Vegetable prices have risen a record 31 per cent in the past year, according to Statistics New Zealand. The unusually wet weather this year has damaged crops and is responsible for most of the price hike.
With vast areas of horticultural production land in the region, under threat from urban development, this means that the region will not be able to supply the horticultural production that the population of the area uses currently, from within the region, and this can only mean severe increases in the prices of fruit and vegetables.
Many people are already finding it difficult to provide good nutritious food for themselves and their families and with the effects of the restrictions on land use this is only going to get much worse, both in relation to supply, availability of types and price of fruit and vegetables.
The restrictions on commercial horticultural use of land, contained within the Plan Change, have been put into effect due to the supposed effects on the environment from the commercial horticultural industries.
So with the land use restrictions already imposed in the Proposed Plan Change, the Waikato Regional Council is now going to export the supposed environmental problems to areas outside of their region.
Leading economic researcher BERL challenges all businesses to become Living Wage employers to make a real difference to New Zealanders and their communities.
On its 60th anniversary celebrations, BERL chief economist Dr Ganesh Nana told invited guests, economists and business people at a gala function in Wellington tonight that BERL had a commitment to the wellbeing of current and future generations.
“Corporate visions are great for websites and for glossy marketing collateral. We need to walk the talk. In this light, I am proud to announce that BERL has recently been approved as an Accredited Living Wage employer.
“We applied because, yes, it is closely aligned with our vision and yes, because we want to walk the talk against a low-wage, low-skill business model.
“And yes, it’s good corporate citizen behaviour but, primarily and most importantly, it is the right thing to do.
“I recently stumbled on a Mood of the Boardroom survey that indicated 91 percent of respondents were prepared to pay the Living Wage. I congratulate those already doing so. But tonight, I challenge those 91 percent – and indeed all other businesses – what are they waiting for? Stop waiting for others to take the lead. Walk the talk and commit to a Living Wage business and a high wage economy.
“BERL is proud to be a Living Wage employer - in support of moving out of low-wage, low-productivity, low-profitability spiral and towards a high wage, high productivity and high profitability economy.”
He says neo-liberal economics is dead so let’s take this opportunity to set a platform for a high wage economy. He remains sceptical and unconvinced of the magnitude of the gains from the experiment of the past three decades.
Much of BERL’s work around the regions of Aotearoa provides the evidence in relation to the tradable export sector and the quality of its infrastructure, education and labour market inefficiencies and disconnects, and lagging research and development spending.
“Exports are still struggling to breach the 30 percent of GDP threshold, let alone the 40 percent aspirational target and there are many examples of the costs of deferred maintenance as investment in new transformational processes and technologies continue to be in the ‘we can’t afford it’ basket.
“Yes, there have been gains from the experiment, but as a true academic researcher I am obliged to weigh up those gains against the costs. I see entrenched disparities in New Zealand, and growing disparities around the globe. These disparities sow the seeds for an unstable future – an instability the consequences of which we in New Zealand will not be able to avoid.
“Neo-liberal economics is not dying, rather, it is dead; In the sense of business decisions being driven by market price signals, the neo-liberal economic model is well and truly dead in the water – belly up, being towed by a life-raft known as taxpayer largesse.
“In the New Zealand context, the neo-liberal model is an illusion increasingly reliant, not on the market, but on Working for Families supplementing workers’ incomes.
“As the welfare net broadens to now capture many that are indeed employed in the market economy, the inability of that market economy to deliver incomes for workers to be able to live (and to provide for their families) becomes ever more stark. This implicit support for a low wage business model does little to encourage a high productivity, high profitability economy.
“To break that low wage, low productivity, low profitability spiral requires courage and leadership. Businesses committing to and adopting the Living Wage is a first step,” Dr Nana says.
For further information contact Dr Ganesh Nana on 021 1376530 or Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.
Editors: Please contact us if you wish to receive a copy of Dr Nana’s full speech to the 60th anniversary event tonight. Please contact us if you want any of your newsroom staff to attend the event.
A disruptive economic model created by SheEO.World designed to actively support a small number of women-led ventures with no-interest loans launches in New Zealand today writes Lew Kai Ping for bizEDGE.
Theresa Gattung is behind the local launch of SheEO which aims to bring together 500 local female Activators who contribute $1,100 each ($1, 000 invested to create a perpetual fund and $100 as a program fee) to create a funding pool of $500,000.
The launch kicks off with 50 signed-up Activators whose contribution will be used to support five female-led companies.
Activators have until November 24 to be part of the NZ campaign.
The second part of the model is about the Ventures and the five selected Ventures not only receive funding but also access to a network of buying power and expertise to help them grow their businesses.
“Traditional funding models haven’t worked well for female entrepreneurs and SheEO is all about women funding women to succeed,” says Theresa Gattung, SheEO New Zealand lead.
