Friday Flash

November 24, 2017


Katie Milne, President
National Council in Wellington on Wednesday and Thursday proved a useful opportunity for provincial representatives to air their views on key issues, and to mingle with Coalition politicians.
An address from Hon. Karlene Maywald, chair of the Australian National Water Commission, underlined a lesson that is true here, Across the Ditch – and probably everywhere else too. Water is a precious commodity and to manage it well you need full community participation and coverage, not singling out individual sector groups.
Your provincial presidents now have the latest information on GIA involvement and scaling up our Adverse Events capability (you’ll hear more on both over the coming months) and we also had a great session on biodiversity, with a clear insight from regional council and other speakers that the best progress is made with farmer buy-in, not imposition of more regulations. A quick survey of Council members showed 95 per cent have some native biodiversity preservation initiatives happening on their farms by choice, and I’m confident that’s also widespread among the Federation’s membership.
Congratulations to the Hurunui district’s Pahau River project, named the supreme winner in last night’s 2017 National River Awards. This is a dairy farm in the heart of one of the most densely irrigated parts of North Canterbury, and in fact may of the initiatives honoured were farmer and/or community-led, and it was also exciting to see there was plenty of school kids getting involved too.

Tax Working Group told not to consider GST, income tax changes

This week the Government announced that Sir Michael Cullen will chair the Tax Working Group and released its terms of reference.

Although the Government wants to make the tax system ‘more progressive’, it is reassuring that it has ruled out increasing any income tax rate, the rate of GST, or introducing inheritance taxes. It is also reassuring that the Working Group will look at the tax system in context of it being able to fund Government’s operating expenditure around its historical level of 30% of GDP – not to grow that share.

But a capital gains tax and possibly also a land tax are options on the table. Federated Farmers has long opposed both.

Because of exemptions, most notably on the family home, a CGT won’t do anything to add to the efficiency or effectiveness of the tax system or result in more affordable housing. But they will impose a significant cost on farmers when they sell their properties. Read Nick Clark’s full economic analysis.

Predator-Free work of farmers recognised

The efforts of farmers who have most successfully dealt with predators including possums, rats, feral cats and stoats will be recognised with a new Predator Free Farm Award, which will be presented for the first time next year as part of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The Chair of Predator Free NZ Trust, Sir Rob Fenwick, said farmers manage a significant proportion of the New Zealand landscape so they are vital in the drive to make New Zealand predator free.

“We know many farmers who have been involved in significant predator control programmes on their land for many years. More and more are seeing the brand value and property enhancement by predator eradication on their properties.”

Better signs for arable as AIMI results released

A healthy supply of grain, with prices holding firm, has Arable farmers crossing their fingers after a damp start to spring. The latest industry survey (AIMI) for the nation’s cereal growers reveals a resurgence in feed barley with planting returning to regular, historical levels.

Federated Farmers Grains Vice Chair Brian Leadley says signs are better for the industry as a whole after the previous two seasons, which were indifferent.

"There has been reluctance among growers towards the barley market. But this present wet spring has actually prompted many to plant barley as they’ve been unable to plant other vegetable crops in sodden conditions."
Here’s a copy of our media release on the outlook for arable.

Another attempt at new rabbit calicivirus

The planned release of a new strain of the rabbit calicivirus appears back on track for next autumn after a complicated approvals process couldn’t be completed in the lead-up to winter this year.

Graham Sullivan, ECan regional leader biosecurity, says that when this year’s hoped-for release was shelved it was considered important to delay the release to next autumn -- the time of greatest effectiveness. During autumn there are no naturally immune newborn rabbits, and carrot bait is then most attractive and it lasts better on the ground.
Rural News has covered the issue, here.

Tasty new name for Simply Payroll

Federated Farmers strategic partner Simply Payroll chose our National Council meeting in Wellington on Wednesday to announce its rebrand as PaySauce.

