Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Five further thoughts

446 Responses

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  • Sacha, in reply to Farmer Green,

    forecast for next year is now $5 kg/MS

    How many farms are not viable businesses at that payout level, given their indebtedness? Wasn't it something like 20% at $6?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I nearly rang my neighbour a couple of nights ago. I wanted to say :- " for christ's sake let that cow go and nuzzle her calf would you. . . . and give the calf a feed so that they can both shut up".

    But that would be VERY un -PC in dairyland.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    Yes that would be about right. It’s a fairly major blow to many , especially since many farmers have been “buying production”, in the way of urea and PKE etc..
    There are some recent conversions that break even on a cash flow basis at $6.75.

    ETA ; which of course is sheer stupidity given that the last 10 years average is $6.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Farmer Green,

    It’s a fairly major blow to many

    except bankers, naturally

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    Naturally. They all saw it coming a couple of years ago and have used the intervening years to adjust debt/ equity lending ratios by requiring principal repayment, so that even if dairy farm prices fall significantly , the banks will still make a full recovery on the mortgagee sale.

    To their credit though , they have repeatedly told farmers that it was inevitable that this would happen.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    "If it drops to $5.20 then the average farmer is running at a loss, so they would have to cut back on expenditure reasonably significantly just to break even," he said.

    "It takes a bit of time for it to flow through, if you like, but at $5.20 at the farm gate you're probably going to see a drop of $800m for the Waikato."

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/dairy/10531091/Dairy-drop-catastrophic

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison,

    It’s amazing watching the feedback on Labour in the media, a media who probably will never vote for them anyway. Quite confusing.

    Apparently they need to stop listening to themselves and listen to the people, yet many of their policies tested very well in polling with the very same people.

    They also need to be a strong vocal opposition yet they they are also too rowdy and oppositional.

    They need to have some big honest leadership meetings but also not look like they are having them.

    They need to become the old Labour Party of the left and also capture the middle ground.

    It’s not fun being a Labour M.P in N.Z

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to ,

    x

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to ,

    Hard to find anything specific to the Waikato.

    This won’t have changed much:-

    http://agrihq.co.nz/article/no-bonanza-to-debt-laden-farmers

    This is more recent:-

    https://agrihq.co.nz/article/milk-price-below-6.50-will-hurt?p=119

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Farmer Green,

    To their credit though

    With banks, their business always, inevitably, is to their credit...

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Synlait warns

    Thanks. Interesting times.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to ,

    That’s just not realistic,

    That was kind of the point Jack was making – the various media recommendations are contradictory.

    no alternative but to show some humility

    to the public? yes, but also to their fellow workers in Opposition. As I’ve already said upthread, I think Labour have to learn to work visibly, consistently, and cheerfully with the Greens (and others). During the next three years, they need to work as a team, among themselves as well as with other Opposition parties. For at least some of that time, it might be a good idea for Labour to explore joint leadership among co-equals with different areas of specialisation.* Which would be one way to respond to the calls for leadership change, without giving in to the media demand for bloodletting. IF – and I wouldn’t say it’s proven at this point, and that in itself is probably a clue to the source of their electoral woes – they have people who can step up to that, who are adult enough to collaborate with others from a position of mutual respect and trust.

    Much as I hate to admit it, though, the recent election result does seem to indicate that voters respond to a “strong leadership” message more than to any individual policy. So, unless Labour can get positive traction with a more collegial approach to doing policy (and, you know, DOING OPPOSITION, which should be absurdly easy given what they have to react against, but they failed miserably at it last term), it looks like, about a year out from the next election, they might still need to focus on one strong leader in order to be electable. But I really hope they try the collegial approach first, and moreover I hope they can succeed in it.

    * By the way, following on from adopting a multiple leader model, wouldn’t it be awesome if the “Leaders’ Debate” media events became more like (verbal) tag-team wrestling?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to ,

    Labour has to be so many things to so many people and when they upset one set of voters they pay with votes. Piss 3 groups off .....

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison,

    National are good at getting elected but as soon as they are out people forget them, no one thinks back to the Jim Bolger era as purposeful and the Muldoon era is hated by nearly everyone.

    But yes, we need a nice smiley jokey nice faced Labour leader that young and old political journalists can feel some love to , cause it's all about journal love.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Jack Harrison,

    the Muldoon era is hated by nearly everyone.

    The hero to zero trajectory can be remarkably short. A 2011 Facebook fan page for Chch Mayor Bob Parker reached North Korean levels of adulation - 13000+ likes - before suddenly imploding. I rather wish it had been somehow preserved as an example of mass delusion in action. Bob's head crudely Photoshopped onto byzantine icons complete with haloes had to be seen to be believed.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison,

    Wow, I just saw 3news. Paddy Gower had an erection live on screen.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Jack Harrison,

    You mean "Election"?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to ,

    You know the old pre 1970s left wing Labour governments presided over some pretty inequitable laws and economic policies.

    Horrible stuff, but there's still plenty of it now, just differently targeted. Used to be homosexuality got you some years in prison (as if that would achieve something), while a working man out of a job was the state's fault and they'd pay him enough to feed a large family in a free house on a giant section by way of apology.

    They were left wing, that's different to being liberal or progressive. State involvement in wages and prices, state infrastructure projects and job creation, state direction of trade and production and international money movements and exchange rates and banking, state redistribution of wealth to ensure the "righteous" poor had plentiful money without need for charity, crazy high taxes to ensure no one would be allowed to become "too rich" and have any personal power over ordinary people.

