Word of the day


Abequitate – to ride away on a horse.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Why this virtue signalling Govt is so reviled by the rural sector – Jamie Mackay :

Would it be unkind to say you’ve got to go back to the days of David Lange and Rogernomics to find a government so reviled by the rural sector?

And it’s rather ironic that Labour finds itself in a unique electoral situation because of the support it garnered from the provinces in the 2020 election. A case of be careful what you vote for. A perfect storm of Covid, an empathetic PM, fear of the unknown, the fear of the Greens and a totally dysfunctional National Party, combined to produce the first majority government in MMP history.

The Government’s recent response to He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) and the resultant modelling was an abrupt wake up call to rural New Zealand and those self-same provinces that swept Jacinda Ardern into power. Only Wayne Barnes missing that forward pass in 2007 is a bigger mystery to me than why every electorate, Epsom aside, party voted Labour in 2020. We’ll never see the likes of that again.

And we may never see the likes of 50,000 Kiwi farmers again if we lose 20 per cent of our sheep and beef production and six per cent of dairy. The numbers being modelled are frightening, even if they’re only half correct. . . 

Is this our generation’s subsidy-free moment – Jacqueline Rowarth:

How farmers move forward and negotiate with the government’s response to He Waka Eke Noa proposals could be this generation’s “subsidy-free moment,” reminiscent of the 1980s, writes Dr Jacqueline Rowarth.

The release of the Government’s response to the proposals from He Waka Eke Noa has resulted in misunderstanding, muddle and misery. New suggestions have appeared, questions have been asked, and the misery remains.

How can farm businesses survive what has been suggested? Economic viability is threatened.

The Prime Minister has recognised the concerns and has used the phrase “Just Transition” – the same words used in Taranaki when changes in the energy sector were made. . . 

Fed Farmers call for alternative farming emissions proposal – Evan Harding:

A leading Southland farmer says she won’t be getting winter grazing consents and hundreds of other farmers will also refuse to get them.

Federated Farmers Southland vice president Bernadette Hunt, speaking at a meeting about the Government’s controversial farming emissions’ proposal and winter grazing regulations at Stadium Southland on Wednesday night, said consents were supposed to place extra scrutiny where the highest risks were.

But if thousands of people had to get them for an activity, it was not targeting the highest risk.

“That’ll mean councils can’t adequately check them out in advance or enforce them so it makes a mockery of the process. You’ll pay for a piece of paper but there’s nothing behind it, and that’s why we don’t support these ones,” she said. . . 


Planting trees for the future – Sudesh Kissun :

Waikato farmers John and Maria van Heuven believe in leaving their 164ha property in a better condition than when they bought it 20 years ago.

Hence the Matamata dairy farmers of 50 years quickly joined the Bridge to Bridge project (B2B), backed by Waikato Regional Council and Fonterra.

The three-year community-run project was completed recently with eight kilometres of Waitoa River fenced and 17,000 native plants and trees in the ground.

The project involved landowners on either side of the Puketutu and Station Road bridges near Matamata, removing pest plants, relocating fencing from the river’s edge to create bigger riparian margins and planting native plants and trees.

Here for the long game :

DairyNZ has launched a new campaign designed to showcase dairy farmers’ commitment to a better future for New Zealand.

The multi-media campaign, named Here for the Long Game, launched nationwide this week, and highlights dairy farmers’ commitment while sharing how the sector is addressing the challenges ahead.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says the campaign shares the hard work and dedication of dairy farmers.

“As a sector, we want to deliver a sustainable future – meeting the needs of our communities and customers, while maintaining profitable and sustainable businesses,” he says. . .


Anti-burping tablets could solve Australia’s cattle methane emission problem – Elly Bradfield and Amy Phillips :

A Queensland university claims its research into cattle has the potential to reduce methane emissions in Australia’s beef industry by 30 per cent.

The federal government confirmed last week Australia would sign up to a global pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent this decade.

Meat and Livestock Australia, industry’s peak research and development group, had previously vowed to be carbon neutral by 2030 through its CN30 pledge.

Professor Ben Hayes from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) at the University of Queensland said its four projects could be applied simultaneously to the $14.6 billion beef cattle industry. . . 


Perpetrators get more than victims


This has to be a contender for the biggest government failure to deliver:

Newshub can reveal a $20 million fund set up by the Government to support victims of non-fatal strangulation has actually helped more alleged perpetrators than it has victims.

It can also be revealed that despite promising to have specific staff in our country’s courts trained to recognise the signs of family or sexual violence, the Government’s failed to introduce a single one. 

The National Strategy and Action Plan to Eliminate Family and Sexual Violence was launched in December 2021, with Jacinda Ardern at the time saying: “As Prime Minister I take responsibility of lifting the wellbeing of our tamariki and their whanau.”

