Red Alert

Archive for the ‘agriculture’ Category

Invermay – a national issue

Posted by on March 10th, 2014

Despite being signed off by Steven Joyce nearly a year ago, the full business case for AgResearch’s restructure has been suppressed until now. It reveals that the whole organisation is put at risk for uncertain returns. $100m taxpayer money is to be spent; and in one scenario modelled – a worse outcome is produced than business as usual.   I guess it is now obvious why they tried to hide the detail for so long.

The Background

In July last year, the Government’s largest Crown Research Institute – AgResearch – announced its plans for a major restructure. A lot is at stake since AgResearch is the taxpayer-fuelled science engine that underpins productivity-growth on New Zealand farms.

Starting in the South, discontent is spreading across New Zealand with news of the decision to break up a successful hub centred on its World-leading Invermay campus. On Saturday, New Zealand’s largest independent newspaper broke the news that background to one of the country’s most significant export-related restructures has finally been released.

Previously, AgResearch’s own internal review singled Invermay campus changes out – as the piece of the AgResearch restructure puzzle that didn’t fit.  Change is hard, but the internal review team concluded that most of what was proposed across New Zealand would meet the organisation’s internal goals.  However – Invermay should be grown, not shrunk, it said.

Where to from here?

Sheep and deer farmers in particular will be angry. It is unacceptable that this business case was kept from them until now. They are the clients. AgResearch has been treating industry stakeholders like mushrooms: keeping them in the dark and feeding them manure.

AgResearch last year released a shorter redacted version of the business case, in a failed attempt to give the impression of transparency.  What we now know is that the public were being fed only half of the story: the part AgResearch thought fit for farmer consumption.

The drastic changes proposed also create serious problems for families of scientists at Invermay’s Mosgiel campus.  Many have partners who will struggle to find good work in Lincoln and will face significantly higher mortgages. They simply won’t move there.

The worst-case scenario in the business case modelling now looks wildly optimistic.  It assumes scientific staff will relocate – when available evidence says they will not. An earlier restructure saw just 28% of scientists retained; those close to this one say it is shaping up no better.

Instead, the majority of world-class scientists who’ve built Invermay’s international reputation are proposing to leave the organisation to pursue opportunities abroad. Another group are proposing to take early retirement.  While Steven Joyce has been typically short and sarcastic in his responses to my parliamentary questioning on Invermay, he has shown some awareness of the importance of staff retention to organisational capability. As shareholding Minister, he’s left himself some wiggle-room for intervention.

Breeders know the importance of Invermay to their commercial success.  In particular sheep meat productivity has doubled and disease incidence in deer has been slashed. AbacusBio and other important industry participants have contributed to extraordinary success in the Ag sector off the back of facilities and research at Invermay.

The Government set itself the admirable goal of doubling agricultural productivity. Invermay has played a huge role in historic successes and promises to play an important part in the future. Invermay must be saved for the best future for New Zealand’s on-farm productivity.

Signatures are being collected across the country.  Sheep breeders in Northland, Manawatu and Southland abhor the changes equally. If you’re lucky enough to live in Otago there are dozens of places to sign the petition I’ve launched opposing the changes. Visit to find out more or to download your own copy of the petition form.

The board of AgResearch is showing itself out of touch with the industry it serves. Shareholding Minister Steven Joyce must call the Board to account. The Invermay changes make no sense.

Environment : What are your views on a clean green NZ? Labour Leadership Q&A #1

Posted by on September 10th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Leadership Election Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 1

Environment – What are your views on a clean green NZ?

Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over the past 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog starting today (Tuesday 10th September), till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.


Question : What are your views on a clean green NZ? Allied to this, what are your views on our one pure gold asset “water” and protecting our waterways?

Submitted by : Heather Mannix, Christchurch


Answer from Shane Jones

Our clean green status cannot be taken for granted. As each generation passes our effects on the environment remain. I am a big supporter of replanting blighted landscape in native cover.

A key to improving our status is recovery work as well as robust legislation.

