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Acc Monopoly Delivers Body Blow To Farmers

#41 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 21 August 2015 - 05:25 PM

Farmer back from the brink of suicide shares experience to help others video


Last updated 14:27, August 21 2015

Taranaki farmer AJ Clothier shares his story about his nervous breakdown and almost taking his own life.

AJ Clothier stood naked in his shed and put his lips over a shotgun barrel.

It was midnight on his 800 hectare farm and he'd just kissed his two children goodbye.

"I worked out how I was going to do this without blowing the side of my face out and making a mess of it.
Taranaki farmer AJ Clothier says his friends played a huge part in helping him get through a nervous breakdown.

Taranaki farmer AJ Clothier says his friends played a huge part in helping him get through a nervous breakdown.


* Fighting depression among farmers
* Fears over suicide rates for farmers
* Dairy farmers crying out for help in wake of falling Fonterra payout
* Plans in place to help struggling farmers
* Go ahead, talk about suicide. It won't hurt

"I reached for the bullet to put in the chamber, and put my mouth over it and the light blows out in the shed."
Let's talk about suicide

Share your stories, photos and videos.

The light had never blown before, and it's never blown since.

"So I'm standing in the shed with no clothes on and I'm thinking, 'you can't even get that right you useless f***'."

A black horse then walked up to him and rubbed against his chest.

Clothier then looked across at the paddock and saw an arc of mist on the clear, clear night.

"I'm just standing there with this horse rubbing against me and I'm just thinking 'well, I guess it's not my time'."

Clothier, a sheep and beef farmer, decided to share his journey of recovery from the brink of suicide in an effort to help others who are staring into dark and testing times.

"If we can save one guy and stop one tragedy, then it's all been worthwhile."

Two months before that night in the shed, Clothier's marriage had broken up.

"I didn't see it coming, so it really kicked my arse."

He had been caring for his daughter, now 12, and son, 11, while single-handedly running his Taranaki sheep and beef farm.

Clothier had some money worries related to his farm, which was one of the triggers for his actions that night.

He spent his life in shearing, mostly in the southern Waikato and the back country of Te Awamutu, before buying land and taking up a sole charge farming role in Stratford, Taranaki.

Breaking point came when he hadn't slept properly in about six weeks and learned his wife had moved on.

"I had the money worries, and the children worries, then I found out about the boyfriend and that tipped me over.

"My body went into like a fit. I ended up getting these severe shakes and started crying and crying and crying. I did about six hours of that."

He's since learned he had a complete mental breakdown.

It took about three months to get over the tremors.

"People say, how can you do that to your kids? But it gets past that. When it gets that bad you think , well they'd be better off as well.""

Eighteen months have gone by since that night in the shed.

Following the June floods, sodden ground is preventing the grass from growing and around 50 culverts on his farm are blocked, yet Clothier has found the strength to carry on.

"The rural support guys sent a guy out to me and they were worried because I live so isolated, and I said nah man, if this had happened to me last year I'd have gone and got another lightbulb, but I said there's a whole lotta dairy farmers out there that need you guys, not me."

He had some sound advice for dairy farmers facing a long, testing recovery in the face of the current season's paltry milk solids payout.

"Try and see the good in the day. Even if it's a crappy day.

"On a rainy day when it's pissing down with rain, that might only be your raincoat, y'know, but try and be thankful, and think - one day it will get better. And it will, it does. But sometimes it's a long time.

"You gotta do that every day.

"And get some sleep. 'Cause when you're awake you're churning over it. It's going round and round and it just does your head in.

"Don't be scared to go to the doctor and just get some anti-depressants if you need them."

When his doctor gave him sleeping pills, he was able to get some respite and he began a long, gentle process of recovery with the help of friends, doctors and members of the rural support trust.

He credits his friends, in particular Te Awamutu man Grant Jacobs, for helping him get through the crucial months that followed by talking with him and sharing herbal tea and lemon water.

Clothier said since his breakdown, he'd helped other friends who were facing hard times.

"I can sit down and go, hey man, I know it's pretty stink but we'll get through this. Give them a cuddle and a man hug.

"One day the sun does shine again, and you think, f***, I'm glad I didn't do that."

