Tonga: New Zealand to help Tonga develop sustainable deepwater fisheries

Tonga flag background image

I just saw a wee snippet in Dive New Zealand:

The $2.7m NZ government-funded project draws expertise from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), the South Pacific community, Tonga’s government and fishing industry. The aim is to develop a well-managed, sustainable line fishery for deepwater fish in Tonga’s Exclusive Economic Zone. 

This Tongan aid programme was first announced last month by NIWA in a press release:

New Zealand helps Tongan deepwater fisheries development

“A programme to help Tonga maximise the economic benefits of commercial fishing has been launched in the country’s capital, Nuku’alofa.

Coinciding with a visit to Tonga by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, the $2.7m NZ government-funded project draws together expertise from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, Tonga’s government and fishing industry.

The aim is to develop a well-managed, sustainable line fishery for deepwater fish in Tonga’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Project leader and NIWA fisheries scientist Dr Stuart Hanchet said the project was funded by the NZ Aid Partnership Programme and partners will explore ways to maximise economic returns and develop new market opportunities.

“Biological sustainability and improved management are also key objectives,” Dr Hanchet said.

The project builds on the recently approved Tongan Deepwater Fisheries Management Plan by providing key information to support implementation of the plan.”

It is always great to see this kind of private enterprise investment in development in areas of the world that need it, in particular Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Tonga.

According to South Pacific Business Development (SPBD), the State of Tonga requires all the sustainable development assistance it can get:

“Only 30% of Tongan women are employed and 40% of them are underemployed being engaged in subsistence farming, fishing and handicrafts. 23% of the population lives below the poverty line [us$2.11 per day is well below the poverty line]. Opportunities for salaried employment are scarce.

Sustainable development in Tonga

The Agenda 21 website provides a good overview on sustainable development in Tonga:

The Agenda 21 was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Conference recommended that States consider preparing national reports and communicating the information therein to the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) including, activities they undertake to implement Agenda 21, the obstacles and challenges they confront, and other environment and development issues they find relevant.

The Johannesburg Summit 2002 (the World Summit on Sustainable Development) organised by UN Commission on Sustainable Development focused on strategies for meeting challenges that best humanity going forward, including improving people’s lives and conserving our natural resources in a world that is growing in population, with ever-increasing demands for food, water, shelter, sanitation, energy, health services and economic security.

Also see: NZ announces “sustainable” development assistance for Tonga

Incidentally Planet Ratings (A Global Microfinance Rating Agency) conducted a Smart GIRAFE Rating for SPBD Tonga who were granted SPBD a ‘good investment’ grade of “B+” noting a “Positive” trend.


USA: Incredible (near) futuristic videos – ‘A day made of glass’


I was just sent these youtube clips that were put together by Corning entitled “A Day made of Glass

These days of glass are not far away!

These clips are certainly a peak at where we are going.

Who are Corning?

According to the Huffington Post (02/ 7/2012 ):

“Corning, the maker of Gorilla Glass display coverings for smartphone and tablet touchscreens, wants you to picture a future in which interactive displays cover nearly every surface.

In January, Corning announced an even more durable and lightweight second-generation of Gorilla Glass, but the company also has some ambitious visions of possible innovations. Showcasing some of its stunning, futuristic concepts, Corning on February 3 released a gorgeous video titled “A Day Made of Glass 2,” a sequel to its equally impressive viral video “A Day Made of Glass,” posted last February.

Both videos feature a family of four going about a “normal day,” aided by glass-pane tablets and touchscreen walls. But the latest video reveals an even broader view of the role specialty glass could play in the “near future,” reaching out of the home and into hospitals, schools, even parks.

In a release accompanying the video on the company’s website, Corning explained the role that custom-made glass products might soon play in high-tech daily life:

Glass is the essential material enabling this new world. The displays and touch surfaces of the future will require materials that are tough, yet thin and lightweight; that can enable complex electronic circuits and nano functionality; that can scale for very large applications, and that also have a cool, touch-friendly aesthetic.

With these materials, the wall-sized interactive displays, multitouch work tables, paper-thin readers, and electrochromic windows shown in “A Day Made of Glass 2″ could be available in homes, classrooms, hospitals — nearly everywhere else.”

Here is how Corning Describes themselves on their ‘about us page‘:

Corning is one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science. For more than 160 years, Corning has applied its unparalleled expertise in specialty glass, ceramics, and optical physics to develop products that have transformed people’s lives. Today, Corning’s products enable diverse industries such as consumer electronics, telecommunications, transportation, and life sciences. Learn more about how Corning collaborates closely with customers and applies its unique combination of material and process expertise to solve tough technology challenges.”

