Rural round-up

December 9, 2019

Rural rates chan pulls tighter – Richard Rennie:

The Federated Farmers rates report for the year has highlighted the continuing ability of council rates to outstrip other cost indices, with property owners experiencing a 170% increase over the past 20 years.

That rise has left standard cost indices for dead, even when compared to typically high-rising products like alcohol and tobacco, Federated Farmers president Katie Milne said.

Those two products rose 120% over the same period, with significant tax increases on them through that period.

Food prices increased 50% over the same period while transport costs went up 30%.

Farmers are desperate for a handbrake on rates rises but concerned councils appeared to be signalling further rises are likely. . . 

Minister failing to give farmers the facts:

Damian O’Conner has badly let down rural New Zealand by not requesting economic and social analysis on his Government’s freshwater proposals, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“Ministry for Primary Industries officials revealed today in Select Committee that they did not conduct any economic or social modelling prior to the release of the proposals, nor did the Agriculture Minister ask them to.

“It is Damien O’Connor’s responsibility to look out for rural communities and make sure the facts are laid out before hammering them with the most significant policy proposal farmers have faced in years. . . 

Massive high-tech pest control operation in Perth Valley declared a success – Lois Williams:

The company that carried out a massive pest control operation in South Westland’s Perth Valley this year is declaring it a success.

Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) supported by DOC blitzed the remote river catchment near Whataroa with 1080 pellets in two aerial drops, in April and July, following intensive pre-feeding with non-toxic pellets.

But it also set up a network of 700 traps for rats and possums, all connected by radio and satellite to rangers phones and laptops, along with 142 cameras to detect stoats.

The company’s aim is to rid the Perth Valley of all predators and keep them out – something that has never been achieved outside of fenced sanctuaries and islands. . . 

Dairy compliance on the up and up:

The Dairy industry and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council have adopted the shared goal to achieve 100% compliance with all resource consents, and are almost 80% towards the goal, celebrated at this week’s Dairy Compliance Awards.

The Dairy Compliance Awards recognise Hawke’s Bay dairy farmers who consistently achieve full compliance with their resource consents.

This is the sixth year of the Dairy Awards, covering water takes, farm dairy effluent and air discharge consents. Over the years, overall compliance has improved from 71% in 2012-13 to 78% in 2018-19. . . 

Good sense sold up the river – Alan Moran:

Earlier this week some 3,000 irrigators and their supporters rallied in Canberra against government policy on Murray-Darling irrigation and management.  With the  cacophony of dozens of semi-trailers’ blaring horns, it was certainly noisy. Ominously for the National Party, their representatives were treated with considerable hostility, particular anger being directed at water Minister David Littleproud. Enduring the jeers, the Nationals would have been especially dismayed at the warm welcome for Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts.

The current drought has exacerbated a contrived water shortage that government policy has engineered in the Murray. Having set a cap on water extractions in 1999 — roughly a third of the average flow — the productive uses of this “working river” have been gradually reduced.  As a supplier of a vital agricultural input to a formerly barren area that grew to supply 40 per cent of the nation’s farm produce, the river has been de-rated.  At a cost of $13 billion, some 20 per cent of the flow has been diverted to “environmental” use. This has caused a five- to ten-fold increase in the price and forced thousands of farms out of business. . .

Winston Nutritional secures Chinese Government approval for infant formula production:

Winston Nutritional is one of only two New Zealand manufacturers in 2019 to secure approval from China to produce infant formula.

Winston Nutritional (17888) has achieved infant formula plant registration from the General Administration of Customs of the Peoples’ Republic of China (GACC) for its Auckland-based blending and canning facility. It secured a general dairy registration in 2017.

Winston Nutritional (17888) has achieved infant formula plant registration from the General Administration of Customs of the Peoples’ Republic of China (GACC) for its Auckland-based blending and canning facility. It secured a general dairy registration in 2017. . . 


Mud sticks . . .

October 17, 2018

Mud sticks to the hand that throws it and yesterday Jamie-Lee Ross left himself splattered with the muck he chucked at Simon Bridges and the National Party.

In making the accusations he did, he appeared to incriminate himself.

His lack of self-knowledge is confirmed by his determination to stand in the by-election he has triggered by resigning.

He had a majority of nearly 13,000 in last year’s election but that was under the National Party banner and the party vote was at a similar level.

I can think of only four MPs who have left their party and regained their seats.

For each of those there are others who resigned and failed to win the seat again but I’m struggling to name more them because without the party backing they lose and sink into obscurity.

The only way Ross could win would be if no other parties stood and supporters of them united to vote for Ross against the National candidate.

 

 


Still supporting Simon

October 16, 2018

Why are some in the media saying the Ross saga is a threat to Simon Bridges’ leadership?

His expenses were leaked, he asked for an inquiry, the Speaker appointed someone to do one, cancelled it for no good reason, then secretly got one done anyway.

