Election 2017

September 23, 2017

Voting has closed.

Counting of early votes began this morning.

Like Jenna Raeburn I voted National:

. . . for the New Zealand we all want to live in, where child poverty is rare, our rivers are clean, housing is affordable, and people can meet their aspirations.

On these issues, good intentions are not a substitute for good policy. We need to have both.

Both major parties say they care. Bill English is singleminded about changing lives and I believe he’s turned the public service on its head to start making real inroads into poverty, child abuse and dysfunction. And Jacinda Ardern communicates empathy and concern better than any Labour leader in a decade.

But the left wing does not have a monopoly on compassion. We all want a government that works for everyone; we just have different ways of getting there.

I’ll always choose to vote for the party that can execute a plan as well as offer a vision. This comes down to experience, depth and leadership. Voters will always respond to a tug on the heartstrings – but if it’s not backed up by detailed policy, a capable team and a clear plan, what’s the point?

Platitudes aren’t policy. . .

. . . I think most New Zealanders know how good we’ve got it. They also know where their food comes from, and what drives our economy. Despite the so-called “rural-urban divide” talked about in this election campaign, I believe that when the economy is booming, we are all better off.

This comes back to compassion. I don’t want economic growth for growth’s sake. Growth is good because more jobs and higher incomes lift people out of dependence and poverty. And good economic management gives the government options. This is what sets right wing parties apart: they don’t believe we have to limit our opportunities in order to get ahead.

So I don’t have to choose between head and heart – I’m voting for both.

We’ll get an indication soon of how many others voted for head and heart too.

Whether or not they have, the sun will still rise in the east, albeit an hour earlier than I’d like it owing to the too-early start of daylight saving.

 

 

 

 

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Rural round-up

September 22, 2017

Water tax ‘not about bottlers’ – they’d pay less than 3 per cent, says IrrigationNZ:

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern should not answer questions about the party’s proposed water tax by saying it’s about targeting water bottlers, says IrrigationNZ.

When Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was asked in last night’s TVNZ Leader’s Debate whether rural New Zealand had got offside with her over Labour’s proposed water tax, particularly the farming community, Ms Ardern answered: ‘No. I targeted water bottlers. . . I targeted water bottlers as that’s something New Zealanders wanted, for them to pay their fair share.” . .

Farmers should know they are still appreciated:

Rural New Zealand can easily feel ignored or misunderstood in political discussion these days.

Though this has been a predominantly urban country for many generations now, it is perhaps only in the last two generations that most New Zealanders were not familiar with farming life.

Previously, most would have had a family connection with farming and in many cases personal childhood experience of living on or near farms. So it is no wonder that the Labour Party’s proposals to tax farmers for river pollution and climate change should produce the demonstration in Morrinsville on Monday. . . .

Farmers must have say on water tax – Pam Tipa:

The Labour Party’s water tax policy is “pretty short on details,” and the farming sector needs to have input into a final plan, says Beef + Lamb NZ chairman James Parsons.
“If Labour is in government we would want to work with them to work out how we could best deliver on swimmable rivers, while making sure we don’t ‘crucify’ the primary sector at the same time.”

Parsons says Labour leader Jacinda Ardern had been clear that the party would not lay out all the detail until a decent conversation had been held with those who would be affected if they were in government. . . 

Six months has transformed farming country in once drought-stricken North Canterbury – Pat Deavoll:

What a difference six months has made to North Canterbury, which this time last year was still embroiled in drought.

Regular rainfalls since May have turned brown paddocks green, and farmers moods swing from despondent to optimistic about the summer ahead.

Will Wilding of Te Mania Angus stud at Conway Flat, said he was having “the best spring in a long time.” after three years of drought. . .

DCANZ, DairyNZ and MPI endorse Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam: 

DairyNZ, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have today endorsed the Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam, marking New Zealand’s commitment towards global sustainable dairy development.

The Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam signals both a commitment towards feeding the world with safe and sustainable products, and enhancing sustainability. . .

Ballance Farm Environment Awards a boost for work in progress kiwifruit orchard:

Entering the Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards encouraged Whakatane kiwifruit growers Iain and Leanne Blackwood to “sharpen their game”.

The couple both work full time on their 7.95ha orchard, which includes 4ha of SunGold, 0.61ha of Sweet Green (G14) and 3.3ha of Hayward Green.

“We entered after talking to our neighbour’s daughter, who worked for Zespri, encouraged us to have a go,” Iain says.

The Blackwoods were still developing the golden kiwifruit when they were judged. . .


It’s only another poll

September 20, 2017

This is a good boost for Prime Minister Bill English as he heads into the final leaders’ debate:


Labour’s no-show

September 15, 2017

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was supposed to visit Coe’s Ford on the Selwyn River to talk about the party’s water tax.

She didn’t show up.

Ms Ardern’s office pulled the plug on the visit, with a message to media saying: “With regret we have had to cancel the Coe’s Ford media event with Jacinda Ardern, due to flooding”.

However when Newshub arrived, the river wasn’t flooded or flooding at all. . . 

Whatever the reason, it wasn’t the only Labour no-show.

Federated Farmers had hosted a meet-the-candidates meeting in Wanaka last Friday.

Labour’s candidate didn’t show up and didn’t have a stand-in.

The Green candidate didn’t show up either but did have a stand-in, MP Eugenie Sage.

She was asked how the water tax would be used to make water cleaner, she couldn’t give a satisfactory answer.

She was asked why farmers who are doing everything right should be taxed to clean up waterways that other people have degraded. She couldn’t give a satisfactory answer.

She was asked why farmers should be taxed to clean up urban waterways. She couldn’t give a satisfactory answer.

I ran into the Labour candidate when I went to vote on Monday.

