation that allows for future charter schools. “Existing charter schools remain able to operate under their contracts while the Ministry of Education discusses future options on a case-by-case basis.” The Bill also changes the timeframe for school boards to develop their strategic plans to three years from four. “The Opposition vote is no surprise. They have been running around scaremongering among charter schools for months, while we, through the Ministry, continue to actively explore new arrangements for the schools, in the interests of the kids and their families.” The Bill now goes off to the Education and Workforce select committee for consideration.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Mycoplasma bovis eradication still on the table as milk testing results flow in

Posted: 14 Feb 2018 08:49 PM PST

Initial results from the first round of milk testing from all producing dairy farms for Mycoplasma bovis indicate eradication of the disease remains a viable option as work to contain it ramps up, says Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. The first round of the joint industry MPI surveillance programme is near completion with no positive detections. Tests have been completed on the tanker milk from 9100 dairy farms without a positive detection. The remaining tests will be completed early next week. “This is a good result and gives us confidence we are on the right track as we hunt down this disease,” says Mr O’Connor. “However, there is still a big job to do to determine the extent of the spread – we have two rounds of discard milk testing to complete. The discard milk comes from animals displaying an illness of some type and may paint a different picture.” In addition to the milk testing, MPI is working with urgency to build a complete picture of the scale and location of the disease in New Zealand to fully inform whether eradication from the country is feasible and economically viable. “MPI’s own tracing programme is a critical part of this. To date a vast web of some 1500 farms has been connected from animal movements, and more than 85,000 samples from at-risk herds have been tested. Clearly most of these farms have been ruled out from having the disease but the task is intensive and MPI has accelerated this work through additional laboratory and field capacity.” This work includes boosting on-farm blood testing teams. The effort to date has exposed one significant ‘hub’ of infection in Southland. MPI’s tracing programme has been made more difficult by the fact there appears to have been significant un-recorded movement of young calves around this hub. MPI will shortly start a public campaign encouraging farmers to report any at-risk animal movements that are not captured in recording systems such as NAIT. “Despite the complexity, we remain committed to getting rid of Mycoplasma bovis if at all possible. We know we’re up against a hard deadline. “It is vital farmers who have purchased animals they believe might be at risk, and who have not been contacted by MPI already, get in touch with the response team immediately on 0800 80 99 66. “We need this information to locate any infection out there and get rid of it. It is crucial for the future livelihoods of all New Zealand dairy and beef farmers.” The response at a glance: There are 23 infected properties – 22 in the lower South Island and one in the Hawke’s Bay There are currently 48 farms that have been made a Restricted Place under the Biosecurity Act – meaning all risk goods including animals cannot be moved on or off the farm The 23 infected properties are included in the 48 farms under Restricted Place Notice There are also 110 farms that have been issued Notices of Direction (NoD) – where the farms are not confirmed infected, but are at high-risk. These properties have restrictions on the movement of risk goods off the farm 1500 trace farms – that have either supplied animals to infected farms or received animals from infected farms Since July MPI has held 11 public meetings with around 3000 in attendance in total A further 53 farmer meetings have been held or are scheduled around the country to inform farmers about the National Surveillance Programme, the wider response and how to protect their farms through on-farm biosecurity measures. Around 13,000 people are expected to attend these meetings. Full information on Mycoplasma bovis and the response is at

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