Will they, won’t they

July 14, 2017

Labour NZ First Green Quadrille

(With apologies to Lewis Carroll).

 

“Will we give our vote to Labour? said a Green MP, one day

“NZ First keeps polling well but won’t usually vote our way.

“See how eagerly the media and the pundits rate the chance

“That we we’ll forget our principles and with Winston join the dance.

“Will we, won’t we, will we won’t we,

“Will we join the dance?

“Will we, won’t we, will we, won’t we,

“Will we join the dance?”

 

“You can really have no notion how delightful it would be

“If the voters up and voted for us to run the whole country.

“But NZ First and Labour, our programme won’t advance

“So I’m really not convinced we’ll want to join their dance.

“We will thank the votes kindly, but we would not join the dance

“Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.

“Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.”

 

“What matters if  we pull the plug and Labour couldn’t rule?

“It would cost, but what the heck, we’d still be feeling cool.

“With every poll the pundits show we haven’t got a chance

“Of making it to cabinet and therefore don’t want to join the dance.

“Will we, won’t we, will we, won’t we, will we join the dance?

Will we, won’t we, will we, won’t we, won’t we join the dance?”


Labour’s own poll low?

July 12, 2017

Last month Labour released results of its own polling to show it was doing better than public polls.

There’s been no release of its own since the 1 News Colmar Brunton poll:

Since the last poll in late May, Mr Little has dropped to fourth behind Bill English, Winston Peters and deputy Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.

Mr Little’s popularity fell by three points to five per cent while Mr Peters jumped four points to 11 per cent.

It’s the lowest result for a leader of the opposition since 2009. . .

National dropped two points to 47 per cent, while Labour dropped three points to 27 per cent.

The Green Party and New Zealand First are both up two points to 11 per cent.

The Maori Party is up one point to 2 per cent and The Opportunities Party is steady on 1 per cent. . .

 

This isn’t an optimal poll for National but it’s far worse for Labour which would only get to 61 seats in a 122 seat parliament with the Green Party and NZ First.

It would only get a majority with Maori Party support as well and that wouldn’t be a recipe for the political equivalent of happy families.

This is only one poll but it continues the trend of low levels of support for Labour and its leader.

That the party hasn’t released its own polling suggests that those results are at least as dismal for it.


Rural round-up

July 9, 2017

Election muddies water issues – Neal Wallace:

Freshwater management faces significant reform regardless of who wins September’s general election.

The Labour and Green Parties would campaign on policies tightening the granting of resource consents for activities such as dairying.

Labour also promised to charge “a resource rental for large water take for irrigation at a fair and affordable price”.

Also in the wings, Environment Minister Nick Smith said a technical paper on options for allocating and pricing water was due in December and would have to be addressed by the incoming government. . . 

Champion kiwi lamb could be world’s healthiest and tastiest – Dave Gooselink:

A bid to produce the world’s healthiest red meat is proving a hit for a group of South Island high country farmers.

Their unique Te Mana lamb was launched onto the market this winter, to be served up at top restaurants both here and in Hong Kong.

Life on the farm’s been a lot tougher in recent years for the country’s sheep, as the growth of dairying pushes them higher into the hills.

Geneticist Aimee Charteris has spent the past decade on a project to create a new breed of sheep. . . 

Geneticist ‘stoked’ to be finalist – Nicole Sharp:

Julia Aspinall is an animal-breeding specialist.

Passionate about her work and the sheep industry, this year she was nominated for the Beef and Lamb New Zealand Significant Contribution to the New Zealand Sheep Industry Award for the first time.

She was announced as a finalist earlier this month, alongside retired Havelock North  Romney breeder Tony Parker and Parnassus Perendale breeder Tim Anderson.

“I was pretty stoked [to find out I was a finalist,]” she said.

“I’m passionate about doing what I’m doing.”

Originally from Mt Aspiring Station in Wanaka, Ms Aspinall has always had a love of the sheep industry. . . 

Confidence, new skills and impetus result from course – Sally Rae:

When Balfour farmer Jonny Elder signed up for the Rabobank farm managers programme last year, the timing was perfect.

Designed for emerging farmers, the programme focused on the development of business management skills, with an emphasis on strategic planning, leadership and self-awareness.

Mr Elder and his wife, Michelle, farm a 460ha sheep and beef property in Northern Southland, where they run ewes, fatten lambs and trade a mix of beef calves and Friesian bulls.

When he went on the course, the couple had just finished their first year farming on their own account — having previously farmed with Mr Elder’s father and brother — and they were ready to put into action their own ideas and visions. . . 

