August 23, 2011

Federated Farmers Dairy to work with its organic members

Federated Farmers Dairy to work with its organic members

With Fonterra downsizing its organic operation, Federated Farmers is to ask the cooperative for greater transparency while working for affected members and farmers.

“Today is not a red letter day as my meeting isn’t until tonight in Palmerston North and I don’t know if I’m in or out,” says Gray Beagley, Federated Farmers Dairy organic spokesperson.

“It’s disappointing and leaves us in a lurch. We need to ask how hard Fonterra has worked to develop new markets locally and internationally.

“Only last year, Fonterra said publicly that the only way for organics was up even in the current economic climate. It even rescued suppliers from the defunct Taranaki based New Zealand Organic Dairy Farmers Co-operative, so it’s all a bolt from the blue.

“Farmers don’t take kindly to spin and organic dairy farmers like me are spinning as we face one of three choices.

“As organic dairy farmers, we believe in a philosophy and a way of farming but to continue doing so without a milk premium affects our profitability and viability. We could flag organics altogether, but that will be heart breaking and waste the time, money and effort we’ve put into our farm.

“The final option is to leave Fonterra at the end of our contract in order to supply someone more committed, or to join with other like-minded farmers.

“Before Federated Farmers can issue anything, we wish to get a feel from affected members and to talk with the other processors. Federated Farmers’ Andrea Beagley is keen to hear from non-Federated Farmers members affected by this decision, so please call her on 0275 511 673 or via 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING).

“Clearly, there’s need for a ‘what next’ session for organic dairy farmers affected by this.

“What I can say is that Federated Farmers will work in the interests of our organic members and that will include talking with Fonterra itself,” Mr Beagley finished by saying.

Federated Farmers is also concerned at the way the announcement was handled to affected suppliers; some not being told before the media release was issued.

“We’ll be calling on Fonterra to please explain this announcement. It didn’t come up once at a summit meeting we held with them only last week,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“Fonterra’s organic consolidation is a sobering international assessment of global organic demand. Consumers are seemingly unwilling to pay an organic premium.

“It’s a warning to those pursuing policies that add costs onto production without any payback. It also warns those who believe a niche should become an industry-wide template. Niches are niches for good reason.

“As Gray correctly says, it is a bolt from the blue. It doesn’t leave a good taste in the mouth and has wider implications for supplier relationships and we need Fonterra to understand that,” Mr Leferink concluded.

August 18, 2011

Kaipara’s Future Focused on Benefits to Its People

Kaipara Mayor Neil Tiller says Kaipara residents are better off as a local Council. “If we join any other Council the rates are likely to rise.” he stated. “We reviewed the reports issued by McKinlay and Trapski and Brash and could find no benefits for the people of Kaipara.” He also noted that he was still in discussions with North Rodney residents who wished to leave Auckland and join with Kaipara.

Mayor Tiller advised that the previous Council had given its future serious consideration and believed Kaipara would be better off joining part of the old Rodney District than amalgamating with Whangarei and/or the Far North. “Kaipara focuses on the Kaipara Harbour, it is our greatest treasure.” commented Mayor Tiller. “Our people, and particularly our Maori community, would like to see the Kaipara Harbour well managed as a single entity.”

He went on to explain this could also happen if the rural areas of the Rodney Ward of the Auckland Council amalgamated with Kaipara. “Together we would have approximately 50,000 people. It would be a Council with a rural focus and one in which waterways are of great significance to all.” He said, “I am continuing to talk to the people of Rodney and should they wish to join Kaipara I would welcome it. The current Council has yet to discuss this issue.”

During the Auckland reorganisation the Kaipara District Council was advised by the Government that part of the Rodney District would be amalgamated with Kaipara and as a result the Kaipara District participated in that process and promoted a District that encompassed all of the Kaipara Harbour. That received some support from local Iwi and has resulted in an ongoing relationship with Ngati Whatua which is particularly focused on the management of the Kaipara Harbour

“There is no initiative from the Government to reform local government in the next three years. Our advice is the Government is waiting to review the performance of the new Auckland Council before it makes any further moves.” commented Mayor Tiller.

August 13, 2011

Kaipara’s District Plan Due in September



The decisions version of the reviewed District Plan will be considered for adoption at Council’s September meeting. “The Hearings Panel has made its decisions on the 513 submissions received and this has resulted in a redrafting of the Plan to give effect to those decisions.” said Mayor Neil Tiller in announcing the timetable for the District Plan.

He went on to advise that it is proposed to be publicly notified on 21 October should Council resolve to adopt the Plan at the September meeting and it would be open for appeals to the Environment Court for 30 working days as required by the Resource Management Act. “This process gives submitters to the Plan the opportunity to consider how their concerns have been dealt with by the Hearings Panel and if they are not satisfied they can appeal to the Environment Court which will consider the concerns and make an independent and binding decisions.” commented Mayor Tiller.