“We are replicating a proven business model which has dramatically increased revenue, growth and impacted selected SheEO Ventures in other countries. The success of the new system is seeing strong interest from all around the world and New Zealand is the first country outside North America to introduce SheEO,” says Gattung.
New Zealand Venture applications open today October 18 and close on November 24, 2017.
Vicki Saunders, SheEO global founder, says, “I have watched time and again for decades, as investors (mostly men) have put their money into businesses that increase inequality, and perpetuate the cycle of putting more money into fewer hands - five men have the same wealth as a billion people right now – it’s insane - and it literally pulls apart communities
“I didn’t want to simply level the playing field by bringing more women into that broken model, I wanted to create an entirely different one.”
After decades of watching the stagnant numbers - only four percent of venture capital going to women, and less than one percent of corporate procurement going to women-led businesses – SheEO’s model is a breath of fresh air for women innovators and all of the Ventures we supported last year have experienced double-digit revenue growth and we want to build on this momentum to help more female entrepreneurs,” adds Saunders.
“The vast majority of female entrepreneurs do not have mentors. That’s why beyond the funding component, selected Ventures have the opportunity to tap into the Activator’s networks, buying power and expertise to grow their businesses as well as a personalised, guided development program,” says Saunders.
David McLean, Westpac CEO, and major supporter of SheEO in New Zealand says, “By helping to enhance these businesses, it creates a positive financial impact not only on these companies but on the country as well.”
Blockchain start-up Blockfreight has ambitions to serve 360 million shipping containers on blockchain networks by the year 2020, the company’s Australian Founder and CEO, Julian Smith, tells Logistics & Materials Handling.
After many years working on the development of applications for large corporations, universities and government agencies, software engineer Smith became increasingly interested in Bitcoin technology, an interest that eventually led him to the logistics space.
“Bitcoin is a way to digitally track and transfer virtual assets, but a similar type of technology can be used to track and transfer physical assets,” Smith said. “This method has great potential in the logistics space, reducing fraud and increasing efficiency and consistency – effectively leading to a more effective movement of goods between parties on a global framework.”
At the beginning of 2017, Smith founded Blockfreight in San Francisco to commercialise and build a reference implementation for enterprise, designed to act as a blockchain partner to the container logistics industry. He now spends his time between New Zealand, Australia and Blockfreight’s US offices.
To date, Blockfreight has completed a research period and is entering beta trials of its Blockchain technology on global freight, findings and case studies of which Smith will share at the upcoming Supply Chain Management Australia 2017 event, to be held in Sydney in November.
As a firm dealing with a developing technology, Blockfreight is delighted to be investing in Australia, with a three-year commitment to a Melbourne research and development lab, Smith noted.
“I believe Australia is a leading adopter of technology in the Asia-Pacific region and globally,” he said. “This is evidenced by the spectacular growth of vendors such as WiseTech Global, and is also the product of a relatively low population and its distance from major markets.”
“We put a particular emphasis and focus on opportunities for technology-led cost and process efficiencies.”
New Zealand's top 200 technology companies now have combined revenues of more than $10 billion - and export receipts of $7.3 billion making the sector our third biggest earner of overseas income writes Tim Murphy for Newsroom.
A report prepared by the Technology Investment Network (TIN) released Tuesday night found the technology, high-tech manufacturing and biotechnology sectors now contribute about 10 percent of all New Zealand exports. The 8.5 percent increase in export revenues in the year came despite currency challenges resulting from a higher Kiwi dollar against all major trading nations.
The top two businesses, Datacom Group and Fisher & Paykel Appliances are billion dollar companies by revenue, with Datacom edging its rival to take top rank this year with $1.15 billion in revenue.
The rest of the top 10 are Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Xero Gallagher Group, Orion Health, Douglas Pharmaceuticals, Tait Communications, NDA Group, Temperzone Group and Magic Memories.
Datacom had the largest revenue growth, at $103 million this year ahead of Magic Memories at $89 m and Xero at $88 m, the report said.
The news also comes as an important validation of blockchain technology.
In a breakthrough for payments technology, IBM and a network of banks have begun using digital currency and blockchain software to move money across borders throughout the South Pacific.
The significance of the news, which IBM announced on Monday, is that merchants and consumers will be able to send money to another country in near real-time, accelerating a payments process that typically takes days.
The banking network includes “12 currency corridors” that encompass Australia and New Zealand, as well as smaller countries like Fiji and Tonga. It will reportedly process up to 60 percent of all cross-border payments in the South Pacific’s retail foreign exchange corridors by early next year.
The news also comes as an important validation of blockchain technology, which has long promised enormous efficiencies for the financial sector, but has been slow to move from the concept stage to the real world.