Former farmer embarks on goodwill run for mental health

He once ran 100 marathons in as many days, but Grant Jacobs understands how hard it can be to outrun the black dog.

Starting on August 22, the former farmer will embark on a 400-kilometre run around the Waikato with his border collie, and tool-laden buggy to raise awareness of mental health and lend a hand on farms wherever he can.

"[I can give] cockies a break for a couple of hours or half a day - I can go and fix a fence, fix a trough, move some cattle - and they can go and have a coffee with their wife and have some down time."

12465839.jpg (618×437)
Grant Jacobs is off on a 400-kilometre circuit around the Waikato with his dog, Buddy, starting this Saturday to raise awareness of farmer suicides. Photo: MARK TAYLOR

Jacobs, better known as Curly, worked in the southern Waikato for more than 20 years on the family's sheep and beef farm.

He hit some speedbumps several years ago after a property business he owned went bust, and doctors found a tumour and handed him a 20 per cent chance of survival.

"That sort of puts your mental health into a sad state of affairs."

The tumour was eventually ruled malignant. He got the five year clearance this June.

Now living in a townhouse in Te Awamutu, Jacobs is "living the dream" as a full time long distance runner.

Since he's made people aware of the run, he's been put in touch with several couples through the Waikato-Hauraki-Coromandel branch of Rural Support Trust.

"You know it's a problem but [then] you read an email of a desperate couple that are having a rough time mentally and physically.

"This is a lot more serious than me packing a few tools up and going for a run, it was quite a rude awakening."

He's mapped out a rough circuit starting from Piopio, and wants to stay on the road at least two weeks to bring momentary relief to as many farmers as he can.

He'll be fully self-sufficient with tools, dogfood, a tent and trusty red bands in his push buggy, along with his faithful border collie, Buddy.

Any farmers who would like Grant Jacobs to lend a hand on their farm should get in touch with the Waikato-Hauraki-Coromandel Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254.

Other places to get help:

The Mental Health Foundation's free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812) will refer callers to some of the helplines below:

Lifeline - 0800 543 354

Depression Helpline (8 am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757

Healthline - 0800 611 116

Samaritans - 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)

Suicide Crisis Helpline (aimed at those in distress, or those who are concerned about the wellbeing of someone else) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email [email protected]

- Stuff

#42 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 02:55 PM

Federated Farmers president calls for a worldwide conversation on agriculture


Last updated 05:00, August 26 2015

William Rolleston
cites a family passion for science and conservation as the basis for his careers as a doctor of medicine, a biotechnologist and a farmer.

The current national president of Federated Farmers
is co-owner in a biotech company, sits on the science board of a government funding body and has recently been elected vice-president of the World Farmers Organisation (WFO).

When Rolleston stepped up to the role of Federated Farmers vice-president for South Canterbury five years ago, he had no ambitions to become national president. But within two years he was juggling the provincial presidency with the national vice-president's role. Fifteen months ago he became national president.

When he first became involved in Federated Farmers there were a number of issues on the board. Plan change 13 was "kicking off", with the Mackenzie District Council seeking better control of development in the Mackenzie Country, a decision appealed by the landowners as too restrictive. There was also the Mackenzie Forum, which laid down a framework to protect special values and boost businesses in the Mackenzie area. The challenge was to reconcile landscape and biodiversity values with the need for farmers to make a living.

"It is very tough for the run holders," Rolleston says. "They go through tenure review, give up their high ground, get freehold of the easier country. Then Environment Court challenges, plan change 13 and the Mackenzie Forum comes along, each making life more difficult for them to operate."

Also on Rolleston's watch was the Opuha Dam debacle. The Opihi Catchment and Environment Protection Society were claiming chemicals, which they linked to Agent Orange, were buried under the dam. Federated Farmers took the society and a reporter from agricultural publication Straight Furrow to the Press Council, claiming the article was unbalanced and the writer had a conflict of interest.

"We won on conflict of interest. The reporting was inflammatory and very biased. Now the issue's come up again - the same faces. These tactics don't impress me. Only time and science will tell if the writer had a conflict of interest."

By the time Rolleston took over as national president, Federated Farmers national council was in the midst of a change of direction.