Dirty rivers and soil loss, siltation, are major concerns to me. Water is a valuable resource and I support water storage. The sale of our power companies may lead to private water ownership. Water is part of the public estate. I do not agree with the privatisation of water.


Answer from Grant Robertson

Clean, green New Zealand cannot just be a brand. We must accept that there is no real economic development without protecting and enhancing our environment. They are two sides of the same coin, and we cannot afford to see them as being in some eternal struggle.

We have the potential to develop clean technology and renewable energy generation that can lead the world. Our environment has an intrinsic value that we must support. This means a focus on water and air quality in particular through better use of national environment standards, and emission standards.

We need to take the recommendations of the Land and Water Forum, and develop them further, including resource rentals for major users. The voluntary accords around effluent run-off have had some benefit, but we must do better in protecting our waterways, and if that requires regulation by local and central government then I will back that.


Answer From David Cunliffe

Sustainability is a core Labour value. We must ensure that we protect our environment for future generations. Our environment has intrinsic value in its own right; our bush and beaches, rivers and seas, sustain us all. The environment is central to the health of the New Zealand economy, with most of New Zealand’s export dollars come from living things. We must protect and nurture this source of our wealth and heritage.

We will not be immune from the environmental mega trends facing our planet; particularly global climate change and fossil fuel depletion. We must prepare for these by developing renewable technology, water management, and being active in international climate negotiations.

Clean-tech is an area where New Zealand also has the potential to be out the front leading. But it is an area where New Zealand is under-investing. There is huge potential and it aligns with New Zealand strengths. I will invest more in research and development funding that supports a high value economy, including clean tech.

There are too many rivers and streams in New Zealand where it is no longer safe to swim. This is not good enough.


Moving forward, and moving forward together

Posted by on August 8th, 2012

Right now there are very real and achievable solutions to the current hollowing out of our work force and the flow on effects this is having on the whole country, especially our regions.

Labour knows that for New Zealand to prosper, and for us all to have a society where we all have a stake in the future, we need change. Change in the way we manage the economy to ensure NZ prospers, overcomes our external deficit and stays in control of our own destiny.

This means paying attention to our main centres AND the provinces. Both have a role to play in re-establishing New Zealand as the place where our young want to stay, play, work and live.

New Zealand cannot thrive on the Auckland – Hamilton – Tauranga hub, important though they are to New Zealand’s economy. Similarly,  Auckland – Hamilton – Tauranga will be held back if other regions do not succeed.

In other words, New Zealand needs balance.

Prosperity requires economic growth and opportunities in our regions as well as our main centres.

The current loss of productive New Zealanders is serious enough for demographers like Paul Spoonley from Massey University to warn that it is accentuating our aging population:

JESSICA MUTCH:  Just finally, let’s touch on this ageing population that you talked about earlier. In 20 years’ time, 1.2 million people will be over the age of 65. What does that mean for New Zealand going forward?
PAUL SPOONLEY:  Well, firstly, it’s a doubling. So we’re at 600,000, so we’re seeing the over-65 double. I think the second thing which is really concerning is what’s called the dependency ratio, which is the ratio between those who are in the workforce and those who are dependent on the state in some way. And we’re seeing that decline. There’s a big bite out of the younger New Zealand age groups because they’re going. I mean, 150,000 New Zealanders have left this country since the start of the economic recession, and that’s a huge concern. So we need people to stay here, and we need people to be working here to support that dependency ratio.
Q & A 22 July 2012

Shamubeel Eaqub, the principal economist at the NZ Institute of Economic Research, has said the country’s shrinking population under the age of 40 and the outflow of young people will have a bigger impact on the regions that are plainly now struggling to attract and retain talented labour.

On 30 May he was reported in the NZ Herald as saying “that slowing growth in young people under 40 is very troubling …The impact is disproportionate across the regions – rural areas are losing more younger people than towns….That will make it more difficult for rural areas to develop and retain a highly skilled and innovative labour market – all the bits and pieces that provide excitement and buzz….

Since then Statistics New Zealand has produced its breakdown of the 158,000 New Zealanders who left for Australia in the last four years.

