Reason to moan

May 16, 2019

Jamie McKay challenged Shane Jones on The Country yesterday and got this response:

“I grew up on a farm, my dad was a farmer, I know what farmers are like and if they’re not milking cows or chasing cows, they’re moaning.”

I don’t agree with that, but there is good reason for farmers to moan under the current government.

The Labour and Green parties don’t pretend to like farmers or farming but New Zealand First likes to call itself the champion of the provinces.

How can it champion the provinces when this is how it’s second most prominent MP regards farmers?

You can listen to the interview and the response from Don Nicolson and Craig Wiggins here.

 


Rural round-up

June 2, 2017

Differing water quality rules still an issue – Sally Rae:

Simon Williamson has been re-elected president of North Otago Federated Farmers.

Speaking at the branch’s annual meeting in Oamaru, Mr Williamson, who farms between Omarama and Twizel, said it had been a busy year ”on many fronts”.

It was apparent the two regional councils – Environment Canterbury and the Otago Regional Council – were still taking a very different approach to water quality. . .

Cows make a comeback – Neal Wallace and Mel Croad:

Buyers are chasing breeding cows and heifers in what could be the first sign of a revival in breeding cow numbers.

In-calf heifer and breeding cow fairs across the country in recent weeks have drawn large galleries of buyers paying prices akin to those paid in Australia where the herd was being rebuilt.

Prices for in-calf Angus heifers at Temuka exceeded $2400 a head in early May when a lack of numbers saw two fairs rolled into one. But prices were helped by farmers rebuilding breeding herds. . .

Decision ‘simple arithmetic – Maureen Bisop and John Keast:

They may have suspected it was coming, but the announcement of the proposed closure of Silver Fern Farm’s Fairton plant in Ashburton was still devastating for many of the 370 workers set to lose their jobs.

The proposal to close the 125-year-old plant was put to staff at a meeting in Ashburton last Wednesday. A two-week consultation period was to follow, although if there was significant feedback that this was too short or too long, that would be considered. It was hoped to have a final decision on May 31.

Most workers already knew the future of the plant was uncertain. The seasons were shorter and there was an ever dwindling supply of lambs. . .

NZ Binxi builds 20% stake in Blue Sky Meats, may revisit takeover after getting OIO sign-off – Rebecca Howard:

China’s Heilongjiang Binxi Cattle Industry Co won’t rule out revisiting its takeover of Invercargill meat processor Blue Sky Meats now that the deal has Overseas Investment Office approval, having abandoned the bid in March when the OIO process missed a deadline.

“We don’t have any fixed position on what our next steps will be,” Richard Thorp, chief operating officer of Binxi Cattle’s local unit NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods, told BusinessDesk after the OIO gave the deal a greenlight this week. . .

Principals fear visa change – John Lewis:

Proposed changes to New Zealand’s essential skills visa could result in some small rural Otago schools closing, principals say.
Many parents working in the region’s dairy industry are migrants, and their children make up a significant percentage of rural school rolls.

The proposed changes will limit essential skills visas to one year, and after a maximum of three years, immigrants would have to leave New Zealand for at least 12 months before applying for another work visa. . .

Honoured for advocacy role – Nicole Sharp:

Doug Fraser is a name well-known in the farming circle.
Dedicated to the sector and the people who work in it, for a long time Mr Fraser has been a strong voice in Federated Farmers.

His behind-the-scenes work and advocating for farmers was recognised recently at the Southland Federated Farmers AGM, when Mr Fraser was awarded life membership.

Former Federated Farmers president Don Nicholson presented Mr Fraser with the award, speaking of his time working with Mr Fraser. . .

Health hub has 25 exhibitors – Annette Scott:

Getting like-minded health organisations together to change how rural people think about health has been the driver for the inaugural Fieldays Health Hub.

Health issues affecting rural communities would be the focus as a whole host of relevant health professionals and organisations delivered interactive health care of the future messages, Mobile Health chief executive Mark Eager said. . .

 


Act list

July 13, 2014

Act has released it party list for the 2014 election:

. . . The top 20 list placings are:

  1. Dr Jamie Whyte
  2. Kenneth Wang
  3. Robin Grieve
  4. Beth Houlbrooke
  5. Don Nicolson
  6. Stephen Berry
  7. Dasha Kovalenko
  8. Gareth Veale
  9. Ian Cummings
  10. Sara Muti
  11. Toni Severin
  12. Max Whitehead
  13. Phelan Pirrie
  14. Stephen Fletcher
  15. David Olsen
  16. Nick Kearney
  17. Sean Fitzpatrick
  18. Richard Evans
  19. Michael Milne
  20. Dr Ron Smith . . .

Epsom candidate David Seymour is not on the list.


Has farming harmed salmon fishing?

November 19, 2011

Salmon farming hasn’t harmed angling, on the contrary it has helped it.

Why then are anglers so concerned about the prospect that trout farming might be permitted in New Zealand?