"Some of us felt Federated Farmers had to change its approach on how it tackled things, like the water debate. Yes, farmers were having an effect on the environment but they also wanted to be part of a solution. Federated Farmers wanted to talk to people rather than fight them at the last minute. It's a more collaborative approach and is working well."

An example is the land and water forum, he says. Before, Federated Farmers was "just fighting battles in the courts". Now the idea is to bring together a range of stakeholders to collaborate and develop a shared vision.

Rolleston's experience in the debate on genetic modification taught him that opponents often agree on more than they think.

"If you sit in a room with people with diametrically opposed views, you'll ultimately find you have 80 per cent in common. Do you want a better environment, a world your kids can live in, to leave your farm a better place when you leave? Off course we want these things. There will always be people at the extremes who hold fundamentalist positions but the key is to find solutions that take the vast majority of people with you; not "I'm right and you are wrong.' By giving a bit we've gained a lot in the last five years. I think we've got a lot closer to the decision makers because out arguments are credible and rooted in good science."

Rolleston says there have been three main areas of focus during his term as national president- the environment, including water and climate change, health and safety and science and innovation.

"The overwhelming scientific consensus is that climate change is happening. It's not about whether you believe it or not; it's about stating the facts. The best mitigation response for livestock farmers is to increase productivity, thereby decreasing the amount of carbon per kilogram of product, and increasing carbon efficiency."

"Farmers have been doing this at a rate of 1.2 per cent for the past two decades without the stick of the Emissions Trading Scheme or carbon taxes. We are among the most carbon efficient animal protein producers in the world so penalising New Zealand farmers would just transfer greater emissions offshore.

The world is shifting its emphasis to fossil fuels not animal emissions like methane, he says. This doesn't mean as a nation we don't research how to reduce methane emissions within an animal. He feels we need to separate the international conversation on fossil fuels from that on biological emissions. If we don't we will never get the developing countries on board because their emissions profiles, like our ours, are mostly agricultural. The have potential for high emissions in fossil fuels but hopefully, will leapfrog that technology into a less carbon intensive type of economy.

Farm health and safety is a "tense" topic at the moment, he says. Federated Farmers wants to see accidents and deaths on farm decrease, but there need to be strategies put in place. There have been incidents of Worksafe putting emphasis in the wrong place; for fining a farmer $40,000 for not wearing a helmet, for instance.

"When there are 22,600 ACC claims on farms in a year, 850 of which are quad bike-related; but only six head injuries, the decisions must be evidence-based. If you fine the farmer, all you are doing is alienating him. Engage farmers and get them to 'get' the problem and they will work out the solution."

Rolleston says the capability of agricultural science across the country is low. Thirty years ago there was a mass of new cultivars coming through - about 30 new organisms a year. That was before the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Regulation (HASNO) was adopted in 1987. Since then there have only been 30, at most.

"There are too many regulations limiting scientific endeavour and constraints on scientific spending," he says.

"Federated Farmers have set up a team to look at whether agricultural science is being deployed in the right way. Government funding, industry funding - are we getting the best bang for our buck? Is government putting enough in? What are our capabilities?

"The government appears to be moving away from agricultural science investment in favour of other industries but agriculture is our strength and innovation in this space provides lasting benefits. For example an innovation which saves $50m a year across the dairy industry will provide that benefit year after year. Compare this with the trade sale of a $50m IT company which goes off shore. We'd need quite a few start up companies every year to make the same difference just one or two innovations in agriculture could make. We need diversity in the same economy for sure but investment should be "and" agriculture, not "or" agriculture."

Rolleston has ambitions for his term as president, although most of these are "a journey he won't complete," he says. But he'd like to see agricultural science going in the right direction, and the public perception of agriculture in New Zealand heightened.

Is New Zealand farming in a healthy place? Yes, Rolleston thinks it is. There are a lot of opportunities out there, a lot of diversity, the current state of the dairy industry notwithstanding. With a growing world population and a growing middle class who want animal protein, the long-term outlook is pretty good.

- Stuff

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 02:56 PM

Farmers not off the hook on health and safety

Wednesday, 26 August 2015, 4:31 pm
Press Release: Crowe Horwath

Farmers not off the hook on health and safety

It’s a complete fallacy that the farming community doesn’t have to worry about health and safety as a result of proposed changes to the Health and Safety Reform Bill, according to an expert in the field.

