Tag: fickle

West Island Shananigans – The Aussies Are At It Again

Dick Smith is an Australian icon. They don’t have many – and as we know Phar Lap and Pavlova had their origins in New Zealand.  So did Russell Crowe as a a matter of fact, but I am digressing.  Anyway, we are used to it by now that our West Island cousins are always either claiming as theirs something that is most certainly not theirs – or trying to stop quality produce from New Zealand entering the land of Oz on the basis of scientifically unsustainable assertions.newbeetrootsizedwebshadow_0

Now we have a new variation to the theme.  Caustic Australian reactions when something is taken away which they consider rightfully theirs.  The case in point – Beetroot.  In that particular case, we have Heinz on an Australasian basis shifting its beetroot production for whatever reasons from Australia to Hawkes Bay in New Zealand and all hell is breaking loose.  Superior product in Australia, claims about inferior product in New Zealand, perceived threat to the Australian way of life….you name it, Dick says it.

The only half pie relevant comment Dick Smith makes  relates to the fact that multinationals have a habit of shifting production from one country to another as it suits and that New Zealand could find itself in a similar position in the future. True – but one would need to ask the question…What lead to the change in the first place and what can be learned ?

One thing Australia needs to learn – and not just related to beet root – is that the global trade concept is not a one way street that can be manipulated at will.  Dick Smith and others would do well by picking up A Splendid Exchange – How Trade Shaped the World (by William J Bernstein.)  And anyone else trying to figure out how come towns are no longer just consuming what is grown in front of their gates could benefit from having a read as well.  The whole concept and origin of trade is very well explained in this book, starting with the Sumerian and finishing with the oil trade of the 20th Century and the impact of the WTO.

 

 

 

New Zealand short story icon Frank Sargeson was actually a bit of a produce marketing expert as well

New Zealand short story master Frank Sargeson summed up the essence of the risk involved in supplying produce markets in 1941.

“If you grew something for sale, he found out, particularly if it was something that would not keep, you mainly had to take just what people would pay for it, even though you might get a lot less than would pay for the work and expense it had cost you.”

Sargeson made these comments in a story entitled “ A Man of Good Will” – a story that described the relationship between the writer as a boy and “a tomato grower who was supposed to be eccentric.”

Sargeson’s comments are as relevant today as they were in 1941. A little further on in the story Sargeson’s eccentric tomato grower takes matters a bit further.
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