Forty per cent of those who have gone to Australia are between 18 and 30 years of age  – 62,000 young people in their prime giving up on New Zealand.

They are disproportionately from the regions. They are leaving because of a lack of opportunity and hope for their future here in New Zealand.  The aging of our population in our regional towns is made worse.

As David Shearer outlined in his speech today, the remedies proposed by Labour to build the breadth of our productive exports will work well in the regions.

Our pro-growth savings policy will increased capital available for investment. A Univeral Kiwisaver will grow our capital base. Australia’s share market is three times the value of ours on a per capita basis. A major driver of this is Australia’s better work place savings.

Our pro-growth tax reform is fundamental to growing our productive export economy. Labour’s capital gains tax is both fair, and achieves this aim. Tax biases currently encourage investment in our non-productive speculative economy at the expense of our productive export sector. Removing that bias is seen by the IMF, the OECD, the Treasury, the Reserve bank and Labour as fundamentally  important.  National is in denial.

Similarly, our research and development tax credit will help drive investment into the productive parts of our economy.

Our willingness to address the out-dated orthodoxy around monetary policy and the  exchange rate is another fundamental change that will help the regions.

The regions are rich in resources. Some, like Opotiki, are short of infrastructure. Others have infrastructure that used to, and can again, support more jobs. Those jobs in processing, manufacturing and the high value service jobs they sustain are often (not always) driven off the resource base that is in the regions. They in turn drive help innovation in other sectors.

National’s unwillingness to pull these levers – which only a government can – is hurting the regions as well as our cities.

Labour can and will make the hard decisions required to bring NZ back to prosperity.

@NZNational says it was a real town hall meeting

Posted by on October 31st, 2011


Trade policy to be released tomorrow

Posted by on October 27th, 2011

I will be releasing Labour’s trade policy tomorrow at my campaign launch in Nelson. That is a good place to do it because the Nelson region is built on fine primary tradeable commodities. And yet our exporters, from pipfruit growers to the forestry sector, are having difficulties of one sort or another. It should be up on the website by about 5.30pm. Watch this space – or one like it!

Comments Off on Trade policy to be released tomorrow

Pulling the land from under us

Posted by on October 3rd, 2011

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.

Juilan Blanchard

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.

Has Kate been shafted again?

Posted by on September 21st, 2011

Yesterday, the Government announced a review of rules and regulations for the use of agricultural vehicles, including working-time regulations, requirements for safety inspections of farm vehicles and the relaxing the restrictions on the use and standards of farm vehicles. They told us they have been listening to the industry.

But wait, hasn’t the Minister of Labour identified the agriculture sector as one of her “priority sectors” for action and resources in her Health and Safety Action Agenda? And rightly so, because farm vehicle accidents account for 23% of work related deaths and injuries in New Zealand.

Now the lowly-ranked Associate Minister of Transport (outside Cabinet) describes safety rules for agricultural and farm vehicles as “red tape”. Yep, he mentions the safety of the public, but not the workers. That, to me, says a lot about the Government’s attitude to workers’ health and safety. Sure, the farmers want to get their crops in on time. But I’m just as sure that the workers would like to work reasonable hours for fair pay and not have to put their life and those of others on the line.

We’re not talking unreasonable rules here. 13 hour days – just one break after 5.5 hours – no rights to breaks, and most employed as contractors, which means few rights in law.

The  families whose loved ones have been affected by accidents in this industry because of short cuts, long working hours, a lack of rights and cutting corners will not see these regulations as “red tape” or too “inflexible” as the contractors have described them.

The question is:  has the Minister of Labour been shafted again?  Was she consulted about this review?

Just another example where the health and safety of workers has become a “nice to have” for this Government.

Good bid but are there still better options

Posted by on August 14th, 2011

HoS has story on a Sir Michael Fay led bid for Crafar farms.

This sale has become a symbol of our ability to retain economic sovereignty in New Zealand hands. A massive donation as been given to the national party in what I hope is a misplaced effort to get agreement to a Chinese buyout from Bill English.

I agree with Fay when he said

“Crafar farms have significant potential and this offer makes it clear that there are New Zealand buyers for these properties.