Crowe Horwath agri health and safety expert Melissa Vining says the recent hype around proposed changes have monopolised the headlines in recent days with many accusing the government of letting farmers off the hook.

However she is quick to dispel the myth that farmers have been given a mandate to ignore health and safety.

Vining says the classification of high and low risk sectors in particular has been in the media spotlight with backbone farming sectors sheep, beef and dairy being classified as low risk. “This means most farms will not need to appoint a health and safety representative.”

She cautions people not to let the silliness around worm farming and cat breeding being deemed high risk distract from the very real issues of health and safety being addressed by the Bill.

“This is only one small part of the Bill and farmers of all types still need to be aware of and fulfil their obligations regarding health and safety in their businesses.”

Vining stresses that a key element to the bill is to develop an effective working relationship between all parties (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs), officers and workers) and lower the rate of workplace accidents in New Zealand. This is regardless to whether or not there is an appointed workers health and safety representative.

As someone who works with farmers on a daily basis Vining has been disappointed by the attitude portrayed in the coverage of the issue.

“The majority of farmers know they work in an environment which carries risk. They acknowledge that health and safety is critically important and want clear guidance from the Government on what they need to do.”

Vining notes that along with existing requirements there are several key changes proposed which will affect farmers.

• The workplace has been redefined to the area where you are working or where work usually happens, rather than the whole farm.
• All PCBUs will be required to engage with their workers on matters of health and safety that affect them.
• All PCBUs are required to consult with other PCBUs engaging in work on their farm to identify potential hazards / risks and how they will be addressed.

There are huge upsides to getting health and safety right Vining points out.

“First, you’re protecting yourself and your employees from harm. You also minimise the risk of prosecution if there is a workplace incident. Financially farmers can also receive a 10 per cent reduction in ACC levies for a period of three years once their health and safety management plan is accepted and that can be renewed for subsequent three year periods.”

While the changes might seem confusing, farmers are encouraged not to panic by Vining’s colleague former WorkSafe NZ inspector turned health and safety consultant Richard Tattersfield.

“Once the Bill is passed it is expected to come in to force in April 2016. This gives businesses about eight months to get a good understanding of the new legislation,” says Tattersfield.

Lastly, Vining encourages farmers unsure about what impact the proposed changes will have on them to engage with a health and safety consultant or visit the website which has some excellent free resources.


© Scoop Media

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 02:58 PM

Children play to learn farming risks
2:00 PM Thursday Aug 27, 2015 Add a comment


Rosie the cow, mascot for the educational programme and game, teaches players the basic farming activities as well as how to avoid falling into pitfalls.

A new free online farm safety game that children can play on smartphones, computers and tablets is the latest innovation in the quest to improve farm safety.

Industry body DairyNZ's cowbassador, Rosie the Cow, has teamed up with WorkSafe and ACC to create Farm Rules!, an engaging way for primary school children to learn about the risks involved with certain farm activities and how to minimise or avoid them.

Farm Rules! has children tackling the challenges of farm life.

From driving tractors and avoiding cow pats, players learn how to navigate through challenges to win the most points. With bright graphics and plenty of sneaky scenarios, players get to move cows, drive quad bikes and tractors, fix broken fences and spray gorse, all while avoiding surprise dangers.

The computer game is being rolled out as part of DairyNZ's education programme for children.

DairyNZ's brand marketing manager, Andrew Fraser, says he thinks that the game will encourage some interesting conversations between kids and their parents.

"We all know how our children very quickly challenge us based on what they have learnt or seen. Children do a lot of their learning online now and games are a great way of interacting with them about various issues.

"We think we'll reach a lot of adults with a game like this in a roundabout kind of way. It will certainly raise awareness and create situations where the kids are advising their parents about what's a risk and how to stay safe on a farm," he says.

"It's also a great way to entertain your kids while helping them learn about how to stay safe on a farm."

Rosie is the cow character DairyNZ uses to help children learn about farming, cows and how milk is produced.

