Nov 24, 2017 - New Zealand structural log prices rose to the highest level in 24 years and A-grade export logs hit a record as local mills compete with the export market to secure supply for the domestic construction market amid strong demand from China.
The price for structural S1 logs increased to $130 a tonne this month, from $128 a tonne last month, marking the highest level since 1993, according to AgriHQ's monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. Export log prices lifted between $2-to-$5 a tonne for the majority of grades, with the price for A-Grade logs touching $128 a tonne, up from $127 a tonne last month and the highest level since AgriHQ began collecting the data in 2008.
New Zealand is experiencing strong demand for its logs from China, which has clamped down on the harvesting of its own forests and reduced tariffs on imported logs to meet demand in its local market. AgriHQ said Chinese demand for softwood logs remains strong, lifting back to record levels in the latest data for September with Chinese imports of New Zealand logs currently tracking 10 percent ahead of last year.
"Those trading in the domestic log market are continuing to receiver near-record returns and there's nothing to signal that this situation will change anytime soon," said AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick. "Looking forward, all prospects will be determined by the direction the export log market takes."
Brick said wharf gate values climbed through October and early November and will likely hold high until the Chinese New Year period. Also known as the 'spring festival', the Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 16 next year, and the festival will last until March 2, about 15 days in total. As an official public holiday, Chinese people can get seven days' absence from work, from Feb. 15 to 21.
"Beyond that point, it's still a wait-and-see situation," Brick said.
He noted the latest situation and outlook report released by the Ministry of Primary Industries continues to shed a positive light on forestry's prospects over the next two years.
"They predict strong Chinese interest in logs over the short-medium term, underpinned by its ban of commercial logging of natural forests, falling Russian log supplies, and a 2 percent reduction on its imported log tax."
Brick said "the only proper negative" when it comes to the export market is shipping rates, which are rising faster than log values. However, this was being masked by a weaker New Zealand dollar, he said.
"There is still a level of uncertainty as to whether shipping rates have reached their peak or have a little more upswing to come," Brick said.
Still, he said "in terms of market fundamentals it is all still quite positive."
Nov 24, 2017 - According to Gartner, blockchain will generate $176 billion in business value by 2025. HPE is setting out to capitalise on the rise of blockchain by releasing the first member of its HPE Mission Critical Blockchain family – a Blockchain-as-a-Service solution for enterprises.
HPE’s Mission Critical Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) aims to make it easy and simple for customers deploying blockchain solutions.
Mission Critical DLT is used to record transactions across a decentralised network of computers and has a wide range of potential applications.
HPE claims that enterprises evaluating blockchain solutions are finding that generic infrastructure and public cloud environments cannot support the requirements they need in terms of performance, security, scalability and resiliency.
Aiming to solve the problem, HPE says its Mission Critical DLT solution offers availability and fault protection for enterprise-grade applications, and scalability and SQL integration that cannot be realised with workloads running in a public cloud environment.
The Mission Critical DLT solution is a part of HPE’s overall strategy to bring enterprise-grade capability to blockchain workloads.
The solution is offered on HPE Integrity NonStop platforms, which HPE says is behind two out of every three credit card transactions in the world.
Developed in partnership with enterprise software firm R3, the solution integrates the company’s distributed ledger technology with HPE's mission-critical platform.
“Enterprises interested in blockchain are realizing that public cloud alone does not always meet their non-functional requirements”, comments Raphael Davison, HPE’s Worldwide Director for Blockchain.
“As they look to scale, they recognize that, for mission-critical processes, on-premise infrastructure must be part of the mix of traditional IT, private and public cloud that’s needed to meet the requirements of enterprise-grade blockchain workloads.”
HPE Mission Critical DLT is expected to be commercially available in early 2018. Customers also will be able to purchase access to this solution in a “DLT as a Service” environment for serious trials and production use later in the year.
Nov 24, 2017 - Australia has reiterated the importance of New Zealand to its foreign policy direction in its latest white paper, with particular emphasis on the role it sees New Zealand playing in its economic engagement with Pacific island countries. In the Australian government's 2017 foreign policy white paper, released this morning, the relationship with New Zealand is described as "our most comprehensive" and the authors say Australia is committed to deepening it further.