I haven’t found any policy from any party promoting this although Don Nicolson, then president of Federated Farmers and now an Act candidate, did talk of the benefits of trout farming.


Brash pot plan too timid

September 28, 2011

Federated Flamers say they are encouraged by Act leader Don Brash’s move towards decriminalising cannabis but it doesn’t go far enough.

“His pot plan is a good start but that’s all it is, he’s being far too timid,” the federation’s Alternative Revenue Stream Encouragement (ARSE) spokesman Blue Smoke said.

“Don has just dipped his toe in the drug water by initiating a discussion on decriminalising cannabis. He should leap right in and make it legal for the sake of the economy,” Mr Smoke said.

“If it’s legal we can grow it; if we can grow it we can make money from it and if we can make money from it the government can tax it.

“That is we would if we paid tax, but as Labour showed, we don’t, at least not the way they look at it.”

Mr Smoke said successive governments, consultants and economists had been talking about the need to broaden the economy and legalising cannabis would be a good way to do that.

“Dairy, meat and fibre are doing well at the moment but what goes up will one day come down. We need to diversify to enable us to weather the inevitable downturn and pot plantations would be a very good way of doing that.

“It wouldn’t be hard to find markets for medicinal and recreational products and there may well be opportunities for the fibre.”

Mr Smoke said he was sure it was no coincidence that a letter from Dr Brash and Act’s agricultural spokesman Don Nicolson had arrived in the mail this week, just days after the speech in which decriminalisation was mooted.

“It’s obvious this is part of the party’s economic policy that’s aimed at farmers.”

Mr Smoke said he thought the pot plan might also be a cunning strategy for Act to take over other wee parties the way United Future did.

“Who can remember how many different parties have been taken over and absorbed by the various manifestations of whatever Peter Dunne’s latest party is called? Act needs to do the same and this pot plan is the obvious way to open the door to the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.”

However, Mr Smoke said he was concerned at the way the plan had opened up the urban-rural divide.

“One Don grows kiwifruit, the other has stock, they understand farming. But that bloke Banks, he’s a townie and he can’t see the opportunities.

“Sure there could be a few health problems. They reckon it affects your memory and concentration but, um what was I saying? Oh wow, look at that flower, it’s soooo biiiig . . . .”

Hat tip: Jim Hopkins on the Farming Show


If I was ranking Act’s list . . . Updated

August 28, 2011

. . . it would be:

1. Don Brash.

2. Cathy Odgers.

3. John Bowscawen

It gets difficult after that. I don’t know enough about any of the other candidates to know if Don Nicolson should come next and I’m not sure his abrasive style would help foster the much-needed unity in Act’s caucus.

If John Banks can’t win Epsom he’ll have failed his party and its supporters and therefore should be well down the list or better still not on it at all.

The list will be announced at 3pm.

Update:

The list  has 27 places the top 10 are:

1.     Dr Don Brash

2.     Hon John Boscawen

3.     TBC

4.     Don Nicolson

5.     Hon John Banks

6.     David Seymour

7.     Chris Simmons

8.     Stephen Whittington

9.     Kath McCabe

10.   Robyn Stent

Kiwiblog has the percentage of party vote needed for each to get in. On current polling, if Banks wins Epsom they’d just get a couple.

The party usually does better in the election than polls and the yet to be confirmed #3 might be someone who can broaden the party’s appeal.

Roarprawn reckons the list shows Act of old.

Whaleoil has more from his tipline.


Farmers not a significant minority

August 17, 2011

A column in Federated farmers’ Farm review (not online) asks if former Feds’ president Don Nicloson will get a high place on Act’s list:

Act would be dumb to pass up the opportunity because who’d get the farmer vote in a choice between ‘Cactus Kate’ or Don Nicolson?

I’m not sure of the answer to that question but it doesn’t really matter because a party which thinks appealing to farmers will give it a significant boost can’t count.

Farmers are very much a minority, sadly, not a very significant one in terms of numbers of votes and within that small group of voters are many different views.

Don Nicolson might get a few votes from the rural sector but a younger, fiesty candidate who also happens to be female could well attract a lot more votes in total.

If I was ranking the Act list I’d also consider commitment and loyalty.

When Nicolson first mentioned he was thinking of getting political he didn’t seem sure which party he might favour with his candidacy:

He’s slightly cagey about the next step, saying people keep suggesting he moves into politics, but he’s waiting for an invitation first.

“I am hoping somewhere it’s either politics or business that I get into. I’m quite happy to get into politics but no-one is really asking. I’m being told I should be in politics by many people and under MMP the question is can I cut it and tolerate that?

“I’m prepared to give it a go – but I’ve got to be asked,” he says.

The link to the quote no longer works, but I blogged on it here, saying that politics is no place for shrinking violets.

Someone who is quite sure of which party they want to stand for and who has demonstrated loyalty and commitment is more deserving of a list place than someone who appeared equivocal about joining. 

I’d also want someone who would attract far more votes than farmers would provide.


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