New Zealand Business Sector – Green Business is Good Business

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: ActionCOACH

By Marcus Shaw, ActionCOACH Christchurch – Let’s be honest, the average business owner is more focused on profit, than they are on sustainability. But are sustainability and profitability mutually exclusive?

I don’t think so!

Controlling operational costs is obviously good for business because it benefits bottom line earnings, providing a degree of protection against seasonal fluctuations and some flexibility or breathing space to drop prices in order to remain competitive, or meet unexpected expenses that may arise.

Companies that invest in high efficiency equipment and eco-friendly processes enjoy a number of benefits that go beyond lower energy bills. Energy efficient equipment provides greater reliability and productivity, while ensuring lower maintenance costs and less waste. 

A few years back, in a museum just outside Opunake, I came across a popular saying from when the region was first settled. The saying was, “A blade of grass is worth two trees”. In other words, the value of pasture was so immense that cutting down a few trees wasn’t seen as a big deal.
These days, things are a little bit different. 

Aside from cost reductions, companies differentiate themselves by promoting their green credentials to create unique selling points that can ultimately lead to business growth. Various pieces of research show that the majority of consumers think it’s important to buy from environmentally responsible companies. Being recognised as a green organisation can boost sales, increase interest in an organisation, improve brand awareness and build brand loyalty. Operating a resource efficient business will also help to ensure that the company complies with increasing regulatory pressures.

News bulletins, social media, and even Netflix are now dominated by messages urging us to consider the effect that our lifestyles are having on the environment. Closer to home, a great deal of political pressure is also being placed on previously untouchable organisations over their impact on greenhouse gas emissions and water quality.

Alongside the changing political agenda, a powerful new generation of consumers has emerged – the millennials. Not only are millennials more aware of the environmental qualifications of companies but they’re also prepared to pay a premium for brands with green credentials.
 
Globally, companies such as Tesla have become household names out of this increased appetite for environmentally friendly products and services. Here in New Zealand, the modern shopping experience has also changed drastically. From free range chicken, to organic eggs, and even plant based disposable plates, supermarkets now have environmentally friendly products on almost every aisle.

A number of businesses have capitalised on emerging market segments. Whittakers have steadily grown into one of New Zealand’s most preferred brands, with their palm oil free, Fairtrade chocolate. Plant based home product company, Eco Store, has prompted big brands like Persil to offer green alternatives.

Several of my clients also utilise the sustainable message to great effect. An artisan baker sources spray free wheat from a local grower and sells their product at a premium far above industry average, whilst another commercial mechanical installer centres its business on capturing wasted energy to improve efficiency of production plants.
The power of “green” brands is clear. However, the question is, what can you do to harness some of that and leave the planet in a better place in the process?

Here are three ideas to get you started:
Go paperless: 
There is now an app for almost anything imaginable and very few tasks need to be done exclusively on physical paper. Not only will you spend less on printing, but you’ll also improve the efficiency of your business systems.

Sell the story
I often hear of business making a concerted effort to ‘go green’ and yet the market place knows nothing of it. Tell your prospects and your customers about your greening efforts, whether it is the installation of LED lights in your offices, a heat pump water heating system or your commitment to recycling and waste reduction. It may be the key differentiator between you and a competitor.  

Involve your team
A great team has a shared vision. Meet with your team to get their ideas on how to reduce your environmental impact and to set a collective goal.

Marcus Shaw is a Christchurch based business coach, who combines his unique experience and the ActionCOACH system, to take business owners and their companies from chaos to control. Find out more at: www.marcusshaw.actioncoach.com   
 
About ActionCOACH
ActionCOACH is the world’s largest and most experienced business coaching firm. Founded in 1993 by Australian-born entrepreneur Brad Sugars. ActionCOACH is based in over 80 countries, serving the needs of thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs. ActionCOACH Australia is managed by CEO Paul Henshall.

