Another hand-out for bludgers

Written By: - Date published: 9:09 am, April 26th, 2010 - 98 comments
Categories: benefits, capitalism, farming - Tags: , ,

These farmers. They’ve got a good scam going, eh?

Got us paying for their greenhouse emissions. Bludgers.

Get to put all their untreated sh*t in our rivers for free. Bludgers.

When a council won’t give them more free water, they get their corrupt government to disband the council. Bludgers.

Nats have suggested, we’ll be paying for farmers irrigation in Canterbury. Bludgers.

Even get the government to pay for their R&D and have a cry when asked to contribute to the cost. Bludgers.

Now, another scam. Back in the dairy boom they converted a whole lot of sheep, beef, and forest land to dairy. Never enough water. Barely economical at the height of the boom.

Predictably, along comes a drought. You know what the textbooks say happens next. Our glorious capitalist system should mean farms that can’t handle a bad time fail. Just like any other business. Land gets used for something better. It’s the market. But capitalists don’t really believe in the market. Come the bad times, the farmers want another hand out.

So government’s giving them the dole. Yup, the dole. These are working farmers. They own farms worth millions. Only problem is their cash flow has dried up. Any other business would have to borrow or go bust. Farms get a dole hand out from the Nats.

Kind of ironic eh? Nats running this anti-beneficiary campaign but the biggest bludgers are their mates.

Terrible economics too. Totally the wrong signals. Farmers can win in the boom but never lose in the bad times. Encourages more dairy on marginal land. Encourages poor allocation of natural resources and capital. Means you and me will be dipping into our pockets to pay the dole for rich farmers even more in the future.

Oh. And these dole receiving farmers who can’t run a business without government subsidies will be getting big tax cuts next month top rate and corporate probably.

National: government by bludgers, for bludgers.

98 comments on “Another hand-out for bludgers ”

  1. marco 1

    Yep your right they do qualify for the dole when a drought is declared. Interestingly a provision brought in under…….Labour.

    • lprent 1.1

      With good reason as well. The dole isn’t going to pay their interest, however it will pay for food and basic utilities. So the business would still fold without a sympathetic bank…

      However it is quite a contrast with other types of businesses, which is what Zet is pointing out in his usual acerbic way

  2. tsmithfield 2

    I tend to agree.

    What often happens, as with many businesses, is that a business plan that works fine in the good times may not work too well in the bad times. A good business plan allows for the reasonably predictable worst case scenario.

    I think what would be better would be for farmers to set aside funds when they are having good years to fund the bad years. Farming is inherently unpredictable, so if a business plan does not allow for that unpredictability it probably should not be implemented from the get go.

  3. Bill 3

    Giving somebody in financial hardship the dole is fine.

    Altered criteria that allow farmers to hold their assets makes sense on the face of it unless you’d rather the land was abandoned altogether…I’d rather see discretion applied to the urban context than have everyone subjected to the lowest and nastiest common denominator. Why not give the dole to all workers facing redundancy and have their jobs held open ‘until the rains come’?

    Water rationalisation…bemoaning the fact that rivers flow to the sea instead of endlessly cycling around paddocks and fields… wanting more irrigation in Canterbury because it already has the most irrigation and water storage facilities (dams?) to aid rationalisation of water use…ie to aid the application of strict corporate communist market criteria to water allocation )…just might have more impact than a couple of hundred bucks per week.

    edit. I’m assuming farmers who are not farm owners.

    • Zetetic 3.1

      Carter was talking about farmers being ‘asset rich’ but ‘cash poor’. Implies farm owners.

      Bailing them out just encourages water intensive farming on land that’s too dry.

      • Bill 3.1.1

        So, are we saying that a business that has lost its market ( in this case through being unable to secure its production inputs) is to be allowed to continue and the business owners allowed to hold all their plant and machinery as well as personal assets?

        Are there no insurance policies to cover this? If not, why not. And if not, then why does the state?

        What happens to the farm employees…the labourers and share milkers etc? What about their assets?

        Contrasting with an urban business that cannot secure production inputs because of matters beyond its control, we know they go bankrupt and we know the employees get to jump through numerous hoops on their way to increased levels of poverty.

        Why the difference again? Why not a consistent application of logic?

        Questions, questions, questions.

        • Bright Red

          You’ve got to have something to make sure resources are being used logically – that could be the market emchanism, it could be some form of community planning but what we’ve got now is neither – there’s no downside, no check on the inefficient use of resources.

          Here, we’ve got what were pine forests being used for dairy. They’re marginal at the best of times and then a normal drought comes along and they need to be bailed out.

          If they get bailed out it just encourages the conversion of more forest and hill country to dairy.

          And we all ultimately end up worse off because, as we’re seeing, these farms aren’t profitable – they’re not an efficient use of resources. It would be better if the land was used in a manner that suits the conditions – eg forestry.

      • Rex Widerstrom 3.1.2

        Considering that (until the recent deluge) the vast bulk of Australia could be considered “land that’s too dry”, the alternative to supporting farmers through periods of unusual weather activity, be it flood or drought, is to give up on food production altogether. Let them eat dirt?

        New Zealand is hardly alone in supporting farmers whose operations w ould otherwise be self-supporting if it wasn’t for extreme weather, either.

        Beneficiaries are treated like crap in this country. But the solution is to encourage a system where everyone gets what they deserve, not pits some people in difficulty against others.

        • RedLogix

          Concise and to the point Rex… agree totally.

          • Killinginthenameof

            Mention of asset rich cash poor owner operator farms is bordering on nauseating to the degree of “mum and dad investors”. More and more farming is large corporates with managers as employees, got to remember who we are bailing out there.

  4. Hamish 4

    I have no problem with this. It make’s sense to support those who bring majority of the wealth to our country (depending on farm type, huh) in harder times.

    The main post is grasping at straws, imo.

  5. vto 5

    It’s only a drought relative to farmer’s own measurements. Relative to nature’s cyles there aint no drought. They should learn to farm within the bounds of nature’s cycles. In addition, a ‘drought’ is exacerbated by their own stripping of the vegetation from the land and draining of all wet areas. Doesn’t seem to make sense to me.

    And without wanting to simply thrash out more sentiment that could be seen as farmer-bashing it has to be said that they do seem to have a ‘sense of entitlement’.

    A sense of entitlement to the rivers. A sense of entitlement to the ‘rural way of life’. A sense of entitlement to be bailed out when the going gets tough. A sense of entitlement to the publics appreciation for their work. Where would NZ be without the farmers they cry…

    … well we would have a land covered in bush for a start. Clean waterways – imagine being able to swim in and drink out of a North Island river again!

    Just repeating myself from other threads – but farmers have some patch-up and clean-up work to do to get back to the ranks of respectability that they once, in hindsight wrongly, occupied. imo

    • Murray 5.1

      So where does Global Warming come into this.
      How can they farm within natures cycles when global warming is upsetting natures cycles and drought areas are apparently increasing?.
      I guess a logical conclusion to this thread would be that workers should have to sell the house they own when they lose their job, before receiving the dole.

      Pretty mean spirited and bitter.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        I guess a logical conclusion to this thread would be that workers should have to sell the house they own when they lose their job, before receiving the dole.

        That’s pretty much what they expect you to do. Not straight off of course. First off they’ll give enough to not quite cover the bills, then they’ll demand that you decrease you living expenses (yeah, that mortgage ain’t changing) and then they’ll cut the amount you get.

        Now, I don’t have any issue with people being given enough to maintain their health and keep a roof over their heads (which WINZ doesn’t do anyway) but I do have an issue with farmers being paid enough to keep their farms when it’s obviously a failed business venture.

      • mach1 5.1.2

        In 1996 when Max Bradfords reforms meant I was made redundant I had to cash up my power board super fund.. So with 12 years worth of contributions and a redundancy payment in my bank account I was denied any sort of benefit by WINZ and told to come back when I’d spent it and they’d review their decision.

        Petty and mean spirited alright which left me with a bitterness towards the tory arseholes that still abides.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          That sounds only partly true.

          Benefits such as unemployment benefits, are not asset tested in New Zealand.

          When my father was made redundant he had to wait for his final pay date, then his holiday pay plus a stand-down period for his redundancy ( redundancy is a payment to support you while you look for another job isn’t it?).

          He cashed in some of his super and didn’t have to spend it nor spend all his holiday pay.

          Maybe the interest from your 12 years of super as the problem perhaps?

          • George D

            Benefits such as unemployment benefits, are not asset tested in New Zealand.


            When I was last unemployed, I had to exhaust all my savings before I was eligible for a cent. If you have large non-liquid assets (ie., property owner) you’re safe from losing them, at least immediately. But if you’re poor you’re screwed.

            It means people are terrified of losing their jobs, and hang on to jobs which aren’t right for them.

            • Descendant Of Smith

              I’ve provided the links to the policy below – go read them yourself. You don’t have to believe me. Benefits such as unemployment benefit are not asset tested.

              When I was doing advocacy work some people who got themselves in strife were those such as yourself who spouted / believed this or a variant on it and so would do something silly like

              1. Go and pay off their debts / pay all their holiday pay off their mortgage and then expect to be paid a benefit for the same days they had been paid holiday pay for. You can’t be paid twice for the same days.
              2. Wait til they had no money left before applying when they could have applied much earlier and not used up all their savings..

              If you’ve got time to post something that is so easily provable as wrong at least take the time to go and read the facts for yourself.

              What you say could potentially cause distress for people who might actually believe you.

              • mach1

                Descendant Of Smith will be one of those deluded souls who think that WINZ staffers are there to help but in the real world they’re instructed to, first off the bat, deny eligibility and then to continually hold up the hoops in the hope that applicants simply go away. Don’t believe me, fine, but should you ever need to deal with any government agency while the Tories are running the shop I think you’ll be disappointed.

              • rainman

                UB is indeed not asset tested, but the accommodation supplement is. Of course if your partner earns even a modest amount you are not eligible for anything – notably including any help to actually find work or retrain, which seems counterproductive to me. This is fair enough (UB is for those in dire need) but doesn’t make it any easier to pay mortgages and basic insurances if your family income is cut by 2/3 or so.