“I believe that retaining dairy farm land in local ownership is a key to maintaining long-term control of New Zealand’s key export earner and also key to retaining our trading advantage.”

But I still think that it is appropriate for the state owned farm developer Landcorp to get involved. They should buy, clean up and on sell the farms preferably to individuals who are currently share milking. The government is currently blocking this.

Generation Zero

Posted by on July 21st, 2011

Catching up on emails I noted one from a new advocacy group, launched this week, Generation Zero  

I would have thought it deserved some media coverage but despite a cute photo op outside Parliament, it looks like this only appears to date on their Facebook page.

Good on them for putting the effort into getting up the website. Generation Zero are calling for zero carbon emissions by 2050 and binding targets en route.  NZ’s current goal? 50%. of 1990 levels. On current tracking we have about as much chance of reaching that as our 2020 commitment of reducing to 10 or 20 percent below 1990 emission levels. (In fact we are increasing.)  Across the ditch, Julia Gilliard’s carbon tax has set a 80% reduction target. And Britain’s Tory government has a similar goal. In fact there, it’s bipartisan.

Yet Gillard’s plan is going down like a bucket of sick under the constant attacks of Tony Abbott (who bowled former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull because he tried to back Labor’s earlier wider-ranging, less subsidising ETS.)

Generation Zero’s guru is James Hansen, who visited here recently. I’m currently reading the book he has devoted to his grandchildren – effectively Generation Zero.

As Australia illustrates, the politics and potential outcomes of this debate are horrible. Attempts to encourage/require change from our carbon-fueled lifestyles are politically fraught; not doing so puts the very existence of Generation Zero – and their grandchilren – at extreme risk.

If you want examples of our own Julia or Tony choices, look to the differences between Labour and National on agriculture in the ETS or whether lignite mining in Southland should proceed.   

field days special

Posted by on June 14th, 2011

I am going to the Field Days tomorrow at Mystery Creek. I have my helmut and guess I will be bombarded with views on the ETS and taxes that farmers pay. Labour has a stall in the rural lifestyle section so I look forward to meeting with a range of Kiwis who attend this great event. The hundreds of exhibitors display the range of activities that are proud to connect with rural NZ. The diversity of innovation and science based participants is always inspiring. What I do hope to discuss with as many as I can will be the proposals by the National Government to start selling our State Owned Enterprises and privatize ACC. Both these outrageous acts will result in greater costs and risks for people who live a long way from mainstream power and health facilities….. Farmers and their families. No doubt John smiling key will do his best to charm and distract attendees from these issues but I get the regular feedback that inspite of the good times for agricultural returns, farmers and business leaders are tiring of the lack of a vision, a plan or solid leadership for New Zealand. The best efforts of National Party spin doctors cannot hold back the growing unease over the weak and erratic actions of the National Government. I look forward to a couple of robust days in the heart of rural New Zealand

Who knows better Fonterra or Key on setting dairy prices

Posted by on May 24th, 2011


And later on Radio NZ

 Mr Carter says, however, that New Zealand must live with the consequences of having its economy tied to the world market, and that it would be inappropriate to intervene beyond checking there is enough competition in the domestic market.

One Tory PM serious about climate change

Posted by on May 24th, 2011

John Key attacking our reinstatement of agriculture in the ETS to fund R +D is predictable enough for a former?  climate change doubter.

But contrast him saying agriculture can only come in when others bring it in with his good friend, British Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.

Last week, the Conservative government unveiled the UK’s fourth carbon budget, announcing it wanted to be the “greenest government  ever”  , positioning the UK as a leading player in the global low-carbon economy, creating significant new industries and jobs.

The UK is now on  course to cut emissions to 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2027 (the National Government’s target is 20 percent by 2020.) And it vows to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050 (National’s target 50% by 2050.)

This from an economy once built on coal and heavily reliant on North Sea oil. The point is that the Brits are committing to make changes to the difficult to tackle sectors of its economy and focussing on a low carbon economy and high-tech future. 

