Labour leader Jacinda Ardern raised a lot of ire on social media for a comment she made when she interrupted National leader Judith Collins:
That is how a lot of people picked up the comment, though when you see the whole comment it is probably not what she meant.
“If I may, that feels like the view of the world that has passed. When I meet with our dairy sector, and I have to say our primary producers as a sector I’ve probably met with more than any other because of this important work, they absolutely see the need for us to be competitive in this environment.
“We’ve got Australian farmers now talking about climate change. There’s an inevitability here we have to face. But they are the ones talking about sustainability. They are the ones talking about regenerative farming.”
She might not have meant farming was in a world that had passed, but in interrupting Judith she missed the point she was making – that farmers were highly regarded when she was growing up on a dairy farm and now they are feeling anything but and that is due in part to government policies.
Southland dairy farmer Hadleigh Germann said the comment had been taken slightly out of context.
He didn’t believe Ardern was saying that farming was a sunset industry, but he said it was still insensitive to claim that farmers were over the sentiment Collins had highlighted.
“Farmers do feel a lot of weight and uncertainty are on them at the moment. I do believe she’s out of touch and to say that on the whole we’re quite positive about the current state affairs I don’t think is quite right.
It is quite wrong.
“These latest land and water plans have ignored the whole effort farmers having been putting in around our environmental footprint. It’s sort of ‘nice try but still not good enough so we’re re-setting the goalposts and shortening up the time you’ve got to achieve them’,” he said.
Many farmers were throwing up their hands and asking: “Now what?”
Taranaki sharemilkers Simon and Natasha Wilkes said that, while the comment might have been taken out of context, the rural community still felt “raw” about its treatment from Government.
“We feel we have continually been overwhelmed with comments, policies and forever changing goal posts. Farmers have been working so hard to implement environmental requirements, but it still feels like it will never be enough.
“At the end of the day, we work hard for our animals and land which provides for communities and our country and we want to work together to do the best we can,” they said. . .
The water policies are typical of big-government thinking.
They have been imposed from the government down and are telling farmers what they can and can’t do and how they can do it, rather than working with farmers to get effects-based rules then leaving them to work out how best to achieve the desired results.