"She has her own Facebook page and visits schools and community events. She is the key educator in our schools programme where we provide a range of online resources for teachers that they can use in classrooms to teach everything from history to science to research skills," Andrew says.

"So far we've also had more than 5500 children visit dairy farmers as part of the Rosie's World Find a Farmer programme and 900 parents have attended one of those farm visits too.

"This is the second computer game we have created and it all helps children, both urban and rural, to learn more about farming and how milk is produced."

The Farm Rules! game can be played online at and is also available as an app for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets.


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Posted 17 September 2015 - 02:51 PM

No.8 Wire: Busy time raises risk of back injury

By Doug Laing
12:00 PM Thursday Sep 17, 2015 Add a comment


Sheep farmers are being urged to take extra care of their backs while busy tailing/docking lambs. .

"With spring comes more stock handling," says Al McCone, WorkSafe's agriculture programme manager. "Injuries often happen when people do routine tasks like tailing/docking over and over again. Before you or your workers start any job on the farm, stop and consider what you need to watch out for and how to get it done safely."

Last September people working on farms made 600 claims qualifying for ACC funding for back injuries. In addition to injuries suffered as a result of tailing/docking work, other back-related injuries came from kicks or crushing by animals, slips, trips and falls, and injuries from vehicles and heavy machinery.

Mustering and penning up sheep in preparation for tailing/docking can be physically demanding and farmers can risk back strains and knee injuries.

"Before working with ewes and lambs in the yards it's a good idea to leave them to settle," McCone says. "Avoid lifting adult sheep if you can and if you do have to then use your legs and not your back."

Using two-wheel motorbikes and quad-bikes during mustering also has its risks.

"We know when mustering that most of the rider's attention is on the sheep - so it's good to remind ourselves that we need to stay focused.

"Use the right vehicle for the job. Two-wheel motorbikes and quad-bikes need our full attention to balance and control. In some situations, like difficult terrain or where the rider is inexperienced, it may be safer to use the quad or motorbike to get to the paddock, then get off and muster on foot. In all cases, it is good practice to work your dogs from a stationary two-wheeler or quad."

For more information on staying safe on farms, visit

Last call for awards

Entries close tomorrow for the Enterprising Rural Women Awards. The awards offer women who run their own rural businesses the opportunity to boost their profiles and gain recognition for their achievements.

The awards enable Rural Women NZ to raise awareness of women's entrepreneurship and their input into rural communities, creating local employment and often supplementing farm income.

There are four award categories:

-Love of the Land - for land-based businesses.

-Help! I need somebody - for businesses providing any type of service, from retailers to agricultural contractors.

-Making it in Rural - for businesses that involve manufacturing or creativity.

-Stay, Play Rural - for businesses engaged in rural tourism or hospitality. To enter the awards, women have to own and operate a small business with less than 10 fulltime-equivalent staff, based in a rural area. The business must have been running for at least two years. If in partnership, women must be an active partner of 50 per cent or more in the business.

Visit for an entry form.

Use your vote

As voting gets under way for the DairyNZ elections, farmers are encouraged to get involved and question the director candidates.

Ten farmers have put their hands up for three seats on DairyNZ's board, voting for which opened on Monday.

The dairy industry body's second election involves four candidates for three spots on the directors' remuneration committee.

But it is the board of director candidates who will participate in an online Q&A at, where any farmer can put a question to all 10 candidates - and get the candidates' answers published online.

DairyNZ corporate communications manager Bernie Walsh encourages voters to learn about the candidates before casting their votes.

"Levy-paying farmers should receive their voter packs this week, where they can read about all candidates," Walsh says.

"They can also learn more about them at, where their 14 profiles are and where questions can be put to the director candidates.

"Sharemilkers and farm owners can both vote in our elections.

"Directors govern DairyNZ's investment priorities and decide how farmers' levy money is spent, so they carry out an important leadership role on behalf of the industry.

"Farmer levy payers can vote by the internet, post or fax until noon on October 12, or in person at the annual meeting."

Results will be announced at the DairyNZ annual meeting in Morrinsville on October 13.

Grazing strategy

Results from Ag Research trials undertaken in South Otago as part of the Pastoral 21 project have shown that grazed winter forage crops contribute significantly to the risk of nutrient losses to water but that with careful management sediment and phosphorus losses can be reduced during grazing.