David Cameron is effectively making a mockery of John Key’s promise of the National Government being “fast followers” in responding to climate change. The Conservatives in the UK have laid out an actual plan on how they hope to transition to a green economy.  Meanwhile we are stuck with a government that has no real idea, no real plan, and continues to kick the climate change can down the road for the next generation to deal with.

John Key says he’s been in touch with David Cameron every week by phone or text since meeting in 2009. You have to wonder if he ever questions Cameron’s commitment to address climate change or  is that just reserved for domestic politics?

So when is the media going to call Key liar on dairy pricing

Posted by on May 24th, 2011

The vast majority of Kiwis know that dairy prices are led by international prices. Fonterra says so. Fed Farmers say so.

But old King Canute John Key says black is white.

The Herald is now reporting comment that makes him look silly. Progress.

The price of cheese

Posted by on May 22nd, 2011

Fed farmers tells us that paying tax or for their pollution will cause prices to go up.

Funny they have been telling us for years that prices are set by international markets.

Farmers and tax – the IRD’s numbers

Posted by on May 19th, 2011

I would like to clarify the figures re average tax bill for dairy farmers that appeared in today’s press, as there are a few hardy souls out there who doubt them.  The figures I used are from the IRD and were derived from written questions to the Minister of Revenue (so a little strange that he has come out and criticised them). 

The first written question I asked the Minister was “how many individual tax entities were there, by $20k tax bracket, in the 2008/09 financial year [last full financial year the IRD has the stats for] that described their primary activity as dairying?”  As for all questions, I also asked for the stats on farming, hort, viticulture, forestry, aquaculture and primary industries (just to cover anything else).  So the question was pretty specific.  The stats show the following:

1.  17,244 legal entities described their primary activity as ‘dairying’.  Of these, 9,014 made a loss (net trading income). 2,635 made between $1 – $20,000.   

2.  1,236 (7%) made $100k or more and 377 (2%) made over $200k

3.  Agriculture in total (incl viticulture, hort, dairying, livestock) has 65,240 legal entities.  Of these, 35,568 made a loss and 12,816 made between $1-$20,000.  So nearly 75% of all legal entities involved in the agriculture sector earned $20k or less. 

Then another written question to Minister Dunne: “How much tax was paid in the 2008/2009 financial year, by tax-registered entities that described their primary activity as dairying etc etc?”

1. Dairying $26m

2. Other livestock farming $81m

3. Other horticulture $62m

4. Viticulture $6m

5. Services to agriculture $73m

6. Agriculture (subtotal) $247m

7. Mining $486m – [for comparison, mining paid almost double the tax than that paid by the whole agricultural sector in 2008/09 tax year

So, take the number of dairy entities (17,244) and the amount of tax they paid ($26m).  Therefore average figure for tax paid per legal entity in the dairy sector is $1,507.  If there is any other way to derive the average, then please let me know. 

Remember, these are not my figures, but are from the IRD. 

A final written question to the Minister: “What are the different types of tax entities, by number, that describe their primary activity as primary industries?”  (I do have the breakdown by sector but will just provide by agriculture in general) Note: only includes companies, partnerships and trusts with trading activity. 

Partnerships – 30,042

Companies – 16,895

Self employed – 13,110

Trusts – 5,193

Look, this isn’t a beat-up on the farming sector.  I have made it clear that they are not breaking the law, as current tax legislation allows the expensing of what many would consider capital items.  Fair enough.  They’ve played within the rules, but perhaps the rules aren’t working any more and farmers are simply not paying their fair share.  I will do more in this area and report back. 

As an aside, see the piece below from the Fed Farmers website.  Don’t know how old it is, but the truth is out there – from the horses mouth (sorry, couldn’t resist).


Tax Policy

Too Much Tax

Members sign up to Fight Against Ridiculous Taxes

New Zealanders pay on average $12,000 per year in tax. This is a lot of money!

Federated Farmers thinks New Zealanders are overtaxed and we take every opportunity to say so.

We want lower tax rates and to close the gap between top personal and company tax rates. We think that closing the gap will be fairer on the many farm business that are not structured as a company.