                I’ve been only intermittently employed over the last 11 months and have yet to receive a single dollar from WINZ. Fortunately I didn’t spend all my earnings when I was earning well so have some savings to live from, although those were earmarked for retirement, and so I will likely be more state dependent later in life. Also fortunately, we didn’t take on a bigger mortgage when I was earning, and stayed in a small house – otherwise I would absolutely have had to sell by now.

                Accommodation supplement doesn’t pay anything until your cash assets are below $15k I think, and then only pays about 2/3 your costs. Quite where the rest is meant to come from if you have a big mortgage I have no idea. Certainly not from the UB amount, that’s about $300pw. And don’t try to earn anything (contract or part-time work, etc) as WINZ will cancel your application and apply a fresh stand-down period. (I made the mistake of getting a 3 week contract recently).

                Bottom line, the current system for medium-term unemployed people with a modestly-earning partner means you’ll soon have no cash assets, and have to cancel all insurances and other spurious expenses. Of course when those get reinstated when work is obtained later (hopefully) the premiums and conditions will be adjusted to suit (the insurance co’s). If you weren’t asset-poor when you started, you will be at the end.

    • Bill 5.2

      Was thinking that a smaller dairy industry with downstream value adding industries would be a win/win path to take….except for the corporates, but hey.

      I’m led to believe that milk from NZ is amongst the best in the world…although by the time I get it, it’s been so fucked with that it just doesn’t compare in any way to fresh milk.

      And the cheese is generally very ho-hum. And NZ chocolate is also mostly ‘meh’. The ice cream isn’t too cool either.

      Which leads me to tentatively conclude that corporate scale production throws all aspects of quality away in pursuit of quantity and profit flow….it’s not just the waterways, the land and the very much reduced employment opportunities. But the production techniques in tandem with the necessary food safety measures that were enacted to protect us from unpalatable practices of ‘faceless’ big business lays waste to the products themselves.

      Why do we put up with this corporate crap again?

      • rainman 5.2.1

        I was with you until the ice-cream.

      • Armchair Critic 5.2.2

        It’s almost like the quality requirements are only applied when they provide direct and immediate profit. Quality requirements that have indirect benefits are not enforced (yet).
        Is the answer to your question that there is no alternative, at the moment?

  6. tsmithfield 6

    Despite what I said above, there is also a national interest consideration. Dairy earns huge amounts for the country. So, some assistance could be argued for on a national interest basis. However, I think any assistance should be in the form of a loan which is repaid in good years.

    • Bright Red 6.1

      I agree. Interest-free lien on the property or something.

      I don’t really agree with crying national interest on certain industries (apart from startegically important networks – ports, electricity etc). Ordinary business should stand and fall on its merits.

    • uke 6.2

      But the “national interest” argument begs the question of why the government shouldn’t just take over all the farms.

      If the risks are nationalised – covered during downturns – then why don’t they take all the gain (not just the tax on expenses-deducted profits)?

  7. andy 7

    Funny how when I was made redundant I could not get any assistance because I had saved for a rainy day. I had to draw down all my saving befor I could get the dole.

    I have to say in the defense of farmers they do have some major cash flow issues in times of drought, and those dole payments would most likely go to food and essentials as any farm account overdraft would have to be for the animals. When things start looking a bit rough cash flow wise the banks and other lenders start taking a keen interest in the monthy accounts.

    • Murray 7.1

      Andy I know what you mean. I am a contractor, and although it hasn’t happened to me yet.
      When other contractors have had short term cash flow problems usually through delays in contracts
      they are told they have to sell all their equipment before the could get the dole.
      It is bloody annoying when your problems are through no fault of your own

      • Descendant Of Smith 7.1.1

        All WINZ policy manuals are on line.

        Manuals and procedures

        My advocate past comes in useful sometimes.

        Self-employed with no further work available

        Some small businesses have a drop in earnings and no scheduled work in the near future. When these businesses have no funds or cannot access any funds until further work becomes available, a client can receive the Unemployment Benefit. The business must have stopped for an indefinite period.


        A contract weed sprayer who has been unable to obtain any work for four weeks and has no work available for the next four weeks can be classified as being available for work.

        Obtain confirmation from the client’s accountant that business activities have effectively stopped and no income is being received.

        If, before the client applies, business has significantly reduced and/or has now stopped, you can disregard income from the business when assessing the rate of Unemployment Benefit that can be paid. However, the income must be taken into account for initial stand-down purposes.

        Work commences

        If a regular pattern of income or work starts to emerge or a future contract of 3 – 4 weeks is obtained, the Unemployment Benefit should be suspended or canceled. One-off contract work should be charged in the same way as casual earnings (less any business expenses).

        There’s more detail there. As I understand it these web pages are the same as the policy manuals that the staff use and clearly give much more detail than WINZ pamphlets, etc.

  8. RedLogix 8

    This does raise an interesting conundrum; how does society handle people who have:

    1. Invested a large amount of capital, time and energy into an enterprise that is fundamentally productive and useful.

    2. But through no immediate or obvious fault of their own find themselves in a cash flow crisis.

    3. And if not assisted through this bad patch will likely loose the lot.

    At this point I’d like to bring back to recall the landlord/property investor that became a bit of a headline story last year because Labour hightlighted his case. He was faced exactly the same circumstances as these farmers do…. asset rich yet facing a short-term cash flow crisis that was going to wipe him out.

    At the time I recall a lot of righties all pouring scorn on the man, insisting that he took the gamble on the gain….therefore he should face all the downside risk. Now of course we are talking about a the boot being a muddy farmer’s foot somehow the case will be different, that these fine upstanding, hardworking, decent minded, ‘back-bone of the economy’, blah, blah farmers have a right to being supported by the state.

    Personally I actually think they have a point. There is no point in wiping out large chunks of the agricultural sector every time there is a short-term lack of rain. There is an obvious national interest at stake. But at the same time you have to be careful you are not propping people up in situations that are only viable at the peak of the market, or just flat-out unsustainable in the long-term.

    And we have to accept that abandoned land remains a cost on the nation, as someone will still need to manage it for security, weeds, pests and the like. Plus of course the wider loss of viability to the local community as schools, roads, and services are all wound back in response to the loss of population.

    What does of course get everyones goat is the way Federated Farmers pushes an extreme right wing agenda (like quietly pushing for a poll-tax for example) while in fact most of their members are the beneficiaries of the not only substantial amounts of state support, but only remain in business because they are members of some of the biggest socialist collectives in the country,,, Fonterra being the obvious example.

    OK so on balance I’m happy for farmers to be helped through short-term crisis … if only they would politically return the quid pro quo.

    • felix 8.1

      But through no immediate or obvious fault of their own find themselves in a cash flow crisis.

      Sorry, I don’t buy this. Who didn’t know there was more dairying going on than the environment could sustain?

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    I assume they all get a tax audit when they apply?

    Just to make sure they’re on the up and up.

  10. Nick C 10

    Yep they should fail.

    • The Baron 10.1

      … along with a chunk of NZ’s export base. Nice idea.

      Here are people going to the wall and you can’t stop cheering, all because they don’t agree with you politically. Wow you people can be pricks.

      • felix 10.1.1

        That’s pretty funny Baron.

        • The Baron

          Is it? What’s funny about it? The fact that you evidently think it is A-OK to beat up on farmers because of your stereotypical view that they don’t vote Labour?

          Or the fact that you think your holier than thou world view entitles you to call the shots on who deserves state support in times of hardship, and who doesn’t?

          The point I’m making is that you’re looing pretty damn callous, tight fisted and outright destructive for a group of supposedly “progressive” and “inclusive” “social democrats”.

          But then again, that is typical Zetty.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Firstly, Nick C’s avatar should be a clue.

            Secondly, the moniker ‘Zetetic’ could be a clue.

            Thirdly, who said it’s ok to beat up on farmers because they don’t vote Labour? Be specific.

            Finally, it’s the hypocrisy, stupid.

            • The Baron

              And you don’t see the hypocrisy in the way you lot are behaving? You can’t laud the benefits of a welfare state then start picking the winners and losers – and claim your behaviour is ok because you think your opponent is doing it.

              Exactly what is hypocritical in what National is doing here – mind of course that this was an initiative introduced by your beloved, too. Come on – your turn to be specific.

              I thought the left prided themselves on principles- those I alluded to before. Instead, it seems your just a bunch of cruel partisan hacks. Specific enough for you, Pascal?

              • Pascal's bookie

                What ‘lot’ am I part of? Do I have an ilk even? I ever so much want an ilk of my own.

                But seeing you didn’t point out anyone who said ‘it’s ok to beat up on farmers because they don’t vote Labour’, not really specific enough, no.

                On the hypocrisy thing, there is a certain constituency that likes to talk about ‘bludgers’ and how they are carrying them. I think that it fair enough to point out when they too get the type of assistence that they would decry as ‘bludging’.

                A lot of the reaction is based around accepting a right wing premiss, ie, “given what rightwingers say they believe, why should we assist farmers who usually accept and promote right wing beliefs?”

                If you read the thread, you will see quite a few people saying that farmers should get this assistance. I agree with that, they should. I suspect Zet agrees as well.

                The point of the post is to challenge right wing rhetoric as I see it. That would be a zetetic sort of a way to approach things.

                Nick C I suspect, does not agree that farmers should get this help. He agrees with the discourse that calls them bludgers. He is, at least, consistent. But he is no sort of leftie.

          • felix

            Funnier and funnier, Baron.

            Also, what Pascal’s bookie said.

      • A post with me in it 10.1.2

        I believe the right cheer mightily when beneficiaries get the bash. There is no difference here.
        And stats show that most of them are short term and just people in need of temporary help.

        Hypocrisy abounds throughout human history and society because our brains are simply not wired for rational thought.

        But in their defence it is not the mantra of the LEFT to not support anyone and leave them to the wolves when it suits. That is the neo-con/libertarian philosophy.

        Me? I don’t think either should get the bash. But I think that requiring help SHOULD come with provisos just as for beneficiaries.

        For example:
        – Who says the government should not be paid back for the business loan?
        – Maybe they should receive a share of the business like any other investor?
        – Evaluation of said business for long term viability before anything is given?

