Who else would they vote for?

The Sunday Star Times was excited by the 100 emails Prime Minister John Key received from people opposed to the sale of the Crafar Farms to Shanghai Pengxin, calling it a heartland backlash.

One farmer said he had been a National supporter for 45 years but the agreement to sell the farms to Chinese interests ahead of New Zealanders was the “final nail in the coffin”.

Key received more than 100 emails or letters opposed to the sale, most within days of the announcement of the deal with Shanghai Pengxin.

“For many years I have voted for National and I believe in the philosophies. I am utterly disappointed at the decision to sell the farms to a foreign buyer … 2011 will be the last time I vote for National,” one said.

Another wrote: “We have always supported you, and National, but we aren’t with you on this. We have to let you know how strongly we feel about this.”

One wonders how much these people understand about the National Party’s philosophy and principles because there is nothing there that would restrict the freedom of people to sell their own land to the highest bidder nor is there anything that would support xenophobia.

Regardless of that, 100 emails isn’t many on a hot-button issue.

“Pretty much on any issue in New Zealand I’ll get 100 emails,      and sometimes I get 10,000 emails if it’s a significant      issue. So there’s a mixture of views, no doubt about that,”      he told TV One’s Breakfast show.   

Mr Key said the Crafar farms sale was not the main issue farmers raised with him.   

“Certainly I’ve been around a lot of rural events – the      Waimumu Field Days, the Golden Shears on Saturday night – and that’s not really the issue they’re coming up and talking  about,” he said.   

“Some farmers come up to me and say `Look, I own the farm, it’s my property right and I should be able to sell it to      whoever I like.’ Others say they don’t want the farmland going overseas. There’s definitely a range of views but I don’t see it hurting National support.”  

People who change allegiance on a single issue aren’t strong supporters to start with, and any farmers who think they’re not happy with National only need to look at yesterday’s debate on changes to pastoral lease rentals to see how much worse off they’d be with a Labour-led government:

The Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases) Amendment Bill will replace the land valuation basis for setting rents on  pastoral leases (on mainly high country farms) with a system based on the income earning potential of the  farm land.

Labour MP Raymond Huo said his party was opposing the bill because it was subsidising some high country farmers and did not reflect the real worth of the Crown owned land.

Agriculture Minister David Carter accused Labour of the politics of jealousy and envy and said their policies in Government had shown a “lack of care for the most fragile farming environment’’ in the country.

He said former prime minister Helen Clark had attempted to “drive’’ the farmers off the land and turn it into part of the conservation estate.

The Government now wanted to allow farmers to pay a rent based on the income they could take off the land while maintaining it for future generations. The Crown, he said, had proven to be a poor caretaker of the high country land.

The loss of tussock at the top of the Lindis Pass is a sad reminder of what happens when the Crown tries to replace the high country farmers who have looked after pastoral lease land for generations.

Another example of how poorly Labour understands farming was last year’s beat-up on how much tax they pay.

As Cactus Kate asks, if farmers aren’t going to vote for National, who would they support?

. . .  Labour who will tax the sale on their farm at 15% who along with the Greens will make them pay for their pollution and treat them as the rich pricks they deserve to be treated as?  NZ First…hehe…..

The small number of farmers who have their noses in a knot over the farm sales are shooting the wrong target.

I have nothing against the sale of the farms to foreigners but those who do should be directing the ire at the receivers who insisted on selling the farms as a job lot rather than individually.  That would have opened up a far larger number of would-be buyers and made it much easier for locals to make realistic offers.

5 Responses to Who else would they vote for?

  1. Neil says:

    I would be very wary about the SST’s coverage of NZ politics. They had some wild views last year using the discredited Galaxy Polls as a means to show the collapse of the National vote. Nonsense.
    What a farce-everyone was anonymous and one wonders if the reporter was interviewing their typewriter.
    Talking to people about the Crafer farms shows people saying that if it’s ok for Fonterra taking Chinese money for product then why shouldn’t we allow foreign money buying farms.
    Racism is evident with some NZers,especially with the Winston Peters party. These people are irrational !

  2. toad says:

    Ele, I think it may have something to do with the National Party value of “Loyalty to our country, its democratic principles and our Sovereign as Head of State”.

    Increasing foreign ownership of our most productive farmland, and the consequent repatriation of profits overseas, doesn’t sit very well alongside that principle.

    And the SST also revealed that the receivers advertised the farms individually in the South China Morning Post and Singapore’s Straits Times – just not in New Zealand.

  3. Denny says:

    I totally agree with your point about the benefit of offering the Crafar farms individually. That the receivers offered them individually overseas, but not in NZ, negates their argument that by offering the farms as one entity the receivers could get the best price. What they did may be legal, but it lacks integrity. I hope that lack of integrity comes back to haunt them.

  4. JC says:

    Toad and Denny,

    Fran O’Sullivan in the Herald today.

    The farms *were* offered collectively and individually in NZ to locals.. they simply didn’t front with the best deal.

    “But KordaMentha receiver Brendon Gibson confirms there was no real difference between the way the Crafar farms were marketed here and overseas.

    The wording used in the advertising material in New Zealand was quite explicit in what was being offered. “There is the potential to purchase a single property, a selection of properties, or the entire portfolio,” the advertisement stated.

    This was patently clear in copies of the NZ advertisements which Bayleys placed.

    The firm had been instructed to market the portfolio to the widest potential buyer audience possible and secure the best possible outcome by maximising the value of its clients’ property assets.

    Bayleys ran a “blanket awareness” campaign which involved marketing the properties to the immediate vicinity in which they were located, marketing them regionally throughout the Central North Island, and marketing them to the greater rural sector throughout New Zealand.

    Local print media were used and advertisements placed in major metros, including the Sunday Star-Times, and rural newspapers.

    The properties were also marketed to the individual buyer databases of all Bayleys’ rural sales people in regions where the Crafar farms were located and 20,000 copies of a special Crafar portfolio brochure were distributed through rural sales teams in areas such as Rotorua, Feilding, Wanganui, Hamilton, Matamata, Cambridge, Tauranga, Taupo and New Plymouth.

    Some 500 copies of the brochure were distributed to rural bank managers, an additional 800 copies sent to rural business investors, and 11,516 copies of the publication were mailed directly to rural delivery addresses.

    Of the entire print run, 250 copies were sent offshore.

    The properties were also advertised internationally in the Australian Financial Review, the South China Morning Post, the Singapore Straits Times, the Chinese Herald, and Neue Zyrcher Zeitung in Switzerland.”

  5. homepaddock says:

    Thanks JC – Like Denny & Toad, I’d been under the impression the properties were only offered as a package here.

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