Employment contracts on dairy farms apply for the milking season – June 1 to May 31st. The weekend nearest those dates, which this year happens to be Queens Birthday, is known as Gypsy weekend because it’s when so many people change jobs which means they also change addresses.
Some have had enough of the industry and move to other work; some want a change of scene, or employer; and others take the opportunity to move towards farm ownership.
Whatever the reason, the last weekend of May is when thousands of individuals and households pack up and move to different jobs and different homes.
It has a huge impact on schools in areas where dairy farming predominates as it means large numbers of pupils move – some within the school catchment others to and from completely different areas. It means different addresses for most, and for many different electorates too.
Forms from the Electoral Enrolment Centre arrived today, asking us to check our details. That’s not difficult for people who are staying put, but the forms are likely to be a low priority, for the thousands of dairy workers who will be busy preparing to move, and some won’t even know what their new address will be yet.
The Dominion editorial points out that while the idea of NZ leading the world on climate change was popular the reality of achieving it, and the costs of doing so, are not.
There is little doubt that the way to reduce carbon emissions is to make them costly, and the emissions trading scheme will achieve that. The question is how far New Zealand should go and whether, for example, it makes sense for it to be the only country to include agricultural emissions.
It makes no sense at all to include agriculture when no other country is doing it, it will have a devastating impact on our economy and it will make global emissions worse.
The need for caution is only underlined by the reality of the New Zealand contribution to global warming. New Zealanders may be large producers of emissions on a per capita basis, but overall contribute about 0.2 per cent of the world’s total.
That is partly in response to proposals from some in the West for a green tariff system designed to penalise countries that do not take moves to reduce emissions.
Against that background, rushing to lock in New Zealand’s policy is foolish. A more measured approach, with targets linked to what others do, rather than stand-alone statements of ecological purity, is more sensible.
If we want to be leaders how about leading the debate on the necessity of finding practical solutions which work rather look-good actions which cost us too much and at best do nothing and might even make the problem worse?