The PwC report didn’t find conclusive proof of who the leaker is but the evidence “points to Mr Ross”.

Bridges released the report and the caucus will meet to discuss it this morning.

None of this provides grounds to destabilise his leadership.

Even if Ross wasn’t the leaker his bizarre texts show he has ruled himself out of caucus.

If he has mental health issues, and those texts indicate he has, he should get the help he needs, but he should resign while he gets it.

Otherwise, I can’t see that caucus will have any choice but to expel him.

Rather than threatening Bridges as some in the media are forecasting, this will strengthen his leadership, and anyone I’ve spoken to in the party (admittedly a very small number) will support that.

Yes, his personal support in polls is reportedly low. That is inevitable for any leader of the opposition at this time in the electoral cycle.

Although there have been very few public polls, no-one who knows is disputing that National’s party support remains around the same as it was at the election.

Anyone who wants to challenge the leader when the party has that level of support doesn’t have the wisdom and sense to lead.

It might not be much fun being in opposition, but the road out of it is not paved with internal dissent and disunity under a revolving leadership.

Until this blip National was doing a very good job of being united, highlighting faults in the government – and there have been more than enough of them – and working on policy development in preparation for the election.

The decision for caucus is a no-brainer – expel the dissident, carry on united under Bridges’ leadership and earn the votes to return to government.

The alternative is to follow the bad example of Labour which left them wandering in the wilderness of opposition for nearly nine years.


Tribalism trumps principles

November 9, 2016

Had I been true to my principles I wouldn’t have voted for the National Party in 1984.

The big government, protectionist, high tax and spend policies Robert Muldoon and his government were pursuing did not align with my views on what was best for New Zealand.

I could have voted for Bob Jones’ New Zealand party, but I didn’t.

Why not?

I was a member of National, though not an active one, but still tribalism, my loyalty to the party, trumped my principles.

This must be what is happening in the USA.

So much of what Donald Trump stands for must be anathema to Republicans who want small government, a lightly regulated economy and free trade.

At least some Democrats must be more than a little concerned about Hillary Clinton.

But, even though polls show both candidates have more people who don’t want them than do, tribal loyalty will trump voters’ principles. They will vote/have voted for their party’s candidate and one of other of these unpopular people will become president.

Commentators who know far more about the USA, its politics and people than I do, are forecasting trouble whoever wins.

But political tragics forget that most people aren’t as wrapped up in the minutiae of politics and politicians as they are.

They overlook the fact that, imperfect as democracy in general and the way it’s operating in the USA at the moment in particular, is,  the vast majority of people where it’s been working, for better or worse, for hundreds of years, will accept the result.

And they don’t realise that, barring a major calamity, people carry on doing what they do as much in spite of governments and their actions as because of them.


Environment not preserve of left

January 3, 2015

The Green Party continues to isolate itself on the left of the political spectrum:

. . . Since the election, several high profile commentators – including the businessman, Gareth Morgan – have suggested the Greens ditch some of their left-leaning policies. . .

Radio New Zealand invited Mr Morgan to take part in a discussion panel along with the Greens’ co-leader Metiria Turei and her predecessor Jeanette Fitzsimons.

Mr Morgan argued that the Green Party’s stance means they could only ever go into Government with Labour.

“I want to see the environment represented inside the tent. I don’t want the environment to have about a 50 percent chance of being in power.”

The environment is represented in the current government. The BlueGreens are a strong group within the National Party and caucus.

He said many middle-of-the-road voters cared about the environment but won’t vote for the Green Party because of its more left-wing policies.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says that approach would cost them a significant amount of support.

The failure to moderate the party’s radical left social and economic agenda is costing it support.

The Green Party was one of the losers in last year’s election.

With Labour doing so badly it ought to have picked up support but it didn’t. If it can’t increase it’s vote when Labour is at its nadir then it will have a great deal of difficulty doing it as Labour’s support improves.

“You cannot just isolate one aspect as a silo and expect that that will have an influence across the whole of the programme.”

She said the party’s economic, social, and environmental policies are all interconnected.

“We simply will not and cannot … give up on our value set that recognises ecological wisdom, social justice, and the economy as an opportunity and a tool for improving on both.” . .

The environment, economy and social issues are inter-related but none of them are the preserve of the left.

National has followed a moderate path which has helped foster economic growth and improved social outcomes as well as introducing policies to protect and enhance the environment.

The hard left-wing environmental, economic and social policies the Greens favour are expensive and impractical.

By hampering growth and entrenching dependence they would create more problems than they solve and reduce the ability to afford better environmental protection and enhancement.


Change of govt poses risks to farming

June 12, 2014

Bernard Hickey was one of the speakers at Alliance Group’s Pure South conference a couple of weeks ago.

