Monday, 25 July 2011

The Global Dairy Trade Event and the Dollar

# Big Farming Story of the Week: The Global Dairy Trade Event and the Dollar.

Ouch! Like two ugly sisters waiting in the wings to derail a fairytale ending to a Cinderella dairy season, the latest GDTE (down 5.1%) and the NZ dollar (ensconced in the mid US80c range) are conspiring to be real party poopers.

The bad news is dairy farmers should enjoy the current $8 payout while it lasts because the opening forecast payout for the 2011/12 season of $7-15 to $7-25 increasingly looks like it could start with a six rather than a seven. The good news is the 1.33 billion Chinese and the 1.17 billion Indians are not going away overnight. But overnight some of them are becoming middle-class and are craving westernized protein. They will make us a rich country - not overnight - but within two decades.

# Big Political Story of the Week: The folly of Labour’s tax proposal.

Likeable bloke or not, the latest political polls show Phil Goff is a dead man walking. And so he should be after what can only be described as another cynical attack on farming. One third of the tax collected from his proposed capital gains tax will be gathered from farmers.

Fearless Phil needs to realize that broadening the tax base is not about killing the goose that lays the golden egg. All that does is encourage the goose to fly to Australia. The facts speak for themselves, the most damning of all being 97% of the net taxation is paid by 17% of households (those earning a combined $120,000 or more). A majority of New Zealanders pay little or no income tax. Farmers, the productive sector and the highly productive entrepreneurs who drive the economy should not be asked to carry the can for the country. Sure, let’s get stuck into property speculators but for the vast majority, especially farmers, capital gains are accrued over a long period of time and are the reward for having the balls to take a risk.

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: Steve Hansen goes to Charm School.

Is it just me or is Steve on a charm offensive? Gone are the days of the disinterested grunt, replaced instead by engaging discourse.

If we win the Rugby World Cup, Hansen will be the next All Blacks coach barring Graham Henry deciding to do a Sir Alex Ferguson. If we fall short of the final hurdle it’s game on. Henry will emigrate to Scott Base for a warmer reception. Robbie Deans and Warren Gatland are already committed. Ian Foster has hardly covered himself in glory at the Chiefs. But will the charm offensive count for ought if Richie and Dan don’t do the business?

# Brickbat: Close Up heads off Hone again!

After having a bitch about Close Up last week, I felt sure Hone Harawira would take the brickbat back this week for his obnoxious grandstanding at his parliamentary swearing in as the leader of the Mana Party. But sorry Hone, try as you might, you have a way to go to get the gong.

Television has always been a scripted business but it would appear the art of ad-libbing is lost at TVNZ. Close Up went a bridge too far recently with its word-for-word plagiaristic rip-off of an item from one of its American affiliates. Mark Sainsbury’s equally scripted apology had all the dynamism of a dead cat. The state broadcaster must rue the day it red-carded Paul Henry.

# Bouquet: Darren Clarke.

It was so refreshing to see an overweight, greying, middle-aged man win one of the world’s greatest sporting trophies, the Claret Jug, at the recent British Golf Open. The jovial 42 year old Irishman, who tragically lost his first wife to cancer five years ago, then proceeded to celebrate with an all-nighter on the Guinness. Although he turned up the next morning slightly the worse-for-wear at the winner’s press conference, there was none of the usual PC tut-tutting we hear around sportsmen over-imbibing. It was a victory for the ages and a victory for the aged.

Jamie Mackay is the host of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Farming Show which airs on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB.


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