        All these things are what currently happens to any business out in corporate land, of course with an investor substituted for the government.

        • Quoth the Raven

          But in their defence it is not the mantra of the LEFT to not support anyone and leave them to the wolves when it suits. That is the neo-con/libertarian philosophy.

          Libertarianism spans a vast array of political thought, socialist, communist, free market, free market socialist, mutualist and so on. It’s simply absurd to lump neo-conservatives with libertarians. It would be equivalent to me talking of some “social democrat/fascist philosophy”. You might try to engage in intellectually honest discussion once in awhile And as to leave them to the wolves we’re actually talking about people. Libertarians as other people of various other political persuasions believe there are alternative ways of organising. In this case alternatives to the welfare state. I’m guessing you’ve never heard of mutual aid.

          • A post with me in it

            I was mainly referring to the ACT brand of libertarianism which is by far the most popular in this country as far as I am aware.

            I am sure there are many flavors, all impure in one respect or another. Just like socialism.

            Mutual Aid is not an alternative. What you just linked to was a definition of a generic concept which could cover a huge range of solutions or even whacky ideas unrelated to this problem.

            Much like political tags such as “socialism” and “libertarianism” they are not solutions or even things. They are semantic boxes in which to confine concepts…

            ..lest anyone take them seriously??

            • Quoth the Raven

              Mutual Aid is not an alternative. What you just linked to was a definition of a generic concept which could cover a huge range of solutions or even whacky ideas unrelated to this problem.

              Organisations based on mutual aid are alternative ways of organising to what dominates today. For instance mutual welfare would be an alternative form of organisation to state welfare. Mutual insurance is an alternative form of organisation to corproate insurance and so on.

              BTW I certainly wouldn’t call ACT libertarians and I fairly sure the majority of libertarians no matter their varied stances would be loath to call Act libertarian.

            • A post with me in it

              I do apologize for insulting other flavours of Libertarians. My favourite flavour is “Rationalberry” personally.

              I myself am a lefty of a certain flavor but I don’t think that people getting things for free is a good idea. Leads to strange outcomes. Beneficiaries I am not worried about – they have already had to make sacrifices.
              Farmers are businesses and should be treated as such.

              Or did we forget that those farmers, should they lose their farms, are entitled to the benefit LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. Until the government pays the mortgage of someone out of work, this should not be allowed either.

              Fonterra could quite easily have set up such plans but they have not.

              What I am suggesting is that the government get SOMETHING for their money. My list was not exhaustive.

              If you are thinking about a situation where the farmers set up some sort of support system of their own or with someone other than the government that is great.

              But they have not and here we are and that would not be an alternative solution.

            • The Baron

              Goddamn, if ACT is libertarian then Labour must be positively Trotskyist.

  11. Adrian 11

    Yeah, where would we be without farmers?. Well how about having to find the missing 73% of exports. As much as some would like to wank on, technology exports are not going to replace that amount of money at any time. The Nokia example is bullshit, all of those Scandinavian countries still rely hugely on surface based exports from timber to fishing to oil. Farming has been the mainstay of the country’s wealth for 150 years , in that time hundreds of different technological industries have briefly flared and crashed, from the English midlands to Detroit to Silicon valley. Nokia has probably got 5 years, tops. Great to have a country covered in native bush but a diet of fern roots would get pretty tedious, so lets run these farmers off the land when a 1-in 50 or 100yr drought hits, they must be hopeless, ( Crafars excluded) lets sell all their farms to say, the Chinese Government, Happy?. Actually, there is one good practice we could pinch from the Chinese, city dilettantes sent to the country for “re-education”. Double happy!.

  12. jcuknz 12

    While it sounds nice for the ‘dole payments’ to be made a loan it begs the question to what degree are these farms already indebted up to the hilt. The point is that the dole is given to any family which doesn’t have the means to meet its daily needs. The farming families qualify on that basis and it makes good sense not to force people out/off of their homes/farms. We have enough problems with the poor current ecconomy without more mortagee sales and homeless folk walking the streets…. more than are already doing this. This thread started with the typical and foolish recount of perceived ills which gains nobody any benefit.

  13. Bright Red 13

    drought is a normal part of farming.

    If a farm isn’t profitable enough to build up reserves to hadnle the predictable bad times, it’s not really economic is it? It’s being carried by the rest of us, including farms that are economic and able to handle normal climatic variation.

    Like Zet says, that just encourages poor allocation of resources and that’s bad for the economy at the end of the day, making the whole thing less efficient.

    Farms that can’t handle the normal climatic cycle shouldn’t be farmed in the way they are. Should be forest instead of dairy – for instance.

  14. Hamish 14

    Farmers work bloody hard, all hours of the day and night, and they contribute a hell of a lot to our economy.

    Dole bludgers don’t.

    How can you even suggest a comparison ?

    • Bright Red 14.1

      A farm that needs bailing out whenever there’s a drought, can’t pay for its carbon emissions, and dumps its pollution on everyone is not contributing to the economy – it is leeching off it.

      Obviously, not all farms are like this.

    • Maynard J 14.2

      The vast majority of people on benefits in NZ are on it for a short period of time, I believe about 95% are on it for under a year. That means that these ‘bludgers’ spend the rest of their working life paying taxes – they more than pay back what they receive in benefits. So your premise is wrong.

      Farms probably pay a lot in tax as well – but an unemployed farmer can get a benefit. Why should they also get a subsidy when there’s an utterly predictable business condition for which they should plan for? Why not protect other business everytime something bad happens, why is a drought different to an oil shock, to a recession? Hell, why desn’t the government pay for all businesses’ losses, and let them keep all the profit?

      When we were paying $15 for a block of cheese and milk solids were at their highest recorded level, why weren’t farmers keeping some of those massive payouts for the bad times?

      In saying that, zet, this post is logically absurd. If farmers are bludgers, and shouldn’t be getting money, should we cancel benefits? If not, why draw a parallel, even a false one, when the conclusion is logically ambiguous. I’d call this cutting your nose to spite your face.

  15. Kleefer 15

    Wow, this is the most economically rational piece of writing I’ve ever seen on this site and it really is a superb takedown of Welfare for Farmers, which both major parties are guilty of supporting.

    “Terrible economics too. Totally the wrong signals. Farmers can win in the boom but never lose in the bad times. Encourages more dairy on marginal land. Encourages poor allocation of natural resources and capital. Means you and me will be dipping into our pockets to pay the dole for rich farmers even more in the future.”

    That passage wouldn’t look out of place on! Didn’t know there were any closet Austrian economists here. Now, if your writers could just apply this sort of economic logic to all the other silly socialist policies you and your readers support you may understand why the free market is not only the most efficient economic system but the only truly moral one as well.

    • Maynard J 15.1

      Kleefer, what is a “free market”? I know that there is an economic theory about them which defines one in an utterly theoretical world, but there’s no such thing.

      Kind of me like saying “well the cars and trains you use are flawed; me, I prefer wormholes”.

      Are you advocating the overthrow of all governments and the abolition of all legal and social framework that distorts the market, or do you merely want government to be reduced to a supporting role for the interests of large corporates (the latter being the version of the ‘free’ market that many ‘free marketeers’ seem to like the sound of, because that particular distortion suits their interests more than other distortions).

      • Quoth the Raven 15.1.1

        If the government is supporting large corporates than it isn’t free market. You’ll find if you actually look that those who honestly advocate for the free market are utterly anti-corporatist and many are anti-corproate altogether. All oppose any form of coproate welfare and most oppose limited liability, corporate personhood, intellecutal property and all other manner of legal privileges bestowed on corporations. Take Roderick Long for instance:

        Corporations tend to fear competition, because competition exerts downward pressure on prices and upward pressure on salaries; moreover, success on the market comes with no guarantee of permanency, depending as it does on outdoing other firms at correctly figuring out how best to satisfy forever-changing consumer preferences, and that kind of vulnerability to loss is no picnic. It is no surprise, then, that throughout U.S. history corporations have been overwhelmingly hostile to the free market. Indeed, most of the existing regulatory apparatus—including those regulations widely misperceived as restraints on corporate power—were vigorously supported, lobbied for, and in some cases even drafted by the corporate elite.[1]

        Corporate power depends crucially on government intervention in the marketplace.[2] This is obvious enough in the case of the more overt forms of government favoritism such as subsidies, bailouts,[3] and other forms of corporate welfare; protectionist tariffs; explicit grants of monopoly privilege; and the seizing of private property for corporate use via eminent domain (as in Kelo v. New London). But these direct forms of pro-business intervention are supplemented by a swarm of indirect forms whose impact is arguably greater still.

        It’s perfectly true that conservatives have often used the rhetoric of the free market to support cronyism and corporatism and it’s exactly that hypocrisy which Zet is trying to show in his post and a great job he’s done of it.

        This is a brilliantly scathing video on corporatism by a post-objectivist no less.

        • Maynard J

          We’ve had a chat, a long time ago, about this. A lot of people call for a free market is in reality nothing of the sort – but the claim all the economic, moral and social benefits when actually arguing for a weakening of individual rights, a strengthening of rules favouring the big players in the current market and the reduction only of those ‘socialist’ distortions that do not favour business.

          I’m not sure what many would think when confronted with a reality of that theory that would involve the removal of the legal fiction of a corporate as legal entity, and the rort of limited liability – I suspect I’d be more favourable than a lot who claim to endorse a free market!

          I know I am generalising, but in my discussions with those on the social/economic right, they almost invariably don’t understand what the economic right really entails, and mistake it for the opposite of social left policies.

  16. Farmers welfare is the founding model of the PPP in this country. Farmers always claimed private property rights but farmed for the unearned increment and massive state subsidies. Why should it be different today?
    The solution is one which rewards farmers for their labour and improved value, but socialises all the unearned increment of capital gains due to private ownership and the unaccounted massive social subsidies to the land. Land nationalisation would do it.