I wouldn’t have put him at the blue end of the political spectrum but his list of risks to farming under a Labour/Green and whichever other parties they would need to govern could well have been used to recruit people to National.

The annual KPMG Agri-Business Agenda picks up on some of those risks:

Leaders in the agri-business sector fear the loss of the traditional political consensus favouring free trade agreements if there’s a change of government, but are equally fearful that a Labour-Greens coalition will see heavier regulation against environmental harm and will start charging farmers to use water and other “natural capital”, says the annual KPMG Agri-Business Agenda publication.

While enthusiastic about Labour’s research and development tax breaks, which could help develop new technologies to improve environmental outcomes, farming and food sector leaders fear the lack of visible progress towards environmental goals could see what the report coyly refers to as “a new coalition government” impose new costs and regulation on the industry to force a faster clean-up.

“The need for the primary sector to improve its performance around core sustainability issues, such as water quality and nutrient management, is not disputed,” KPMG’s global head of agri-business, Ian Proudfoot, writes following a series of “roundtable” meetings and surveys with sector leaders around the country.

“While significant investment has been made to address these issues, the benefits are not immediately apparent. There is a concern that the lack of runs on the scoreboard may result in a new coalition government increasing the regulation on the industry and imposing charging mechanisms for the use of natural capital.”

A major concern is the prospect that the “time the industry needs to resolve its challenges may be reduced or completely removed.”

Degradation of waterways has happened over time and has many causes. A lot of work is being done to repair, protect and enhance water quality but problems which developed over years aren’t solved overnight.

On trade policy, the report suggests that agri-business leaders regard the expansion of “high quality” free trade agreements as “higher priority” than in the past, at the same time as Opposition parties appear to be cooling towards them.

“This reflects the benefits that are being derived from the agreements in place, and constraints being experienced when competing in key markets, such as Europe and South Korea, where competitors have preferential market access over our companies.”

However, there were indications the history of cross-party cooperation on trade policy “may no longer be guaranteed”, especially given the extent of opposition to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, currently under negotiation but apparently stalling.

Labour’s policy on trade liberalisation is confused. The Green Party’s is clear – and negative.

The report also suggests the sector has a poor image among urban communities and needs to take a coordinated approach to communicating its importance to the country. . . .

That image isn’t helped when Labour and Green politicians are anti-farming in general and dairying in particular.

A change of government poses serious risks to farming and the people who rely on it.

Given how big a contribution it makes directly and indirectly to the economy, and exports in particular, that’s all of us.

 

Photo: We’ve helped primary sector exports hit record highs, and there’s more to come with exports expected to grow 22 per cent for the five years to 2018. http://ntnl.org.nz/1hxY6lZ

The KPMG report is here.

 


Recycled poli to lead IM party

May 29, 2014

Former Alliance leader Laila Hare is to lead the Internet Mana Party:

The NBR says she joined the Green Party only 18 months ago and worked as its “issues director” in Auckland. . .

Reusing or recycling an ex-MP could fit the green, but not necessarily the Green, credo.

Whether or not it helps the IM Party gain votes is moot but it will split opposition votes by giving those wanting a more socialist approach another option.

However it’s not likely to help the party appeal to the young tech-savvy non-voters. And yet another hard-left unionist on the red part of the spectrum could also persuade voters in the centre towards the blue end.

The idea of a weak Labour propped up by the Green, NZ First and Internet Mana parties will make a National-led government more attractive to moderates.

 Bryce Edwards at Liberation has the top tweets on the issue which include:

Laura McQuillan ‏@mcquillanatorz  

Laila Harre first entered Parliament in 1996. Incidentally, people born that year will be able to vote for the first time this year.

 

Laura McQuillan ‏@mcquillanatorz  

And I’m sure knowing the Internet Party leader was first an MP in the year of their birth will be a voter drawcard #rtpt

 

brent simpson ‏@simp  

Um … so the new leader of the Internet Party @lailaharre has made like 27 tweets. Has she really got the quals for this?

 

Andrew Robertson ‏@Unimatrix_0  

Interesting conflict. I bet people who wouldn’t consider voting for Mana or the Internet Party *would* consider voting for Laila Harre.

Lew ‏@LewSOS  

Seriously tho, what does it say about the NZ left that the old guard is being hauled out of retirement, while the right is appointing yoofs?

 

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc  

Harré Houdini.

 

michael fletcher ‏@fletchermj  

Which paper will be first with “Harrewira”?

Right Wing Fat Cat ‏@rightwingfatcat  

Mana has absolutely pulled a fast one on the #Internetparty ! Gets all thier funding, dominates the list & have installed a plant as leader!

 

Right Wing Fat Cat ‏@rightwingfatcat  

Internet party supporters have been sold a pup! Laila Harre has more in common with #mana & the greens than #Internetparty supporters #nzpol

 

StoogetalkZB ‏@mattedwords  

i’m betting the Greens are wishing that Dotcom had been extradicted about now.