The ActionCOACH coaching programs are designed to optimise business through guidance, support, accountability and mentorship. The ActionCOACH formula has been tried and tested and proven successful in diverse industries all over the world. ActionCOACH continues to deliver on its promise to partner with its clients to guide them in growing successful businesses that are sustainable and profitable, enterprises that work without them. For more information visit https://www.actioncoach.com.au
 

New Zealand Business Sector – NZUS Council welcomes news PM to meet with Trump

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: BusinessNZ
NZUS Council executive director Jordan Small welcomes the news New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will meet with US President Donald Trump in New York next week.
“It is an important first bilateral meeting and an opportunity to reinforce with President Trump our shared interests, values and history in an increasingly complex and challenging geopolitical environment.”
Mr Small says it is also an opportunity to reinforce New Zealand’s long-standing interest in a free trade agreement with the US to support growing exports in a relationship in trade balance.
“This is a bilateral relationship increasingly characterised by exciting and innovative export goods and services, technology and creative businesses, and leading-edge science and research. 
“Often these New Zealand businesses are working in partnership with US firms employing New Zealanders and Americans and they are attracting transformative US investment which helps them connect to global markets,” Mr Small says.

2019 Ratepayers’ Report released, methodology explained

Source: Taxpayers Union

18 SEPTEMBER 2019FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, in partnership with the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, has today published this year’s Ratepayers’ Report  – online local government league tables – at www.ratepayersreport.nz.
With these league tables, New Zealanders can easily compare their local council performance and financial position for 2017/18 against similar-sized councils and types.
Setting out more than two thousand data points, the Ratepayers’ Report provides transparency, and per-household figures ensure fair comparisons between councils. The league tables rank Councils on metrics including average residential rates, staffing costs, and Council liabilities among others. A full Q&A on the Report’s methodology is available at www.taxpayers.org.nz/ratepayers_report_2019.
Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “Some councils do very well in the league tables, some far less so. All figures were sent to councils twice to double check before release.”
“Rates are still on the rise. On average, councils have increased their rates by $90, with the highest rates increase coming from Manawatu District Council which increased rates by $364, or 14%.”
“The data suggests Auckland ratepayers in particular have cause for concern, with the highest average rates in the country, and council liabilities of $21,941 per household. Auckland Council’s liabilities are second only to earthquake-affected Christchurch, and over three times the national average.”
“Every dollar spent by a Council was earned by a hard-working ratepayer. Ratepayers’ Report allows ratepayers to understand if they could be getting a better deal.”
Notable Findings:
Christchurch City Council continues to have the highest liabilities per household compared to any other council ($25,402). Auckland Council follows in second place, with liabilities per household of $21,941. “That alone is an incredible figure,” says Mr Williams. “Think about every letterbox in Auckland having a $21,941 credit card bill in it thanks to Len Brown and Phil Goff.”
The average liabilities per household of all councils is $6,197.
Auckland Council ranks highest for average residential rates at $3,387. There are 2,473 staff paid salaries greater than $100,000 at Auckland Council and its CCOs.
The lowest average residential rates in New Zealand are levied by the Southland District Council ($1,737).
The least efficient council in terms of staffing is Westland District Council, with a staff member for every 19 households. The most efficient is Tararua District Council, with a staff member for every 117 households.
Only five Councils meet the full criteria for prudent Audit and Risk Committees. Two Councils, Palmerston North City Council and Waimakariri District Council, fail to meet any of the recommended oversight policies. Western Bay of Plenty fails to even have a separate Audit and Risk Committee, which is considered basic financial prudence.
Further press releases:
Highest and lowest average ratesHighest and lowest liabilitiesAuckland highlightsWellington highlightsCanterbury highlights
Editors’ notes:
Data for the report was compiled by the Taxpayers’ Union and was supplied to all councils for review prior to publication.
Ratepayers’ Report facilitates straightforward comparison of average residential rates via a formula first used by Napier City Council which allows for an ‘apples to apples’ comparison of average residential rates and charges, based on each council’s definition of a residential rating unit. Only Westland, Buller, and Waikato district councils were unwilling to provide the Taxpayers’ Union with the necessary rates information.
For non-rates figures (i.e. liabilities, personnel costs) we have this year assessed council data using Stats NZ’s 2018 household estimates, with some councils opting to replace this estimate with an exact figure. We have done this because councils have different definitions of what constitutes a residential ratepayer or ‘rating unit’.
Queenstown-Lakes, Taupo, and Thames-Coromandel District Councils objected to the use of Stats NZ’s household figures, as these tend to exclude properties left empty, i.e. baches. As a result, per-household figures for these districts may be somewhat inflated.

