Obscurantism – opposition to the spread of knowledge; being deliberately vague or obscure,the practice of deliberately preventing the facts or the full details of some matter from becoming known; a style in art and literature characterised by deliberate vagueness or obscurity.
Federated Farmers is celebrating the news that 90.3% of Canterbury dairy farms aren’t harming the environment and the improved working relationship with Environment Canterbury which contributed to that.
Robin Barkla, Federated Farmers Vice-President and a Whakatane dairy farmer. said:
“It says a lot that yesterday well over 200 dairy farmers were at the Lincoln dairy fielday. Environment Canterbury not only announced the 2010/11 results but were openly discussing with farmers how to better manage effluent.
“The large numbers attending tell me these are farmers looking for a better way. The three Canterbury dairy chairs all feel that the days of ‘them’ and ‘us’ are gone and on that score, Federated Farmers couldn’t be happier.
“With 99.56 percent of Canterbury’s 921 dairy farms being randomly inspected last season, this is a comprehensive environmental picture. Not only that, but these inspections are carried out under user-pays principals.
“I’d like to think that environmental transparency is a good thing. What these results tells me is that 90.3 percent of Canterbury’s dairy farms did not pose a threat to the environment last season. . . “
The goal is 100% compliance and the good news of high compliance doesn’t make the 9.7% of non-compliant farms acceptable.
“Federated Farmers main focus has always been on the rate of significant non-compliance. That is where environmental harm comes from. While the rate has crept up slightly, the fact is our Canterbury members are light years away from the season when one in five were significantly non-compliant. Those days are gone.
“Modern dairy farming is hugely complex and Canterbury’s 921 dairy farms operate under 10,137 consent conditions. The sterling result is that 9,630 consent conditions are fully complied with,” Mr Barkla concluded.
Mention dairying and too often someone will preface it with the word dirty.
Any pollution is unacceptable but the 90.3% of farmers who do all they should and more to look after the environment shouldn’t be damned because of the minority who cause the problems.
The Main Report’s sacred cow survey was designed to show where respondents stood on some of the critical issues which the major parties are generally reluctant to tackle.
Some conclusions from responses include:
• Labour is campaigning the election is a choice between Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and Asset Sales. However 18% of our respondents support both a capital gains tax and partial asset sales.
• There are some interesting differences between supporters of MMP and opponents of MMP. MMP supporters tend to favour a CGT (68% in favour) while opponents are opposed (67% against).
• Likewise 60% of MMP supporters are against partial asset sales, while amongst MMP opponents the same number (60%) are in favour.
• Some issues resonate regardless of the views on MMP. Strong support for raising the retirement age, supporting more immigration from MMP supporters and opponents, plus strong opposition to selling land and rural assets to foreigners. • One ironic result is with the Maori seats. MMP supporters are split on retaining the seats with 35% in favour and 37% against. Amongst MMP opponents, only 9% are in favour and 82% opposed. The irony is under First Past the Post the number of Maori seats would grow from seven to 12.
• As to whether Parliament has too many MPs, only 38% of MMP supporters agree compared with 75% of MMP opponents.
• MMP supporters are also more interventionist, with 38% supporting a more economically interventionist Govt compared with 19% of MMP opponents.
• There is an interesting correlation between those who support raising the retirement age and those who support a capital gains tax. Only 24% of those who are against increasing the retirement age support a CGT, while 52% of those who support increasing the retirement age also support a CGT. They are presumably the fiscal hawks.
• We also get a correlation between support for raising the retirement age and supporting partial asset sales. Partial asset sales are only supported by 38% of those again raising the retirement age and by 62% of those who do support lifting the retirement age.
• Republicans and monarchists also have quite different profiles. 39% of monarchists support a CGT compared to 54% of republicans. On the issue of partial asset sales 53% of monarchists are in support as opposed to 47% of republicans.
• Monarchists are not fans of MMP with only 30% support, while amongst republicans it has 53% support. Republicans tend also to be more economically interventionist with 41% wanting more intervention in the economy compared with 21% of monarchists.
• Finally it is of little surprise economic interventionists tend to support a CGT, oppose partial asset sales, support MMP, support a republic and oppose foreigners being able to buy land.
The Main Report concludes:
As NZ moves into an election campaign, The Main Report Group sought to probe the opinion of those who subscribe to its publications, and met surprisingly vigorous responses to some of the issues the main political parties keep ducking. Those responses were accompanied by sophisticated and highly intelligent commentary.
It’s clear a majority believe a rise in the retirement age is inevitable. The Govt should get on with framing a new policy. But will it
continue to shackle itself to no change, because it is fearful of antagonising the elderly, the most powerful voting bloc?
The elderly won’t be affected by any change to superannuation it’s people younger than 50 who would face a higher retirement age. The affordability of the retirement age can’t be taken in isolation from other costs.
That said, I am not opposed to increasing the age, gradually over time so people have plenty of notice and time to prepare for working longer or supporting themselves until eligible for state help.
One of the really surprising outcomes of our survey was the number who don’t support MMP. They outnumbered those in favour of MMP. Could this be a pointer to the outcome of this year’s referendum?