Pest fence broken – Annette Scott:

The biosecurity system is creaking and won’t be sustainable in five years, Ministry for Primary Industries readiness and response director Geoff Gwyn says.

Biosecurity had some big challenges that needed to be addressed collectively, he told farmers at the Federated Farmers arable industry conference.

“To put it bluntly, our system is creaking.

“Biosecurity is working but the model that is there is not sustainable for five years’ time.

“Leave it to the Crown solely and it ain’t going to work. We have got to do it together,” Gwyn said.

And while tourism was great for the country it created greater risk. . . 

Time farming moved on from low cost to added value – Jacqueline Rowarth:

Fieldays at Mystery Creek in mid-June showcased New Zealand innovation, interaction and, in some cases, simply imagination.

When the imagination was backed with evidence, facts and data, it transformed to a goal.

That was the case for the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda released on the first day of the Fieldays.

Titled ‘A Recipe for Action’, the 2017 Agenda said “NZ’s future is as an artisan, niche producer of premium quality, safe and sustainable food and beverages, fibre and timber products”. . . 

Future: threat or opportunity – Annette Scott:

The food industry is one of the fastest changing in the world so producing food to feed it will no longer be business as usual, technology futurist Rosie Bosworth says.

The Future Advantage consultant and communicator told more than 200 farmers at Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s FarmSmart event in Christchurch that while not much had changed in the way food had been produced for the past 10,000 years, it was changing now.

Technology and science were creating change beyond business as usual.

“We are amidst an era of exponential change with new business models evolving, accelerating and converging at breakneck speeds.” . . 

Franco Ledger to stand in Southland – Jonny Turner:

Southern harness racing breeders will have free access to the bloodlines of one of the area’s most recent pacing stars next breeding season.

Two-time Southland horse of the year Franco Ledger, by Falcon Seelster, will stand his first season at stud at Macca Lodge in northern Southland this spring, with a zero service fee.

The horse’s former trainer, Hamish Hunter, and co-owners the What Ever Syndicate, were keen to give the horse an opportunity at stud, so they persuaded Macca Lodge to take the horse, proprietor Brent McIntyre said. . .


Just a Little extra tax

April 3, 2017

The ink is barely dry on the Labour and Green Parties’ attempt to convince voters they won’t overtax and overspend which includes a promise for no tax increases.

But Andrew Little is already calling for a new tax:

Labour leader Andrew Little wants a “tourist tax” charged at the border to help pay for tourism infrastructure, rejecting Tourism Minister Paula Bennett’s concerns it risked making New Zealand look like a “rip-off.”

Little said a “modest” levy would be ring-fenced to pass on to local councils to use on tourism-related infrastructure. . . 

On Friday Rob Hosking pointed out the difficulty with the Labour-Green framework:

The real question is about the other promises Labour and the Greens are making and how these might fit within that framework.

The short answer is, they don’t.

The ability to fund free tertiary education and start payments into the NZ Superannuation Fund alone will test the limits of that framework. Those two policies alone will cost literally billions of dollars.

That is going to make it difficult to fit within one of the other joists in the Labour-Green fiscal framework: keeping government spending at around 30% of GDP.

One of these things is sheer spin: either the promises of new spending policies or the fiscal framework itself.

Take your pick.

Little’s suggestion of a new tax just days after the attempt to convince us of the Labour and Greens fiscal prudence has shot a very big hole in the framework.

There is a case for more spending on tourism infrastructure but Lincoln University professor of Tourism David Simmons has calculated that the government made a $630m surplus once tourism related costs – such as those for Tourism New Zealand and Department of Conservation visitor services – were deducted from the GST take.

We don’t need a new tax, whether it’s levied on New Zealanders or visitors.

A new tax is a tax increase by another name. That Little is considering the idea shows how flimsy the fiscal framework is.


Opposition hasn’t changed

December 6, 2016

The left is excited over Prime Minister John Key’s decision to step-down.

They see an opportunity because the popular man leading the popular government won’t be in the limelight anymore.

But nothing has changed in the Opposition.

MMP drags governments to the centre and Labour has been dragged left by the Green Party, leaving those disaffected by that but not keen on National to go to New Zealand First.

Opposition parties might get a bit of a lift in polls while people wait to see what the new leader does but they haven’t given any but polls consistently show support changing within the left not growing by taking votes from the centre.

The opposition hasn’t been giving swinging voters anything to vote for and a change in National leadership won’t change that.

National has been cohesive and united under its current leader and the caucus knows that if it wants to win the next election it must maintain the same cohesion and loyalty under the new one.