    • nzfp 16.1

      Hi dave brown,
      We don’t need to nationalise land to remove the injustices and realise the benefits you’ve refered to in your comment. We could still respect private property rights while curtailing land banking and unearned income on capital gain by implementing a land tax. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), English philosopher and social reformer, and an acknowledged major intellectual figure of the 19th century in his book “Principles of Political Economy” (Section 2, Chapter 3, Book 5) states:

      (V.3.4) §2. A tax on rent falls wholly on the landlord. There are no means by which he can shift the burthen upon any one else. It does not affect the value or price of agricultural produce, for this is determined by the cost of production in the most unfavourable circumstances, and in those circumstances, as we have so often demonstrated, no rent is paid. A tax on rent, therefore, has no effect, other than its obvious one. It merely takes so much from the landlord, and transfers it to the state. [my emphasis]

  17. Lee Paterson 17

    Is this not simply an economic issue? – when any business owner goes to the bank to borrow on assets for new work, the bank asks for a business plan… simple stuff like %down time, and %profit, known risks, unknown or unquantified risks, and exposure (leverage) on personal / business assets.

    I don’t mind an occasional “unusual” circumstance bailing out an otherwise productive business, but surely some responsibility has to fall to the business owner and their lender for letting them over leverage against relatively quantifiable risks.

    We have entered a time when marginal land is changing use to more intensive farming practices, because market appears to reward over risks, but it is probably going to bite the next generation of farmers when they go to their lender for money.. some hard (or at least hardER) questions need to be asked of what appears to be risky business practices.

  18. Bored 18

    Rod Oram in the paper yesterday had a very good take upon the high turnover of farms for capital gains, farmers earning bugger all from the farm income. This in itself is a very unsustainable model and only leads to bad practices.

    I can’t agree with people, especially farmers who go on about the importance of this sector to our economy and by implication the need to support them. It is really blackmail, a case of “you need us or else’. The real issue we need to face is getting the farm structural model right, using land for its sustainable uses, as opposed to the short term speculative GRASS MINING approach. And in the background adding value to farm products here with local labour.

    • vto 18.1

      Yes Bored, for all the berating of property and sharemarket and other speculation, New Zealand’s largest and most frequent speculators are farmers.

      It is well known that, in terms of making a dollar, they farm for the sole purpose of capital gain on the farm. Nothing else. Ffs they admit it themselves all the time. Then berate others for the same or similar.

  19. prism 19

    Presumably rising farm prices during the property wealth and prosperity boom have left some farmers who had exceeded the prudent limits of value based on return on investment, in an impossible position when there is a downturn.

    The idea that financial reality doesn’t apply to farmers, that they work harder than those stupid lazy townies, who are the dole recipients doesn’t wash. Recently a farmer spokeperson denied that farmers wanted the dole, but at the same time emphasised the disastrous drought and the problems it caused.

    There is a disjunct between the sneering attitude to beneficiaries, and the need to have support during a period of lack of income for farmers that they have to reconcile. They may be in a business, but not one to be discarded under the market system, and when sound farmers need help for living expenses they should get it from the government and not as a loan and regard themselves as ordinary citizens of the country, not superior and separate beings.

  20. Red Rosa 20

    Farmers naturally try to put the best figures forward for their contribution to the economy, but a hard look at the stats is interesting.

    FOB value of NZ exports for the June year 08 was wool 1.6%, meat 12.4 %, dairy 25.1% and ‘total pastoral’ 41.4%. ‘Total agriculture’ (includes hort and processed) was 52.6%. Probably 09 and 2010 were much the same.

    Fed Farmers like to quote 65%. This is a round figure for ‘primary exports’ – but to get to that, you need to add in forestry and fishing!

    Most of the noise comes from the pastoral (grazing) sector, which to repeat, contributes just over 40% of exports. Important of course, but not quite what is often quoted.

    And these are merchandise exports, FOB. You need a different set of figures to get the full picture of overseas earnings. Tourism in $ receipts is about the same as dairy. Then the almost total collapse of wool, and the big drop in meat, as income earners since the 80s really shows up.

    Certainly not like 50 years ago, when wool alone was over 30% of exports…..

  21. Rod Oram in the paper yesterday had a very good take upon the high turnover of farms for capital gains, farmers earning bugger all from the farm income. This in itself is a very unsustainable model and only leads to bad practices.

    Not a good look eh ?

    • RedLogix 21.1

      You don’t have to agree with every word Oram writes to be depressed by the fact that our feeble govt and amateurish business sector are pig-ignorantly heading in exactly 180deg the opposite direction to anything Oram suggests.

  22. Roger 22

    “Predictably, along comes a drought. You know what the textbooks say happens next. Our glorious capitalist system should mean farms that can’t handle a bad time fail. Just like any other business. Land gets used for something better. It’s the market. But capitalists don’t really believe in the market. Come the bad times, the farmers want another hand out.”

    I completely agree, farms that are economically unsustainable should be left to fail. The farmers should sell or convert their farm from dairy to something else.

  23. deemac 23

    NZ earns more from tourism than from dairying but still people talk as if it is the cows that are supporting us. Plus NZ dairying is going to lose the battle with alternative suppliers due to its outdated business model. So any more encouragement for dairying is helping hold back the NZ economy from planning for the future.

  24. Bored 24

    Longer term dairying will all be about local production. I am of course refering to an energy starved world where trucking milk to a super factory will not be an energy cost effective option. When you drive around Taranaki every mile or so is the shell of the old dairy co-op building. This is likely to be the revived in the future which gives us the opportunity for local ownership and local added value using local energy resources and local labour.

    The same applies for wool. Syntheitic fibre was one reason for the collapse of the wool market. The end of cheap oil will bring wool back to primacy. the big issue we as a nation will face on this is again to add the value here as opposed to sending it off shore for processing.

    NZ is sitting pretty compared to our competitors if we take advantage of the opportunities offered. The single biggest opportunity is local ownership and local value add.

  25. What we are observing is the slow decline and inevitable decline of the family farm concern. In the 1950s and 60s, the highly protectionist nature of the international community, and domestic subsidies allowed the family farm to flourish.

    Loss of market, decline in prices and removal of domestic subsidies put paid to as much as 20% of all family farms. Increasingly, corporate operations came to own farms, and a great degree of consolidation occurred so that family farms could remain viable economic units. Of those who have known/lived on farms, how often is there: an old woodshed, farmhouse, dividing fence?

    The milk price bonanza of the mid-2000s masked an even greater threat to family farms – the massive increase in the value of rural land. Many farmers who nominally own land, have such a small cashflow for operating and living costs simply because they are paying back such big loans, and the frequently complained about rural rates.

    A significant part of the problem is also the fact that many farmers kind of fell into farming after they left school, and that they lack a necessary business nous, as earlier mentioned, to effectively operate their concern. Hard work is all good and well, but issues like, liquidity ratios, debt structure, and business case scenarios are very important, especially when you are talking in the millions of dollars. In response, many have opted to operate an adjunct business (sometimes even cash only) for liquidity purposes, i.e. how many farms do you see these days who are not operating an e.g. homestay, bush walks, firewood, fruit stall? Not many.

    I’m not generally opposed to giving farmers the dole, remembering how much it actually is. I really doubt that the extra cash received will have a large impact on viability decisions. However, this as someone said earlier does carry a certain political quid-pro-pro.

    • uke 25.1

      Excellent point about the decline in “family farms.

      It would be interesting to see a breakdown of types of farm ownership. I wonder how many are really just part of Crafur-style farming empires similar to the massive estates that the “southern gentry” owned in the 19thC? When the Liberals came in around 1890 they fairly swiftly broke these monopoly estates up. Perhaps its time to do this again?

      And when we speak of “farmers”, us urbanites tend to think of a Fred Dagg-ish or Wal-type person, a hard-working resourceful individualist, harking back to Pakeha myths of pioneers working on the land. One can’t really imagine such a person wanting a handout, eh?

      • Pascal's bookie 25.1.1

        related thoughts:

        But while the mystery of what killed the great American jobs machine has yielded no shortage of debatable answers, one of the more compelling potential explanations has been conspicuously absent from the national conversation: monopolization. The word itself feels anachronistic, a relic from the age of the Rockefellers and Carnegies. But the fact that the term has faded from our daily discourse doesn’t mean the thing itself has vanished—in fact, the opposite is true. In nearly every sector of our economy, far fewer firms control far greater shares of their markets than they did a generation ago.

        Indeed, in the years after officials in the Reagan administration radically altered how our government enforces our antimonopoly laws, the American economy underwent a truly revolutionary restructuring. Four great waves of mergers and acquisitions—in the mid-1980s, early ’90s, late ’90s, and between 2003 and 2007—transformed America’s industrial landscape at least as much as globalization. Over the same two decades, meanwhile, the spread of mega-retailers like Wal-Mart and Home Depot and agricultural behemoths like Smithfield and Tyson’s resulted in a more piecemeal approach to consolidation, through the destruction or displacement of countless independent family-owned businesses.

        It is now widely accepted among scholars that small businesses are responsible for most of the net job creation in the United States. It is also widely agreed that small businesses tend to be more inventive, producing more patents per employee, for example, than do larger firms. Less well established is what role concentration plays in suppressing new business formation and the expansion of existing businesses, along with the jobs and innovation that go with such growth. Evidence is growing, however, that the radical, wide-ranging consolidation of recent years has reduced job creation at both big and small firms simultaneously. At one extreme, ever more dominant Goliaths increasingly lack any real incentive to create new jobs; after all, many can increase their earnings merely by using their power to charge customers more or pay suppliers less. At the other extreme, the people who run our small enterprises enjoy fewer opportunities than in the past to grow their businesses. The Goliaths of today are so big and so adept at protecting their turf that they leave few niches open to exploit.

        Absent pitchforks and tumbrils, (increasingly my preferred provider), a round f good old fashioned trust busting would’nt go amiss. If feckers have thoughts about getting too big to fail, balance it with thoughts of the baliff storming their manor with a scythe.

        • RedLogix

          A very pertinent comment PB.

          It’s long forgotten fact that perhaps the most bitter episode in New Zealand’s political history was the breakup of the great stations in the 1890’s, the advent of new refrigeration technology making small-holding farms viable for the first time. But of course it took political action to break up the old vested monopoly interests.

          The future of New Zealand farming as Rod Oram was pointing out in his article this weekend is in high value, research intensive sustainable organics… propping up the current extractive, low-value commodity based model is the path to poverty.