DairyNZ developer Maitland Manning says strategic grazing and careful management of wet areas such as gullies and swales in winter forage crops can reduce losses of sediment and phosphorus to surface runoff by 80 to 90 per cent.

"Gullies and swales are where overland flow and seepage converge to form small channels of running water, which may then flow to streams and rivers," Maitland says.

Management tips to reduce surface runoff include:

-Work out a grazing strategy before putting up fences. Think about stock water sources and question whether you need portable troughs.

-Use a winter crop calculator ( to work out feed requirements to achieve body condition score targets at calving.

-Ensure cows begin grazing the least risky parts of the paddock first to minimise the period of runoff risk. This usually means that cows should enter at the top of the paddock and graze their way downhill.

-On-off graze any crop left in the gully or swale at a time when soil moisture content is not too high.

-Fence off gullies or swales to provide as much of a buffer zone as possible.

These initiatives can help farmers to manage soils, animals and forage crops during the challenging winter season so that they can optimise their businesses and reduce their environmental footprint.

By Doug Laing


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Posted 07 April 2016 - 03:44 PM

Education, not punishment the key to farm safety


Last updated 05:00, May 29 2015

Jane Ward from Colyton, Manawatu, learns safe quad bike riding with David Skiffington from FarmSafe.


The Council of Trade Unions' Helen Kelly has been demanding a punitive approach to farm safety.

This approach will not work. We take this view not because we are complacent about farm safety. The death and accident rate on farms, for owners and workers alike, is too high.

More prosecutions, which Kelly wants, and even higher fines for non compliance, which WorkSafe NZ demands, might satisfy ideology or make for impressive graph lines.

But, according to WorkSafe itself, a heavy-handed approach is not an effective way to reduce the rate. A culture change is indeed required.

Farmers must assess risks on their farms objectively and do something to lessen those risks. Technology and training must be harnessed to make equipment and jobs safer.

Of course a regulatory fallback should still be there. But any enforcement must be evidence based.

So far we have seen WorkSafe treat wearing helmets on quad bikes as the apex risk on a farm. For a regulator this is easy to enforce – wearing a helmet versus not wearing a helmet.

Marlborough sharemilker Maria Carlson and her partner Phil Jones were fined a total of $40,000 just before Christmas, for not wearing helmets and carrying passengers.

There was no accident. WorkSafe's obsession with enforcing helmet wearing has worked in one way.

Many more farmers are wearing helmets on their quads. Crucially though, it has made no difference to the injury rate. The enforcement scheme has not been clearly evidence based.

ACC figures for new quad accident concussion or brain injury claims between 2006 and 2012 are less than two per cent of total quad bike injuries. Entitlement claims for the same period are less than one per cent. And helmets could not have prevented all of these injuries.

Wearing a helmet may, in fact, be more dangerous. A caught chin strap has killed a child on a quad.

The operator is less aware of their environment with a helmet on.

The main risk on a quad bike is rollover and a crushing injury. Yet WorkSafe is ambiguous on whether installing roll-bars on the quad actually works and whether farmers ought to install them. We need WorkSafe to provide evidence that they either work or they don't work.

If they do, then farmers will fit them. Just look at the safety technology which goes into the modern car, and which customers are willing to pay for.

The difference between a cheaper model of a car and its more expensive variant, used to be mag wheels, leather trim and more power. Now it's all about safety, braking and danger sensor systems.

Farmers will pay more for a machine they can be convinced is safer. They hold their lives as no less valuable than anyone else's.

Of course quads are far from the only risk on farm. Animals and heavy machinery are inherently dangerous. I have seen what an entanglement with a power take-off can do, and witnessed a serious run in with an angry cow. More safety training is essential.

I share scepticism with Kelly that paper forms and civic events can be presented as a substitute for practical action.

Older farmers, especially, have a wealth of knowledge on safe stock management, which we need to collect and share. Accidents with animals far exceed those from quad bikes. Let's get clever to reduce the frequency of these injuries.

Younger workers, city-raised youth and immigrant workers would appear to be most vulnerable. They were not brought up, for instance, learning never to walk too close to the back of a horse and so avoid being kicked by it.