See their Videos:

A Day Made of Glass – Made possible by Corning… (2011)

A Day Made of Glass 2 (2012)

A Day Made of Glass 2: Unpacked (2012)

A Day Made of Glass 90-Second Montage (2013)

  • A fast-paced, 90-second snapshot of Corning’s vision for the future of glass technologies.  View Video

A Day Made of Glass 5-Minute Montage (2013)

  • An overarching, five-minute montage of Corning’s “A Day Made of Glass” video series.  View Video

Students React to the “A Day Made of Glass” Videos (2012)

  • A group of high school students comment on Corning’s vision for the future of glass technologies.  View Video


USA: U.S. Debt-Cap Accord – What are the prospects for Congress approving an increase in the U.S. debt limit?


I just read on Bloomberg that “Senate Leaders Say They’re Optimistic on U.S. Debt-Cap Accord

Well if Congress wants to buy time and avoid a global financial meltdown (at least in the short term) they had better be optimistic. Especially since its the dysfunctional bi-partisan US political system rather than the the state of the that is driving this present crisis [for the most part part].

Notwithstanding the the undeniable fact that the raising of the debt ceiling is really tantamount to putting putting ‘some ointment and a band-aid’ on a wound that needs surgery followed by a course of antibiotics.  However without this band-aid the US Treasury has said it will reach the debt cap of US$16.7 trillion  on 17 October 2013.

The US Congressional Budget Office pulled no punches issuing a warning  that if Congress does nothing, the US federal government will not be able to meet repayments between 23 Oct. and 31 Oct. 2013 (starting with the US$12b Social Security payment which is due on 23 October 2013).  A US default would send shock waves through Wall Street, triggering another economic crisis as borrowing costs would spike across the economy. These shock waves would reverberate outwards affecting country after country.

Jason Lange of in a piece (How the US could default) posted last week on 8 October put it like this:

[In the event of a US default, the US economy] would sink like a stone. Once default began, the [US] government would have to slash its spending overnight by about a third. The fiscal drag, if it lasted a full year, would be the equivalent of up to 4.2 per cent of national economic output, according to calculations by Goldman Sachs.

That doesn’t take into account the potential for a financial crisis. If investors lost their cool, stock markets could tumble, hitting pension funds and leading consumers to spend less of their money. Credit markets could freeze up because investors around the world might reassess the value of US debt, which serves as collateral for trillions of dollars in loans and other financial transactions [around the world]. The Treasury has warned a default could trigger the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

Incidentally this nightmare that would result  from the imminent default in the event of a congressional impasse would coincide with the arrival of Halloween. Oh the irony!

According to Blomberg the Agreement will:

The emerging agreement would suspend the debt limit through Feb. 15, 2014, fund the government through Jan. 15, 2014, and require a House-Senate conference on budget matters by Dec. 15, according to a Senate source familiar with the talks, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss them.”

The Recent USA Federal Government Services Shutdown

In recent weeks we’ve seen picture son TV of federal government shutdown where with the prospect of a looming US default after Republicans in Congress ruled out the ability of the US to borrow any more,  without concessions (mostly Medicare) from President Barack Obama. The inability to borrow resulted in the systematic shutdown of US Federal services.

A graphic produced by the Chicago Tribune which was featured by last week breaks down the shutdown by State and by Government service.

The Effects of the USA Federal Govet. Services Shutdown across the USA (source Chicago Tribune)

The Effects of the USA Federal Govt. Services Shutdown across the USA (source Chicago Tribune)


Chinese Exports down & Imports up! China set to overtake the USA as the Largest OPEC Importer!


According to Sydney Morning Herald China’s export growth decreased in September driven by a ‘tumble’ in  sales to South-East Asia tumbled.

China’s exports dropped 0.3 per cent in September from a year earlier, the Customs Administration said on Saturday, sharply confounding market expectations for a rise of 6 per cent, and marking the worst performance in three months. Imports fared better, rising 7.4 per cent in September from a year ago, better than forecasts for a 7 per cent increase, shrinking China’s monthly trade surplus to $US15.2 billion.”

Analysts cite worries about flagging global demand for Chinese products in in emerging markets – especially when tighter US monetary policy pushes investors away from developing economies. According to Analysts data showed Chinese exports to Southeast Asia, China’s fastest-growing export market in the past year, dived to a 17-month low in September.