        • Quoth the Raven

          Absolutely essential reading on the topic: Austrian and Marxist theories of monopoly capital: A mutualist synthesis.

  26. Ianmac 26

    Good one Zet.
    In the past farmers have said to me that I must appreciate that they are they main strength to NZ economy. I say yes of course you are.
    But you the farmer are not farming for the good of the country at all. You are farming because you know how, you enjoy it, and you are doing it to make money for your lifestyle. You have means of hiding income as costs for farming which reduces tax.
    You farm for personal reasons and this does not earn you the right to get special priviledges beyond that of any other worker or businessman.
    I usually get a grim response and drink alone at the country pub. 🙂

    • prism 26.1

      Interesting point Ianmac about being left to drink alone after stating simple facts. I made a point earlier about the rhetoric of the heroic farmer going his individualistic way, needing no help, not like those pathetic townies. Then when someone takes them seriously they get shirty.
      There has been a lot of talk about dairy farmers needing help, but surely farmers in other sectors are having drought problems. And the farmers most deserving income help are the family farmers. If they fail, then the factory farmers will buy up their properties, and we’ll have more of the distant landlord stuff which is not good for the country, the brand, the animals or the small farmer or sharemilker. And our forebears came here to get away from the landed classes that operate so that nobody can accumulate enough money to buy land for themselves, there could be no upward social mobility. The Tolpuddle Martyrs – does anyone remember them!

  27. One of your most sensible posts.

    National are the party of Pink Torys recall. The issue really is about consistency and if the government is to prop up people who own struggling businesses then you have to ask why farmers and not other businesses with cashflow problems?

    Given farmers themselves talk of being in it for capital gains, I have to say their income streams and cashflow is their own problem when at the end of the process they have that to look forward to.

    • tsmithfield 27.1

      Cactus, I did make some posts on this earlier on. I tend to agree with you.

      However, I do feel a little sorry for farmers in that, despite the best planning, weather events can occur that go way outside the scope for prudent planning. For this reason, I wouldn’t want to take up farming myself.

      I think, therefore, that there are situations where the government should step in, so long as these situations meet the criteria of being outside the scope of what a careful farmer would allow for in prudent planning. For instance a one in one hundred year flood or drought might meet that criteria.
      In these situations, help should be in the form of a loan rather than a grant.

      Other than that, I see a moral hazard in stepping in to rescue farmers every time there is a moderately adverse event that is within the scope of good planning.

  28. Hamish 28

    The business is _not_ being bailed out – the employee, who the business can no longer afford to pay is given the payments.

    If you look at this closely, you’ll see that’s exactly how the unemployment benefit currently works anyway : you get it, when your employer stops paying your income.

    So, original post = fail…

    • andy (the other one) 28.1

      If you look at this closely, you’ll see that’s exactly how the unemployment benefit currently works anyway : you get it, when your employer stops paying your income.

      No you don’t Hamish if you:

      -Are married/long term partner and said spouse/partner earns over $35k
      -You have savings
      -Are made redundant = 13 week stand down + all of the above

      And unfortunately with farming the business is the employee, I have farmers in the family and the business pays lots of the house hold expenses because they live where they work and are on call 24/7 but drought forces them to spend 110% of everything keeping the lights on and the animals well..

      So the business is being subsidised, because in good times they still get to claim against living expenses where as PAYE workers are on their own. The system treats the two very similar circumstances very differently and I would argue unfairly.

    • Bright Red 28.2

      hamish. do you have the internet?

      if so, you could find out about the Rural Assistance Payments (which are the same amount as the unemployment benefit, but not actually the unemployment benefit). And then you would find out that you’ve got it wrong.

  29. Hamish 29

    >>>andy (the other one) :

    Okay, I may have some of the finer detail wrong. This is how I picked up the original post: public money will be used to prop up / bailout a farm if due to drought it cannot turn a profit / pay it’s staff. (Correct me if I am wrong) That is not that case. Public money will be used to help the farmer (and his staff) regardless of his asset base, which in the case of a farmer, is probably rather rich.

    At the end of the day, I see no problem with giving farmers a helping hand. The amount of money they take back for the short period they are on state assistance would be far far less then the amount they pay in tax. Also, these “bludgers” are extremely productive, both to the country and to their communities. Hardly like the stereo-type bludger from South Auckland who’ll be on state assistance for a long time, doing nothing productive, and ticking the Red or Green box every three years.

    >>> hamish. do you have the internet? >>>haha..

    • Maynard J 29.1

      As I said to you earlier, the vast majority of people who receive a benefit do so for a short period of time, and pay tax for a majority of their life. So I assume you have no objections to benefits.

      Just like there are a small minority of people who abuse benefits, no doubt there are farmers doing the same. If you consider that this drought is a predictable event that farmers should have planned for, then you might question whether any of them are deserving recipients of this benefit.

  30. Ianmac 30

    Hamish:” The amount of money they take back for the short period they are on state assistance would be far far less then the amount they pay in tax.”
    Do you know that for sure Hamish? I know farmers who have boasted to me that they never pay income tax because they have very “good” accountants, and what’s more they claim back GST. I think farmers are really a great group as people, but they like some other business people they avoid paying tax – legally! Shame!

    • graham 30.1

      droughts happen

    • Most of that isn’t due to good accountants but being able to deduct interest on the farm mortgage. In many cases this represents a vast majority of farm expenses Plenty of farmers will keep high debt ratios and pay little tax because of that (and depreciation deductions). Similar to rental property accounts in a way. The higher the leveraging the less tax you pay.

  31. Hamish 31

    It was a stereo-type comment……over all it would be incredibly true…..

  32. jcuknz 32

    As I see it the Rural Assitance Package is to keep people from starving and nothing to do with the business side which may or may not go under but at least the humans involved men women and children will not starve, will have light and heat, and so on as they struggle 24/7 to keep the business afloat. All this burbling on about the ecconomics of farming is irrelevant twaddle and nothing to to do with the basic question ” Payments to farming families who have no money for the groceries”.

    So like the UB the RAP fulfills worthwhile purpose from my socialistic point of view. Zetetic’s original comments are shameful gutter garbage designed to stir up foolish interlectuals who ignore the basic principle involved of a responsible society which cares for those in need irrespective of if they are to blame for their situation …. the same as Woodhouse envisaged ACC…. the same as the private insurance companies pay out on claims.
    Put that in your pipes and smoke it 🙂

    • RedLogix 32.1

      Sure …most of us here actually understand that farming families should be supported through the bad times…. but understand how it sticks in our craw that it’s the political wing of the farming community who rabidly denies the same pragmatic compassion to us ‘parasite townies’.

  33. Name 33

    Farming is somewhat like an oil-tanker – it takes a long time to turn around and take another direction.

    Yes, you could farm at a level that anticipates drought – which means that 9 years out of 10 your farm is only producing half what it could do. Who benefits from that?

    Individual farmers deserve the same kind of support as anyone else when misfortune hits them.

    Where I do agree with the poster is that while individual farmers may not be at fault and deserve help, we’ve seen over and over an industry hit a good patch and – ker-ching – the cash register lights up in the eyes of the entrepreneur and a thousand of them pile in placing pressure on resources, markets, infrastructure, environment, public tolerance, etc. Remember when milk was called “white gold”? A few years ago green-shell mussels were $1,000 a tonne on the harvester. Now it’s $600 a tonne. Two years ago you couldn’t move in Marlborough for new vineyards. Now the bottom has dropped out of grapes and vines are being ripped out. Kiwi-fruit, Angora, Marino, sub-prime mortgages. The list goes on.

    Individuals are not at fault, apart from those who try it in patently inappropriate places. It’s the invisible hand of the market that cries, “There’s gold in them thar’ hills,” and is happy to let the Devil take the hindmost.

    Usually the industry stake-holders themselves are too caught up in the rush, or have too much at stake, to question it so someone outside the system needs to have the power to cry, ‘Hold, enough’, before the lifeboat gets too crowded and all souls are lost.

    It used to be called a planned economy before we all thought we knew better.

  34. Adrian 34

    A few facts, Name is correct, the trouble with farming is that when some crop or other starts to get good prices, Queen Street Farmers become involved , push up land prices, get the demand /supply cocked up, crop prices fall, and genuine farmers struggle. That’s what happened in Marlborough, all sorts of arseholes, notably ex big city developers and financiers ( the Velas, Sutton, McKean et al ) climbed on board. But a correction, no vines are being pulled out, that’s Jim Delegats wishful thinking, so he can buy cheap vineyards, the 2010 vintage is down quite a bit due to very good management of fruit levels and a coolish spring. Sorry, cheap savvy is off the winelist next year. The Rural Assistance Packages were bought in by Labour during the 2000/01 drought after National refused in 1998 ( one of the reasons the Nats lost so heavily in 99, the cockies stayed home), they have an off-farm asset threshold which actually prevents many farming families from getting them. Another post has lamented that the ungrateful bastards, who historicly do a lot better under Labour, completely forget which party is on their side when it comes to the ballot box.

  35. Descendant Of Smith 35

    It’s was clear to me from the outset that the post was pointing out the hypocrisy not suggesting that farmers struggling for food and unable to get any help from their banker mates (you know the ones who lend them lots of money in the good times and run away in the bad and I’m probably being slightly unfair on some bankers who do see to help farmers more than others) shouldn’t be given the same subsistence level of benefit to help out when needed.

    No doubt many farmers have made provision but some in my area have had several years of drought and have already sold off their stock so it doesn’t starve ( and the townies would have moaned their heads off if they hadn’t – just like they complain about the skinny working dogs ) and have little if nothing left. The drought effects go on much longer even when the rain comes because they may have no stock left and have to slowly rebuild again.

    I don’t begrudge anyone in genuine need getting help and moral judgments of what led to the predicament they find themselves in which is what many right-wing people make don’t come into it.

    If they have no money help em.