We have worked with WorkSafe in the launch of its Safer Farms programme in February. We welcome its strategy of education and collaboration with farmers as its own culture change. The real work is ahead for both of us. Our members want to be safer. WorkSafe wants fewer deaths and injuries on farm.

Pointing the finger from the sidelines, however, is not going to make farms safer places nor reduce the risks to the people who work on them.

Katie Milne is Federated Farmers' health and safety spokeswoman.

- The Dominion Post

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 02:19 PM

Farmers may be paying too much ACC
Wednesday, 23 March 2016, 10:58 am
Press Release: Crowe Horwath

Farmers may be paying too much ACC

The work of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is essential in maintaining social security in New Zealand, with the contributions of all employers and employees ensuring prevention, care and recovery from injuries. However, many agribusinesses could be paying more than their fair share according to professional services firm, Crowe Horwath.

“In the period since 2012, we have reviewed the ACC payments of some 1090 clients and discovered that 52 per cent of them have some sort of error requiring attention, including the wrong level of cover being selected. In addition, 30 per cent were found to be paying too much,” Crowe Horwath Advisor Ivanka Rosandich explains.

Rosandich points out that if ACC isn’t regularly updated with accurate information, levies can easily be wrong.

There are numerous reasons for inaccurate levies, including classification errors, paying too much for the year ahead as payroll has reduced in size or changes in employment status (business owners classified as full time when they are part time, or classified as active when they are passive).

Rosandich explains that farming is the perfect example of a business with an ever-changing structure. “Often we find cases where the wife ceases farming activities and is only involved in the administrative side of the business. ACC allows partners or shareholders to be levied based on their individual roles. However, we often find many are instead being levied on the partnership or company rate.”

Crowe Horwath Managing Principal Rick Cranswick, said “That money has been going to ACC when it could be going into business development or other things.”

“If you look at the dairy industry at the moment, it could do with any extra money it can get, so this is a good place to go to see if you can get some money back,” Cranswick continued.

Optimising ACC relationships isn’t just about getting the best cover for your situation; it is also about saving money. The 257 reviews conducted in 2015 by Crowe Horwath in the Hawke’s Bay alone, resulted in a combined reduction of payments totalling nearly $150,000.

Crowe Horwath was initially surprised with the level of mistakes and overpayments made to ACC, but then realised there is a widespread lack of knowledge as to how the system works and is administered.

Cranswick says, “Crowe Horwath has taken a very active role in ensuring our clients have adequate levels of cover for their needs and are paying the correct levies. ACC has also been very supportive and forthcoming in providing advice and arranging repayments for any overpaid levies.”

Rosandich says that with over 500 ACC classifications, engaging an expert is advisable. “Ensuring you are being levied appropriately can be tricky. Business owners can find the levies confusing to decipher and often don’t have the time to fully engage with their ACC contributions. Furthermore, depending on the business or policy type, levies may be made in advance, in arrears or a bit of both.”

She says the findings of Crowe Horwath’s work demonstrate the necessity to routinely review ACC contributions and the cover selected for any given business. “The circumstances of most organisations change over time and the classifications and associated levy rates change constantly too. A regular review will ensure not only that you are paying the appropriate amount and take advantage of any discounts available, but also that you have the best ACC cover for your business, your employees and yourself.”


#48 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 05:13 PM

Robyn Pickett explains why reviewing your ACC cover can bring both better targeted cover and lower premium cost, and how to do it


Posted in Rural News April 16, 2016 - 08:34am, Guest

By Robyn Pickett*


Having recently reviewed several clients Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) invoices we have secured them a rather large refund.

We review payments to ACC and ACC allow us to go back as far as 2012. Often the review shows farmers are on the incorrect classification rate, paying on the high classification of diary cattle farming rate for everyone, when one or more partners/shareholders may only do the office work and therefore their levies could be charged on Office Administration rate.

We often get the situation where one partner is running the household, paying the bills, sorting out the kids, etc. and rarely sets foot on the farm. They should only be paying the administration rate for her ACC; it can make $1000’s difference to your ACC premium.