Following two years of expansion and a Fintech category win at the 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards, the move represents a broadening in its approach to helping businesses manage their people, CEO and co-founder Asantha Wijeyeratne said. PaySauce will be releasing extra features and functionality, such as fully-mobile rostering and time sheeting, human resource management tools, contract management, and budgeting and resource allocation advice.
Asantha explains more in a video on the PaySauce site.

48-hour Hackathon ponders hunger question

What is the future of what we eat and grow? That’s the topic multi-disciplinary teams will tackle in the Lincoln Hub Hackathon in Christchurch on 2 and 3 December.

How can we sustainably feed our planet’s rapidly-growing population (8.5 billion by 2030)? How can we innovate to create New Zealand’s future agricultural and food industries? Are plant-based protein solutions part of the answer?

You can look on as a live panel of judges hear what the competing teams came up with at the ‘Feed the World Pitch Showcase’ on Sunday 3 Dec., 4.30-7.30pm (park in the Orchard Carpark off Springs Rd, gate 3 at Lincoln) but you must register for the event.

A Kauri in the Forest - Michael Spaans

Condolences on the death of DairyNZ chairman Michael Spaans earlier this week have come from all over, including from Federated Farmers.

Federation vice-president Andrew Hoggard said Michael was an asset to the dairy sector and agriculture with his extensive governance acumen.

Above all though, he will remember him as “a farmer first and foremost and someone who especially cared about decisions and what that meant on-farm.”

Beef + Lamb steps up on sustainability front

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has been elected on to the Board of Directors of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) for a two-year term.

The GRSB is a global initiative developed to advance continuous improvement in sustainability of the global beef value chain through leadership, science, engagement and collaboration.

“This is about B+LNZ on behalf of New Zealand beef farmers and the wider industry stepping up into a global leadership role,” CEO Sam McIvor said. “It is also recognition of the high standing of New Zealand and our beef farmers when it comes to sustainability globally.

Feds looking for a new Commercial Manager

Federated Farmers is recruiting for a Commercial Manager to join its senior management team. The role involves developing profitable new revenue streams, identifying and commercialising ‘value add’ for FFNZ members and increasing professional engagement to secure new commercial partners and look after our existing ones.

You’ll need a minimum of 5 years’ relevant commercial experience, with a proven track record of success. For a copy of the position description and an application form please contact Gillian Bright on email

Applications close 5 December.

We’re also looking for a policy advisor and Territory Manager

Federated Farmers is recruiting for a full-time Senior Policy Advisor / Policy Advisor to join its Regional Policy and Advocacy team, based in Manawatu or the Waikato. The role will suit someone who recognises that the primary industry is at the heart of the New Zealand economy and has a strong understanding of the RMA and the business of farming. Someone with experience of the RMA, primary or science sector, legal, government or a related industry is preferred.

We are looking for a self-motivated sales person to join our team covering Manawatu, Tararua, Rangitikei and Wairarapa areas. As a Territory Manager, your roles will include selling memberships and the Federation’s industry specific contracts and agreements as well as liaison with farmers, current members, the regional policy team and our provincial executive.

Soil – are we treating it like dirt?

Broadcaster Kim Hill and a panel of experts will delve into soil for the annual Lincoln Envirotown Trust ‘Kim Hill Hot Topic’ next year. The topic is: ‘Soil – are we letting our most precious resource slip through our fingers?’

The panel includes: Trish Fraser of Plant and Food Research, Ravensdown’s Ants Roberts, Mike Hedley from Massey University and farmer/company director Andy MacFarlane.

It’s on March 22, 7pm in the Stewart Building of Lincoln University, $5 koha, includes refreshments. Cash bar. Register here.  


Clutha minimum flow and allocations under review

Otago Regional Council (ORC) is at the start of a process for establishing how much water is available for use from the Clutha River/Mata-au. Before working on management options, the council is holding a series of public consultation meetings to get the views of farmers and others involved.

