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Guy Trafford is grateful for where he farms, for the rain, and that prices are holding up for farm outputs. But he is also looking to what lies ahead, post-lockdown

Guy Trafford is grateful for where he farms, for the rain, and that prices are holding up for farm outputs. But he is also looking to what lies ahead, post-lockdown

It's more than five days into the lockdown and I have an overwhelming sense of relief and gratitude that I am a New Zealand citizen and perhaps even more importantly, living in New Zealand.

MSD have come to the party to assist with keeping our food business afloat and managed it all in a pretty good time frame.

Watching the disaster that is unfolding overseas just shows the magnitude of the potential of what could have happened here. While we have not dodged the bullet yet it does seem that while many, myself included, felt the Government could have moved faster, we were really only talking about days and it appears that the lockdown, especially at the border, may have occurred just in time. It’s early days yet and we won’t really know for a couple of weeks.

One thing that is becoming clear is that it will be a different world that we will step into when the covid-19 lockdowns are behind us.

The EU is struggling to maintain the unity that it was set up to provide. The rich nations are reluctant to make major sacrifices to help support the poorer ones and with countries acting independently to set up borders lockdowns, something which started with the refugee crisis and there is a definite move to more nationalistic policies.

The US and to a slightly lesser degree Australia appear to be more concerned in keeping the economic wheels turning at the expense of controlling the virus. The difference in US party politics have become starkly obvious with Trump leading the charge for those who believe in economic policies at all costs (especially human it would seem) with the US belief in individual rights and responsibilities reign supreme meaning government can opt out of social responsibility. They/he only acted against the Covid19 threat after it was too late. Yet Congress managed to put together an economic package in record time.

China continues to show the way with their economic recovery, unfortunately I doubt the other large economic players which impact upon New Zealand will turn around as quick, i.e. USA, EU, UK and Australia. This will not only directly impact upon New Zealand’s ability to trade our way out quickly but indirectly in slowing down China’s ability to fully recover. However, given other countries woes the economic health is a lesser concern for now.

In the meantime, solid rain has fallen over much of the dry eastern parts of New Zealand providing much needed relief to farmers and just in a nick of time to bolster feed supplies heading towards winter.

Thoughts have started to turn to what will be required post-lock downs and when the direct government support runs out. Some sort of domestic stimulus package will need to be rolled out. I know I’m not the only one who suggests “no more new roads please”. There has to be more creative ways to stimulate the economy. One area I’d like to see some spending on is the extension of fibre into areas that require it. Generally rural areas, ‘we’ are still operating at a considerable disadvantage with slow (very slow) internet speeds. While the ability to access Netflix and the like would be nice, especially at the moment, it is the frustration of slow access and dropping out of connections that impacts upon business. The same could be said regarding extending cell phone coverage. Getting up on the BBQ table starts to irritate especially in the winter. Hopefully much of the plans to reinvigorate the health sector continue to be rolled out and this continues into the education sector. Here in Canterbury the building of the new stadium will help provide some building activity.

Processors are still functioning, thankfully, and with the exception of venison which took another cut from Silver Fern Farms, all other monitored schedules remained at the same levels they have been at for the last few weeks. Given the increasing value of the NZ$ against the US$ the processors could argue that prices needed to fall but for now at least there is some relief.

No wool sales occurred last week.

A report from DeerNZ can be followed here. Some hope for the velvet market to revitalise looks likely when China and South Korea open up. At least the market collapse occurred at the end of the season. Venison’s problems are more deep seated with restaurants around the globe shut down again coming near the end of the season has meant most producers have been affected less than they otherwise might have. The forestry sector are good barometer of the Chinese economy and once we see them going back to work then we know China at least is open for business.

The rain has now eased off so it’s out to feed animals and earn my dinner.

Y Lamb

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Got to agree, fibre roll out over roads any day of the week. Hi tech well managed and enviro responsible ag/ hort is what my focus as gummit would be.

We got fibre tru our driveway on our rural property. But getting it hooked up is about the hardest thing ever. We only been trying for last 6 years. Yes that was put in the ground in 2014. It would been better and less frustrating if it was still on the roll.