 

David Farrar ‏@dpfdpf  

Internet Party also announcing tomorrow that their campaign manager will be Simon Lusk.

Dave Guerin ‏@daveguerin  

Laila Harre doesn’t say “Internet” to me, but she might get more votes for a very left-wing party than Mana’s existing candidates

 

James Cardno ‏@jamescardno  

I’d love to know what Harre feels she can get advancing leftist causes via Mana/IP that she felt she couldn’t achieve with the Greens

 

Chris Finlayson ‏@chrisfinlayson  

Laila Harre’s loan from Greens to Mana-Internet Party a sign that planning for Lab-Grn-NZF-Mana-Internet coalition is well advanced?

 

Chris Finlayson ‏@chrisfinlayson  

If Metiria Turei doesn’t back down, that means 5 deputy PMs for David Cunliffe. Six if he can’t convince caucus to bypass @grantrobertson1

Hamish Price ‏@hamishpricenz  

What were the principles that caused @suebr to quit Mana, but @lailaharre to join the @internetpartynz?

Warwick Rasmussen ‏@beanbiz  

So will Jim Anderton be kinda like an Internet-Mana Obi-Wan Kenobi now?

David Farrar ‏@dpfdpf  

If Laila can be the Leader of the Internet Party as she has used the Internet, I think I should be the Leader of the Greens as I eat them

 

Philip Matthews ‏@secondzeit  

Every waka jumper and MMP rorter ever is having a crack at the Harre-Dotcom alliance.

Gareth Richards ‏@garethmr  

Surprised Dotcom didn’t draft Ahmed Zaoui as Leader. That guy knows how to get anti-extradition results #nzpol

 

Cactus Kate ‏@CactusKate2  

Hone, Harre, Sykes and Minto – can John Key be having a better month than this one?

Joshua Hitchcock ‏@jcphitchcock  

Was really expecting someone with, you know, experience and knowledge in the tech sector.

 

Gareth Richards ‏@garethmr  

Laila Harre joins the Aotearoa Legalise Copyright Infringement Party #nzpol

 

Nick Cross ‏@NW_Cross 

So the left is assembling a team of washed up 1990’s egos to contest the election. Lets be kind and call them the ‘Social Justice League

 

Coley Tangerina ‏@ColeyTangerina  

You can’t put Sue Bradford Lite at the head of a Party & make people forget the founder is a neo-liberal DJ version of Mr Burns.

 

Andrew Chen ‏@bobsalive  

So… Green Internet Mana Party (GIMP) alliance?

 

Cactus Kate ‏@CactusKate2  

Laila Harre under the command and control of the millionaire German convicted fraudster. The left just gets funnier every day.

 

Edward Bowie ‏@edbowie 

Laila Harre is great but the whole stitch up undermines the concept of the Maori seats and marks the beginning of the end of their existence

 

GCSB Intercepts ‏@GCSBIntercepts 

”  Why, why, why the Laila?  “

 

Idiot/Savant ‏@norightturnnz  

Wow, Laila harre. Really? I bet Sue Bradford is feeling a little stupid now.

 

Christopher Bishop ‏@cjsbishop  

In 2002 the Alliance was beaten by the Outdoor Recreation Party #facts

 

Bryce Edwards ‏@bryce_edwards  

The Greens really let that possible candidate slip through their fingers.

 

Bryce Edwards ‏@bryce_edwards  

The Greens will be absolutely livid about Laila Harre as Internet Party leader. This will be very damaging for their party vote.

> Danyl Mclauchlan ‏@danylmc  

@thomasbeagle @bryce_edwards She’s pretty formidable. OTOH, Matt McCarten was supposed to have saved the election for Labour.

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc  

If it is Laila Harre, bit rude of @KimDotcom not to be following her on Twitter. (The Internet Party and Vikram Kumar both are)

 

Liam Kernaghan ‏@liamkernaghan  

Laila Harre? This story just gets more bizarre as the days go along

 

Patrick Leyland ‏@ProgressReport  

I guess Hone and Kim will be hoping Laila does better than she did against Lynne Pillay. #nzpol

 

Bryce Edwards ‏@bryce_edwards  

I wonder what portfolio Laila Harre would be after in Cabinet this time.

> Rob Hosking ‏@robhosking  

@bryce_edwards Minister of All the Parties.

 

Tova O’Brien ‏@TovaOBrien  

3 News understands Laila Harre to lead Internet Party – her fifth political party

 

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc  

@ChrisKeall What did she say when you asked her for comment?

> Rob Hosking ‏@robhosking  

@toby_etc @ChrisKeall I left messages asking, Why why why, dear Laila?

 

To which I add: if Harre is the answer, what was the question?


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