Perpetrators of crimes against children in Myanmar must be held to account

Source: Save The Children

This week the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Ms Yanghee Lee, and investigators from the UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission were unanimous in their condemnation of the mistreatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, saying they face the “threat of genocide.” Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, they called for accountability and for the world to take action. Every day children in Myanmar face grave violations against their rights, denied access to education or freedom of movement. An estimated 600,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, 128,000 of them are confined to camps in apartheid-like conditions. Other ethnic groups in Myanmar also report systematic persecution.
In response to the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar’s update in Geneva on Monday, and that of the Fact-Finding Mission today, Save the Children has issued the following statement.
Michael McGrath, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Director for Save the Children, said:
“Thousands of children in Myanmar’s Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan States are still awaiting justice for gross human rights violations and abuses perpetrated against them by the Myanmar military and other groups. No one has been held to account for heinous crimes against children in Myanmar and this impunity must stop.
“Discriminatory policies against Rohingya communities in Rakhine State continue to blight the lives of this persecuted minority. Tens of thousands of Rohingya children have been stuck in camps across Rakhine state for more than seven years, living in squalor, with severe restrictions on their movements and access to formal education. For many Rohingya children in Myanmar the only life they’ve ever known is within the confines of a camp in their own country. Rohingya refugees in neighboring Bangladesh say they’re scared and anxious at the prospect of repatriation to Myanmar where they continue to fear violence and persecution.
 
“UN Member States must ensure that perpetrators of these horrific crimes against children are held to account. It is critical that the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar prioritizes crimes against children, starting by hiring people with child-specific expertise to investigate them. These cases must then be heard in a court of law. The Government of Myanmar must end discrimination against the Rohingya population and improve conditions for conflict-affected children across the country.
 
“Rohingya rights abuses are part of a bigger picture of systematic military-backed state oppression in Myanmar, affecting several ethnic minority groups across the country and it is always children who pay the highest price. They deserve the care and protection to survive, learn and thrive, and a commitment from the Government of Myanmar and the international community to guarantee justice for crimes committed against them.”

NZIER says no economic threat from new freshwater rules

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

New Zealand’s new fresh water regulation rules will have no major impacts on the national economy, according to an independent report just out.

The report by independent economic consultancy New Zealand Institute of Economic Research shows that dairying represents about 3% of national GDP and is behind tourism in export earnings.

The study, commissioned by Forest & Bird, Greenpeace, and Fish and Game, found the impact on national GDP of the proposed reforms were unlikely to be major, stating that: “Due to the relatively small size of the dairy industry, the impacts of the government reforms are unlikely to be major at the national level, and not felt for many years due to the long lead in times proposed.”

It found that in 2013, farmers and farm managers represented 2.92% of the national workforce, while farm, forestry and garden workers represented a further 2.26%.

The NZIER report states that “Experience shows that by focusing on profits, not production, farms can increase their economic returns and reduce their impact on the environment.”

Forest & Bird’s Fresh Water Advocate, Annabeth Cohen says “The contribution of dairying to GDP does not account for the destruction to rivers, lakes and wetlands and the billions of dollars spent cleaning up the mess from intensive dairying and poor farm practices.

“The real backbone of the economy is the environment. Most importantly a clean environment provides the essentials – the air we breathe, the water we drink and mahinga kai.

“Our precious freshwater fish, birds, and invertebrates are priceless,” Ms Cohen says.

Greenpeace campaigner Gen Toop said the report comes at a crucial moment for New Zealand’s rivers, as the Government is currently consulting on new freshwater rules.

“This report should put an end to the exaggerated claims that new water rules will end pastoral farming or have a major impact on New Zealand’s economy.”

“Far from ‘throwing farmers under the tractor’ the report reveals that new rules to protect our rivers will likely spur greater innovation in farming to reduce its environmental impact,” Ms Toop says.

It adds that the ‘New Zealand farming community is proud of its tradition of innovation, and there is no reason to suppose it will not rise to the challenges of the new environmental rules.’

The study was commissioned to show the relative size of the farming sector within the New Zealand economy and to gauge the potential impacts of the freshwater reforms announced earlier this month.

A copy of the report can be found here

Amnesty International’s top honour goes to Te Ara Whatu, School Strike 4 Climate NZ and 350 Pacific Climate Warriors

Source: Amnesty International NZ

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL has awarded three New Zealand climate youth groups with its Ambassador of Conscience award, its highest recognition for human rights work, previously given to the likes of Nelson Mandela, Ai Weiwei and Malala Yousafzai. 

Fridays for Future leaders around the world received the 2019 award today on behalf of the movement (that has mobilised more than one million young people) with the first being given to Greta Thunberg in Washington DC (7pm September 16th New York time, 11am September 17th New Zealand time).

