Category Archives: News – General

Effluent Scrap Lands Brothers In The…

6/05/2004 12:00:00  


IT’S just a joke, says North Waikato farmer Bill Cox in response to a $900 fine imposed on him for obstructing two Environment Waikato officers investigating a complaint.

Mr Cox’s brother Don was fined $500 and the pair were ordered to pay $452 in legal costs at the Hamilton District court recently.

The council officers and and two police offers turned up at the Cox property in May 2001 to check on a report of illegal spreading of effluent on a tanker track.

“They were worried about effluent getting into water courses, which is why I confined the spreading to the tanker track,” Mr Cox says.

He says he denied access to the officers because they wouldn’t sign his OSH book.

He also says the effluent spreading was within the framework of his resource consent.

“These guys haven’t been through safety courses and they don’t respect personal safety policy.

“Everyone else rings up and makes an appointment, but these bureaucrats think they can just march on to your property. Farmers are sick of it.

“They say I am belligerent, but if they went down to my cowshed without my consent and were electrocuted, who is belligerent then?”

Despite losing the case, Mr Cox says the issue has now gone to Parliament, because people are not legally required to sign on entry to business premises.

He points to the 1994 death of beekeeper Ken Richards, as a result of a bridge collapse on Keith and Margaret Berryman’s King Country property, as a case where an OSH book could have saved the farmer plenty of unnecessary heartache.

“At some point there will be major injuries in the rural sector, because these council guys aren’t trained.

“It’s not a question of if, but when.”

Environment Waikato Resource Use manager Chris McLay says the council took a serious view of “unwanted and aggressive behaviour towards its staff”.

The council sought the maximum penalty of $1500 and an order for Mr Cox to do an anger management course, which he says he is not going to do.

The case has cost Mr Cox $18,000 and is one of many between the regional council and himself.

He says he and his lawyer have reason to consider taking legal action against the council soon.

How to Afford The Family Farm

4/07/2005 8:33:41 AM
RURAL property prices have ballooned too far for the next generation to be able to afford the family farm.In many cases, it’s just not feasible for children of farming families to buy the property off the parents.

Recent figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand show the median farm price in May was $930,000.

The median price for a dairy farm was a cool $2 million.

These are hefty figures for anyone, let alone an aspiring young farmer. When faced with the prospect of being chained to a huge debt during several years many just can’t see how “the hell” they can do it.

This puts the parents at odds ,because how can they go on to retire with adequate funds behind them and keep the farm in the family?

Traditional ways of financing the farm could be to lease part of it, and therefore compromise farm production.

The answer: Well, one company is taking popular theories about farm succession and turning them upside down. In fact, it has come up with a plan so shrewd it should receive a PhD from Cambridge.

NZSE-listed Blue Chip New Zealand devised a succession planning solution that uses equity from a rural property for investment in the fast-growing residential property market.

This not only keeps the farm in the family without burdening the children with massive debt, but also allows the parents to retire on a nice income.

The spin-off is that there is no need to subdivide the land for maximum return, which as I mentioned last week, has got to be a good thing.

Blue Chip general manager Jonathan Woodhams says farm succession is a common dilemma for many rural families.

“A farm is more than an investment to farmers. There is much emotional decision making in these matters that is too hard.

“Each family has different requirements, depending on the number of children and the structure they want to set up, but all our clients have the same objective – to create long-term wealth and financial security without having to sell the farm.

“Using non-farm assets is something no other company offers.”

He says an individual plan is formulated, depending on goals, asset base and present farm income.

“It’s about showing farmers a smart way to achieve their goals. It can be tailored to how much risk someone wants to take on.

“It’s totally passive from the clients’ point of view – it’s totally managed.”

Blue Chip advisers guide clients through the process and even inform their accountant and solicitor on how the plan works.

Mr Woodhams says it’s all part of keeping plans as simple as possible.

“Our aim is to allow people to make investments that are as low risk as possible, with an easy exit strategy.

“We also put plenty of effort into improving our corporate governance, because clients need the assurance that the company will be there for the long-term.

“Saving and investing is a long-term plan and the sooner people start planning the sooner they achieve their goals.”

For you local Blue Chip consultant visit

Farmers Get Into Tourism


29/11/2004 12:00:00 AM
FIGURES show tourism is catching up to agriculture as Northland’s biggest money spinner.Tourism Research Council statistics show the $850 million-a-year pastoral agriculture industry will be a close second to tourism by the end of the decade.

Tourism earnings are estimated to hit $1 billion in 2010 and the industry is expected to provide up to 6000 jobs.

Is this the same sort of logic behind a University of Oxford prediction that in 2156, the fastest time in the Olympic 100m final will be run by a woman?

Maybe, but there is no denying the statistics are pointing to growth in Northland’s tourism industry, and anecdotal evidence suggests more farmers are moving to capitalise on this trend.

Northland Federated Farmers director operations Bill Guest expects an increasing number Northland farmers to become involved in the tourism boom in coming years. He says there were 1900 dairy units 10 years ago, compared with 1250 now.

Bayleys Whangarei marketing agent David Roy says there is definite growth in Northland’s tourism industry, but he isn’t jumping to conclusions.

He says farming, particularly dairy farming, will remain the region’s backbone for some time yet.

“There is a trend there. but that’s being echoed countrywide. Farms close to the urban sprawl are under increasing pressure to subdivide and plenty are being bought by the neighbours.

“Where a farm is well located it could be seen as an option for it to be incorporated into another farm for additional income.

“Tourism is great for the north and we have much to offer, but I still see beef farming, dairy farming and orcharding remaining the mainstays of the rural economy.”

Other than lifestyle subdivisions, farm tourism could include anything from homestays and lodges to nature walks and farm experiences.

Mr Guest says the average age of Northland dairy farmers is around 58-59, so he expects more farms will embrace the tourism idea as these farmers begin to retire.

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