Australia sees itself as "delivering a step change in our engagement with Pacific island countries", with an aim for "more ambitious engagement, including helping to integrate Pacific countries into the Australian and New Zealand economies and our security institutions". Its long-term angle is a region-wide free-trade area that includes all major economies.
The partnership with New Zealand will be central to advancing that agenda, the white paper says.
"New Zealand will remain an essential partner in support of the economic growth, stability and security of the region. Australia and New Zealand will align our approaches to the Pacific," the paper says. "Our cooperation has wider regional and global dimensions. We have high levels of police and military interoperability and collaborate on strategic planning, capability development and intelligence. This will continue to be essential to prosecuting shared interests, including in the Pacific."
The paper discusses the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus, an agreement signed in April this year by New Zealand, Australia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. It built on existing trade deals and will come into force in mid-2019. As part of PACER Plus, both New Zealand and Australia committed to spending at least 20 percent of official development assistance as "aid for trade" in the Pacific region, to help address supply-side constraints and build Pacific island countries’ capacity to trade.
"Economic integration within the region and with Australia and New Zealand is vital to the economic prospects of the Pacific," the paper says. "Growth is constrained for most countries because of a combination of remoteness from markets, limited land and resource bases, the dispersal of people over many islands and environmental fragility.
"When in force, [PACER PLUS] will lay the ground for stronger trade and investment, increasing business confidence through transparent and enforceable rules. Australia will work to improve opportunities for growth and jobs and to strengthen the economic resilience of the region by increasing opportunities for labour mobility to satisfy unmet demand in our labour market, investing in skills, and helping countries to capture growth potential in sectors such as tourism."
The paper stresses the importance of Australia's relationships with the US and China for its interests in the Pacific, and its drive to forge closer relationships with both, even as the two super powers jostle for dominance in the Pacific region. New Zealand is still Australia's biggest tourism market, with 1.4 million Kiwis visiting the country in the latest year, but China was close behind at 1.3 million and had a growth rate of 10 percent compared to New Zealand's 2 percent.
Australia's alliance with the US is central to its approach in the region, and it will broaden and deepen its cooperation with that country, but the government is "committed to strong and constructive ties with China" and wants to strengthen its partnership there as well.
"To support a balance in the Indo–Pacific favourable to our interests and promote an open, inclusive and rules-based region, Australia will also work more closely with the region’s major democracies, bilaterally and in small groupings. In addition to the United States, our relations with Japan, Indonesia, India and the Republic of Korea are central to this agenda," it said.
Nov 23, 2017 - The Packaging Council of New Zealand is launching a new annual Scholarship program, in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), that will enable one packaging technologist, designer or engineer in New Zealand the opportunity to complete a Diploma in Packaging Technology to the value of $9,000.
“The association is extremely proud to be able to offer the scholarship to a New Zealand packaging professional each year,” commented Harry Burkhardt, President of the Packaging Council of New Zealand.
“The packaging industry is dynamic and diverse, offering career opportunities across a wide scope of disciplines. PAC.NZ has been representing businesses in the packaging industry in New Zealand since 1992 and recognises that investment in the packaging industry starts with investment in its people. We strongly encourage everyone in the industry to apply for this scholarship.
“The Diploma in Packaging Technology is a Level 5 qualification which is internationally recognised for those wishing to pursue a career in the packaging industry or for those who are already in the industry and who wish to extend their knowledge and expertise. The Diploma in Packaging Technology prepares students to take responsibility for packaging operations at any level through the supply chain. The qualification is comprehensive, and provides an opportunity to study the principles of packaging, packaging materials and packaging processes.”
Diploma in Packaging Technology students come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, and are typically experienced practitioners or managers in technical, sales/marketing, QA, purchasing, engineering or design.
Completion of the Diploma in Packaging Technology demonstrates a commitment to your career and to the industry. Delegates who successfully complete the Diploma are equipping themselves for senior positions within the packaging industry.