I asked her how campaigning was going. She said it was busy and Waitaki was a huge electorate.

I said I knew that, adding that I’d been at the Wanaka meeting and noticed she hadn’t.

She said she had to pay all her own expenses and couldn’t afford to go.

I’ve since learned that neither she nor the Green candidate went to meetings in Cromwell, Fairlie and Waimate.

It’s not easy campaigning in seats you have no chance of winning and it’s both harder and more expensive in the rural seats which cover such a big area.

But the no-shows could also be seen as a reflection on how little respect Labour and the Green Party have for the regions and rural issues.

 

 

 


Captain called wrong

September 15, 2017

Jacinda Ardern made a captain’s call on the possibility of introducing a capital gains tax without putting it to voters.

Just a couple of weeks ago deputy Kelvin Davis was rebuked for saying it would be put to voters.

Yesterday it was her finance spokesman Grant Robertson who fronted the media to say that was no longer the case.

The captain called wrong.

It shows her inexperience.

It shows the party isn’t ready for government.

It shows their leader isn’t ready to be Prime Minister.

Experience and judgement matter and this episode shows she lacks both.

 

 

 


Rural round-up

September 14, 2017

Maniototo farmers challenge Ardern to visit them on water tax

A group of Central Otago farmers are challenging Jacinda Ardern to visit their farms to discuss Labour’s water tax plans.

The group of women, known as Water Maniototo, say they cannot afford a royalty on irrigated water, planned at one to two cents per thousand litres of water, and it could drive some off their land.

Francine Hore, who farms sheep at Patearoa, says she supports fixing up the nation’s waterways, but many farmers are doing everything they can already. . . 

Lambs hit $7/kg – Annette Scott:

Low global stocks pushing lamb markets above the odds for this season is positive news for the New Zealand sheep industry but farmers are not yet jumping with excitement, Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman Miles Anderson says.

Latest trade statistics revealed average export prices for both chilled and frozen product were tracking well above any prices seen in recent years, including 2011, the last time NZ saw such strong global demand for lamb.

Demand for chilled lamb had held solid in recent months, driven by the tight supply with chilled prices reaching historically high levels. . . 

Broken business makes comeback – Annette Scott:

From a business that was “essentially broken” to one recording a modest profit in less than 12 months, NZ Yarn is now poised to add value for New Zealand woolgrowers.

Over the past year the Canterbury yarn processor has spun its own turnaround project.

Getting back on its feet to lift returns for farmers and shareholders had been the focus of NZ Yarn’s reinvention, chief executive Colin McKenzie said.

“A year ago the business was essentially broken.

“We have reinvented, repositioned and resized operations and moved from making sizeable losses to recording our first modest profit in July,” McKenzie said. . . 

Millions tune in watch start of fresh NZ milk sales to China through Alibaba – Gerald Piddock:

Milk New Zealand’s trade agreement with global online retailer Alibaba has been launched with millions of Chinese consumers tuning in to watch the event.

The Chinese-owned company’s Collins Road Farm is just south of Hamilton and its 29 New Zealand farms will supply Alibaba with fresh milk to be sold on its online platform.

Organisers of the launch rented a satellite facility for the day to enable it to be live streamed directly to China. In attendance were 10 of China’s biggest social media influencers including Yuni and Joyce, who are known as the Chufei Churan twins in China.

The pair are considered the Chinese Kardashians with social media follower numbers larger than New Zealand’s entire population. They and other influencers videoed the event and the farm directly to their followers in China. . . 

Water royalty point of divergence – Nicole Sharp:

Water and the environment are two of the key talking points for Southern Rural Life readers this coming election. As voting day fast approaches, reporter Nicole Sharp talked to the candidates in the rural electorates of Waitaki and Clutha-Southland about these two issues that will affect rural voters.

Water is crucial to the agricultural sector and all candidates and their parties standing in the Waitaki electorate this upcoming election want to do all they can to preserve water quality now and in the future, they say.

Current Waitaki MP and National candidate Jacqui Dean said National’s new policy statement on freshwater, which was announced last month, would pursue a target of 90% of rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040. . .

 

Canterbury cropping farmer embraces environmental limits – Tony Benny:

Third-generation Canterbury cropping farmer David Birkett isn’t phased by tougher environmental regulations and says they can even lead to an improved bottom line. He talked to Tony Benny.

David Birkett’s farm is near Leeston, not far from what has been called New Zealand’s most polluted lake, Te Waihora/Ellesmere, and he’s well used to close scrutiny of the environmental effects of farming there by the regional council, members of the public and media.

“There’s a bit of pressure on farmers but they gain out of it, that’s the silly thing. I can’t understand someone who doesn’t bother to try to do the best they can because your bottom line is going to be better,” he says.

“Doing some measuring and making sure you know what’s needed, most of the time you’re actually financially better off than what you’d previously been doing.” . . 

Adding value more than just adding cost – Nigel Malthus:

The term ‘value added’ is too often used as a vague generic, and farmers need to consider specific strategies for adding value, says Rabobank analyst Blake Holgate.

Speaking at the recent Red Meat Sector conference in Dunedin, Holgate noted that most lamb was still exported frozen, returning $6906/tonne instead of chilled at $11,897/t.

“By and large we’re still treating sheep meat as a commodity market, so the lower value frozen export market still makes up about 80% of what we export, while the higher value chilled market, that’s worth nearly twice as much per tonne, is only 20%. . .


It’s only one poll

September 12, 2017

Newshub political editor Patrick Gower tweeted:

The poll showed:

Dramatic maybe, but not devastating if you want a strong economy and the sustainable social services and environmental protection and enhancement that depend on it.

It is of course only one poll, but a very welcome reversal of the trend of other recent ones.

 


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