According to SMH:

A breakdown of the data showed exports to Europe, the second-biggest buyer of Chinese good after the United States, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia all fell last month. Shipments to Taiwan struck a 17-month low while those to Australia posted their worst growth in three months. Japan was the lone bright spot, registering growth for Chinese exporters for the first time in eight months. Sales to the United States cooled, even though the monthly value of exports were at their highest in over a year.”

Other analysts have cited a strong renminbi has one driver behind the erosion of China’s export competitiveness.

But we’ve heard this all before… Indications of DECLINE… Yet so far the hard landing that all the analysts have been long predicting has yet to happen. A slowndown in one quarter is not indicative of a trend. SMH although quick to show a drop in exports went so far as to acknowledge this:

…dismal exports performance comes after the world’s No. 2 economy showed encouraging signs of stabilisation, having fought a slowdown that lasted in 12 of 14 quarters. Trade, factory production and the services sector all picked up in the past two months.

Attention now turns to China’s third-quarter gross domestic product data and other figures for September due next week. Economic growth is expected to quicken to 7.8 per cent in the third quarter from a year ago, up from 7.5 per cent in the previous three months.”

One indication of continued churning of Chinese market machinery is the sustained demand for oil. Which this last September, saw more crude head China’s way than to any other state including the USA.  WSJ Asia China is on track to become the world’s top buyer of oil from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries:


China set to become Top OPEC Customer

The video above sees WSJ’s Deborah Kan talks to Wood Mackenzie’s President of Global Markets William Durbin about China’s growing demand for Middle East oil and its commercial and geopolitical consequences.

This is re-iterated by the Sydney Morning Herald that also provides readers with some data:

Average imports of crude in September stood at 6.25 million barrels per day (bpd), up 28 per cent on the year and topping the previous record of 6.15 million bpd set in July.

Net imports of 6.23 million bpd show that China overtook the United States in September as the world’s biggest net oil importer, a trend which the US Energy Information Administration said would continue through 2014.

In terms of monthly tonnage, September imports of 25.68 million tonnes was the second-highest on record after July, bringing total shipments in the first nine months to 211.3 million tonnes, up 5.4 per cent from a year ago.

Traders have attributed the monthly gain to a slew of large refineries going online after completing scheduled maintenance.”


The demand for Salmon in Korea is exponential – Norway moving to ensure it is them that will meet it!


I read yesterday on “Norway” (the official Norwegian Government Sth Korean Consular type website) that a Norwegian seafood company (Marine Harvest) opened a Seafood Processing Plant in Incheon, South Korea.

I have to admire the initiative. I admire South Korea for addressing the demand for Salmon, and acting upon that demand by facilitating its continued supply… by what can only be (I postulate) some type of joint venture that will help their foreign joint venture partner successfully navigate complicated domestic market and country of origin rules for imported seafood.  I admire the Norwegians for getting out there making the most of their FTA with South Korea, and securing a market for their Salmon with an adherence to quality, aggressive marketing, and a “can do” attitude.

Norge Seafood has a significance presence in South Korea, with sales not only limited to salmon products (

Norge Seafood has a significance presence in South Korea, with sales not only limited to salmon products (

"Innovation Norway' has a team on the ground in Seoul (of mostly Korean nationals), to facilitate linkages between Norwegian and Korean commerce. In their own words "Planning establishment in South Korea? Or are you looking for business partners in this exciting market? Contact us and we set up a meeting with you in Norway"(see

“Innovation Norway’ has a team on the ground in Seoul (of mostly Korean nationals), to facilitate linkages between Norwegian and Korean commerce. In their own words “Planning establishment in South Korea? Or are you looking for business partners in this exciting market? Contact us and we set up a meeting with you in Norway”(see

The Norway article refered to the opening speach of Norwegian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, H.E. Torbjørn Holthe:

The investment in this packing plant shows Marine Harvest’s commitment to bringing fresh Norwegian salmon to South Korean consumers

The Marine Harvest processing facility (which opened two days ago in Incheon) is essentially a salmon filleting and packaging facility. The article quotes Henrik Vikjaer Andersen, Norwegian Seafood Council Director for Japan and South Korea as saying:

With this modern factory Marine Harvest can make an even stronger case to South Korean consumers that their fresh Norwegian salmon is as safe to eat as it is tasty.

