Quarrying & Mining Magazine

Focus breeds success – fixation breeds distress  

Aunty Netta Burnside reflects on the recession that isn’t happening as machinery demand hits a peak.

If you fixate on the trees at the side of the road you’re going to hit them and that’s gonna be quite distressing. Next time someone sulks into your office, on to your site or across your social media platform recession whinging … tell them to shut their whinge-pipe and f..k off. That negativity will only result in distress.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says we are technically in a recession. I say bollocks, but what would I know; I’m only a machinery buyer and don’t hold an Arts Degree like our Finance Minister…

Our Trading partners’ (competitors) economies are fizzing. In 20 years of travelling to Japan I’ve never had to fight so much for machines at auctions in Japan like I had to recently (actually the week before Quarry Conference in Christchurch).

I missed more machines than I bought, and bringing client’s money back unspent I enjoyed about as much as you enjoy people knowing you sit to pee when you are tired.

The international buyers were ‘predators’ on bidding for the same machines our market wants. They have their Government’s money, contracts and they’re spending up large.

The US has spent US$4 trillion since the pandemic on stimulus and foreign aid. Russia has been blacklisted from the Japanese machinery auctions, which has increased demand for machines in a back-handed way. There is construction happening around the globe and everyone needs machines.

Instead of swanning around in Japan like an ‘auction sweetheart’, this time I had to dig into the trenches and fight for the nice gear – it was the Hunger Games of machinery buying! I formed an alliance with the Japanese buyers against the walking bags of money from Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines – all financed by the US. And if they ran out of money there was still China, Middle East and Singapore (who are adding six more massive five star luxury hotels to their garden landscape) to battle with. We found ourselves bidding strategically, or at least we thought we were, but shit got real crazy. It made the Russian buyer I meet 20 years ago carrying a handgun at an auction for some reason, look normal.

I was armed with a healthy Kiwi and Aussie buyer fighting fund and I had my eyes on a rather sexy 2021, CAT 336 with under 1000 hours. I managed to raise my hand a couple of times then watched the frenzy as it realised $100,000 more than new price back in New Zealand! And there were others I missed. I was also after a majestic 2022 Hitachi ZX550 demolition machine with three piece high-reach demolition booms, but it was export prohibited (too new).

I was rather proud that I was able to convince Hitachi HQ Japan (through our very long association with them) to permit us to buy and export it back here. It was offered at tender and our buyer and I decided to put in a modest bid, believing we had a decent shot. That day was a waste of make-up … someone put a tender in for $200,000 more than new price in New Zealand.

I did end up buying some lovely gear, but just not as much as the procurement orders said I should. I’ll be back at the Japanese auctions in September somewhat wiser.

Meantime, if people want to talk themselves into a recession they will, and create that fixation in the process. So, stop them whenever you get the opportunity, it does no one any good.

Insulate your people from negativity. Do like Murray Francis and his team at Road Metals ‘do and adapt’.

Murray won the unofficial ‘Best Quarry Conference Quote’ award this year when he flopped out his … “mine’s bigger than yours” 600 metre-long overland conveyor on his quarry site while hosting conference delegates on a field trip.

There were bound to have been ‘naysayers’ about the conveyor’s construction, but you have to credit Road Metals’ focus on ‘success’.




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