In 2011, Red Alert has done a few new things. One of them is to introduce you to some new Labour candidates who will do the occasional guest post.
This gives them the opportunity to put forward some ideas and you the opportunity to get a sense of who they are before the upcoming election.
Today’s guest poster is Julian Blanchard, the Labour party candidate for Rangitata in 2011.
One of things that most political parties have consensus on is that we need to export more to help our economy.
The region where I am candidate is based around agriculture products and there is potential here to do more. We have an underutilized port in Timaru and the ability to have sensible environmentally sound water storage solutions in Mid Canterbury.
Currently agriculture makes up two thirds of New Zealand’s exports so why is the National Government (the so-called party for farmers) selling the land from under us?
During the first five months of 2011, the Overseas Investment Office approved 49 deals amounting to 30,724 ha of land that are now foreign owned. Only three offers during the last 12 months have been turned down. One for the Crafar farms and the other two amounting to only 35ha of land. The National Government has said it would tighten controls, but the reverse has happened.
If we don’t own our land how can we make money from it?
For the region of Mid and South Canterbury the family farm is beginning to be a thing of the past. Corporate farms owned offshore are now common place. Timaru and Ashburton are rural towns that have done well when local farmer spend money locally. Now that money is drying up the region will begin to feel the strain.
I am pleased to see Labour will act immediately and reverse the current approach. Labour would restrict foreigners from buying more than 5ha of farmland. While we need investment here, we need also to see the manufacturing of the good to be here as well. That will create jobs for regions like Rangitata and keep our rural towns alive.
Since 2009 Julian was the Manager of the Konica Minolta Timaru and previously had his own business for nine years supplying Panasonic Business Products across New Zealand. Julian also works part time for the Port FM Music Network hosting music and sports shows on the network across the central South Island.
Julian is married to Julie Cloake and together they have a six year old son Archie.