Climate and human rights organisations gathered at the Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand offices in Auckland to celebrate the local expression of the award being given to youth climate leaders in our region, many of whom are fighting at the forefront of climate change.

Recipients here include representatives from 350 Pacific Climate WarriorsTe Ara Whatu and School Strike 4 Climate for their work on the Fridays for Future movement and their ongoing efforts to raise awareness of climate change solutions. The award recognises people who have shown unique leadership and courage in standing up for human rights – people who have acted on their conscience and used their talents to inspire others.

Pacific Climate Warrior’s Brianna Fruean says her organisation represents many more who don’t have a voice.

We accept this award on behalf of all the children who are feeling the effects of climate change, and who are not being given a voice.

Te Ara Whatu spokesperson Nicola Hunt says indigenous sovereignty and climate action go hand in hand.

From an indigenous perspective, our culture was developed through centuries of living with this land so when this land is lost and its waters polluted it’s our identity, culture and livelihoods that are at stake. It’s not just the land, it is the people that are at stake.”

School Strike 4 Climate’s Luke Wijohn says he’s disappointed with a lack of action from previous generations but he’s hopeful for the future.

It’s sad that it’s been left up to our rangatahi and our youth to speak up on the effects of the climate crisis, it blows my mind.”

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand Advocacy and Policy Manager Annaliese Johnston says the New Zealand groups have been pivotal to the increase in awareness on climate change and its impacts.

The impacts of climate change are already hindering rights to health, food, water, housing, work and even life itself. As we have seen tonight, the youth of today in New Zealand know this, they know the indisputable science and have woken us all up to the urgent call to action to protect our common home and futureThey are showing world class leadership in what it takes to be a community that fights for a better future in our Pacific neighbourhood. The awards tonight are in honour of their activism and leadership on climate change.”

Members from the awarded organisations were in attendance along with Hui E! Community Aotearoa, Ngā Tirairaka o Ngāti Hine, OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council, New Zealand Youth Leadership Institute, Coal Action Network, The Environment and Conservation Organisation, Forest and Bird, Generation Zero, Human Rights Foundation of Aotearoa New Zealand, the P3 Foundation, the New Zealand Human Rights Lawyers Association, Greenpeace New Zealand, WWF, Sustainable Initiatives Aotearoa, the Sustainability Council of New Zealand, The New Zealand Climate Action Network and Oxfam New Zealand.

The awards ceremony will be followed by the Global Week of Climate Action that includes: The Peoples’ Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival in New York on the 18th and 19th of September (all major human rights and environment Non-Governmental Organisations will attend), the Climate Action Summit 2019 in New York on the 24th September, and finally the School Strike for Climate / Fridays for Future march here, and globally, on September 27th.

UPDATE: Serious crash on Huntly Rd, Dunedin

Source: New Zealand Police

Two people have died following a crash on Huntly Road in Woodside, Dunedin this evening.

Police were called to the two-vehicle crash about 5.30pm.

Two people died at the scene and a third person has been taken to hospital in a critical condition.

The road remains closed and Police are urging motorists to avoid the area if possible.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre

Helping regions fill skills shortages while ensuring Kiwis come first

Source: New Zealand Government

The Government is making progress on building an inclusive, sustainable and productive economy by helping regions and businesses get the workers they need with a new temporary work visa process, announced today by Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway.

This will assist around 25-30,000 businesses get the workers they need to fill skills shortages. Currently there are over 54,000 workers on the main employer assisted work visa – the essential skills visa.

In December 2018 – March 2019, the Government consulted on a number of changes to employer-assisted temporary work visa settings. A total of 947 submissions were received from the public during consultation.

“We are committed to ensuring that businesses are able to get the workers they need to fill critical skills shortages, while encouraging employers and regions to work together on long term workforce planning including supporting New Zealanders with the training they need to fill the gaps,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

“The new temporary work visa process is more streamlined and less complex replacing six visa categories with one temporary work visa, and it ensures there is an employer check, a job check and a worker check.

“The process allows us to ensure foreign workers are only recruited for genuine shortages, helps us reduce exploitation, and creates better connections between immigration, education and welfare systems.

“The employment and training of New Zealanders, where they are available, will always be the key priority which is why we are introducing more requirements and incentives for employers to employ and train more New Zealanders.”