He then said he was very proud of the work done by the Council and its Hearings Panel to get the Plan to this point. The Plan has been based around a number of outcomes supported by the community during the pre-plan consultation process. This has driven all stages of the process. It has given the Council a robust District Plan with strong links from the outcomes through to the Plan’s policies and rules. This approach provides the district with a high level of certainty around what is intended to be achieved by the Plan.

“This is an enabling plan which is specially written to protect the Kaipara’s life blood, farming, as well as encouraging other industries and businesses to establish and grow in the Kaipara.” noted Mayor Tiller.

When asked about the recently repeated call to withdraw the proposed plan Mayor Tiller commented that Paul Cavanagh QC’s advice is two years late. “He is commenting on a plan which has been through a public submissions process and Council is about to announce the results of that two year process. I would suggest that we will see a significantly different plan” said Mayor Tiller, “It may even answer the concerns of those asking for it to be withdrawn.”

He was also concerned that withdrawing the Plan at this late stage would cause the Council to incur even greater costs because Council is required by law to have a District Plan. However, he was more concerned at the injustice the withdrawal would cause to all of the submitters who have taken part in the statutory process. “Withdrawing the plan now would see most of those submitters ignored.” He said. “Going through the statutorily mandated process ensures fairness to all.”

Council is also processing Variation 1 which will insert an Outstanding Landscapes Chapter into the new District Plan. It is in this area that Farmers of New Zealand and others have expressed concern. Withdrawing the Plan at this time will not make the issue disappear. Those concerned about this aspect should have taken part in that public process which has just been completed according to Mayor Tiller. The Council received 556 submissions on the Outstanding Landscapes provisions and these will be heard later in the year.

The Northland Regional Council is preparing its review of its Regional Policy Statement which will cover similar areas of concern for those concerned about the outstanding landscapes provisions included in Kaipara District Council’s Variation 1. Kaipara’s Chief Executive Jack McKerchar noted that the Government has issued a new National Coastal Policy Statement which the Regional Council will have to give effect to in its Regional Policy Statement. This seems to require a much higher level of protection than envisaged by the Kaipara District Council. “In our discussions with Regional Council people they have indicated there may need to be rules covering activities within the Coastal Policy area and other protected lands.” said Kaipara Chief Executive Jack McKerchar. According to him this imposition of controls should be of major concern to land owners, especially farmers.

August 3, 2011

Kaipara District Council Chief Executive Leaving

Mayor Neil Tiller and Chief Executive Jack McKerchar have jointly announced that Mr McKerchar has submitted his resignation from the position of Chief Executive of the Kaipara District Council effective from 31 October.

Mayor Tiller advised the Council had accepted the resignation which has been tendered for personal and health reasons. “Jack has been with Council since 1993 and has achieved many significant outcomes for Council in that time” said Mayor Tiller. “We wish him well for the future and thank him for his loyal service to Council.”

Mr McKerchar noted he was not getting any younger and his health, affected by diabetes, was not as robust as he would like. “I want to increase my fitness and get the health benefits that will bring so I can lead an active and healthy life as I get older” said Mr McKerchar. “The stresses of the position mean I cannot devote the time I need for myself and this will give me an opportunity to do some things for myself, including supporting my family.”

Mr McKerchar went on to say he was very proud of his career with the Kaipara District Council “I have helped the Council and the community to achieve some significant outcomes during my time here” noted Mr McKerchar. He went on to note the changing of the Council’s operational service delivery, saving $4million over three years as the first of many successes. Other highlights included the Dargaville Town Hall upgrading, the new Council chambers, the Memorandum of Understanding with Te Uri o Hau and the co-governance arrangements with Te Roroa for the Taharoa Domain through to the leading edge wastewater scheme for Mangawhai and the new swimming pool in Dargaville. “These were all projects that the Council considered important and I was pleased to be able to help Council achieve the outcomes it wanted” commented Mr McKerchar.

In relation to the timing of his resignation Mr McKerchar stated that with the recruitment of the new executive team and operational managers the organisation was in good shape. “The Council now has strengthened capability in operational management and financial management and policy development” said Mr McKerchar. “It is a good time to leave knowing the organisation has the skills needed to succeed and achieve the Council’s outcomes.”

Mr McKerchar is going to continue living in Dargaville. He plans to take a break for a few months before deciding on his future.

Issued by: Mayor, Neil Tiller and Chief Executive, Jack McKerchar

The Great Annual Paparoa PTA Possum Purge

Register now for the Paparoa Primary School PTA Possum Purge to be in for great prizes. Over $3000 worth of great prizes for possum hunters pre-registered. Lots of spot prizes and prizes for most possums. Bouncy castle & slide; fun activities; kids competitions; sausage sizzle.

Registration $10 adults. Registration forms from Paparoa Primary School, Paparoa Hotel, RD1 Maungaturoto or emailhames.jones@xtra.co.nz

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Hunting 2 - 4 September, Prizegiving Sunday 4 September from 11am at Paparoa School. It’s going to be heaps of fun.

For more information contact Libby or Pete 09 4316 822 or Paparoa School 4317 379