Log uptake in China is increasing rapidly and in many places now above average in some ports. If we hadn't shut down the prices in April would have been the highest for a year. Inventory is still high but dropping. The shutdown/Virus spread means there is no volume going into China from anywhere, I mean globally, at the moment. Our clients there are worried about supply and the stimulus they are talking about will mean things will be busy when we get back to work as by the time you start harvest, build cargo and ship there will be a 8 week gap. Just need to make sure we don't go to high.

still a bit blast from the past, Guy.

Stadiums are gone - they were an attempt to continue exponential growth, as were the roads to nowhere.

Govt does indeed need to address the post-virus paradigm, but 'back to normal' is wrong on many counts; not the least being that 'normal' was only a very short window, historically. I'm less of the high-tech and more of the resilient/capacitance-in-the-system type approach.

Local food is likely to become much more local, most of the business models will be gone, much debt will have to be forgiven.

If we want to play with big tonka toys and build some useful infrastructure at the same time water storage would be a good place to start. The dam that was originally part of CPW's plan could be dusted off and built as a reservoir for Christchurch. Similarly the Ruataniwha project in Hawke Bay. These do not have to be dedicated to irrigation, but if we are going to build things that are "nice to have" water storage would have to be right up there.

www - who pays for them, taxpayer I guess?
Who gets the immediate almost overnight Capital gain without any downside, sort that out and you might get people interested?

Christchurch city would get better value for its money from a water reservoir than a sports stadium. Notice I said that such reservoirs need not be dedicated to irrigation. In future. stored water will have more value than money in the bank.

Christchurch already has a reservoir of perfectly good water. Making the maintaining of that in it's current condition should be a priority and would indeed be "money in the bank".

Well, we're not gonna need Conference Centres for a while either. And as several Councils have declared themselves to be in a Climate Emergency, they won't be needing:

  • those divvies from the airport companies (who just facilitate Nasty Emissions)
  • Tourism and business development agencies (neither is gonna come roaring back in the next year or three, so just fire 'em all)
  • Rates penalties set at 10% (when fer gosh sakes, even IRD's UOMI is 8.35% and even that's usurious when OCR is 0.25%)
  • Festivals, buskers, events and other Covid-Cluster-Generators
  • 4WD's and SUV's for Council staff who never get off the seal - buy 'em e-bikes with trailers


This Emergency could turn out to be Quite the Tipping-point for Councils....bring popcorn.

I love it when people make sweeping statements.

China, world factory is starting up for business, the imported log from NZ to China as we speak already been turned into more toilet paper & furniture... ready at their ports to export back to NZ, so business now just waiting after the lock-down up lifted, import back into the Warehouse shelves.. to be purchased by NZ workers wages subsidy (those that being made redundant, lost job etc.).. and to those that can borrow $ more against their AKL multi-million dollars house/palace.. which now in mortgage holiday & lowest (soon to be minus, interest rates) - NZ, is business as usual - trust me, when every bastion of leadership in NZ are all heavily invested in property industry? - you shall see, that every economic moves shall gear up to protect their own investment - at whatever the cost.

A cheer went up from the gathering crowd as the Fonterra Gulfstream bought by the cloggy before it all went pear shaped skidded to a halt in the gathering gloom of a wet Auckland Terminal.
The doors opened and down the step came the noted epidemiologist and everyone's favorite uncle, Rewi W.
A hush came on the crowd as he paused looking gallant in his hipster travel pants, Yuan spilling out of bulging pockets. The rain, gently falling upon his floodlit visage gave him an angelic glow. A young child sleeping rough post Key at the airport periphery gasped "Was it the messiah?"

Raising an arm clenching a wringled A4 splattered with Uyghur blood he shouted " A Market for Our Time"
A hollow cheer rang out of the highly leveraged Waikato, the polluted plains of Canterbury and the cruel boglands of Southland. The rest of NZ fell silent. They had seen this before and it hadn't ended well then.

Hardly a bed of rose's in China.

Trump is a loveable beefcake. Another great article keith, its good to read your perspective

If you look at the tourism sector, while it has "mushroomed" real-wages have been falling while increased population boosted property prices. I can't help thinking of the new roadworks south of Christchurch as the "AirBnB Highway". What's more it is divided into 3 sectors (NZ;Korean; Chinese and to a minor degree Japanese and German). The government has been pursing growth at all costs. In the current downturn all those tourism and hospitality workers without work are a burden on the state.
BTW If anyone wants to connect to a former era without self-flagellation, the 1981 Series Landmarks is on Youtube. It tells the story of the development of our nations town's ,cities, farming and infrastructure.