Blockchain, which relies on a disparate network of computers to create an indelible, tamper-proof record of transactions, is most famously associated with the digital currency bitcoin. But it can be used in many other applications such as tracking shipments or, as in this case, to record a series of cross-border transactions.
As an example, IBM said a farmer in Samoa will soon be able to contract with a buyer in Indonesia, and use the blockchain to record everything from the farmer’s collateral to letters of credit to payment.
“This is the next step in the evolution of blockchain technology. It’s live money moving around a network,” Jesse Lund, IBM’s VP of Blockchain, told Fortune.
Digital Currency is Key The new blockchain banking process is also notable because the banks will initially rely on a bitcoin-like digital currency, known as Lumens, to facilitate the cross border payments.
Currently, banks arrange such payments by maintaining foreign accounts in a local currency (so-called nostro accounts), and then debiting the accounts as required—a process that is both slow and ties up capital.
Under the new blockchain arrangement, banks will conduct the transactions using Lumens, and then rely on local market makers to convert the Lumens into local fiat currency. The Lumens are created by a non-profit company called Stellar, founded a Jed McCaleb, a well known figure in the payments and crypto-currency world.
Both Stellar and IBM are part of a project called Hyperledger Fabric, which is building open source blockchain tools to support payment infrastructures.
According to Lund, though, the banks use of Stellar’s digital currency is likely to be temporary. He predicts that, in the next year, central banks will begin issuing digital currencies of their own, and that these will become an integral part of blockchain-based money transfers.
The IBM-backed blockchain project comes at a time when other companies are creating efficient new ways to conduct global money transfers. These include BitPesa, which relies on the bitcoin network to replace traditional wire transfers between merchants in Africa, and TransferWise, which provides an inexpensive way for consumers to obtain foreign currencies.
Rod Oram notes a growing mood among New Zealand business leaders for any new Government to create a climate commission. Those calling for change include Air New Zealand's Christopher Luxon and Sir Rob Fenwick.
Last Wednesday week, Air New Zealand laid on a big breakfast for 400 business people – enough to fill more than one of its Dreamliners – at the cavernous Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland.
The event – longer than a flight to Wellington and back – was not to celebrate a new aircraft, bumper profits or other conventional business milestone. It was for the launch of the airline’s 2017 sustainability report.
Christopher Luxon, its chief executive, told the audience the company had its priorities right.
“Two years ago, I launched Air New Zealand’s sustainability framework to supercharge Air New Zealand’s success -- socially, economically and environmentally.”
Given aircraft burn prodigious quantities of climate-changing fossil fuels, that could seem an oxymoron. Yet, member nations of the International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN body, committed last year to phasing in carbon neutral growth of their activities from 2020.
That means their airlines will continue to grow, but net emissions from aircraft will be flat, thanks to fuel efficiencies, carbon offsets from the likes of forest plantings and, ultimately, technology breakthroughs such as synthetic fuels and hybrid and electric planes.
This is the sort of radical change that our Productivity Commission is investigating in its inquiry into New Zealand’s transformation to a low-emissions economy. In its issues paper released in August it says:
“…the shift from the old economy to a new, low-emissions economy will be profound and widespread, transforming land use, the energy system, production methods and technology, regulatory frameworks and institutions, and business and political culture.”
So far, the Commission has received more than 120 submissions from interested parties. Many from mainstream businesses call for bold and co-ordinated policies from government to help them play their part in a more sustainable economy over the next couple of decades.
Purple patch for SMEs set to continue, but political machinations could put spanner in the works…
New Zealand’s small to medium enterprises (SMEs) have enjoyed a period of sustained growth and there is an expectation the good times will continue to roll in the coming year. That’s the findings of recent research from accounting software outfit MYOB. Its Business Monitor Economic Snapshot, which polled 400 SMEs nationwide, found that 37 percent reported a revenue increase in the last year, tracking slightly up from 36 percent in March, with almost half (46 percent) expecting their revenue to increase over the next 12 months.
Fewer businesses are struggling in the current environment, with just 15 percent of SME operators reporting their revenue decreased over the last year, down from 19 percent in February, and 20 percent in September last year.
In a statement, MYOB’s NZ GM Carolyn Luey said SMEs have worked hard to put themselves in this position, and many are now enjoying a period of steady growth. “Since they recovered from the GFC, we’ve seen the performance of local SMEs steadily improving. And looking ahead, local businesses see no reason for their stellar run to end.”
Of course, one reason for the stellar run to end could be New Zealand’s changing political environment. As D-Day approaches, a switch to protectionism and a potential clampdown on immigration, thanks to Winston Peters holding the balance of power, could have interesting consequences.
Luey said the survey reinforces that growth is not just confined to the main centres, with the regions also showing significant improvement. “A trend we’ve seen over the last few years of our research is that SMEs across many of New Zealand’s regions are experiencing a period of sustained growth,” she noted.
