3 Nov - In October, the internationally operating logistics company Logwin invested a one third stake in Supply Chain International Ltd (SCI). SCI was established at the beginning of 2017 as a subsidiary of the Auckland-based Supply Chain Solutions (NZ) Ltd (SCS). The subsidiary is being managed by another stakeholder, Peter Furlong, who has 30 years experience in international air and sea freight.
This investment by Logwin gives it entry into another attractive market with the deal also reinforcing its regional position in the Oceania region. In neighbouring Australia, whose economy is closely linked with New Zealand’s, the provider of logistics services has 5 branches and has been active there for more than 25 years. SCS is one of the leading providers of contract logistics and distribution services in New Zealand. Via the SCI subsidiary, customers will now also be linked to Logwin’s international network. Logwin is therefore continuing to expand its presence and with its global air and sea freight, it guarantees customers quick transport times and high-quality local services.
3 Nov - Plant & Food Research's John Mitchell has led a programme trialling wireless sensors in kiwifruit as a way of detecting abnormal fruit. Wireless sensor technology may one day be used in the horticulture industry to detect diseases or defects in stored fresh fruit. A Plant & Food Research team developed a sensor at its Hamilton base at Ruakura, New Zealand and has been trialling it for green kiwifruit at a commercial cool store in the Bay of Plenty over the past two seasons.
Programme leader John Mitchell said the research unit wanted to find a scientifically sound way to detect any abnormal or undesirable fruit while in storage. At the peak of this season the team had 440 devices placed in 56 different pallets from 24 growers throughout the coolstore.
Mitchell said the sensors had functioned well over both seasons.
The bulk of New Zealand's kiwifruit is harvested from April-June when it is then graded, packed in pallets and stored in cool storage for up to six months.
Once stored, it was difficult to access individual packs of fruit to check its quality. If affected fruit was not identified and removed from packaging, it could spread throughout the stored crop and cause greater fruit loss, he said.
3 Nov - Australian telco giant Telstra has completed the purchase of MTData as it bids to strengthen its IoT capabilities. Specialising in connected vehicle and fleet management technology, MTData, also Australian-owned, has around 70 staff and also operates in New Zealand, the US, Canada, the UK and the Middle East. The purchase price is yet to be disclosed.
Telstra already operates the largest mobile network in Australia, which is also one of the largest in the world, and is looking to diversify its portfolio of assets.
In a blog post, Telstra’s Executive Director of Global Products Michelle Bendschneider said: “MTData will bring fresh expertise to our business, including the technical know-how and software expertise to help fast track our Enterprise Connected Vehicle offerings.
“It’s part of our goal to build out our IoT ecosystem for our customers. It also supports Telstra’s focus on being a leading provider of innovative technology solutions for customers in Australia and globally.
“Since MTData began in 2003, the team has been built on a culture of innovation and a resolute focus on developing solutions that provide a tangible benefit to their customers’ business.”
MTData serves industries including transport and logistics, mining, oil and gas, agriculture and waste management. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, it was named on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 list.
| An AustraliaBusinessReview release || Nov 3, 2017 |||
2 Nov - The proposed Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill looks set to become law in the coming months. Max Whitehead, Managing Director of Whitehead Group, says that despite the Bill’s best intentions, it is practically inevitable that the Bill will place unbearable strain on some employers, especially small employers.
“The consequences of this could be a large shift in the workforce away from employees to contractors and will likely result in fewer jobs being available overall,” says Mr Whitehead. “There is also a chance for exponential inflation as the “wage envy revolution” gains momentum.”
Mr Whitehead says the Bill also runs the risk of encouraging men into a preferential position as the legislation brings with it much risk for employers, but only if the employee is female.“Our advice to employers is to brace themselves for soaring wages and ensure that they have legal advice ready for when this legislation takes hold and the floodgates open. Claims for backpay can extend up to six years, a burden many won’t be able to bear.”
Mr Whitehead expects a range of claims under this legislation in all sectors before precedent is established. “For those in higher earning brackets, we say get ready for extensive bargaining and make sure that when the increased salary wave hits you are ready to ride it.”
| A Whitehead Group release || November 2, 2017 |||
2 Nov Ministers from APEC member economies are stepping up their push to salvage the majority of the world’s dwindling forests and the livelihoods of millions of people that depend on these resources as consumer demand in the region surges.
Ministers meeting in Seoul launched growth-friendly actions for realizing their ambitious goal of increasing forest cover by at least 20 million hectares by 2020 across APEC. Together, APEC economies account for half the world’s forests and 80 per cent of global timber trade.