But I read the subtext like this:

With this facility in place, we (Norwegian Marine Harvest) can readily supply South Korea (and other North Asian markets China and Japan) with ‘cheaper’ high quality product, that is prepared locally, which not only enables more connectivity with the local North Asian Market, but strategically places Marine Harvest salmon products right in the middle of the domestic mass market (at least in South Korea for the time being). In addition, the move also provides Marine Harvest with considerable leverage over other regional producers whose products will continue to be perceived by locals (and thereby forcing those other products to market themselves in South Korea) as premium foreign products.

The Article continued:

Since the FTA between Norway and the Republic of Korea came into effect in 2006, Norwegian fish exports to South Korea have seen a sharp increase. Norwegian seafood exports totalled NOK 462 million in 2012, about half of which was salmon. In 2012 South Korean imported more fresh Norwegian salmon than frozen for the first time, a trend that continues in 2013.

“Marine Harvest’s brand new facilities will further fuel this development. In just a few days a salmon swimming in pristine Norwegian waters is transformed into high quality seafood ready for consumption in South Korea” H.E. Ambassador Holthe continued.

Marine Harvest is a world-leading seafood company present in all major salmon farming regions in the world and it produces one fifth of the global salmon production. In addition to fresh and frozen salmon, Marine Harvest offers a wide range of value added products such as coated seafood, ready-to-eat meals, finger food and smoked seafood. The company employs 6 200 people and has operations in 22 countries worldwide.”

The move by Norway should be an inspiration to others. It should at least inspire producers from my native New Zealand. I am looking at the similarities between New Zealand and Norway, and the advantages New Zealand has (in a farmed salmon context that is). I think New Zealand should do something similar… if not better. It isn’t as though New Zealand is not able.

New Zealand has an FTA with Hong Kong – a market of 7.155 million people (2012 World Bank). This market although only around 14% of the size of the South Korean market also also enjoys a high demand for salmon products. The same goes for Singapore (with whom New Zealand has a CEP Agreement) which has a market of  around 10% of the size of the South Korean Market. Singapore also also enjoys a high demand for salmon products.  But I am thinking more about New Zealand’s  FTA with China, whose massive market (a staggering population of 1.3 billion people) also has a high demand for salmon products… To top it off, just like Norway, New Zealand produces fantastic Salmon. I would go so far to argue that New Zealand’s farmed Chinook salmon (which is characterised by its large size) is in a league of its own.

Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. Home of New Zealand King Salmon... Producers of which say that they "Sustainably produc[e] the world’s best salmon." (see

Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. Home of New Zealand King Salmon… Producers of which say that they “Sustainably produc[e] the world’s best salmon.” (see

Yet the salmon farming in New Zealand is nowhere near as cohesive as it is in Norway.

Recently I saw a presentation by New Zealand King Salmon, CEO Grant Rosewarne… and to be honest I was both inspired and saddened. I was inspired by Rosewarne’s boldness and clear vision. He presented a picture of New Zealand King Salmon doing great things for our region, both economically and environmentally.  But I was saddened by the lack of boldness and lack of vision shared by so many other New Zealanders, who cannot see Rosewarne’s vision (or refuse to see it), who just cannot internalise Where New Zealand is now and then take a long term strategic view of the market, nor can the anticipate the relationship between between development at home and market engagement abroad.

Without that cohesion and shared entrepreneurial spirit that Norway obviously has, New Zealand cannot possibly begin to make good on it’s potential, and utilise the full potential of not only it’s resources and it’s spirit, but also the international relationships New Zealand possesses, and recognition brand New Zealand receives abroad.

To truncate a long story, and postulate a point – New Zealand has to provide it’s primary producers with the requisite social licence to operate. At present New Zealand cannot produce enough salmon to meet global demand not only for salmon, but for New Zealand salmon.

Table showing Global Farmed Salmon Production per year

Farmed Salmon production

New Zealand King Salmon has applied to bring this total annual production up to 30,000 tonnes, which although a significant increase in productivity; at 1.8% of total farmed salmon production, is still considerably less than the Faroe Islands and Tasmania, and miles from the production of Norway (whose farm salmon comprises almost two thirds of the market).

As of yet the approval (“the social licence to operate” ) to expand the King Salmon operation from 5 ha to 12 ha is still pending… with ferocious opposition coming mostly from New Zealand’s considerable ‘green’ lobby.

However I am an optimist. I am hoping the reason will win the day and that the New Zealand Government will realise that if they do not facilitate growth; notwithstanding the high quality of New Zealand salmon, the larger producers will continue to occupy a higher share of the market, and worse still,  our customers who demand New Zealand salmon, and who are unable to source New Zealand Salmon, will buy the next best (probably Norwegian) as shoppers usually do. And as we’ve seen above, this is going to be easier with Norwegian salmon now being processed and packaged locally, in Incheon.