Entries are now open with submissions closing on the 23rd of February 2018. The winner of the inaugural Packaging Council of New Zealand Scholarship will be announced at the 2018 Packaging & Processing Innovation & Design Awards; which will be held alongside of the prestigious international WorldStar Packaging Awards on 2 May.
| A NZ Packaging Council release || November 23, 2017 |||
Nov 23, 2017 - Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash today announced the Terms of Reference for the Tax Working Group and that the Group will be chaired by Sir Michael Cullen.
“Our 100 Day Plan includes the establishment of a Tax Working Group. The Working Group will consider changes that would improve the structure, fairness and balance of the tax system,” says Grant Robertson.
“This Government is committed to a fair and progressive tax system. It is important that New Zealanders have confidence in their tax system and know that everyone is paying their fair share.”
“At the moment the tax system appears unfair – for example, it doesn’t treat income from speculation in housing as it does income from work. We want to consider how we can create a better balanced system and can encourage a shift to investment in the productive economy.
“Individual wage-earners, businesses, asset owners and speculators should pay their fair share of tax. Right now we don’t think that is happening. This working group is not about increasing income tax or the rate of GST, but rather introducing more fairness across all taxpayers.
“The Working Group will also consider how the tax system can contribute to positive environmental outcomes and the impact of likely changes to the economic environment, demographics, technology and employment practices over the next decade.
“As former Minister of Finance from 1999 to 2008, Sir Michael’s credentials are impeccable and he will be a huge asset to the Working Group.”
“The other members of the Working Group will be announced before Christmas. They will include a diverse range of tax and finance experts and representatives of the business and wider community. The Working Group will be supported by a secretariat of officials from Treasury and Inland Revenue and have an independent advisor to analyse the various sources of advice received,” says Stuart Nash.
“Final recommendations to Ministers are expected by February 2019. As promised before the election, any significant changes legislated for from the Group’s final report will not come into force until the 2021 tax year.
“It is important to ensure that all sectors of the New Zealand economy can feed into the Working Group’s processes and that all relevant perspectives are considered.”
“As we promised during the election campaign, certain areas will be outside the scope of the review, including increasing any income tax rate, the rate of GST, inheritance tax and changes that would apply to the family home or land beneath it,” Grant Robertson says.
“We also want to thank our government partners, the New Zealand First and Green parties, for their input and support of the Terms of Reference for this important piece of work on the future of our tax system.
"This review is a core part of the government’s programme and I’m confident it will deliver recommendations that will enable us to put in place a tax system that is fair for all New Zealanders,” says Grant Robertson.
Nov 23, 2017 - Four in ten business leaders believe there will be an increase in casual and contractor employment over the next ten years, according to the newly-released Future of Talent report.
“It is about how businesses are looking to find different ways to utilise workers across their lifetime,” said Geraldine Magarey, leader of policy and thought leadership at CA ANZ – the organisation which conducted the recent report.
“It’s a great sign for older workers who would prefer part-time retirement, students with study commitments and new parents who don’t yet want to go back to a full-time job.”
The challenge, she added, is to strike the right balance with employment regulation, to allow the widest variety of working patterns, including casual, contracting, part-time and project-based or seasonal work.
The report also highlighted the need to ensure that vulnerable workers are protected from unscrupulous employers.
“Flexibility must still provide decent work and remuneration.”
The paper launched Tuesday night in New Zealand also surveyed what attributes business leaders felt to be very important for the future: There was an overwhelming response for communication skills (90 per cent).
Other qualities deemed important are problem solving, adaptability and agility, collaboration, quick building of relationships, resilience, creativity and innovation, the making of good designs even with incomplete information, leadership and empathy.
“These are difficult to replicate with technology,” Magarey said, pointing out that business leaders still feel a human touch remain crucial at work even as technological advancements influence the workplace.
And while agility and adaptability are crucial for workers, “it’s crucial for workplaces too,” Magarey said.
“Businesses need to be flexible in relation to hours, locations and where employees can work. These initiatives help to increase the talent pool and the employees they can attract.”
The paper surveyed 400 leaders from all sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, construction, hospitality, logistics, IT, professional services, accounting, finance and healthcare.
| A HRD New Zeal;and release || November 23, 2017 |||
Nov 23, 2017 - Auckland based network monitoring technology provider Endace has appointed StarLink as its value-added distributor across Europe, Middle East and Africa to promote its network recording and packet capture tools writes Stuart Corner for Computerworld New Zealand. The move to boost is European presence follows Endace announcing in October 2016 a new feature dubbed Provenance, that it said would be needed to enable traders to comply with European Securities and Markets Authority’s (ESMA) upcoming Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II.