A viable step towards mitigating climate change, the move sets the tone for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Da Nang on 6-11 November that will aim to improve trade-driven growth in the region and the sustainability and equity of its economic and social outcomes.
“APEC economies are enacting measures to boost legitimate trade flows that weed out illegally harvested wood before they hit consumer markets and undercut legal producers,” Dr Bollard continued. “Eliminating price distortions caused by illicit timber could have a major impact on forest preservation and the large numbers of jobs they support.”
Ministers are focused on raising governance and transparency standards among APEC economies for the trade of timber and wood products such as lumber, paper, flooring and furniture, in coordination with Interpol, industry and conservation groups.
This includes building on work administered by the APEC Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade to enhance customs inspections of timber and wood products at borders, implement timber legality methodologies and establish efficient lines of communication with law enforcement agencies.
Parallel measures to be taken forward by APEC economies center on facilitating sustainable forest management practices and community support needed to help forests re-germinate and promote emerging business and employment opportunities.
“The growth potential of sectors such as agriculture, education, healthcare and tourism depends in no small part on forest resources in APEC,” concluded Dr Bollard. “The progress of efforts to create sustainable supply chains could go a long way to ensuring the future of the region’s forests.”
The Seoul Statement endorsed at the conclusion of the Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry outlines the actions to be advanced by APEC member economies towards this objective.
1 NOV Ξ Asian beauty brands now have a new source for packaging, design services and the latest in global trends. Recognising the steady growth of Asian domestic markets, Quadpack Industries is expanding its presence in the region.
The international packaging group has created a dedicated sales operation to service brands and contract fillers in the Asia Pacific region, led by Regional Director Jason Smith.
"It's a natural evolution of our business and a key element of our larger organic growth plans," says Smith. "We already have an established office in Australia and New Zealand and, since our merger with Collcap, an unrivalled presence across Asia, with a supply chain and QA team spread across China, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan. Now the different domestic markets are maturing, the time is right to start building relationships with local brands."
Around a third of the world's beauty packaging spend comes from Asia. It accounts for half of the world's skincare market, with many global trends originating in countries like Korea and Japan. What's more, domestic markets are growing and maturing.
Jimmy Kim, Quadpack Sales Manager Asia, comments: "There's a real opportunity for a packaging solutions provider like us – with global experience, a unique portfolio, our own manufacturing capability and a proven track record in Europe – to help these brands perform both locally and internationally."
Headquartered in Europe, Quadpack has been present in Asia since its inception in 2003. The company's Australian office is celebrating its 10th anniversary of servicing the leading brands in Australia and New Zealand this year. The Melbourne and Hong Kong offices will act as joint headquarters for Quadpack Asia Pacific. The Hong Kong office is also moving to new, larger offices in November in anticipation of increased activity.
Quadpack aims to secure 1% of the €6.5 billion Asian market in the next five years, growing to become a key strategic sales region along with Europe and Americas.
1 Nov: Pests and diseases from offshore can cause serious harm to New Zealand's unique environment and primary industries; and the Port of Tauranga is one of many potential gateways. Biosecurity week activities highlight the importance of biosecurity and the role that everyone in the Bay of Plenty can play in managing unwanted biosecurity risks Kiwifruit Vine Health Chief Executive BarryO’Neil told FreshPlaza .
“We’re looking forward to talking to people who work on and around the Port about biosecurity – it’s such an important issue and one that really does affect everyone.”
“People who own and work at local businesses remember what Psa has done to the kiwifruit industry. There are bugs and pests that we don’t want here in New Zealand because of the devastating effect they will have not only on kiwifruit, but on the whole of our horticulture industry and environment.”
“A good example is a particular type of bug we’re concerned about – it’s one of our most unwanted and called the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. It’s a major nuisance that attacks fruit when it feeds and ruins it.It infests homes and in the USA we’ve seen it stop people from being able to sit outside their homes and have a simple BBQ”.
Port staff, transitional facilities, associated industries (such as transporters and other logistical operators), and biosecurity experts will be meeting at several events over the next six days to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of managing biosecurity risk.
Special guest Ruud 'The Bug Man' Kleinpaste will also be attending several industry and community school group presentations during the week to discuss the vital role of everyone who works and lives in and around the Port and local community in keeping unwanted pests and diseases out of New Zealand.