  36. Armchair Critic 36

    Bugger it, this is the kind of post that bring out the righty in me.
    These farmers. They’ve got a good scam going…
    Most of the farmers I know are not deliberate scammers.
    Got us paying for their greenhouse emissions.
    To many farmers the ETS is a bunch of airy fairy scientific accounting bollocks and they are happy to oppose it on the basis that someone (from National or ACT, usually) tells them that it is bad for their business, will cost them money, or will stop them from doing what they do. Remember, farmers don’t make a lot of money every year. Sure, they have high cashflows, but a lot of the time they run cash deficits and only make any money from capital gains when they sell up. So the extra costs of an ETS don’t sit well with them. Especially considering (and I’ll stereotype here again) they don’t see any direct benefit from the expenditure. And yes, I know that is one of the things about an ETS. Stopping farmers doing what they always do is usually met with resistance, because farming involves a lot of routine, which is kind of like tradition, and traditions and routines take some effort to change. Again, not defending resistance to the ETS from the farming sector, just trying to explain it. In essence, farmers are happy to take someone’s word about the ETS because it has less impact on them to approach it that way.
    …put all their untreated sh*t in our waterways… is too much hyperbole – and what drove me to write a long response to the post. Yes, untreated sh*t goes into waterways from farms. Some of it is done illegally, and where it is found, it is prosecuted. Crafars, for example. Some of it goes in legally, because not all farms have all waterways fenced, culverted and planted up. I’m all for protection of waterways, BTW. And some is treated (happy to debate the adequacies of current dairy effluent treatment with all-comers, too – my opinion is that farmers could and should do better) and discharged. Not all shit is untreated. While I am critical of the Clean Streams Accord, I can give it credit for (a) being better than what was there previously, and (b) having halted the decline of water quality in some places and started improving it in others. Please don’t ask me to defend it any further.
    When a council won’t give them more free water, they get their corrupt government to disband the council
    I’ve a suspicion that there are many farmers in Canterbury who either do not support or outright oppose the government’s actions regarding ECan. I’m on record in comments on other posts opposing it, too. Tarring all the farmers in Canterbury with the same brush is unfair.
    …we’ll be paying for farmers irrigation…”
    I’m happy to pay for farmer’s irrigation, well, a part of the capital costs, at least. Okay, there are a lot of caveats on that, around sustainability and equitability, but in principle I’m fine with my tax money going towards such things. Why not?
    …get the government to pay for their R&D and have a cry when asked to contribute to the cost…
    Never really followed this one. Agree farmers should contribute something towards R&D costs. Do they genuinely contribute nothing toward R&D?
    Back in the dairy boom they converted a whole lot of sheep, beef, and forest land to dairy. Never enough water
    My understanding has been that sheep, beef and forestry were “barely economical” due to low prices, rather than a lack of water. The process under which these farms were converted to dairy is a prime example of “…farms that can’t handle a bad time fail.” As sheep, beef and forestry they couldn’t handle a bad time, and they failed. And under the capitalist system the land was converted to dairy. Which was a great big risk management failure in both economic and environmental terms, in my book. But that would be the subject of an entirely different post.
    So government’s giving them the dole. Yup, the dole.
    Yeah, what would you have them do? Walk off the land? I’ve seen that done, had family do it. It was the mid 1980s (thanks, first ACT government), I’ll never forget how it destroyed lives. Everyone deserves a safety net and a helping hand when they need it. Farmers included. Suggesting otherwise is cold-hearted. Fucking cold-hearted. And unbecoming of anyone who considers themselves to be left-leaning or liberal.
    On a more pleasant note, it makes sense from National’s perspective. Farmers tend to vote National, whereas the unemployed tend not to. If farmers need to be eligible for the dole to remain farmers (and thereby National voters) then it is expedient of National to allow them to be eligible for the dole. Especially considering how effective they have been, as a government, at increase the numbers of unemployed.
    Much of what the post attributes to farmers is, as I see it, properly attributed to this shit-arsed government we have. Yes, they are encouraging dairy on land that is unsuitable for dairy (don’t pull your punches on that one, some of the land is not just “marginal”). Yes, they will almost certainly provide tax cuts at the top end and for businesses. Yes, the government have stolen democracy in Canterbury.
    The best way to stop the terrible things this government is doing is to vote them out. Alienating sectors of the voting populace with posts like this one just perpetuates the myth that the left are anti-farming (amongst the other myths about the left) and shores up the decrease in support for the government. I want National out. This post didn’t help.

    • uke 36.1

      Much of what you say rings true, Armchair Critic.

      It is perhaps just a bit lazy to discuss the issues in polarising, “them and us”, terms, when the rural sector is far more complicated. As is the urban sector.

      All it does, in fact, is mirror the rhetoric of lobby groups like Federated Farmers who always seem so defensive and chip-on-shoulder.

  37. Adrian 37

    DofS and Arm Chair…brilliantly said. God, I wish I could write like that.

  38. vto 38

    Up until a few days ago or so the odd farmer would post their side of the story on here.

    Now, as far as I can tell, there aint a single one.

    What’s happenned? They run out of solid argument? They had enough of leftie types? Would be good to hear their side because there are serious issues. I had a ding-dong with one the other day but I think he gave up on continuing the debate………

    • Bored 38.1

      The odd farmer will be back when the coast is clear, they wont forget the habits of a lifetime so quickly.