Wwe encourage clients to be on the ACC product called CoverPlus Extra (CPX) this means you have a fixed amount of cover in the event of an accident. You do not have to prove loss of income which is important as this sometimes can be very difficult to prove as the farm continues to operate without you there.

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Rural NewsCooper AitkenACCInsuranceACC premiumsaccident coverincome protectionCPXACC classificationRobyn Pickett

By having a fixed amount of cover this removes the risk come claim time of the claim being calculated on an unusually poor income year, or you paying increased ACC premiums on an extraordinary high income year. Everything is fixed so you know exactly how much you are paying, what you will receive each week if you are injured and cannot work- whether the injury is work-related or not.

Once you have reduced your CPX levies one beneficial way to use the savings is to consider using private insurance (key Person or Income Protection).

It is important that you really understand the cover your have; for example, ACC provides cover only for accidents but also provides help if a death results from an accident, whereas Key Person or Income Protection covers both sickness and accidents but not normally death and often you have a longer wait period before receiving weekly compensation. Some pre existing conditions may be excluded from private insurance.

There is a lack of knowledge as to how the ACC system works with policy options, rates and cover calculations. Depending on your business, policy type, levies may be made in advance; in arrears or a bit of both, but in all situations a review can often be beneficial.

Robyn Pickett is an ACC administrator at CooperAitken Ltd, accountants in Morrinsville and Matamata. You can contact her here.

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 05:23 PM

Women motivate NZ's dairy industry survival

Stress, money management and solidarity were the themes of a women in dairy conference. Kelsey Wilkie reports.

Last updated 05:00, May 8 2016

Jodie and Carl Goudswaard have been sharemilking for six years in the Waikato.

Hundreds of women dairy workers came together to talk milk prices, cash cows and rugby in Waikato this week.

The Dairy Women's Network event at Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton attracted 340 women keen to to discuss farming issues in the wake of a devastating downturn in milk prices..

Fonterra's forecasted payout has fallen from $5.25 a kilogram of milksolids down to $3.90/kg.

It is the lowest payout since the 2006/2007 season and well below the $5.30 it's estimated most farmers need to break even.

The current dairy season ends on May 31.

Dairy farmer Jodie Goudswaard, said a lot of rural women were quite stressed.

Goudswaard and her husband Carl have been dairy farming in the Waikato for about six years.

They milk 450 cows in Te Kauwhata, where they have been based for three years.

Like a lot of rural women, Jodie Goudswaard helps out in the paddock but her main work is in the office, taking care of the books.

It's been tough, financially. With the milk payout, it is a tough year. Production wise we will be a little bit down on last year but on target.
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"But we're doing what we can do, for us it's a family business.

"It's affecting women more. Cashflow, at the moment is okay but the situation over the next few months is going to be really difficult for a lot of families and a lot of women.

About 340 women attended the Dairy Women's Network Conference at Claudelands Event Centre.

"You can't do anything about the payout so we just choose to focus on the things we can control. We are a good team and we just get on with doing what we can do."

The annual event was designed to inspire women working in the industry.

Discussion topics this year included; how to motivate others, figuring out the masterplan of my life and uniting your multicultural team. The topic of mental health was included in a discussion about Riding the Milk Price Roller Coaster.

One of the speakers, Craig Sanders from accountant from Crowe Horwath said he had been seeing a lot of issues around mental health and money.

All Blacks manager Darren Shand said succeed was all about getting the leadership right and a good culture.

"I know you guys are feeling a bit of heat at the moment in your industry but you've got to find a way to laugh. You will find it really, really helpful."

Dairy Women's Network chief executive Zelda de Villiers said the event was key, especially when the industry was going through such a hard time.

"It gets women off the farm, it gets them to talk about different things and get inspired."

Rural women had been gathering more often lately, she said.

Especially every time there's an announcement around the forecast or dairy price, there's a real need to come together, she said.

"In a time when things are tough people forget the role women play, not only on the farm but in keeping rural communities going.

"There's a lot of pressure on those women, they're the silent helpers. When you take them away rural communities don't always function as well. In a year like this, women are often the gel that keeps things together on the farm - getting everyone fed. They are also very important business partners. They are in shed more, milking more or in some cases they are having to go out and get another job to supplement income."

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