Throughout the week there will also be discussions with post-harvest facilities and transitional facilities to learn more about the frontline biosecurity systems they have in place. Biosecurity Week is part of the biosecurity excellence partnership between Port of Tauranga, the Ministryfor Primary Industries, Kiwifruit Vine Health, NZ Avocado, Dairy NZ, Forestry Owners Association, NZ Customs and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
Port of Tauranga Chief Executive Mark Cairns said the week provides a good opportunity to strengthen the significance of biosecurity within the Port community.
“Effective biosecurity awareness is critical to us running a successful business and being able to continue to service the Bay of Plenty region. The various events we’re holding for our staff, contractors and localbusinesses who regularly interact with us and our facilities will give us the chance to show people what they should be looking out for and what to do if they find anything.”
“It’s an opportunity to demonstrate the good work that happens here at the Port, day in day out, to keep an eye out.”
“Our people are at the frontline – they’re the ones most likely to first notice an unwanted pest on cargo, vehicles or equipment moving off the port. By knowing what to look for and reporting unfamiliar insectsor suspicious looking pests they help protect everyone’s livelihood and the future of the kiwifruit, avocado and forestry sectors.”
1 Nov: The Labour-led government may have found a way to create a ban on foreign home buyers without breaching the TPP, but its opposition to the ISDS may present a higher hurdle, as Sam Sachdeva reports for Newsroom. One surprise about the Government’s confirmation of its plan to ban foreigners from buying existing houses was how effortlessly it seemed to sidestep its trade obligations.
Making the announcement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said the policy would not breach the TPP or any of its other existing trade deals, with the exception of Singapore.
However, an area where the Government will face greater difficulty is in its proposal to renegotiate the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses in the TPP.
The ISDS provisions, which allow foreign investors to take action against a TPP country if they believe it has breached its investment rules, have proved controversial.
31 OCT: New Zealand's trade minister said on Tuesday that it may be too late to make significant changes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after his new Labour-led government said last week it would seek to renegotiate the agreement.
The Labour Party, which took the helm last week, has taken issue with the fact that the deal is at odds with its plans to ban foreign ownership of existing houses, a key campaign promise.
The 11 TPP members had set a goal of reaching broad agreement on the pact on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Vietnam next week and some fear New Zealand's renegotiation could unravel the agreement.
Trade Minister David Parker told Radio New Zealand that Labour still found the foreign ownership rules "abhorrent", but that trade officials had told him not all changes would be possible given how late it was in negotiations.
"That doesn't mean to say we won't be able to change anything and it doesn't mean to say that perhaps through mechanisms outside of the TPP we will perhaps be able to fix other things," Parker said.
His comments suggested the government could instead focus on a change to domestic law to get around the TPP rules, which Parker had flagged as an option the previous day.
Parker added that he would release more details on the "mechanisms" to achieve the foreign housing ban later this week.
Trade experts told Reuters that New Zealand could include housing in the country's domestic legislation regulating foreign investment, which overrides the TPP.
The TPP currently requires member states to give foreign investors equal treatment to locals unless there are specific exemptions.
The Labour party would like an exemption for existing homes, similar to Australia's carve out.
New Zealand's current exception allows it to add a tax to foreigners purchasing homes, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that would not work and an outright ban was needed.
Ardern's government campaigned to restrict foreign buyers to reduce demand as the country tackles what Labour says is a housing crisis left unresolved by the previous government.
Parker on Tuesday would not confirm whether New Zealand was willing to walk away from the TPP over the issue, saying that would undermine the country's negotiating position.
"We're pretty good at trade agreements...so we rate our ability work through these issues in the best interest of New Zealand," he said. (Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield)
31 Oct: Vector has announced it has executed a contract to provide metering services to EnergyAustralia with an initial three-year deployment period that will commence before the end of 2017. Vector Limited Group Chief Executive, Simon Mackenzie, said, 'We're excited to be working with EnergyAustralia as part of our long-term commitment to the Australian market.
'We pride ourselves on our proven and innovative delivery of advanced metering services in New Zealand and Australia, alongside our huge focus on health and safety. Vector is looking forward to building on our New Zealand experience and being part of EnergyAustralia's new Power of Choice journey and supporting their aim to provide a world-class customer experience.
Vector now expects to be deploying advanced meters on behalf of at least four leading electricity retailers in 2018 across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT.
Mr Mackenzie said, 'Our vision is to create a new energy future. This means using technology such as smart meters to help enable new energy solutions, supporting the increasing expectations of consumers to have more choice, control and information over their energy needs just as they do with any other service.
'We're taking our experience and expertise from managing New Zealand's largest energy network, and our investment in developing new energy technologies and partnerships, and exporting them to other markets such as Australia and the Pacific