  39. Kleefer 39

    Maynard J, I agree with you that many people who claim to be fans of the “free market” are nothing of the sort and support rules that benefit the big corporations at the expense of everybody else. I am not one of these people. Quoth the Raven is also correct, genuine free-marketers are anti-corporatist. Unfortunately the term “free market” has been corrupted so much by its opponents and its pretend supporters that genuine free marketers, who have many of the same social goals as the left but different means of achieving those goals, are lumped in with those who think the duty of government is to serve big business interests.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • At a glance – Was Greenland really green in the past?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    8 hours ago
  • Sharp-elbowed and loving it
    It doesn't seem to take a lot to persuade someone who feels they work their guts out that in fact no one is working as hard as me.It doesn't seem to take a lot to persuade someone who knows somebody taking the welfare system for a ride that they’re all ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    12 hours ago
  • Sharp-elbowed and loving it
    It doesn't seem to take a lot to persuade someone who feels they work their guts out that in fact no one is working as hard as me.It doesn't seem to take a lot to persuade someone who knows somebody taking the welfare system for a ride that they’re all ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    12 hours ago
  • Then why did she do it?
    Earlier in the month, Cancer Minister Casey Costello was caught lying to the media about whether or not she had requested advice on cutting tobacco excise tax to benefit the cancer industry. She repeated her lies in Parliament. But today, she stood up and pretended to apologise for "causing confusion" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    12 hours ago
  • Is Applying “Tough Love” To A “Fragile” Nation The Right Answer?
    The Question Christopher Luxon Needs To Ask –  And Answer: How was it possible for a nation of barely three million citizens to create and maintain an infrastructure that functioned, schools and universities that turned out well-educated and enterprising citizens, a health system that kept its people healthy, and a workforce ...
    12 hours ago
  • The limits to realism.
    Realism is a school of thought in the field of international relations (IR). It provides a theoretical framework for analysing the behaviour of States in the world political system. Like other theories (which in the IR literature include idealism, liberalism, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    13 hours ago
  • UNSOCIAL MEDIA – Following the Trolls
    From TODAY FM archives — Wilhelmina Shrimpton and Simon Morrow take a deep dive into trolling and cyberbullying. From the high profile to the general public, Kiwis across all walks of life are being targeted, and some are paying the ultimate price. So what drives us to troll, who is ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    13 hours ago
  • Govt prescribes stiff medicine for some beneficiaries while easing access to drugs containing pseudo...
    Buzz from the Beehive One of two new announcements on the government’s official website  – given plenty of publicity by the mainstream media over the past 24 hours – has been pitched as the first steps in a “reset” of the welfare system.  Stiff medicine for beneficiaries, in effect. The ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    15 hours ago
  • We’re not as fragile or as lazy as Luxon says
    Luxon says his government is one that is “prepared to make those hard decisions”. File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has adopted the language of Ruth Richardson before her 1991 ‘Mother of All Budgets’ in arguing for benefit sanctions to bolster the Government finances, which ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    16 hours ago
  • Talking over the Silence.
    Please open the doorNothing is different, we've been here beforePacing these hallsTrying to talk over the silenceIf I was to describe what I do, or at least the way it sometimes feels, then talking over the silence wouldn’t be a bad way to do so.Not that there aren’t other voices ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    17 hours ago
  • LINDSAY MITCHELL: National needs to go further
    Lindsay Mitchell writes – In today’s State of the Nation speech Christopher Luxon talked repeatedly about getting young people off welfare. It seems that National has devised a traffic light system which will use increasing levels of sanctions – welfare deductions – when beneficiaries fail to meet their ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    18 hours ago
  • Gordon Campbell on National spreading panic about the economy
    It is a political strategy as old as time. Scare the public with tales of disaster and stampede them into supporting your ideological agenda because they believe There Is No Alternative. Yet, if the NZ economy truly is as “fragile” as PM Christopher Luxon says it is… Then how come ...
    20 hours ago
  • The promise of passive house design
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Sarah Wesseler Imagine a home so efficient that it could be heated with a hair dryer. That’s the promise of a passive house, a design standard that’s becoming increasingly popular in the architecture community for its benefits to occupants and the climate. ...
    20 hours ago
  • Deep in the Uncanny Valley of AI
    Hi,Before we get started, some very big fun Webworm news. I am launching a new journalism fund called Big Worm Farm!A really great thing that’s happened with Webworm over the last four years is that it’s grown. That’s great for a few reasons.Firstly — it means the work here gets ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    21 hours ago
  • Introducing: Big Worm Farm
    Hi,I’m excited to tell you about Big Worm Farm.Put simply, the main aim of Big Worm Farm is to support investigative journalists from around the world to be able to devote dedicated time to research and report on a specific story, to be published on Webworm.The stories will capture the ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    22 hours ago
  • Why Massey is broke
    The Tertiary Education Commission has named the two universities it says are at high risk financially. They are Massey and Victoria. The Commission appeared before Parliament’s Education Select Committee yesterday and offered a revealing and rare insight into the complex world of university economics. Its Briefing to the Incoming Minister ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    23 hours ago
  • You keep Luxin' when you oughta be thruthin'
    Christopher Luxon’s campaign to win last year's election continued yesterday with a speech.Channelling possibly Bruce Willis in Die Hard, he was all, I'm not going to dress it up, I'm going to level with you guys: the state of the nation is fragile.The thing he’s maybe missing is that it ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 day ago
  • The PM spoke of the need for tough choices – and then opted to beat a retreat when gays and Gaza a...
    Buzz from the Beehive The PM’s State of the Nation speech – according to a Newshub headline – was a ‘buffet of buzzwords’ and full of ‘nonsense’. Fair to say, the quoted words were attributed to Opposition politicians, who were unlikely to say the speech was visionary and inspiring: PM ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    2 days ago
  • Keynesian Wisdom.
    When the facts change, I change my mind - what do you do, sir?John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)This posting is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    2 days ago
  • BRIAN EASTON: Puffing policy
    Public policy towards tobacco consumption remains politically sensitive. Brian Easton writes – In 1983, a young researcher was told by a medium-level Treasury official that Treasury policy was to abandon excise duties on tobacco. The senior Treasury economist that I consulted, famed for his commonsense, snorted ‘we ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    2 days ago
  • Is 2.8% per year population growth too much?
    TL;DR: The Government is reviewing migration settings that produced 2.8% population growth last year and is looking at a longer-term strategy of matching population growth to the ‘absorbtive capacity’ of Aotearoa-NZ’s infrastructure.Our population grew last year at its fastest rate since 1947, when large numbers of troops returning from World ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Tough Choices & Tough Love.
    I've been trying to hurt youI've been holding you tightI've been learning to love youAm I doing it right?How are you still breathingWith my hands all over your heart?How do we start healingIf we can't keep out the dark?Yesterday the Prime Minister delivered his State of the Nation, for no ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • Will the 2024 RLTP be yet another debacle?
    A couple of years ago, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport found themselves in court over the 2021 Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP). A non-profit alliance for transport decarbonisation, All Aboard Aotearoa, argued that among other factors, the RLTP was unlawful because it failed to give effect to the 2021 Government ...
    2 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #07
    A listing of 31 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, Feb 11, 2024 thru Sat, Feb 17, 2024. Story of the week Based on mission alignment, our Story of the Week is certainly Can we be inoculated against climate ...
    2 days ago
  • Immigration Issues.
    Help is comingI heard a whisperWhite caps turningThe breath of summerA distant drummingAnd liar birds callingEscape the anguish of our pastAnd prayOne of the major challenges of the the 21st century will be the mass migration of human beings around our globe.Some seeking economic opportunities, others fleeing repressive regimes, war ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Trust us, we know what we’re doing
    The best trick the National Party ever pulled was to fabricate their reputation as the responsible ones.This would be the National Party that denied us the New Zealand Superannuation Scheme that—Brian Gaynor wrote back in 2007would be worth more than $240 billion today and would have transformed the New Zealand ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • The Left’s Timidity
    It is not just Karl Marx – even the most enthusiastic supporters of the market economy (not least Adam Smith) will concede that its normal operation inevitably leads to a concentration of wealth in relatively few hands. Some, at least, of these enthusiasts will accept that such a concentration is ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • OLIVER HARTWICH: Absurd – NZ courts can now decide on climate change
    Oliver Hartwich writes – The World Justice Project ranks New Zealand 7th out of 142 countries on its ‘Rule of Law Index’, narrowly ahead of Australia’s 13th place. However, Australia still has hope – if only because of a recent decision by the Supreme Court of New Zealand. The ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Still waiting on that turnaround
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past week’s editions.Friday: Week in review, quiz style2. Shane Jones’ demeanour in mocking and deriding climate activists can be observed in what other realm of human behaviour?a. Gleeful little boys pulling wings off fliesb. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Mihi Forbes and the great Atlas conspiracy
    Graham Adams writes — Last week, Mihingarangi Forbes made an extraordinary claim while interviewing David Seymour on Mata Reports, a taxpayer-funded current affairs programme which, she says, looks at events through an “indigenous lens”. She asked him about Act’s links to the Atlas Network, which fosters connections between centre-right ...
    Point of OrderBy gadams1000
    4 days ago
  • Puffing Policy
    Public policy towards tobacco consumption remains politically sensitive. In 1983, a young researcher was told by a medium-level Treasury official that Treasury policy was to abandon excise duties on tobacco. The senior Treasury economist that I consulted, famed for his commonsense, snorted ‘we need the money’. He explained that no-excise-duty ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • Luxon is one of three prime ministers pressing for a ceasefire in Gaza – but the two-state solutio...
    Buzz from the Beehive Two days after hundreds of people rallied outside the New Zealand parliament and the US embassy in Wellington to protest against what they maintain is genocide in Gaza,  Prime Minister Chris Luxon joined with the Prime Ministers of Australia and Canada to express their  concerns that ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • All jellied up with possum grease
    1. Shane Jones, addressing the energy industry, called climate concern what?a. The only sane responseb. Undeniably valid c. Our last best hope d. A "religion" 2. Shane Jones’ demeanour in mocking and deriding climate activists can be observed in what other realm of human behaviour?a. Gleeful little boys pulling wings off fliesb. Gleeful ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Equality comes to Greece
    The Greek Parliament has voted for marriage equality: Greece has become the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to legalise same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples will now also be legally allowed to adopt children after Thursday's 176-76 vote in parliament. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the new law would "boldly abolish a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • CHRIS TROTTER:  Iron in her soul.
      “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche   Chris Trotter writes – TELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    5 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to Feb 16
    Net emigration of New Zealanders overseas hit a record-high 47,000 in the 2023 year, which only partly offset net immigration of 173,000, which was dominated by arrivals from India, the Philippines and China with temporary work visas. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The five things that mattered in Aotearoa’s ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Stop Whispering.
    There's nothing to sayAnd there's nothing to doStop whispering, start shoutingStop whispering, start shoutingYesterday our government surprised a few of us by standing up for something. It wasn’t for the benefit of people who own holiday homes and multiple investment properties. Neither were there any tobacco companies or fishing cartels ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • “I'm Not Keen on Whataboutism, But What About…”
    Hi,Not sure how your week is going, but I’ve had a pretty frustrating one. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it, and I think it’s perhaps distilled in this message I got on Twitter:What got me a bit riled up is that it was a response to the ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on National passing bad policies under urgency
    If National really had faith in its welfare policies, it wouldn’t be ramming them through Parliament under urgency – a step that means the policies can’t be exposed to select committee debate, public submissions, expert commentary, media scrutiny and all the normal democratic processes that this coalition appears to hold ...
    5 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 16-February-2024
    It’s Friday so once again here”s our roundup of some of the articles that caught our attention this week. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday Matt looked at the Government’s war on Auckland. On Tuesday Matt covered the ongoing issues with the rail network. On Thursday Matt ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    5 days ago
  • The Dawn Chorus for Friday, February 16
    The six things to note in my view at 6.30 am on Friday, February 16 in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy are: Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Iron In Her Soul.
    “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich NietzscheTELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP for Auckland Central is the odds-on ...
    5 days ago
  • Dig this
    Resources Minister Shane Jones yesterday told a breakfast hosted by Energy Resources Aotearoa precisely what they wanted to hear. “We campaigned to rehabilitate relegitimise and stand up for working families who derive their income,  derive their hope and derive purpose in regional New Zealand through a flourishing, growing, forward-leaning energy ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #7 2024
    Open access notables Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course, van Westen et al., Science Advances: Here, we show results of the first tipping event in the Community Earth System Model, including the large climate impacts of the collapse. Using these results, we develop a physics-based and ...
    5 days ago
  • A rejection of the rule of law
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Shrugging-Off The Atlas Network.
    Upholding The Status-Quo: The Left’s election defeat is not the work of the Atlas Network. It is not even the work of David Seymour and Act. It is the work of ordinary citizens who liked the Right’s stories better than they liked the Left’s. If the Right’s stories were made ...
    6 days ago
  • BARRIE SAUNDERS: Treaty Principles – all rather problematic
    Barrie Saunders writes – When ACT’s leader said they wanted legislation to state what the Treaty principles mean, my first thought was this will be controversial and divisive.  Clearly it is. The first reference to the principles of the Treaty were contained in the 1975 Act establishing the Treaty of ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Luxon Rejects The “Rejection Election” At His Peril.
    Fitting Right In: National retailed a reactionary manifesto of right-wing, racially-charged policies to the electorate throughout 2023. No talk back then of ignoring the overwhelming political preferences of the voting public and making a strong stand on principle. If Luxon’s pollsters and focus-groups were telling him that the public was ...
    6 days ago
  • Valentine’s Day went unnoticed on the Beehive website – but it is not “baa, humbug” to celeb...
    Buzz from the Beehive None of our ministers – a quick check with the Beehive website suggests – found cause to mention, let along celebrate, Valentine’s Day. But two ministers – Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson – ensured that National Lamb Day did not pass ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • Are You A Leftist?
    Nothing To Lose But Our Chains: The emancipatory movement which the Left, understood correctly, has always been, cannot accommodate those who are only able to celebrate one group’s freedom by taking it from another. The expectation, always, among leftists, is that liberty enlarges us. That striking-off a person’s shackles not ...
    6 days ago
  • An unlawful directive
    An interesting question in the Parliamentary written questions feed today, from Jan Tinetti to the Minister of Education: Has she or her Office directed the Ministry of Education to not release Official Information Act material prior to the full twenty working days, if so, why? Given that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • I’ve been doing this all wrong
    Here are six words that are not easy to say but god it can feel good when you finally say them:I’ve been doing this all wrongFive years ago today I said to myself:What if I'm doing this all wrong?Five years ago today I said to Karren: I think I’m going to ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • New study suggests the Atlantic overturning circulation AMOC “is on tipping course”
    This is a re-post from RealClimate by Stefan Rahmstorf A new paper was published in Science Advances today. Its title says what it is about: “Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course.” The study follows one by Danish colleagues which made headlines last July, likewise looking for early warning signals ...
    6 days ago
  • Valentines from ACT.
    Some of us make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day. We’ll buy the flowers, eye watering though the price spike might be. Say the things we should be saying anyway, although diminished by being scheduled for delivery. Some of us will even write long free-form newsletters with declarations of ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Tax cuts paid for by 13k more kids in poverty
    MSD advised the government that the indexation change it passed under urgency last night is likely to put around 7,000 extra children (and potentially up to 13,000) into poverty. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The Government has reverted indexation for main beneficiaries to price inflation from wage inflation under ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Fuel Tax Fight and Rail Fail update
    The two stories we covered at the start of the week continue to be in the headlines so it’s worth looking at the latest for each of them. Regional Fuel Tax Mayor Wayne Brown promised some ‘argy-bargy’ over the government’s decision to cancel the Regional Fuel Tax and he’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Arsonists
    Today, a major fire broke out on the Port Hills in Ōtutahi. Like its 2017 predecessors, it is almost certainly exacerbated by climate change. And it is still burning. The present government did not start the fire. But they piled the tinder high last time they were in power, gutting ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • I don’t know! 7 examples And who actually makes the decisions? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know. America is a complex country, conservative on the one hand, rapidly changing on the other. It’s not easy for us to sort it all out.   Tucker Carlson: Do you think Zelensky has the freedom to negotiate the settlement to this conflict? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know the details, of course it’s difficult for me to judge, but ...
    6 days ago
  • Fresh thinkers
    Fresh thinking will always give you hope.It might be the kind that makes you smite your brow, exclaiming: Why didn't we think of that! It's obvious!It might be the kind that makes you go: Dude you’re a genius.Sometimes it will simply be Wayne Brown handing Simeon Brown his weasel ass ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • It is not about age, it is about team.
    Much attention has been directed at Joe Biden’s mental lapses and physical frailty. Less attention has been spent on Donald Trump’s cognitive difficulties and physical limitations, with most focus being devoted to his insults and exaggerated claims (as if they … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • ROBERT MacCULLOCH: Fletcher Building – it is time to break up NZ’s most useless company.
    Robert MacCulloch writes –  Gosh, the CEO of Fletcher Building, Ross Taylor, says today’s announcement of a half-year loss of $120 million for the company is “disappointing” and was “heavily impacted” by the Convention Centre losses. He must be crying all the way to the bank (to quote Las ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    7 days ago
  • Mortgage rates seen high for even longer
    Government and borrower hopes for early mortgage cost relief look likely to be thwarted. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Stronger-than-expected US inflation data out overnight is expected to delay the first US Federal Reserve rate cut into the second half of 2024, which in turn would hold mortgage rates ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, the first of the new Parliament. And to start the Parliament off, there's a bunch of first readings. A bunch of other bills have been postponed, so first up is Duncan Webb's District Court (Protecting Judgment Debtors on Main Benefit) Amendment Bill, followed by Katie ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Three Waters go down the legislative gurgler – but what should we make of Local Water Done Well?
    Buzz from the Beehive Local Government Minister Simeon Brown – it seems fair to suppose – was flushed with success after the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation. As he explained, repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing his government’s Local Water Done Well ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    7 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on five of Luxon’s Gaza absurdities
    Earlier this week, PM Christopher Luxon met with 48 public service CEOs to make sure they were on board with his plans to cut spending on public services so that National can proceed to give the revenue away to those New Zealanders least in need. This wasn’t the only absurdity ...
    7 days ago
  • Love and the Fairer Sex.
    This morning I woke early with many thoughts in my head of things said, events of the week, things that matter. I’m afraid none of them involved Seymour, Willis, or Luxon so if you’re looking for something political maybe take the day off and come back tomorrow. You won’t find ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • He stood up to Muldoon and Lange and the Fji army
    Gerald Hensley, who died aged 88 on Saturday, was the key official who presided over the tumultuous events that followed the election of the Lange Labour Government in 1984. He was also instrumental in helping a key Fijian official escape the country during one of the 1987 coups. A diplomat ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • At a glance – Has Arctic sea ice returned to normal?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Halo dunia!
    Selamt datang di WordPress. Ini adalah pos pertama Anda. Sunting atau hapus, kemudian mulai menulis! ...
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • ELE LUDEMANN: Trusting locals
    Ele Ludemann writes- A government-knows-best and predilection for central control was another unfortunate feature of the 2017-2023 Labour governments. One of the worst polices as a result of that was what started as Three Waters and became several more. The National-led government is much more trusting of locals ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 week ago
  • Legislation to flush away Three Waters has become a certainty – but we must wait for details on th...
    Buzz from the Beehive A  three-day information drought was broken, just after Point of Order published yesterday’s Buzz from the Beehive, and two significant ministerial announcements were made. First, the Budget will be delivered on 30 May, telling us which genuine savings have been made by eliminating waste and which ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    1 week ago
  • Rise of the Lobbyists.
    An unpopular opinion, I love Auckland.Not so much the transport or the house prices - those are pretty dire. But there’s a lot to like. We’ve a vibrant, multicultural city in a beautiful location with, mostly, friendly locals. From the native bush of the Waitakeres to the Gulf islands, it’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The holes in National’s water reform pipes
    Young renters just have to watch on as pipes keep failing and the Government and councils point fingers at each other, because all the incentives are for ratepayers to block rates increases, water meters, water charges and the creation of new entities. File Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: The National-ACT-NZ First coalition ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago

  • Greater support for social workers
    The Coalition Government is enhancing the professionalism of the social work sector and supporting the vulnerable people who rely on them, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.  The Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. It amends the Social Workers Registration Legislation ...
    10 hours ago
  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
    17 hours ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
    1 day ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
    3 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    5 days ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    5 days ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
    6 days ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
    6 days ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    6 days ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    6 days ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    7 days ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    7 days ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    1 week ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    1 week ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
    1 week ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
    1 week ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
    The Coalition Government is continuing work to restore council ownership and control of water assets by repealing Three Waters and appointing a Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on the implementation of Local Water Done Well, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “The Government will pass a bill to ...
    1 week ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced five new diplomatic appointments.  "Strong and effective diplomacy to protect and advance our interests in the world is needed now more than ever," Mr Peters says.  “We are delighted to appoint senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to these ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
    It is great to be here today at this event as Minister for Auckland and Minister ofTransport. Let me start by acknowledging each one of you and thanking the Committee forAuckland for hosting this event and inviting me to speak here today. The Committee for Auckland has been a symbol ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has today confirmed his high-level transport priorities for Auckland, in the lead up to releasing the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. “Our economic growth and productivity are underpinned by a transport network that enables people and freight to move around safely and efficiently. At ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024. “Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Calls for Work to Tackle Kina Barrens
    Changes to fishing rules and a significant science programme are being undertaken to address kina barrens, says Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Shane Jones. “There has been tremendous interest from iwi, communities and recreational fishers who had raised concerns about such kina infestations being a major threat to Northland’s marine ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government law and order crackdown begins
    The coalition Government is making good on its promise to restore law and order by removing government funding for Section 27 reports and abolishing the previous Labour Government’s prison reduction target, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell say.  “In recent years, the development of Section 27 reports ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greater focus on getting people into work
    The coalition government will refocus employment efforts and the welfare system so that supporting people who can work into jobs is the number one priority, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Of concern in the labour market statistics released by Stats NZ today was the number of youth not ...
    2 weeks ago
  • One year on, NZ appeals for release of Phillip Mehrtens
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appealed to those holding New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens in remote Papua, Indonesia, to release him immediately.  Phillip Mehrtens was taken hostage a year ago on 7 February in Paro, Papua, while providing vital air links and supplies to remote communities. “We strongly urge those holding ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministers reaffirm Pacific connections this week
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Health Minister and Minister for Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti are reaffirming the importance of New Zealand’s connections to the Pacific by visiting Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa this week.  “New Zealand enjoys strong and long-standing relationships with our Pacific partners - especially in Polynesia, where we ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rt Hon Christopher Luxon – Waitangi speech
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, rau rangatira ma. Tēnā koutou katoa. He tino mihi ki te mana whenua o tēnei rohe.  Mihi mai, mihi mai, mihi mai. Te whare e tū nei, tēnā koe.                               He-wāhi whakahirahira tēnei mō Aotearoa. Ka huri nga whakaaro, ki nga mate. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government awards primary sector scholarships to students
    Six university students studying agriculture and science have been awarded scholarships as part of the coalition Government’s efforts to boost on-the-ground support for farmers and growers. “The coalition Government is committed to improving support and operating conditions for farmers and growers,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. “We’re backing a range ...
    2 weeks ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996. From 1996 to 1999 he worked as a solicitor in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand provides further humanitarian support to Gaza and the West Bank
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that New Zealand is providing a further $5 million to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank.  “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling,” Mr Peters says.  “That is why New Zealand has contributed $15 ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government consults on expanding COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to enable public input into expanding the scope of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, says Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden. “As committed to in both the ACT-National and NZ First-National coalition agreements, the public will be given the opportunity ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Tai Tokerau Water Boost
    A further $5 million loan has been advanced to the Tai Tokerau Water Trust for Te Waihekeora Reservoir, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says.  “Water is a precious resource, Kānoa – Regional Development and Investment Unit at the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment have done amazing work in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Fast track consenting in the fast lane
    The Government is progressing changes to resource management laws as part of its 100 Day Action Plan, with the first steps taken to establish a new fast-track consenting one-stop shop regime. “This new regime, which forms part of National’s coalition agreement with New Zealand First, will improve the speed and ...
    3 weeks ago
    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence the Hon Richard Marles MP and Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Penny Wong hosted New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters MP and Minister of Defence Hon Judith Collins KC MP on 1 February ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minimum wage set for cautious increase
    The adult minimum wage rate will increase by 2 per cent to $23.15 an hour from 1 April 2024, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden announced today. “This Government is committed to striking the right balance between protecting the incomes of our lowest paid workers and maintaining labour ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Increased security improves ED safety over summer
    Increasing the number of security staff in emergency departments (EDs) over the busy Christmas and New Year period improved the safety of both staff and patients, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says. 200 additional security staff (93 FTEs) were provided to 32 EDs in response to concerns raised by ED ...
    3 weeks ago

Page generated in The Standard by Wordpress at 2024-02-20T15:13:02+00:00