The Business of Fast Fashion

‘Fast Fashion’ refers to clothing and accessories that are designed to reflect current industry trends, yet produced using less expensive materials to ensure a low price tag

Saving our Mothers

In honoring Mother's Day, Save the Children released the 14th annual State of World's Mother report.

Stop Coca-Cocal trashing Australia

Greenpeace Australia made a new coke ad with a twist. It exposes how this drinks giant is willing to let plastic pollution trash our ocean and kill our marine life.

Thanks a Million Australia

The New Zealand tourism industry is saying a big "Thanks a Million"to Australian visitors to celebrate the record of welcoming a million Australians in a 12-month period

People! Zara commits to go toxic free

Zara, the world’s largest clothing retailer, today announced a commitment to go toxic-free following nine days of intense public pressure. This win belongs to the fashion-lovers, activists, bloggers and denizens of social media. This is people power in action

Friday, August 15

Trans-Tasman travel reform proposals make sense


Auckland Airport has welcomed the package of proposed reforms announced by Australia’s Tourism and Transport Forum.
The Forum’s proposed reforms are:
·         A domestic-like travel experience at international airports in Australia and New Zealand through the streamlining of border formalities on exit and entry.
·         Cutting the Australian Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) to AUD$25 (currently AUD$55) to encourage more travel between both countries.
·         Opening additional points of entry at regional airports in Australia to encourage more travel.
·         Developing common visitor visas to encourage more Asian visitors to combine both countries in one trip.  
Charles Spillane, Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical commercial, says, “Quite simply, these reform proposals make sense.”
“Australia is our country’s largest single source of visitors and around 759,000, or 63%, of Australians entered New Zealand via Auckland Airport in the last year. However, we cannot be complacent as a country. We can still make it even quicker to cross the Tasman and we can make it easier for international tourists to visit both countries.”
“Importantly, the proposals also have the benefit of potentially facilitating international travel beyond New Zealand and Australia to Asia and the Americas. This can grow passenger volumes through hub airports like Auckland and bring down the cost of travel by creating benefits of scale and efficiencies for our airline customers.”
“These proposed reforms would drive further growth in New Zealand’s travel, trade and tourism. It would be great to see our political parties commit to supporting their implementation if they are elected to Government at the upcoming election,” says Mr Spillane.

Thursday, July 31

RBNZ raises OCR to 3.5 percent

The Reserve Bank today increased the Official Cash Rate (OCR) by 25 basis points to 3.5 percent.

New Zealand’s economy is expected to grow at an annual pace of 3.7 percent over 2014. Global financial conditions remain very accommodative and are reflected in low interest rates, narrow risk spreads, and low financial market volatility.  Economic growth among New Zealand’s trading partners has eased slightly in the first half of 2014, but this appears to be due to temporary factors.

Construction, particularly in Canterbury, is growing strongly.  At the same time, strong net immigration is adding to housing and household demand, although house price inflation has moderated further since the June Statement.

Over recent months, export prices for dairy and timber have fallen, and these will reduce primary sector incomes over the coming year. With the exchange rate yet to adjust to weakening commodity prices, the level of the New Zealand dollar is unjustified and unsustainable and there is potential for a significant fall.

Inflation remains moderate, but strong growth in output has been absorbing spare capacity. This is expected to add to non-tradables inflation. Wage inflation is subdued, reflecting recent low inflation outcomes, increased labour force participation, and strong net immigration.

It is important that inflation expectations remain contained. Today’s move will help keep future average inflation near the 2 percent target mid-point and ensure that the economic expansion can be sustained. Encouragingly, the economy appears to be adjusting to the monetary policy tightening that has taken place since the start of the year. It is prudent that there now be a period of assessment before interest rates adjust further towards a more-neutral level.

The speed and extent to which the OCR will need to rise will depend on the assessment of the impact of the tightening in monetary policy to date, and the implications of future economic and financial data for inflationary pressures.

Gold and bronze have New Zealand near top of population medal table in Glasgow


New Zealand's cycling and judo medals on the first day of competition at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow mean our athletes are sitting third on the Statistics New Zealand population-based medal table, with hosts Scotland at the top.