I’m not sure why MMP is included as one of the sacred cows that parties won’t touch when the government is giving us a referendum on the issue at the election next month.
Even if more people support change, and other polls indicate opinion is still tending towards a small majority in favour of the status quo, the challenge is to find an alternative which will get majority support in the second referendum.
Parliament has too many MPs, the Maori seats should be abolished, and NZers are not yet ready for a republic.
If we still had FPP we’d now have more than 100. One reason we have so many is the attempt to ensure electorates have a similar number of people without making the rural and provincial ones too big.
I agree Maori seats are no longer needed and that the issue of republicanism isn’t a priority.
As for partial asset sales, the National Govt may draw comfort from the survey which shows support in moderate or strong terms ahead
of those expressing opposition totally or to a degree.
A capital gains tax met a more equivocal response. And there is no appetite for a return to Muldoonist-style intervention in the economy.
So, as we look at the results of this survey, we ask – are NZers ahead of their leaders in realism and courage?
To answer that question you have to look at the survey and respondents.
It got 534 responses. They don’t say how many people were asked to complete the survey but they come from its database which includes: politicians, civil servants, embassies, financial and legal industry associations, business executives; road, rail, sea air operators, customs brokers, forwarding agents, importers and exporters; energy & environment professionals, service providers, legal advisors, local government planners; dairy, sheep, meat & wool and arable farmers and agricultural executives.
They tend to be better educated and earning more than the general population and not a representative sample of all New Zealanders.
That doesn’t mean that leaders shouldn’t be looking at some of the sacred cows but most of those identified in the survey won’t be in election manifestos nor be priorities for whichever parties are in government after the election.
However, I think the electorate understands the difficulties facing the country and the world.
Tough times provide the opportunity to tackle some of the tougher issues – but does that mean a majority are prepared to give a government permission to provide some tougher solutions?
Fonterra is keen to act on a report by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee that recommends a push beyond major cities in India by both the New Zealand government and private sector.
The Inquiry into New Zealand’s relationship with India identifies New Zealand’s role as a co-host of the 2015 Cricket World Cup as an opportunity and potential for the film, education and technology industries.
But dairying stands out as the big area of opportunity because India’s protected dairy industry may struggle to supply a market that is already the largest consumer of dairy products and is forecast to double over the next 15 years.
“We were told that the Indian dairy market has multi-billion-dollar potential for New Zealand, but only if tariff and regulatory barriers are removed,” the report said.
New Zealand exported $136.9 million worth of dairy products to India in the year to March 2011. India’s tariffs on dairy products range between 20 and 60 percent.
Fonterra, which is investigating the feasibility of dairy farming in India, submitted that New Zealand will need to make the running to advance its relationship with India.
“Fonterra is prepared to contribute resources for this purpose alongside the Government,” the report said.
The benefits of this for New Zealand and India ought to be obvious, but the Green Party has reservations.
“The Green Party is for stronger national interest tests on foreign investment in New Zealand, and a level of protection for New Zealand industry and services, particularly from low-wage competition. We also sympathise with efforts by Indian farmers to protect their domestic agriculture, which could be undermined by a rapid and substantial removal of tariffs on imported food.”
Protection helps a few producers and the politicians who provide the protection.
It comes at the cost of lower production and higher prices which hurt the poor and hungry the most.
Any move back to protectionism would also undermine the years of work New Zealand has put in to negotiating the free trade agreements which help us earn our keep and stop us turning into a third world nation.
Too big, too strong and, most of all, just too damn clinical. The All Blacks beat the Wallabies 20-6 in the World Cup semifinal last night, and showed they have the muscle and grunt to go with the renowned finesse in the side . . .
Southland Times – ABs trample over Aussies
France versus 4 million, the All Blacks have their date with destiny after surging into the Rugby World Cup final. . .
The Press – Screaming for All Black joy
After living through their city’s devastation, Christchurch residents could
finally scream for joy . . .
Dominion Post – All Blacks reward party faithful at fanzone
Clad in black, with faces painted in silver ferns, a crowd of thousands cheered the All Blacks to victory in Wellington’s fanzone last night . . .
NZ Herald – Epic All Blacks deliver on huge night
Yes we can and yes we did – in style . . .
And not so happy:
The Australian – Wallabies outplayed out smarted all blacked out
THE Wallabies’ World Cup campaign lies buried in the graveyard of Eden Park after they were bundled out of the tournament by the All Blacks last night . . .
Sydney Morning Herald – Great hope of rugby fumbles and bumbles when he was needed most
If that was Quade Cooper’s best game ever, as captain James Horwill fearlessly declared it would be on match eve, then one can only wonder what his worst has been . . .
AND yea, verily, it is written. Though long have our Kiwi cousins walked in the shadow of the Valley of Death, through World Cup loss after World Cup loss, as an entire people plumbed the depths of despair, now, now the hour is upon them. The promised land is now just up ahead around the bend . . .
Peter FitzSimons gets full credit for graciousness in the last column.