“For example, 44 percent of operators in Waikato and the Bay of Plenty saw their revenue improve in the last 12 months, with similar levels of growth seen in Otago/Southland.”
On the back of their own performance, the MYOB Business Monitor Economic Snapshot highlights that SMEs are confident in the New Zealand economy.
Close to half (42 percent) believe New Zealand’s economy will improve over the next 12 months, while almost a quarter (23 percent) think it will decline.
“Confidence in the economy from the small and medium-sized business sector is good for the whole country. It means more businesses are willing to invest and therefore increase employment opportunities,” Luey added.
However, she said some sectors are less positive – particularly those which are exposed to the slowing property market.
“Only 32 percent of businesses in the construction and trades sector expect the economy to improve next year, while 29 percent say it will decline. By contrast, the tourism sector is clearly preparing for another good year, with half of all businesses in the retail and hospitality industry expecting the economy to grow.”
While there is growing confidence in the economy, the new Government will have to look carefully at what it can do to help maintain it, especially in terms of policies focused on education, training and immigration.
“This is really noticeable in terms of finding the right people to fill skills gaps,” said Luey. “Forty-one percent of respondents said their industry is experiencing a skills shortage – and in areas like Canterbury where the rebuild is ongoing, 47 percent of SMEs said finding staff with the right skills is one of their greatest challenges.”
And it is larger SMEs – those who employ 10 or more people – which are finding it the hardest to recruit the staff they need, she added. For those employing 10-19 people, 68 percent said they find it difficult to find suitable staff, while 32 percent of businesses with 2-4 employees said the same.
“The ongoing skills shortage is continuing to bite across a range of industries, with 67 percent of the transport industry, 50 percent of the retail and hospitality sector and 47 percent of the construction and trades reporting a skills shortage in their industry,” Luey said.
“The skills gap is a huge issue facing the new government. It will need to look at what policies are needed to support SMEs growth and attract the right people to work across a broad range of sectors.”
Which may just throw an interesting spanner in the works, particularly should Peters choose Labour over National in the week ahead.
German's largest airlines, Lufthansa, is investing into an ICO pre-sale and teaming up with a Swiss startup on bookings on Ethereum.
One of Europe's leading airlines, Lufthansa, will be buying into an ICOs and teaming up with a startup on bookings on the blockchain. Winding Tree, a Swiss-based startup, is building a marketplace on the ethereum blockchain to connect businesses and suppliers. The deal between was announced today. Together with Lufthansa Group, the pair is exploring a decentralized booking platform.
The two companies met through Lufthansa's Innovation Hub. Both firms view this collaboration as an overall win-win. Lufthansa hopes to bring on board its expertise in customer experience from the airline industry while benefiting from Winding Trees blockchain development.
CEO of Winding Tree, Maksim Izmaylov shared their intentions to help the German airline build and deploy blockchain- powered travel apps on that align with the industry's standards. Lufthansa will provide Maksim's development team with access to APIs.
Markus Binkert, Senior Vice President Distribution & Revenue Management Lufthansa Group Airlines explained the goal of API integrations via press release:
"By integrating these APIs with Winding Tree's public blockchain, Lufthansa Group enables all innovative partners who develop cutting-edge travel applications to access these offers via a decentralized and intermediate-free travel marketplace."
The largest German airline is exploring customer service applications on the blockchain including bookings, and itinerary travel information. Lufthansa is on the forefront of exploring use cases for the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies for its aviation business. The scalability and efficiency of blockchains are features it can explore both customer service and aircraft maintenance. Last year, the firm launched a Blockchain for Aviation (BC4A) initiative aimed at evaluating innovative technology for flight maintenance.
Lufthansa Buys into Pre-Sale ICO
Winding Tree is in the process of launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to fund development. As part of their commitment to this partnership, Lufthansa will finance part of the token sale at the ICO pre-sale stage. Investors will receive native ‘Lif' cryptocurrency in exchange for their contributions.
More startups are turning to ICOs for capital, the latest cryptocurrency crowdfunding craze. Typically, investors make contributions via cryptocurrency and receive issued tokens representing some form of right or utility. But in more recent times, the model has opened up avenues for Hedge funds and private investors to participate at a pre-ICO stage.
Lufthansa's buy-in to Winding Tree's pre-sale is likely to contribute regular currency. Regulatory warnings on ICO funding have picked up over the course of the last few months. It is becoming harder for startups to skirt rules on securities laws.
The LIF crypto token will have utility on the marketplace. Businesses and suppliers will settle payments and transfer of data relating to accommodation, flights, and cruises on the blockchain using Lif.
Dr. Christian Langer, Chief Digital Officer of Lufthansa Group, said: "To us, Winding Tree is a strong candidate to turn today's understanding of distribution upside down."