    State housing that put the private stuff to shame. Compulsary unionism, local boards for everything. Free schools, universities, hospitals, free public swimming pools at every school to teach people to swim to cut the drowning rate back, not to mention the huge public sports grounds everywhere. National too, because that was how you won elections, by picking a "worthy" majority subset of the population and ensuring every single one of them could live decently (while ignoring the others).

    Right wing is where you leave all that shit to the market, blame the poor for it's failures, and hand the most cash to the people with the most cash. People sleeping in their cars because the rents have gone insane is just a problem of people not being flexible enough in their hours, don't you know. If they wanted to be rich they just would be. It's only natural. Being poor is simply a moral failure of the individual.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to tussock,

    a working man out of a job was the state’s fault and they’d pay him enough to feed a large family in a free house on a giant section by way of apology.

    The unemployed were expected to work. Having a family exempted you to some degree from being directed to live in work camps, though many who endured the freezing conditions under canvas planting the Kaiangaroa forest in the 1930s left their families simply to work.

    As recently as the late 1960s single men were compelled to live in camps grubbing nassella tussock (nothing personal intended there) in exchange for the dole.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Farmer Green,

    I was thinking more of the effect of a very large amount of renewable electricity becoming available , and its effect on household outgoings.

    They can't shift it, there's no lines. Less than 1/3 of Manapouri can get anywhere but the smelter (or Invercargill, which has nothing to use it).

    Like, ideally electricity would become a running-cost enterprise in Invers until enough factories set up to take the slack, upgrade the port at bluff to take the big container ships, and drag down enough population to work it all.

    Or they could build another HVDC connection from the dam up to the Waitaki one, upgrading the giant inverters to handle the load. But that still doesn't spread it far enough, because you're adding the extra generation. They'd need to add more HVDC and get it all the way to Auckland. Length of the land load sharing, let them shut all the coal and gas plants for good. But it's an incredibly large project, billions in cost, and all it does is trash the profits of the electricity companies for a decade. The government likes those profits, so ... ?

    Add the high lake storage at Onslow, we'd all have cheap power for a century or more with hardly building anything. Easy transition to electric transport, electrify all the rail, ... imagine a left-wing government.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    The hero to zero trajectory can be remarkably short. A 2011 Facebook fan page for Chch Mayor Bob Parker reached North Korean levels of adulation - 13000+ likes - before suddenly imploding. I rather wish it had been somehow preserved as an example of mass delusion in action.

    This + a gazillion.

    Examples from recent history include George Bush senior (approval rating 80% plus - yes honestly - in 1991, but defeated in 1992), Kevin Rudd, and in a slightly different context, Peter Whittall.

    This stuff is worth remembering, even if pointing it out doesn't make friends at dinner parties - either at the time (too unpopular) or later (too embarrassing).

    We hated Muldoon and we loved Mandela. Except for ... well, most of us.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to simon g,

    We hated Muldoon and we loved Mandela. Except for … well, most of us.

    Heh. I remember the 1981 election night TV coverage, where an excited young suit with an unfortunately squeaky voice declared he’d voted for “Mister Muldoon” because he’d “got the deficit down”. Three years later the election night coverage was swarming with his clones, all reviling Muldoon as a disgraced charlatan.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    The unemployed were expected to work.

    The unemployed had jobs created for them, work clothes provided, and houses built to live in while they worked. Yes, those jobs were often low paid menial shit in the cold because National was in office and some rural donor wanted the paddocks weeded. Left doesn't mean good, it means left. Other times they built dams or planted incredible forests that are all worth billions to the country now.

    But compare with the Christchurch rebuild, where our government vaguely hopes something will happen at some point thanks to the magic of market forces and what we really need is lower wages. Where people living in the cars they can't afford petrol for is an excellent sign for local construction empires and landlords (one of whom is the minister in charge of knocking more stuff over for shits and giggles).

    Governments of the 60's would have owned that thing, men with clipboards as far as the eye could see, and people trucked in from around the country to be trained as builders, first by building their own temporary housing for the duration. Tea ladies by the hundreds, cooks, fixed prices and supply requirements, legislation requiring the union awards to be paid to everyone, getting on and getting shit done.

    Our students who almost got arrested for trying to help a bit, pretend they're the government dragging down five thousand labourers from Auckland and paying them for that for years. This lot still haven't fixed the fucking sewers, because that's someone else's problem. We did better than that in the 30's.

    But at least we're not sexist now, right? Totally post-racism. Never steal anything off the Māori any more, certainly not large blocks like the foreshore and seabed or anything. Lovely place the modern world. If only we could sell off some more state houses.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to tussock,

    We did better than that in the 30’s.

    In many ways we did, although the history of the first Labour Government shows that they were far from monolithic in their commitment to social justice. As Bruce Jesson’s The Fletcher Challenge reveals, it wasn’t only the Government who trained the workforce or employed the men with clipboards. The Fletchers that reaped a lucrative sweetheart deal from the Chch rebuild grew from being just another building firm to a dominant player in the economy through building state houses.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Jack Harrison,

    They need to become the old Labour Party of the left and also capture the middle ground.

    As Obama was on record saying, why choose and/or when you can have both/and?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

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