Rural party would make matters worse for rural people

NZ Farmers Weekly reports that opposition to the ETS is fuelling discussions on the formation of a rural party.

It’s only talk and I hope it stops there because it would do more harm than good.

Rural people are not only a minority, we’re diverse. The only thing which unites us is geography – we don’t live in towns or cities – and that isn’t enough on which to base a viable political party.

The Outdoor Recreation Party should serve as a warning.

In spite of the hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy the great outdoors it got nowhere at its first election. It then merged with United Future which went backwards at the next election.

I understand the opposition to the ETS and until recently I might have supported it. But I’ve accepted the fact that it is now law which will come into effect on July 1.

A show of hands at the National Party’s Northern convention yesterday suggests that is the majority view. A discussion on the issue, which showed strong opposition, concluded with a request for a show of hands on whether the ETS should be delayed. I reckoned fewer than a third of the delegates put their hands up for a delay and Audrey Young thinks it was only 20%.

I suspect that 20% was more rural than urban but that’s not grounds for trying to form a rural party.

It wouldn’t be difficult to muster the 500 people needed to form a party, they might even get a few candidates willing to go to the expense and trouble of standing for parliament. If they did they are more likely to take votes from National than any other party and what would that achieve?

At best a weaker National led government. At worst a Labour led one which would include a strong Green element. Both those parties’  plans for the ETS are more radical and expensive than National’s and their other policies are a lot less rural-friendly too.

Those opposing the implementation of the ETS are making a lot of noise but they don’t have the numbers and strong as the anti-ETS is it’s not enough to make a foundation on which to build a viable political party which would be able to make a positive difference to rural people.

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10 Responses to Rural party would make matters worse for rural people

  1. Raymond A Francis says:

    Agree it would lead to real marginalisation of those who live in the country
    Ecan writ large

  2. G says:

    The difficulty for rural people is that urban people (the majority) dont necessarily understand or care about rural issues (including farm production). Having separate political representation would only marginalise rural issues more, because rural people are a minority. At least National prioritises the rural economy.

    And, as you point, not all rural people are the same. There are a significant number of rural Maori who would have very different poltiical views to many rural non-Maori. Even amongst the non-Maori community there is a diverse range of political views.

  3. Tired Farmer says:

    My problem with the ETS proposals is that even now so many people don’t understand the ramifications involved.

    The 1.6 billion for foresty planted pre 1990 will go mainly to overseas interests and in MHOP the already over indulged Maori.

    Why no carbon credits for pasture land?

    Two weeks ago on Monday morning John Key anounced that we had to have an ETS tax on petrol because France has. Apparently this is not correct.

    To date I have not seen any retraction of this statement.

    If the plans for ETS are implemented the effects
    will snowball and the next General Election will be
    intriguing for this and other reasons.

  4. We’re still running MMP, right? So if all these rural party folks voted National on the list, wouldn’t overhang ensure that National’s made no worse off and possibly better off, assuming that Rural would go into coalition with National?

  5. J.R.M. says:

    Iused toget though to this site and other dont know whatis wrong ? Censord

  6. homepaddock says:

    Eric – you’re assuming the rural party would win an electorate. If you look at the results of past elections you’ll see how difficult that would be. If a seat had a small majority (though no rural seat does at the moment) it might split the vote to allow a Labour win.

    JRM – I haven’t censored you, and wouldn’t unless you swore or defamed someone.

  7. @homepaddock: but if National loses an electorate, it really doesn’t matter so long as their list vote doesn’t change, right? It only would matter if it took National out of overhang or put Labour into overhang; are either of those likely?

  8. homepaddock says:

    In terms of numbers you’re right and the overhang for either of those parties is very unlikely.But in terms of representation (in case you don’t know I’m very biased on this)a National electorate MP is better than a Labour one.

  9. So weigh up the risks of having worse constituency representation (along with the costs of same: how often do you really need to get your MP’s help with anything?) against the chances of getting overhang in National’s favour.

    It’s by no means clear to me that a rural party is a good idea; I just don’t think the downside risk is quite as bad as you’re thinking.

  10. homepaddock says:

    Eric – chances of worse representation moderate (because Nat MP majorities mostly high enough they’d still win)chance of overhang infintisimal because a rural party is extremely unlikely to win a seat.

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