Jamie Mackay dubbed West Coast dairy farmer Andy Thompson a National Party lackey on the farming Show on Wednesday.
But he later went on to speak about Andy’s quest to find a Labour voter at the Fieldays and said it would be difficult.
He was joking but if ever there was a time for farmers and the wider rural community to support the National Party it is now both because of what it has done in government and what Labour is threatening to do should it win the election.
Sadly, from my point of view, not all farmers understand that. Although many are more likely to support National than members of some other groups, not all of them do.
However, Phil Goff would have helped National’s cause and harmed his own when he stuck his gumbooted-foot in his mouth :
Labour leader Phil Goff has angered industry leaders at the National Agricultural Fieldays by suggesting that Federated Farmers were considered the National Party in gumboots.
The comment was in response to being asked how important the agricultural vote was to Labour, in election year, during his Fieldays visit yesterday.
“In financial terms agriculture is hugely important, in political terms someone once said that Federated Farmers is the National Party in gumboots, it’s always been that way and we have to accept that,” Mr Goff told Waikato Times.
Feds took understandable exception to that:
However that comment hasn’t gone down well with Federated Farmers dairy chairman Lachlan McKenzie who said the organisation was staunchly apolitical.
“We have always said that we will work with whoever is in power it’s very simple,” Mr McKenzie said. “I spoke at a Labour Party conference two years ago and held two workshops which were both full.”
Unlike some unions which are affiliated to and have special, undemocratic privileges in, the Labour Party, Feds is an advocacy group which keeps a respectable distance from party politics.
It works to advance the interests of its members in the knowledge that governments come and governments go and its voice is stronger for not favouring or attaching itself to any party.
Goff could have mended a bridge or two with farmers and got some positive publicity at the Fieldays. Instead he gaffed again with a defensive, and ill-judged quip.