The directive requires traders to record all trade data and ensure trade events are accurately time-stamped to within microseconds of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) along with information about the reliability of the timing source.
StarLink, headquartered in Dubai, is growing rapidly in Europe through its UK based regional headquarters, according to Endace.
“The partnership will see Endace’s technology distributed by StarLink to help businesses mitigate risks from cyber-attacks and better manage the security of their critical network assets,” Endace said.
Endace CEO Stuart Wilson said network packet capture was essential to enable companies to quickly and accurately analyse security events.
“Network security is paramount in today’s connected world, especially given recent high-profile examples of costly hacks and breaches,” he said.
"Partnering with StarLink, with its deep channel relationships in this market, will enable us to extend our reach and continue to accelerate our growth in EMEA.”
Wilson said interest in Endace network recording solutions had increased dramatically as organisations grappled with how to handle breaches, highlighted by the recent Equifax breach, and in light of growing mandatory breach disclosure requirements.
Interest in Endace’s network recording solutions also increased dramatically last year when Wikileaks outed the company for its role in helping several national governments snoop on citizens' data.
Endace in July this year launched EndaceFabric, billed as a centrally managed, network-wide packet capture and recording fabric that, it said “gives network security and network operations teams the definitive, packet-level evidence they need to rapidly investigate, and respond with certainty, to cybersecurity threats and network or application performance issues.”
A year earlier, in July 2016, the company joined the Cisco Solution Partner Program, saying the move would enable it to quickly create and deploy solutions to enhance the capabilities, performance and management of the network to capture value in the ‘Internet of Everything’ (Cisco’s then preferred name for IoT).
Nov 22, 2017 - Company to streamline business operations and support a drive for efficiency across the entire organisation. Coda Group, one of New Zealand’s leading and most innovative logistics companies, has commenced deployment of Promapp’s cloud-based business process management software (BPM) to streamline business operations and support a drive for efficiency across the entire organisation.
Coda Group was established two years ago as a joint venture between Port of Tauranga and freight and logistics company, Kotahi, to boost the efficiency of New Zealand’s nationwide supply chain, remove wasted capacity and reduce the costs of consolidating the cargo necessary for big ships.
The joint venture brought together four of New Zealand’s leading freight brands, including DTL, Tapper Transport, Priority Logistics and MetroPack, each with their own processes, many of which were paper-based and held in a variety of formats. Many of these processes couldn’t be shared, accessed and updated across the entire Coda Group business operation.
“In order to support the overall business in driving continuous improvement, optimising freight flows and creating a leaner, more efficient organisation we needed to ensure that our processes across the business could be easily aligned with business objectives,” said Wendy Mallowes, Business Process Improvement Lead, Coda Group.
Coda Group has company-wide processes, including those involving freight management, import-export procedures, and health and safety. These need to be consistently adhered to while individual customer requirements also add to the complexity of processes and procedures with specific legal and compliance requirements.
David Choong, Coda CFO, says, “As the business has grown and gained momentum, we concluded that we needed a central repository of business processes and documents on anything relating to operations, from staff induction and everyday warehouse operation to import and export procedures. We needed these processes to be universally followed and updated by our 310 staff at any time and from any location."
Promapp was selected to support Coda Group’s requirements based on its ease of use, friendly graphical user interface and its central repository which enables individuals in an organisation to store and update processes, supporting continuous business improvement.
“Being cloud-based also means that Promapp gives us the ability to share processes with our customers and provide staff with the comfort that they are always working with the latest information,” said Mallowes.
“Promapp’s feedback options will support Coda Group’s approach to continuous improvement which will enable customers to provide feedback and remove waste from the logistics network, boost efficiency and help streamline operations."
Coda Group has also set its sights on deploying Promapp’s Process Variant Management (PVM) software which will help the company manage or eliminate process variations.
Coda Group will be able to standardise processes across the entire company, while simply incorporating process variations to meet the requirements of a specific location, product, or customer.