Meetings still to happen are in Cromwell (Nov 27), Alexandra (Nov 28), Roxburgh (Dec 4) and Balclutha (Dec 5). Click here to provide feedback online, or for information on the public consultation sessions.

Federated Farmers will be involved throughout the process. If you have any questions, contact Senior Policy Advisor David Cooper M: 0274755615 E:

Merry Christmas in Ruapehu

The Ruapehu province annual gathering for some Christmas socialising will also include an address from Jerald Twomey from Horizons on Te Kopuka, the stakeholder group with interests in Te Awa Tupua, the Whanganui River.

When: Wednesday, December 6 from 6 pm
Where: Lauren’s Lavender Farm, 1381 River Road

$38 for dinner.

RSVP to Audrey Walker 07 894 5833 or by November 29

Hamilton quiz night features Te Radar

The Rural Support Trust will be holding the first ever Waikato RST Quiz Night and Charity Auction on Friday next week at Gordonton Hall, Hamilton. Doors open at 6:30pm, a light supper will also be provided. New Zealand comedian and television personality, Te Radar will be our guest MC for the evening. This event is open to all, so please encourage your friends and colleagues to make up a team and join in - not only a good excuse for a night out but also a great chance to catch up with others and all monies raised will go back into supporting our rural communities.

Register your team: or 021 180 2995

Take Time Before You Sign – final call

Are you a farm owner, sharemilker, contract milker or farm manager advertising or applying for a new position? Do you want to improve the relationship in an existing agreement?

Access the tools and information you’ll need to confidently build a successful relationship.

Hear from other farmers who follow a due diligence process and this event, hosted by DairyNZ and Federated Farmers.

November 30, Inglewood, Taranaki,10am – 2pm with lunch provided

Registrations essential.


NZ Women’s Leadership Development

This is the last call for women working in the farming and agriculture sector to express their interest in scholarship funding that is currently available. The fee support provides women with funding of between $3,000 and $8,000 to undertake a range of leadership development programmes.

The funding window closes on December 15 and it is uncertain when these grants will be available again. More information and initial expressions of interest are available here.

Alert system tested on Sunday

The nationwide test of the Emergency Mobile Alert system is happening this Sunday, 6 - 7pm.

As described in an earlier Flash, these are messages about emergencies sent by authorised agencies to mobile phones enabled to receive them. If your phone is on, capable and inside the targeted area, you should get the alerts. You don’t have to download an app or subscribe to a service, just ensure your phone is capable and updated.

Dairy Award entries light in some regions

With less than a week to go until entries close for the 2018 Dairy Industry Awards, some provinces are looking a little light on contenders – Manawatu, Taranaki and Northland among them. It’s time to get your information together and get online to vie for the 2018 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions. The deadline is November 30.

Seeking Environment Projects Manager

B+LNZ is recruiting for the new position of Environment Projects Manager to oversee the delivery of a diverse programme of work in the environment space. This permanent position will ideally be based in, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton or Hastings – although Christchurch would be an advantage. A full ad and job description can be viewed here. Applications close on 1 December.

Ngaruroro Water Conservation Order hearings

Federated Farmers urges members who are submitters on the Ngaruroro Water Conservation Order to check the hearing schedule, as it has been shifted forward since it was last released. Submitters are being heard from 16 November, and Federated Farmers is now scheduled to speak on 5 December. Members are invited to attend as audience when Federated Farmers presents evidence. There has been a surprise development with co-applicant Ngati Hori writing to the Regional Council saying that they do not support the WCO and that the application was made by two trustees, who did not consult with the other eight. 


US Professor condemns New Zealand’s pest and possum ‘murder’

University of Colorado ecology and biology Professor Marc Bekoff says New Zealand children are being brought up to hate and be cruel to wild animals. Feds President Katie Milne defended school possum hunt fundraisers, but said they need to be done ethically.