Statistics NZ is calculating gold and overall medals during the Commonwealth Games to produce tables based on medals per million of population.

Cycling gold from the men's sprint team and bronze for the men's pursuit team, along with bronze for Darcina-Rose Manuel in the judo, mean three medals overall.

"We’re doing very well when we look at how many medals we're winning relative to our population,"  population statistics manager Vina Cullum said.

New Zealand has 0.67 medals per million of population, behind only Cyprus with 0.89 and Scotland, which has 1.88 medals for every million people in its population. On the basis of solely gold medals, New Zealand is doing even better, sitting in second place on 0.22 behind only Scotland on 0.75.

"There are lots of possible ways of looking at how countries perform during the games," Ms Cullum said.

"The more traditional gold, silver, and bronze table is likely to favour countries with bigger populations. Looking at it relative to population size is one way of evening things out. And if New Zealand comes out near the top, all the better."

A shortened version of the table is available below. The full table plus a table showing rankings based on the number of gold medals won is available on the Statistics New Zealand website. The tables will be updated on Monday 28 July following the first weekend of competition.

Paddock to plate, and smart roads possible - NZ Data Futures Forum


New Zealand’s international brand and exports could grow significantly with the creation of a data sharing ‘eco-system’ according to a paper released by the NZ Data Futures Forum today.

Food traceability or ‘paddock to plate’ tracking is one of a number of kick start projects recommended in the paper that would see New Zealand become a world leader in the trusted use of data.

 “New Zealand has got a real opportunity here. If we can create an ‘eco-system’ for data, we can unlock huge value, but to do this we need to treat data as a national asset,” says Forum Chair John Whitehead.

The paper suggests a range of initiatives including the establishment of an independent data council and an open data champion to drive innovation through data sharing.  The data council would act as an independent ‘guardian’ to ensure trust, privacy and security are maintained.

“Getting the rules of the game right is a vital part of encouraging collaboration, creativity and innovation.  New Zealand is uniquely placed to do this extremely well.”

The development of ‘smart roads’ that pull data from a range of sources, such as cats eye data capturing traffic flow, is another example the Forum uses to highlight the value that can  be created through collaborative data sharing.

“Transport is a critical issue for Auckland. Smart roads can keep traffic moving more freely and prevent a future of bottlenecks and delays literally putting a brake on productivity

“If our recommendations are followed we will see New Zealand lead the world in this space. The potential gains are limitless, including the ability to tackle immediate and real social problems.”

Govt must condemn Israel’s killing of civilians in Gaza


The New Zealand Government must condemn Israel for its indiscriminate bombing of Gaza that continues to inflict massive civilian casualties, the Green Party said today.

At least 15 people, mostly children and women, died when the school in Jabaliya refugee camp was hit by five shells during a night of relentless bombardment across Gaza.

 United Nations officials described the killing of sleeping children as a disgrace to the world and accused Israel of a serious violation of international law after a school in Gaza being used to shelter Palestinian families was shelled on Wednesday.

“The New Zealand Government needs to also strongly consider all diplomatic options, including expelling the Israeli ambassador, to send Israel the message that the world does not support its military actions in Gaza,” Green Party global affairs spokesperson, Kennedy Graham said today.

“Israel claims it is acting in self-defence.  We understand that the Israel-Palestine situation is highly complex and that Israel has certain rights as a UN member state, but its bombardment of Gaza in the past few weeks violates the laws of humanity and has to stop.

“The latest shelling of an United Nations school, whose co-ordinates had been sent to the Israeli military by the United Nations, is nothing short of an international crime.

“I am meeting with the ambassador of Israel, Yosef Livne, this Friday to convey the views of the Green Party of this country.

“The ambassador needs to understand that Israel’s current actions are making it a pariah state,” said Dr Graham.

Commerce Commission to create consumer credit community of interest


The Commerce Commission is holding its first ‘Credit Matters Roundtable’ in South Auckland today with a wide range of community organisations in attendance.
Today’s roundtable is the first in a series of three, each focusing on a different group of organisations involved in consumer credit markets (community organisations, government agencies and lenders). The events are designed to increase engagement and develop a community of interest in credit markets.
The event aims to give community organisations a better understanding of the role of the Commission, its approach to enforcement and the work it is currently doing in the area of credit markets. It also provides an opportunity for the Commission to hear about current and emerging issues from those working within the community.
“Community organisations play a large role in helping and protecting consumers, particularly vulnerable consumers. The Commission wants to create a community of interest around credit markets so that we can all work together towards a common goal – to better protect consumers, said Fazleen Ismail, Commerce Commission Advocacy Manager.
“We want to ensure that we hear about consumer harm from all areas of society and all parts of New Zealand, as early as possible. Creating this community of interest around credit markets helps ensure the Commission is aware of emerging issues as quickly as possible and can take action where appropriate,” Ms Ismail said.
The roundtable takes place ahead of changes to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 (CCCFA) which come into effect next year. These changes include the introduction of lender responsibility principles. These principles mean lenders who enter into consumer credit contracts must act responsibly in relation to advertising and in all subsequent dealings with borrowers and guarantors.  The principles also include a responsibility for lenders to make reasonable enquiries to ensure that the borrowers and guarantors can make payments without substantial hardship. The lender will be required to assist both borrowers and guarantors to make an informed decision. Other changes to the CCCFA include a significant increase in penalties for breaching the Act.
The next event in the series will involve government agencies and dispute resolution services and will take place later this year. The third and final event involves lenders and will take place early in 2015.

Green Party statement on passing of FCV legislation


The Green Party congratulates all parties in Parliament for supporting the completion of the Foreign Chartered Vessel legislation.

Legislation passed today ensuring the end of a shameful era of human rights abuses under successive governments and several fishing companies.

“Human rights and proper monitoring of our fisheries should have been the norm but sadly it has taken a ministerial inquiry and years of struggle to get to where we are today, Green Party fisheries spokesperson Steffan Browning said today.

“This legislation deals with a stain on New Zealand’s international reputation regarding working conditions.

“We hope that New Zealand contributes to eliminating abuse of fishers and crew throughout the Pacific and beyond,” Mr Browning said.

The Green Party also congratulates the investigative journalists, human rights groups, churches, unions, academics and individuals that exposed the abuses occurring on Foreign Chartered vessels.

Commission consulting on guidelines about unfair contract terms

The Commerce Commission has today released draft guidelines on the new provisions of the Fair Trading Act dealing with unfair contract terms. The unfair contract terms provisions were part of recent amendments to New Zealand’s consumer law and will come into force on 17 March 2015.
"The guidelines set out the Commission’s intended approach to enforcing the new provisions. We are holding this consultation well in advance of March 2015, as we want to make sure businesses have plenty of time to run a ruler over their current consumer contracts and get ahead of any issues," said Commerce Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry.
Unfair contract terms relate to clauses in standard form consumer contracts. The main hallmarks of these contracts are that the terms have been offered to the consumer on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis, and the contracts relate to goods and services that are usually for personal use.
“A wide number of businesses use standard form consumer contracts, including finance companies, retirement villages, gyms, telecommunications companies and utilities like electricity and gas. We welcome feedback from businesses on our draft guidelines. But as the new laws will also have an impact on consumers, we encourage feedback from them too,” said Dr Berry.
The Commission invites submissions from interested parties on the draft guidelines. Submissions should be sent touctconsult@comcom.govt.nz by 5pm on 30 September 2014.
The Commission expects to release the final guidelines by the end of November 2014.
The draft Unfair Contract Terms Guidelines can be viewed on the Commission’s website at http://www.comcom.govt.nz/fair-trading/guidelines/.

Saturday, July 19

COMMONWEALTH BANK RAISES EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS FOR FINANCIAL PLANNERS


Commonwealth Bank has today announced new minimum education standards for Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited (CFP) financial planners, supervisors and managers of planners. 

Since 2011 the Bank has transformed the CFP business. There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training. These new standards are an important step in increasing the educational and professional standards of our financial planners, and exceed current industry requirements.

The new education standards include:
·         All new CFP financial planners, recruited from today, must hold a degree in finance, business, commerce or a related field;
·         All new CFP direct supervisors or managers, recruited from today, must hold a degree in finance, business, commerce or a related field;
·         Existing financial planners authorised under the CFP licence and their supervisors will be required to hold either an Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning (or equivalent) or a degree in finance, business, commerce or a related field by 30 June 2017;
·         Existing Senior Financial Planners will be required to obtain the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® certification with the Financial Planning Association of Australia; and
·         CFP commits to making membership of a relevant financial services industry association a minimum standard required of all CFP financial planners by 30 June 2015.
Executive General Manager Advice, Marianne Perkovic said both the Interim Report of the Financial System Inquiry and the Final Report of the Senate Economics Committee inquiry into ASIC concluded that educational levels across the industry need to be enhanced. Today’s announcement is an important and proactive step to meeting the standards envisaged by those reports.

“The relationship between a financial planner and their customers must be based on trust. The significant transformation in this business since 2011 has been all about building that trust. This is an important next step that continues our investment in the professionalism of the advice industry.”

Thursday, July 10

McCully should stand down while review considers his actions


The Green Party is calling for the review into Foreign Affairs’ handling of allegations of attempted rape by a Malaysian Diplomat to be expanded to cover actions of Ministers, and for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to stand down while the review is being held.

The review also needs to be conducted by an external agency, not the Ministry whose actions and inactions need to be independently examined.

 “The woman at the centre of these allegations, Tania Billingsley, last night called for Mr McCully to resign, saying he had failed to do his job and that she was still waiting for an apology,” Green Party Co leader Metiria Turei said.

“I’m not about to argue against Ms Billingsley’s call. If I was the Prime Minster I’d seriously take note of everything she said last night.

“It is astonishing that Ms Billingsley was still waiting for an apology from anyone in Government yesterday.

“Mr McCully has said he’d apologised, but an off the cuff apology over the TV doesn’t cut it, especially for a generation that doesn’t even watch it. Mr McCully would never have considered a TV apology good enough for the Prime Minister and it’s not good enough for Ms Billingsley.  

“Our position is that the review of MFAT’s handling of this case should be expanded to include Ministers’ actions, and inactions, and that Minister McCully should stand down while this review is going on.

“New Zealand needs those in power to take leadership on the issue of sexual and domestic violence. What happened in Ms Billingsley’s case shows that they didn’t. If Ministers had shown leadership, it’s hard to see that the diplomat would have been allowed to leave New Zealand.

“Ms Billingsley has always said that she wanted him to stay to face trial in New Zealand. We still don’t even know if he’s coming back and that would be understandably distressing for her.  

“The New Zealand Government has let Ms Billingsley down and the lack of leadership shown over her case should cause everyone to be concerned,” Mrs Turei said.

Monday, July 7

Fed Farmers leading wrong way on water

Federated Farmers needs to show greater leadership on water quality, the Green Party said today.

The Green Party is responding to claims by the outgoing and incoming Federated Farmers’ dairy section chairs that ‘there is no need for urgent action” by the dairy industry in improving its environmental performance.

“If you're making a mess, before you start cleaning up, you stop making more mess,” Green Party water spokesperson Eugenie Sage said today.

“It's not helpful to understate the size and seriousness of our water pollution problem. The facts are clear. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment found that even when farmers use best practice, the sheer scale of increasing intensive agriculture such as dairying, will cause more water pollution.

“We have more than 6.6 million dairy cows in New Zealand, equivalent to a human population of 84 million but without the sewage treatment. We can’t continue to increase the number of dairy cows and their impact on land and waterways.  The solution is in adding value to the milk we produce, not ignoring the pollution problem.”

“Everyone agrees we need to take action urgently, except Federated Farmers.

“New Zealanders want to be able to swim in our rivers. Ignoring the problem won’t fix it,” said Ms Sage.

“Scientists and even Dairy NZ Environment Policy Manager Dr Mike Scarsbrook has called the relationship between intensive farming and river pollution ‘inescapable and undeniable’,” said Ms Sage.

“Federated Farmers need to take a leadership role.

“Instead of putting the brake on change, the industry needs to increase its efforts significantly and recognise that there are limits to growth in cow numbers to prevent further pollution of rivers.”