PVM will also enable Coda Group to customise activities and manage service delivery for key customers helping to improve customer service.
“Ultimately, Promapp will support our strategy to remove wasted capacity, reduce the cost of consolidating freight and create real change in the logistics network. The end game is to provide greater value to our customers and logistics partners and to meet our target to handle more than five million metric tonnes of containerised cargo annually,” said Mallowes.
Promapp will be gradually rolled out across all Coda Group business units during 2018.
| About Promapp
Established in 2002, Promapp (https://www.promapp.com) works with hundreds of organisations worldwide to foster a thriving business improvement and process management culture. Promapp’s cloud-based business process management (BPM) software makes it easy to create, navigate, share and change business processes, enabling continuous improvement, risk management, quality assurance and business continuity. Providing an intuitive online process repository, an integrated process mapping tool, and a process improvement toolset, Promapp’s proprietary software supports the development of smarter and safer ways to work, while encouraging sharing of information by operational teams rather than limiting it to process analysts and technical specialists.
Promapp’s wide range of public and private sector customers includes: Coca-Cola Amatil, Air New Zealand, WesTrac, Lumo Energy, Toyota, Ricoh, McDonald's, Audi Australia, Department of Justice, Victoria, Adelaide City Council, Waikato District Council and Southland Regional Council. The company is headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand. www.promapp.com
Nov 22, 2017 - Kiwi tech companies urged to ‘eat more of their own dog food’ when it comes to selling – Kiwi technology needs to sell itself smarter to realise its full potential to become the country’s largest export industry, according to the latest Market Measures report.
“We don’t face the same environmental constraints of the other two major export sectors –agriculture and tourism – so the potential for tech is virtually limitless,” says Owen Scott, Managing Director of Concentrate Limited, who organise the study along with fellow tech marketing company Swaytech.
“Improving our ability to sell efficiently is one way of unlocking this potential, and ultimately becoming New Zealand’s primary export industry,” says Scott.
Now in its ninth year, Market Measures gathers information about sales and marketing from over 300 New Zealand technology companies, and compares the results to similar data from the USA.
“In the 2017 study we have found that Kiwi companies are over-reliant on company founders and high-value sales people to sell their products and services. More than 46% of companies said a founder was still closely involved in sales, and the average sales person in an export market was paid a base salary almost 50% higher than the typical equivalent US sales person.”
“It’s not a scalable approach to generating export sales – 40% of the surveyed companies reported that productivity was their main problem when it came to managing their sales teams,” says Scott.
Bob Pinchin, Managing Director of Swaytech, says the fact that US companies used on average three times the number of digital sales tools (e.g. email automation, contact intelligence and similar) than their New Zealand counterparts, was evidence they were more focussed on efficiency.
“In the tech industry we call this ‘eating your own dog food’, but our firms are turning their nose up at these tools at the moment.”
“We have talented tech sales people who convert leads at an incredibly high rate, but it’s the volume of sales that is the issue – this productivity challenge is one we have to solve to overtake the other two big export industries,” says Pinchin.
“Our tech sales people are really ‘artists’, talented and creative and able to craft sales, but what we need more of is scientists – people operating within a rigorous system able to produce repeatable, predictable sales results at a lower cost,” says Scott.
Scott says that more than ever before, New Zealand tech companies must be willing to invest in sales and marketing, which has been a constant trend of Market Measures since it began in 2008.
“It ranges from a stable 25% of annual revenue spent on sales and marketing (including salaries and costs) for established companies, through to an aggressive 86% for start-up tech businesses.”
“NZTE works with an increasing number of internationally successful tech companies but as the Market Measures study suggests, some of them – big and small – are forgetting to cover some of the basics that lead to export growth,” says Charles Haddrell, Customer Director at NZTE, the principal sponsor of Market Measures.
“Getting your sales and marketing strategies right isn’t just a nice to have – it’s a must have. We’ve worked with hundreds of companies and know from experience that implementing robust sales processes, developing sales and execution skills, hiring well, and being aware of the technologies to support the sales and marketing functions are vital to being successful overseas,” says Haddrell.
The full Market Measures 2017 report can be downloaded from www.marketmeasures.co.nz at a cost of $375.