Talking business with Anthony Haas

Don’t take no for an answer

Tony drawing

Cartoon by Trace Hodgson first published in New Zealand Financial Review

Shane Jones could be the ally the Wairarapa needs. His advocacy might make a difference in the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s efforts to get reasonable train services between Wellington and Wairarapa. He also could help bring necessary aviation questions on to the agenda – what did happen to the plan to get services between Masterton and Auckland?

What are the implications for the Wairarapa of the challenges issued by regional development minister Shane Jones? He represents an opportunity the Wairarapa should not waste. He has the courage and the skills to fight some of the Wairarapa’s battles.

NZ First Minister Shane Jones was told by Labour Prime Minister Jacinida Ardern, after he challenged the regional development performance of Air New Zealand, his authority did not extend to removing board members on the national airline.

Act Party MP David Seymour said there were alternative tactics the minister could employ – tactics that leaders of the Wairarapa could employ. “If the Government feels there is a genuine public good in the regional routes that have been shut down, it could set up a government subsidy and put those routes out for tender.”

Earlier this year we reported on how some of New Zealand First’s plans could benefit provision of the Wairarapa’s train services. We wait for the evidence that Greater Wellington Regional Council, with ministers, can fix the train services.

Sooner or later it will be necessary to go in to bat for aviation services linking this region with it’s markets. Shane Jones handled properly could be a friend at court. The wit and wisdom of Shane Jones could help fight some of the battles including financing options.

Out to tender

A regional aviation route that could benefit from funding is the link between Masterton and Auckland along with the Wellington Wairarapa train service. There are other public transport services such as replacing the Manawatu Gorge that need public sector financing.

Development finance options

There are various ways to finance public transport that interested parties could explore. The Masterton regional summit, stimulated discussion on Waitangi Day 2017 and is a potential forum. Perhaps Shane could incorporate the Act suggestion into financing the trains and regional airline services. Can Shane Jones be mobilised to put Wairarapa aviation and other public services on the agenda? There are many ways to skin a cat so don’t take no for an answer.


Talking business with Anthony Haas

This Problem Must Not Dog Us


Dog with spiked collar

Dogs are not yet problem in Greytown. Yet they so easily could be. Unaccompanied dogs can be seen in Main Street. Yappy, snappy ones are tied up outside shops. The speed with which dogs can overwhelm a town is revealed in the experience across the Tararua ranges, an experience which we would do well to heed.

Mayor Brett Ambler of Kapiti District Council 20 years ago began the first concerted and official campaign against the now near-overwhelming menace of attack dogs masquerading as household pets.

His crusading work in venturing where local politicians still fear to tread has earned him street recognition from the Kapiti District Council which has named Brett Ambler Way after their no-nonsense mayor.

Mr Ambler was the first public official to recognise and then confront the evidence that these aggression-breed animals represented a deliberate threat to the populace and thus his ratepayers.

The late Mr Ambler on foot personally toured his area and witnessed these dogs, and more significantly still, their owners and came to the following conclusion.

The owners of these dogs took a barely-disguised delight, if disguised at all, at the fear that their animals engendered among the general public.

Mr Ambler was the first official who dared to publicly point out that these animals were the four-legged extensions of their owners’ anti-social and threatening ambitions.

Only now and in the past few weeks when the medical profession formally intervened with its statistics on the frequency and effect of dog attacks on children has Mr Ambler been vindicated.

A local body conviction politician Mr Ambler understood the risk to his career of pointing out the more lethal dog danger beyond the one of pavement fouling where the dog lobby had successfully contained the debate. Until that is just a few weeks ago. Is it time to have a conversation with our elected representatives?

The long-serving Mr Ambler lost his seat at the next local body elections. He died soon after.

He will be remembered as that rare politician who seeing a threat to his people and their security said what had to be said – when it needed to be said.

Talking business with Anthony Haas

New gum forest opportunity for the Wairarapa


The gum tree option

The opportunity has been created to develop a new forest industry in the Wairarapa – gum trees. Much of eastern New Zealand has low rainfall (600 – 1,000 mm per year) rainfall which is likely to become less predictable as the impacts of climate change manifest themselves. The promoters say their select eucalypts provide drylands farmers with an opportunity to grow a valuable, versatile ground-durable timber crop on a relatively short rotation.

These gum trees are an alternative to radiata pine and do not need to be treated with environmentally damaging wood preservatives before being used as, for example cross bars of power poles, vineyard posts, and railway sleepers. They can also be used for laminated veneer lumber (LVL) which is a product already produced by Juken New Zealand in their Masterton processing plant. National and international markets for these eucalypt products have been identified as being diverse, high value and sustainable.

The organisation, New Zealand Dryland Forests Initiative (NZDFI), is creating the opportunity by calling for public comment from interested parties, who might range from land owners to wood processors. One public comment may be that there is the possibility of potential fire danger. The opportunity is consistent with the government’s initiative to plant 1 billion trees over the next ten years, led by New Zealand First regional economic development minister Shane Jones. The NZ Government is very keen to encourage and support new forest planting at a national level and this is an opportunity from which the Wairarapa could benefit. Durable eucalypts will confer numerous environmental benefits, including a reduction in the use of CCA-treated timber, provision of nectar and pollen for bees and birds, carbon sequestration, and soil erosion control.

The opportunity not only calls for private sector involvement it also suggests that private/public participation is an option. Wellington regional council is likely to be consulted for feedback on the plans.


Find out more at NZDFI and contact for further information Paul Millen, NZDFI Project Manager 03 574 1001 021 662 147

There are other opportunities for forest industries for the Wairarapa which readers might introduce through Talking Business.