Changes to the employer-assisted temporary work visa system include:

  • introducing a new employer-led visa framework that will drive the application process
  • negotiating and introducing sector agreements ensuring there is more planning for future workforce needs
  • reinstating the ability for lower-paid workers to bring their families to New Zealand
  • replacing existing skills bands with a simple remuneration threshold aligned to the median wage
  • strengthening the labour market test for lower-paid workers and removing it altogether for higher-paid jobs outside the main centres.

“The new framework will require all employers to be accredited and will give employers more certainty about their ability to hire a foreign worker earlier in the application process,” Iain Lees-Galloway says.

“It will also provide the foreign worker with more assurance about the employer they are coming to work for and the job they are coming to do.

“Sector agreements will be targeted at sectors with high reliance on temporary foreign workers and will enable specific terms and conditions for recruiting foreign workers to be negotiated between the government and individual sectors. 

“A regional approach to the labour market test will ensure that foreign workers are able to be recruited for genuine skill shortages in regions with lower numbers of New Zealanders available for work, while ensuring that the labour market is tested regularly in areas with higher availability of New Zealanders.

“Together, these changes represent a significant shift in the way our temporary work visa system operates. It will make the process of hiring a foreign worker easier and more straightforward. It will also provide more certainty for employers due to upfront checks, while also increasing expectations on employers to train and employ more New Zealanders.

“These changes are part of the Government’s wider programme of workforce improvements, including the changes to vocational education and upcoming welfare reforms, which together will help create better connections between the immigration, education and welfare systems.

“The recently announced Regional Skills Leadership Groups will also play a key role in ensuring there is better planning and utilisation of the local labour market by coordinating labour market planning at a regional level.

“This will help determine immigration settings for each region and get more New Zealanders into better jobs with better wages and equip more businesses with the skilled workers they need to grow and thrive,” Mr Lees-Galloway says.

More information on the changes can be found at www.immigration.govt.nz/work-visa-changes.

Serious crash on Huntly Rd, Dunedin

Source: New Zealand Police

Emergency services are responding to a serious crash on Huntly Road in Woodside, Dunedin. 

Police were called to the two-vehicle crash at 5.31pm. 

Early reports indicate there are multiple persons with critical injuries. 

Motorists are advised to expect delays and avoid the area if possible.

ENDS

Issued by the Police Media Centre 

What New Zealanders don’t know about cancer

Source: Worksafe New Zealand

Annually, an estimated 750-900 people die from work-related health issues in New Zealand. Approximately 250 deaths are work-related lung cancers, 90 deaths are from asbestos-related mesothelioma, and 25 breast cancer deaths can be linked to the ill effects of shift work.

A recent study by The Lancet Oncology highlights concerns around the standard of diagnosis and treatment being offered in New Zealand compared to similar countries. But WorkSafe New Zealand says that a greater focus needs to be placed on prevention, and protecting workers’ health from exposures linked to cancer made a priority.

WorkSafe General Manager Strategy and Performance Jude Urlich says a worker is 15 times more likely to die from a work-related disease than from a workplace accident.

“More harm is caused every year by work-related cancer, than all the injuries and deaths from workplace incidents. The effects of a workplace accident are often immediately visible. But the effects of exposure to a work-related health risk may not become visible for days, months or even decades.

“Workplaces need to be focusing on prevention of work-related cancers through reducing worker exposure to asbestos, diesel engine exhaust, silica dust, wood dust, fumes or vapours from some metals and industrial chemicals, unhealthy working hours, and other risks that have been linked to cancers.”

The list of cancers that have been linked to work is long but includes lung cancer, mesothelioma, and melanoma.

Ms Urlich said that WorkSafe was in the early stages of developing a three-year action plan to reduce exposure to carcinogens at work. This will contribute to the Ministry of Health’s National Cancer Action Plan, which states that prevention of cancer could be the biggest contributor to improving overall cancer outcomes, as well as achieving equity.

“There are known, effective methods for preventing or significantly reducing exposure to most workplace carcinogens. These include eliminating or substituting carcinogens or processes that produce them, using effective ventilation systems, and reducing the amount of time workers spend doing work that may expose them to carcinogens. Personal protective equipment is a last resort and should not be the main method of protecting workers from carcinogens.”

Other key things to note about work-related health issues in New Zealand include the following:

  • The cost to New Zealand of cancer caused by work is at least $320 million each year in lost health alone.
  • There are an estimated 5,000-6,000 hospitalisations each year due to work-related ill health.
  • By law, businesses must manage both the health and safety risks caused by their work. That includes managing risks to mental health as well as physical health and safety.

For more information: