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, September 12

NATIONAL TERRORISM PUBLIC ALERT LEVEL RAISED TO HIGH


Statement from Australia PM Tony Abbott


Based on advice from security and intelligence agencies, the Government has raised the National Terrorism Public Alert level from Medium to High.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) independently determines the threat level. The advice is not based on knowledge of a specific attack plan but rather a body of evidence that points to the increased likelihood of a terrorist attack in Australia. Security and intelligence agencies are concerned about the increasing number of Australians working with, connected to, or inspired by terrorist groups such as ISIL, Jabhat al-Nusrah, and al-Qaeda. 

The threat they pose has been increasing for more than a year. The first priority of the Government is to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. Raising the alert level to High is designed to increase vigilance and raise awareness in the community. While it is important the public are aware of the increased threat, Australians should continue to go about their lives. Strong arrangements are in place to detect, prevent and respond to terrorism.

Earlier today, state and territory governments were notified of the decision to raise the threat level and federal and state law enforcement agencies will work to counter the terrorist threat. Owners and operators of critical infrastructure and places of mass gathering are encouraged to review their security plans and update their contact details with their state or territory police counter-terrorism unit.

The Government is also taking strong action to equip our security agencies and border protection agencies with the resources and powers they need to detect terrorist activities at home and prevent radicalised foreign fighters from returning to Australia. More than $630 million has been provided to boost the counter-terrorism capacity of the Australian Federal Police, ASIO, ASIS,

Customs and Border Protection and other agencies. We are also updating counter-terrorism legislation to strengthen agencies’ capability to prevent and disrupt domestic security threats. The public can provide valuable information to assist security and law enforcement agencies identify potential threats and prevent them from developing. 

Members of the public can report suspicious activities to the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400, or directly to local police. How long the threat level remains at High is a matter for our intelligence and security agencies, but the Government does not want to see it remain High for a day longer than necessary.


New Zealanders in Australia are advised to monitor the media for information about threats to safety and security and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities. There is a global risk of terrorism. 

New Zealanders travelling and living in Australia are advised to take account of the terror threat level assigned by the Australian authorities when making travel decisions. 

On 12 September 2014, the threat level for Australia was raised from Medium to High (level three on a four level scale). This means security authorities regard a terrorist attack is likely. The advice is not based on knowledge of a specific attack plan but rather a body of evidence that points to the increased likelihood of a terrorist attack in Australia. 

Australia remains a target for terrorist interest. Internationally trained terrorists and groups and domestic-based extremists are the predominant threat. Terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq continue to plan attacks against the West. Australia has identified concerns related to foreign fighters returning to Australia from conflicts in these countries. 

General travel advice New Zealanders making short term visits to Australia should ensure they take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy. While we have a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia which entitles New Zealand residents to emergency hospital treatment, the agreement does not cover out-of-hospital medical treatment including services like ambulance cover, medical evacuations and elective treatment including doctors' visits. New Zealanders travelling or living in Australia are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Thursday, September 11

Live stream: Oscar Pistorius verdict

AFPTV will on Thursday offer a live video feed of the verdict in the trial of athlete Oscar Pistorius, accused of the murder of his partner in February 2013.

Tuesday, September 2

cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent - RBA


Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision


At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent.
Growth in the global economy is continuing at a moderate pace. China's growth remains generally in line with policymakers' objectives, with weakening property markets a challenge in the near term. Commodity prices in historical terms remain high, but some of those important to Australia have declined this year.
Financial conditions overall remain very accommodative. Long-term interest rates and risk spreads remain very low. Volatility in many financial prices is currently unusually low. Markets appear to be attaching a very low probability to any rise in global interest rates or other adverse event over the period ahead.
In Australia, the most recent survey data indicate gradually improving business conditions and some recovery in household sentiment after a weaker period around mid year, suggesting moderate growth in the economy is occurring. Resources sector investment spending is starting to decline significantly. Investment intentions in some other sectors continue to improve, though these areas of capital spending are expected to see only moderate growth in the near term. Public spending is scheduled to be subdued. Overall, the Bank still expects growth to be a little below trend over the year ahead.
The recorded rate of unemployment has increased recently, despite some improvement in most other indicators for the labour market this year. The Bank's assessment remains that the labour market has a degree of spare capacity and that it will probably be some time yet before unemployment declines consistently. Growth in wages has declined noticeably and is expected to remain relatively modest over the period ahead, which should keep inflation consistent with the target even with lower levels of the exchange rate.
Monetary policy remains accommodative. Interest rates are very low and have continued to edge lower over recent months as competition to lend has increased. Investors continue to look for higher returns in response to low rates on safe instruments. Credit growth has picked up a little, including most recently to businesses. The increase in dwelling prices continues. The exchange rate, on the other hand, remains above most estimates of its fundamental value, particularly given the declines in key commodity prices. It is offering less assistance than would normally be expected in achieving balanced growth in the economy.
Looking ahead, continued accommodative monetary policy should provide support to demand and help growth to strengthen over time. Inflation is expected to be consistent with the 2–3 per cent target over the next two years.
In the Board's judgement, monetary policy is appropriately configured to foster sustainable growth in demand and inflation outcomes consistent with the target. On present indications, the most prudent course is likely to be a period of stability in interest rates.

Saturday, August 30

Meridian Energy moves to Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport announced today that it has leased a whole floor in its Quad 5 office building to Meridian Energy. Meridian Energy will be moving its Auckland sales team to the airport at the end of the year.

The Quad 5 office building was built by Auckland Airport as part of its Quad office precinct – a high quality, cluster of office buildings within a pedestrian-friendly space.  Quad 5 is already occupied by Harrison Grierson, Specsavers, BASF New Zealand and a Jetts Fitness gym.

Mark Thomson, Auckland Airport’s general manager of property, says, “The arrival of Meridian Energy reflects the airport business district’s growing position as a location of choice for companies seeking quality space, in an exceptional environment.”

“Our Quad precinct is extremely popular for its great staff amenities, which includes supermarkets, a bar and restaurants, mountain bike trails, running and walking trails, a sports field and golfing facilities. These are all within walking distance of the offices and make the Quad a unique place to work. The Quad is also home to ‘Te Kaitaka – The Cloak’, a visually striking property marketing and corporate function suite. It was designed by FearonHay and has been nominated as a finalist for an international architecture award, at the 2014 World Architecture Festival.”

“Occupancy of Auckland Airport’s $612 million property investment portfolio now stands at 99%, with all office facilities now leased. New property developments are expected to be announced in the coming months.”

Meridian Energy’s General Manager for Retail, Alan McCauley, says, “The new office provides more space for our growing Auckland-based sales team, and offers a convenient hub near the airport for staff and clients visiting from out of town.”

Auckland Airport announces another 12 months of strong performance


Auckland Airport has today announced its annual results for the financial year to 30 June 2014.
Total profit after tax was up 21.3% to $215.9 million, while underlying profit after tax increased by 10.5% to $169.9 million. The final dividend paid to shareholders for the year increases by 12% to 7 cents per share, imputed at the company tax rate of 28%, and is in addition to the $454 million capital returned to shareholders during the financial year.
Total revenue was up 6.1% to $475.8 million. Earnings before interest expense, taxation, depreciation, fair value adjustments and investments in associates (EBITDAFI) increased by 7.4% to $355.2 million. Total passenger movements were up 3.8% to 15.1 million, with international passengers up 5.1% to 8.2 million and domestic passengers up 2.2% to 6.9 million.
Chair, Sir Henry van der Heyden, says, “This financial year we have continued to implement Auckland Airport’s Faster, Higher, Stronger strategy. In particular, we have focused on growing travel markets and investing in the retail, property and long-term infrastructure we need to take full advantage of growth opportunities.”
“As a result we have seen additional airline capacity and services into Auckland, we have announced our 30-year vision for the ‘airport of the future’, and we have delivered significant improvements for passengers, retailers and property tenants and maintained our focus on driving efficiency and effectiveness throughout the business. Strong execution of our strategic priorities has ensured we are delivering for investors and that we are strongly positioned for our future. This underlying strength has enabled us to return $454 million of capital to shareholders this financial year.”
Sir Henry says that revenue growth was achieved through strong aeronautical performance (up 8.6% or $17.3 million), property (up 7% or $3.8 million) and car parking (up 6.1% or $2.4 million). Expenses were up 2.6% to $120.6 million, with the main contributors being outsourcing expenses, up 9% due to the increasing number of passengers using our Park&Ride service, and staff costs, up 6.4% due to the accrual of long-term incentive provisions as a result of continued strong company and share price performance.
Auckland Airport’s share of profit from associates totalled $11.6 million this financial year, an increase of 17.2% on the previous year. Our profit share from North Queensland Airports increased by 15.2% to $8.1 million, while Queenstown Airport was up 25.7% to $1.7 million and the Novotel hotel up 19.2% to $1.9 million.
Sir Henry says, “The final dividend of 7 cents, imputed at the company tax rate of 28%, will be paid on 17 October 2014 to shareholders who are on the register at the close of business on 3 October 2014.”  
“We are confident in Auckland Airport’s ability to unlock further opportunities in the 2015 financial year. We expect underlying net profit after tax (excluding any fair value changes and other one-off items) to be between $160 million and $170 million. Due to the 10% reduction in the number of shares on issue following the capital return, this guidance would be a lift in earnings per share of between 2% and 9%. This guidance is subject to any material adverse events, significant one-off expenses, non-cash fair value changes to property and deterioration due to global market conditions or other unforeseeable circumstances,” says Sir Henry.

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.