To support us on this tax issue, email our National Board spokesperson ….

An identity crisis for National?

Posted by on May 14th, 2011

National MP and farmer Shane Ardern has fired a bit of a broadside at his party, claiming that its farmers have become “lost in action”. During a select committee meeting this week, he took a swipe at fellow National MP Jacqui Dean, asking why her Waitaki seat wasn’t held by a farmer. Dean is a former children’s TV host.

Ardern went so far as to challenge a couple of farmers in attendance at the committee to go back and find someone to replace Dean. Ardern reportedly asked “Who’s the MP now? And why are we absolutely lost in action, absolutely lost in action, as far as MPs in Parliament now are concerned?” Ouch!

Apparently his fellow National MP, the retiring but never shy Sandra Goudie, claimed that farmers had become a “misunderstood minority” within National.

This is an interesting insight into the way National has changed. Farmers used to rule the roost but there has been growing disquiet in recent years that the party has been taken over by financiers and bankers. Interesting to see two of their MPs being so open about it though.

Note: The above comments were reported in a Newsroom story, which is only available if you’re a subscriber.

Crafar farms should not be sold to any foreigners

Posted by on April 23rd, 2011

Brian Gaynor makes a very solid case for retaining the Crafar chain in New Zealand ownership.

While it appears the receivers have a view on their value which is based on what cashed up international investors are prepared to talk about, protecting the interests of foreign owned bankers who lent Crafars far too much should not be a consideration for Bill English when he makes this decision.

I’ve banged on before about how Landcorp should buy, develop and on sell the farms, preferably with a NZ ownership caveat on the title and to a sharemilker.

The proposed sale of the Crafar farms to Chinese interests is an important national issue.

Such a sale will establish an important precedent because China has enormous savings and foreign exchange reserves that could be used to buy large tracts of New Zealand farmland.

Based on the experience of the forestry industry, which is now mostly overseas-owned, this would not be in New Zealand’s best economic interest.

The price of milk

Posted by on April 17th, 2011

I’m a strong supporter of the Fonterra approach. Worked on their legislation. They get some real advantages from it although there are parts which give their competitors an easy run. There is a debate starting around their domestic pricing structure and the Commerce Commission is involved.

Fonterra collects and processes around 90% of New Zealand’s raw milk. In the absence of a competitive market, it is the default setter of the milk price for wholesale and, ultimately, retail.

However I think with their enormous legislative advantage there comes a moral obligation to minimise domestic milk and milk product prices. I hope the Commission does a full investigation and we get a good look and pricing model choices.

Selling Our Country

Posted by on January 28th, 2011

While we now know John Keys plan for NZ ….. Sell it all and give your mates a commission on the trades, there are alarming moves in the private sector also. Banks are squeezing businesses and foreign investors are lining up to take control of some of our important sectors. A recent announcement that Agria, an Asian company is applying to raise it’s stake in PGWrightsons from 19% to 51% is one more such move. PGwrightsons is our biggest primary sector service company and benefits from a huge part of every activity in our primary economy. The silence by farmers and their leaders has been concerning also. People must realize that the land is important but only part of our rural economy. The businesses that operate on and associated with it need also to be owned by us unless we are prepared to be servants to our future, not the owners of it.
Put this with John Keys selloff of SOEs and we should be worrying. Time to vote this Tory Government out of office as we did in 1999!!


Posted by on January 23rd, 2011

National Ministers Carter and Wilkinson intervened to allow the continued grazing of land around Lake Ellesmere for a farming mate. Carter has been saying to farmers, dairy in particular that they must change their farming practices to improve water quality and safeguard our international reputation. That is not just inconsistent but outright hypocrisy. Farmers have every right to be angry. Most of them are making changes and paying money to reduce their impact on the environment. Why should one farmer be given the continued right to degrade Lake Ellesmere? No one else would be allowed and it makes a mockery of Nick Smith’s proclamations that Lake Ellesmere desperately needs protection. In Parliament we can’t use the word but in the real world it is called hypocrisy …… At it’s best !!!