NZ's "basketcase" bee industry seeks govt help to get national body, levies

Representatives of New Zealand's fragmented bee industry have called on government support to reintroduce commodity levies for honey and the creation of a single national body by April next year. Appearing before the primary production select committee, John Hartnell, chair of the Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group, Ricki Leahy, president of the National Beekeepers Association and its chief exe…

  • BC Iron cuts contract to save costs AAP - 35 minutes ago

    BC Iron has terminated a mining, crushing and screening contract with Watpac as it looks to cut costs in response to a plunging iron iron ore price. The contract for work at the company's Nullagine joint venture operations will been cut short by three months to July. The early termination of the Watpac contract and purchase of second hand equipment is part of the miner's strategy to achieve cost savings of between $2 and $3 per wet metric tonne across the joint venture with Fortescue Metals. The price of iron ore has fallen below $US50 per tonne, and BC Iron confirmed its current all-in cash cost is between $53 and $57 per tonne.

  • Budget in chronic position: JP Morgan AAP - 58 minutes ago
    Budget in chronic position: JP Morgan

    One of the world's largest investment banks has sent Treasurer Joe Hockey a stark warning: change the course of the budget or Australia risks losing its triple-A status. The warning from JP Morgan's chief economist in Australia, Stephen Walters, came as the price of iron ore - one of the country's key sources of revenue - sunk to its lowest level in nearly a decade. Commodity forecasters at Deutsche Bank predict a fall to $US40. In an analysis before the May 12 budget, Mr Walters says Treasury has estimated that every $US10-a-tonne drop in the iron ore price shaves up to $A3 billion off annual budget revenue.

  • Aust stocks up at noon on rate cut hopes AAP - 1 hour 18 minutes ago

    The Australian sharemarket is rallying as investors bet on an interest rate cut next week. Gains among financial stocks have offset losses in the mining sector after the price of Australia's largest export, iron ore, dropped below $US50 a tonne overnight. The big banks, telcos and property trusts all performed strongly in morning trade, Options Xpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said. "We're defying the naysayers today and a lot of that would be pricing in a rate cut on Tuesday," Mr Le Brun said.

  • Bradken rejects takeover proposal AAP - 1 hour 23 minutes ago

    Mining equipment and rolling stock supplier Bradken has received a takeover offer from private equity group Pacific Equity Partners and US-based Koch Industries valuing the company at $427 million. Bradken says it received an unsolicited indicative non-binding proposal to acquire the company at $2.50 per share, by way of a scheme of arrangement, on April 1. "The proposal was subject to a number of conditions including certain financial due diligence," Bradken said on Thursday. Bradken shares eased back when they came out of a trading halt on the Australian Securities Exchange at 1230 AEDT.

  • $A falls to nudge six year lows AAP - 1 hour 38 minutes ago

    The Aussie dollar has hit its lowest level in three weeks as a weaker trade balance adds to the impact of falling iron ore prices and expectations of a rate cut. At 1200 AEDT on Thursday, the local currency ...

  • Stocks to watch at noon on Thursday AAP - 1 hour 52 minutes ago
    Stocks to watch at noon on Thursday

    Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at noon on Thursday: CBA - COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA - up 92.5 cents, or 0.99 per cent, at $94.245 The Commonwealth Bank has launched a fresh call ...

  • Thailand admits need to improve aviation AAP - 2 hours 4 minutes ago

    Thai authorities will use special powers under junta rule to "urgently" improve airline safety as several carriers face bans on new international flights following concerns raised by a UN aviation agency. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a United Nations body, recently reported "significant safety concerns" to Thailand's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) after an audit earlier in the year. In response, Japan last week blocked new flights from Thailand in a move affecting charter services by budget carriers Thai AirAsia X and NokScoot as well as Asia Atlantic Airlines, the DCA said, adding existing flights would not be impacted.

  • NZ lamb wool prices fall as lower Aussie dollar lures … BusinessDesk - 2 hours 10 minutes ago

    New Zealand lamb wool prices fell as Chinese buyers of the fibre favoured the Australian market as a decline in the Aussie dollar made that country's prices more competitive. The price for clean 35-micron wool, a benchmark for crossbred wool used for carpets and accounting for the majority of New Zealand's production, edged up 1 percent to $5.10/kg. New Zealand lamb wool prices last month touched $6.65/kg, the highest in more than four years, stoked by increased demand from China and as a decline in the New Zealand dollar against the greenback made the export fibre more competitive. "Lamb wool slipped as Chinese buyers were likely to have favoured buying in Australia this week as the Australian dollar is softer," said AgriHQ agriculture analyst Ivan Luketina.

  • Calls for action on government reviews AAP - 2 hours 12 minutes ago

    Business groups fear the flood of government inquiries and reviews is not translating into reform. Since elected in September 2013, the Abbott government has initiated 38 major inquiries, reviews and white papers. Corporate executives and business groups have been privately telling ministers they are concerned many of the finalised reports are sitting in in-trays, or have been released but are now gathering dust. Australian Industry Group chief Innes Willox says he is not concerned about too many inquiries because they have the potential to lift economic performance and living standards.

  • Job vacancies up 1.1% AAP - 2 hours 14 minutes ago

    Job vacancies have hit their highest level in two-and-a-quarter years. Employers surveyed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics said there were 151,700 vacancies in February, up 1.1 per cent from November, ...

  • The week in numbers to April 2 AAP - 2 hours 14 minutes ago

    The big and small numbers that grabbed attention - or should have - in the business world over the past week. Monday: $10,200 - Wholesale liquor co-op Independent Liquor Group was fined for trying to pass ...

  • PaperlinX gives up on UK operations AAP - 2 hours 19 minutes ago

    Printing and publishing industry group PaperlinX has all but given up on its UK business, placing most of it in administration. The Australia-based company, Britain's biggest paper merchant, blamed the poor performance of the UK business when it slumped to a $28.4 million first half loss in February. Administrators Deloitte were appointed and immediately shut 14 of 19 sites overnight, leading to up to 693 job losses. The decision comes a month after chief executive Andrew Price was sacked and replaced with Australian boss Andy Preece and a strategic review was started in December.

  • CORRECT: F&P Appliances records surge in global sales, … BusinessDesk - 2 hours 20 minutes ago

    Fisher & Paykel Appliances, the Auckland-based manufacturer and consumer credit company owned by China's Haier Group, narrowed its full-year loss in 2014 after sales growth across all its markets helped drive a surge in revenue. The loss narrowed to $12.6 million in calendar 2014, from a loss of about $31 million in the nine-month period a year earlier, according to the accounts of Haier New Zealand Investment Holding Co. Sales rose to $1.13 billion from $772 million, on that basis, suggesting revenue still rose strongly on a like-for-like basis. Haier effectively rescued F&P Appliances in 2009 when it acquired a 20 percent stake as part of a capital raising that let the company refinance its debt. The Chinese company took full control in 2012 and F&P Appliances was delisted from the NZX.

  • Chatham Rock proposes reverse listing wider mandat … BusinessDesk - 2 hours 30 minutes ago

    Chatham Rock Phosphate, which was turned down for a consent for seabed mining, has proposed a deal with associate Aorere Resources which would turn Chatham into a dual-listed company via a reverse listing. Under the proposal, Aorere would acquire the core assets of Antipodes Gold, whose wholly owned Glass Earth (New Zealand) holds an interest in two Waihi gold prospects with Newmont Mining Corp, for $800,000 in shares and $200,000 cash. Antipodes, which is listed on the Toronto Venture Stock Exchange and the NZAX, would then distribute the Aorere shares to its own shareholders, leaving a dual-listed shell that would offer to acquire all of the shares in Chatham Rock. Existing shareholders of Chatham Rock would own about 92.5 percent of the merged entity, based on their expected relative values at the time of the takeover, said Chatham Rock chief executive and shareholder Chris Castle.

  • Trade balance in deficit in Feb AAP - 2 hours 32 minutes ago

    Australia's trade balance has stayed in the red with a deficit of $1.26 billion in February, following a deficit in January of $1.0 billion. Exports rose 1.0 per cent, while imports were up 2.0 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

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