New Zealand: Currently ranking sixth among major global markets for IPOs?


I just read a story in the Asian WSJ (New Zealand’s Privatization Effort Propels IPO Market) which totally took me surprise… little New Zealand with its population of only 4.5 million people, “this year ranks among major global markets for initial public offerings (IPOs), thanks to a government privatization drive that has put the stock exchange on pace for one of its best-ever years for IPOs by value.”

So far this year, the NZX Ltd. has hosted a total of US$2.3 billion of IPOs, nearly double the $1.3 billion raised over the previous six years combined, according to data provider Dealogic. That has catapulted it into sixth place among the Asian-Pacific region’s top IPO markets—behind Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Thailand—and puts it in 14th place world-wide.


Furthermore according to the Asian WSJ “the benchmark NZX-50 share index hit an all-time high last week and is the second-best performer in the region this year, behind only Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average.”

Analysts who note that the NZX-50 gained 16% this year add that “New Zealand has growth fundamentals that a lot of countries would like to have.” This has no doubt “further underpinned consumer confidence.”

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand

According to the Asia WSJ”

The privatization program driving the new listings is intended to help restore the government’s budget to a surplus in the fiscal year through June 2015, ending five years of deficits, by raising around five billion New Zealand dollars (NZ$4.2 billion). The government has already raised NZ$1.7 billion from the sale of a 49% stake in electricity generator Mighty River Power LtdOn Friday, government officials revealed details of the biggest sale of a state-owned asset in the country’s history—the IPO of Meridian Energy Ltd. The government wants to sell 49% of the company, which supplies electricity to households and businesses, and estimates the stake to be worth at least US$1.6 billion. The targeted listing date is Oct. 29.

It also plans to sell 49% of Genesis Energy Ltd. and 23% of listed flag carrier Air New Zealand Ltd. The Air New Zealand stake is valued at about NZ$350 million and might be sold later this year. The Genesis Energy offering, likely to raise around NZ$1 billion, is expected early next year.”

So how is this impacting neighbouring Australia?

The new life in New Zealand’s IPO market is giving a helping hand to the Australian Securities Exchange, where listings of domestic companies have stagnated. Mighty River Power and New Zealand fuel retailer and refiner Z Energy Ltd., which raised US$677 million in an IPO last month, were also listed on the ASX. The New Zealand government also plans a secondary listing in Australia for Meridian.”

Furthermore “expectations that the New Zealand dollar will rise against the Australian dollar have kindled interest in the IPOs among Australian fund managers looking to place bets on swings in the currencies.”


New Zealand: According to Key, New Zealand could sign FTA with South Korea within a year


New Zealand could sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea within a year, Prime Minister John Key says, as he warned (Kiwi Chamber – a Seoul business group) talks needed to be treated with urgency. Talks (which stalled in 2010) maybe resuming as soon as October according to South Korean President Park Geun Hye.

“Both New Zealand and South Korea have signed FTAs with other countries, and need to ensure that the stiff tariffs imposed by South Korea did not hurt the relationship. In the very least according to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key “We need to get our deal done to ensure that the bilateral trade relationship keeps pace with the trade relationships we have with other countries.”

Key is confident that a deal could potentially be signed within a year, and the odds of an agreement within three years was 65 per cent: “There are always potentially sticking points and in the end it can come down to quality of the agreement but I’d have to say, on balance, I’m better than 50:50 we’ll get there.”

An FTA with South Korea could be worth “billions”, Key said.  South Korea has a population of 50 million, their wealth per capita is similar to New Zealand’s and they are destined to become wealthier.

Sir Graeme Harrison, the founder of meat processing company ANZCO and chairman of the NZ International Business Forum, said New Zealand had only limited product to sell to the world, but a deal with Korea would help spread risk. “This is about a balance of risk, because clearly we don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket.” Harrison said business with South Korea was already being eroded by its agreements with other countries. Exports of beef were being hurt by the US FTA with South Korea while kiwifruit exports to were being hit by Chile’s agreement with Seoul.”

It is important to keep in mind that New Zealand’s tariffs on products to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – which for the purpose of the free trade deal is with Chinese Taipei – will be eliminated by 2016. Yet for New Zealand products entering South Korea, a tariff of up to 40% in some cases is still being imposed. This cannot be good for both New Zealand and South Korea.

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