A change in leadership will provide an opportunity for further refreshment in cabinet but it won’t bring a radical change in direction or change the focus on strong economic management which is needed to fund much-needed infrastructure and social policy that works.

 

 


MMP votes in middle

June 1, 2016

If getting attention was the goal of Labour and the Green Party with their memorandum of understanding they’ve succeeded.

However, attention doesn’t necessarily translate into votes and this strategy could well lose more votes than it gains.

All parties need to keep their core supporters happy, that’s the foundation on which they build electoral success .

All but the most deluded of Greens will understand that if they’re going to be in government it will be a Labour-led one so this arrangement is unlikely to worry them and may even please them.

But the Green Party is on Labour’s left flank and the harder left in Labour might welcome the MoU but the more moderate among its members might be less happy.

On current polling these two parties together still won’t gain enough votes to govern without at least one other party. The Maori Party could go left, but a Labour-Green government will almost certainly need more than the couple of of extra seats that would give them.

That plays into the hands of Winston Peters who is likely to hold the balance of power and who refused to go into coalition with Helen Clark’s Labour-led government if the Green Party was in the mix.

Peters’ past behaviour isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator of what he’ll do in the future. Some of his socialist policies would be more at home in a Labour-Green government than a National-led one.

But he won’t commit himself until after the votes are in and he will seize on the opportunity this new relationship provides to gain votes from undecided voters and those luke-warm to Labour who would rather move towards the centre than the left.

Working together to oppose National makes sense for Labour and the Greens but these two together will still be hard-pressed to outdo Peters, the master of opposition politics.

More overt co-operation could make the two parties look more like potentially viable partners in a coalition.

But their pact only benefits them both and their ambition to be in government if the support they gain together is greater than that they are getting separately.

It is difficult to see that happening when the MoU moves Labour left and under MMP the votes which change governments are in the middle.

 


Global problem requires global solutions

May 18, 2016

The Green Party continues its blinkered approach to the environment with its call to include agriculture in the Emissions Trading Scheme:

The call comes in the wake of a study, part funded by the New Zealand Government,1 showing that global warming pollution from agriculture must be cut significantly to keep global temperatures below a 2° rise, and that currently not nearly enough is being done to achieve this.

“National needs to stop making excuses and set a deadline to end the growing levels of climate-damaging pollution from agriculture,” said Green Party primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The National Government has repeatedly refused to push the agricultural sector to reduce climate damaging pollution, despite this being a requirement for the energy sector, transport providers and nearly every other New Zealander.

Wrong.

The government was the prime mover behind the establishment of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural GHGs which is using international collaboration to find  solutions. It’s also working with farmers who are paying for research into methods to reduce emissions without the financial and social costs that the Green’s solution would impose, not just on farmers but the wider economy.

“All New Zealanders, including farmers, want to preserve a safe and stable climate for future generations. That means facing reality, and committing to an end to pollution-intensive farming. . . 

Facing reality means accepting that global problems require global solutions.

That means understanding that reducing food production here would increase emissions because production would increase in other countries with far less efficient farming methods than those employed by most New Zealand farmers.

It also means accepting good science which could show that genetic modification is one of the solutions.

AgResearch scientists have developed a genetically modified ryegrass that cuts greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30% but biotechnology experts warn regulations could delay its use.

Though it has several environmental benefits and could boost production it faces regulatory hurdles here because it has been genetically engineered.

The scientists have shown in the laboratory the ryegrass, called High Metabolisable Energy (HME), can reduce methane emissions from animals by 15% to 30% while modelling suggests a reduction in nitrous oxide of up to 20%.

It has also shown resilience to dry weather and can increase milk production by up to 12%.

Environmentalists have berated agriculture for not reducing greenhouse gas emissions but if laboratory results are replicated in the field, HME could reignite the GM debate.

UN research shows New Zealand farmers can cut climate damaging pollution with current technology, by as much as 17 percent. The Government shouldn’t be pinning all its hopes on a silver bullet solution to agricultural pollution.

“Leading dairy farmers are showing they can increase profit and cut pollution by optimising stocking rates and by shifting production to high-value, low-impact organic dairy farming. We need all farmers to follow suit,” said Ms Sage.

Of course reducing stock would reduce emissions here but it would at best do nothing to reduce world-wide emissions and would almost certainly lead to an increase as less efficient producers elsewhere increased their production.

The Green solution would reduce food production and lead to increases in both the price of food, which would impact hardest on the poor, and emissions.

Farmers are doing all they can to reduce emissions globally rather than the smoke and mirrors approach of cuts here replaced by increases there the Green Party is promoting.


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