But Newshub can reveal two Government initiatives meant to help victims of family and sexual violence in our courts are falling way short of their targets.

In 2020, the Government earmarked $20 million to support victims of non-fatal strangulation in court. The cash was meant to fund 870 expert medical witnesses per year who’d testify in court in order to “prosecute perpetrators” and “secure earlier guilty pleas”.

But so far they’ve only been used in 86 cases and more than half of which were used by the defence to support alleged perpetrators. . . 

This is not only failing to deliver for the victims, it looks like they’re treating alleged perpetrators better than the people they’re charged with endangering.

Despite the severity of these issues, no one from Government would speak with Newshub on camera.

We first went to Justice Minister Kiri Allan who wasn’t available to speak on camera. Both the Prime Minister and Minister for Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence Marama Davidson said these specific initiatives weren’t their responsibility. . . 

Not the PM’s responsibility.

That is a very clear contradiction of her statement at the launch that she takes responsibility and yet another example of a government that is so much better at making announcements, and announcements of announcements than actually making sure that they deliver on their announcements.

Failing to deliver for victims while spending more on the alleged perpetrators is a new low for the government that is failing to deliver on its promises to improve wellbeing for all New Zealanders.



It’s not just about farming


Farmers are justifiably angry about the government’s plans to tax animal emissions but it’s not just farmers who are worried about the consequences:

Fish & Game is alarmed at a recently released report which shows the pace and extent of farmland being converted to forestry in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Chief executive Corina Jordan says the scale of the land-use change, which is having a massive impact on rural communities, also has negative implications for recreational access and freshwater health.

The accelerated conversion is a result of current government policies, it will be far worse if the proposals to tax methane emissions are enacted.

The Beef & Lamb NZ (BLNZ) report details how vast tracts of farmland are being sold to carbon farming speculators, with a significant amount being bought up by offshore interests.

“Much of the land is going into permanent forestry for carbon sequestering, and this is destroying many rural communities through lost industry and jobs, and rural services and support disappearing. It is creating ghost towns,” says Jordan.

It is almost impossible for foreigners to buy farmland to farm, the hurdles for foreigners wanting to buy farmland to convert to forestry are much, much lower.

“Our anglers and hunters, and the general public, have long relied on the generosity and goodwill of the farmers who allow access to their properties to hunt, fish, swim or recreate. And many farmers are also keen anglers and hunters themselves.

“The rural hospitality they offer is part of the social fabric and culture of our country, but the amount of land we’re losing, and the rate at which it is disappearing into foreign ownership, is a real threat to that.”

Fish & Game, along with environmental NGOs, is also increasingly concerned about the impact of mass monoculture forest plantings on the environment.

“We absolutely agree there’s an urgent need to address the climate crisis, but BLNZ’s report shows the farm to forest conversion rate is far in excess of the recommendations put forward by the Climate Change Commission for the country to reach its emissions reduction targets.

“What’s more, pines take up a huge amount of water, thereby leading to less flowing into streams, rivers, and wetlands. Couple this with the acidic leachate that comes off land under exotic conifers, and an increase in some pollutants, and you’ve got catastrophic impacts on instream biology and the health of our freshwater.”

We were shown a creek in the Wairarapa which, the farmer whose land it meandered through said, never used to dry up, even in droughts until a large area of land upstream was planted in pines.

Now its water quality is degraded and it often dries up leaving water life including eels and koura to die.

Fish & Game believes government policy should actively encourage additional planting and the integration of trees – particularly natives – on farms, rather than pave the way for entire farms to be sold for conversion into exotic forestry.

“If the scale of forest carbon sinks on farms could be achieved to meet our climate change targets, then there are environmental benefits for biodiversity and freshwater health, whilst also keeping the social fabric of rural communities intact – a win all round.”

Meanwhile, with the carbon price forecast to continue to rise, more land purchases from international speculators will continue if the loopholes in our Emissions Trading Scheme and climate change policy are left unaddressed.

“A consortium of green groups recently called on the government to urgently rethink policy that is paving the way for this proliferation of exotic forests. Similarly, Fish & Game supports changes that lead to better environmental and social outcomes.

“Permanent plantation forestry has a place in helping meet New Zealand’s climate change commitments,” says Jordan. “However, more value needs to be placed on integrating indigenous trees on farm and allowing less productive parts of farms to regenerate.”

Environmental, economic and social damage is already being incurred by the misguided policy that allows productive pastoral farmland to be covered in pines.

If the government goes ahead with its plan to tax methane from cattle, deer and sheep the damage will be far greater and not just to rural land, waterways and communities.

Job losses will spread to towns and cities and the loss of export income will be devastating.

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