Comment: While we were away …

Forward to 2015 new yearWe’re here. 2015. Happy New Year!! So, what’s been happening while we’ve been away …

It’s started relatively well. Good news from Beef + Lamb NZ’s latest figures earlier this week, suggesting that strong demand improved meat export returns in the first quarter of this season (October to December 2014).

People moves

It’s that time of year for people movement too.

AFFCO’s Hamish Simson resigned just prior to Christmas leaving three of the four main meat exporters with new chief executives for 2015. Until his successor is appointed, Rowan Ogg becomes AFFCO’s acting general manager.

Silver Fern Farms (SFF) chairman Rob Hewett is standing again – alongside incumbent director Herstall Ulrich and Meat Industry Excellence candidate Fiona Hancox  – for one of two positions on the cooperative company’s board of directors. The election will take place at the company’s annual general meeting on 18 February in Dunedin.

Former SFF CEO, Keith Cooper has joined the Dunedin City Council Board as a director.

Current B+LNZ chairman James Parsons has been declared elected unopposed for the Northern North Island electorate, but the organisation’s Northern South Island farmer-elected director position is up for contention. Two candidates – Nigel Harwood of Takaka and Phl Smith of Culverden – are standing in the election to be held on 27 February. Farmers can register to vote by filling in the online form at, or by contacting B+LNZ on 0800 233 352.

Ears open for market access news

While meat exporters are working in their established markets and consolidating on avenues made into the Chinese market and working on Taiwan-New Zealand business, their ears will also be open for other news from the trade access front.

It’s possible that the Holy Grail, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), will move forward this year, if not reach a conclusion.

Meanwhile, just prior to Christmas chief negotiators initialled a free trade agreement (FTA)  between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea, which marks the end of the legal verification process, according to Trade Minister Tim Groser. “It’s another milestone as we progress towards bringing the FTA into force,” he said.

The next step is translation of the text into Korean, which will be completed early this year, and then the FTA will be signed.

Further information, including the full text of the Agreement (in English), is available at

So, there’s plenty to keep an eye on. As the drought starts to bite around the country, it’s onwards and upwards into 2015 …


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