Bludging farmers

Written By: - Date published: 3:51 pm, November 19th, 2009 - 55 comments
Categories: benefits, farming - Tags: , ,

The Fed Farmers have used Goff’s speech on monetary policy to have another whinge about beneficiaries, who they reckon are somehow to blame for the high dollar that’s crippling our exporters.

Weird, I know, but then that’s the Feds for you.

The dogwhistle term they’re using is ‘government spending’, but thanks to a recent admission by their hilariously inept economics spokesperson we know that what the Feds are really talking about is cuts to welfare.

Ironic, really, coming the farmers, who under National’s ETS are about to become the biggest welfare bludgers in the country. Perhaps when they start paying their own way in the world we might take them a little more seriously.

55 comments on “Bludging farmers”

  1. Michael Foxglove 1

    Good point Eddie. The feds are going to be become the biggest beneficiaries in the country, off the backs of working Kiwis.

    The righties should be crying “Cut them off!”. Maybe they could start “dob in a farmer” campaign.

  2. BLiP 2

    Given who the Federated Farmer’s Chief Executive is, one could say of rorting the taxpayer, “its in the blood”.

    • QoT 2.1

      Thanks, BLiP. Now whenever I see that painful Speed Kills!!! ad I’m just going to think of Blinglish shrugging and saying “rorting’s in the blood!”

  3. gitmo 3

    “Perhaps when they start paying their own way in the world we might take them a little more seriously.”

    Before getting too bombastic perhaps we should ask the following questions

    1. Are our dairy/beef/sheep farmers more or less subsidised than others around the globe ?
    2. Which other countries are subjecting their farmers to an ETS ?
    3. If we hit the farmers with the full force of an ETS what will it do to their business/export earnings/the price we pay for our milk/beef/lamb ?

    • Bright Red 3.1

      1. Are our dairy/beef/sheep farmers more or less subsidised than others around the globe ?

      Not relevant. The question is how we pay for our carbon emissions. Shoudl the polluters pay or should you and I pay?

      2. Which other countries are subjecting their farmers to an ETS ?

      gitmo 1893 ‘which other countries are giving women the vote?’
      gitmo 1985 ‘which other countries are going nuclear-free?’

      3. If we hit the farmers with the full force of an ETS what will it do to their business/export earnings/the price we pay for our milk/beef/lamb ?

      If we don’t make polluters pay for their pollution what will that do to our national debt, and the amount of tax money that we will have to spend subsidising polluters which either must come form reduced spending elsewhere or higher tax?

      • Zorr 3.1.1

        “What about the tourism? Won’t anyone think of the tourism!?!?!?!?”

        Honestly though, we are a country that has two main exports. One, the produce of our farming and two, our image as clean green New Zealand Inc. These two things do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive as it is possible to clean up our act and still be competitive in the beef/lamb/dairy/etc markets.

      • gitmo 3.1.2

        1. Very relevant I would suggest.
        2. What on earth has given women the vote and going nuclear free got to do with an ETS ?
        3. Which brings us back to the purpose and shape of an ETS and why we want to go down this track.

        • lprent 3.1.2.1

          Which brings us back to the purpose and shape of an ETS and why we want to go down this track.

          I don’t. I’ve come to the conclusion that the cap’n’trade is too susceptible to lobby groups seeking subsidies from tax payers. A simple carbon tax seems a whole lot easier. Moreover the NACT’s have demonstrated how to democratically do it.

          1. A non-specific line in the manifesto, like “Fix up the ETS to make it more equitable” that allows people to read what they want into it.
          2. Introduce the amending legislation legislation immediately after winning.
          3. Pass through the house under urgency – election demonstrated a ‘mandate’.
          4. don’t do select committees on the basis that it has been thrashed through there on a substantially different bill previously (what are we at? 4 bites at this cherry so far?)
          5. Comes out as a flat rate carbon tax per tonne designed to provide a STRONG market signal.. Plays catchup for all emission increases since 1990 by sector.
          5. Finally start to see some reductions in emissions.

          Yeah unlike the NACT’s hidden subsidy system – that might change behaviour….

          • gitmo 3.1.2.1.1

            I agree it’s a better option. I’m still dubious though whether it’ll do anything to change CO2, Methane, Nitrous emissions.

            The bit I’m still most puzzled about is how and who is going to measure emissions and liabilities.

            • Chris 3.1.2.1.1.1

              Landcare Research. Labour gave them money to develop capability – now National can use it to measure.

              And my captcha? Oil.

              LMAO

          • Quoth the Raven 3.1.2.1.2

            I don’t. I’ve come to the conclusion that the cap’n’trade is too susceptible to lobby groups seeking subsidies from tax payers. A simple carbon tax seems a whole lot easier.

            Agreed. Finally people are coming around to see what should have been obvious from the start. Furthermore, it could be made revenue neutral for those of us whose beau ideal is not maximisng state revenue.

            • lprent 3.1.2.1.2.1

              Yeah it was obvious from the start. Stopped by populist morons moaning about a ‘fart’ tax and driving tractors on the steps of parliament. Now Bill has to deal with the fiscal costs of that purely populist political decision in his budget, and doing it with the Fiscal Responsibility Act limiting the level of fiscal bullshit he can try. It does seem slightly ironic.

              The cap’n’trade was purely put in play to try to get some agreement across political boundaries by letting the ‘market’ set the price. It obviously hasn’t worked because it is ineffective at reducing emissions and NACT are using it for price-fixing. So it is a failure – time to do a policy that has a chance at doing what it is targeted to do. Of course it will now be FAR more expensive than it would have been in the early 00’s. We’ve been accumulating debts under Kyoto that we’ve going to have to pay for.

    • Clarke 3.2

      If we hit the farmers with the full force of an ETS what will it do to their business/export earnings/the price we pay for our milk/beef/lamb ?

      According to the Minister for Unfunded Future Liabilities, Nick Smith, the difference between National’s ETS and Labour’s ETS is as follows:

      Smith contrasted the current and previous governments’ approaches to the ETS, telling the gathering of regional farming leaders that their cost per average farm would be in the region of $3000 a year by 2030, compared with $30,000 under Labour’s ETS legislation, on a like for like basis.

      Given that New Zealand’s liabilities under Kyoto are the same irrespective of who is in government, the real cost in 2030 is at least $30,000 per farm. But under National, taxpayers pick up the extra $27,000 in costs – for absolutely no benefit.

      So the real question is not what impact this will have on dairy prices, but what impact will the dead-weight drag of a subsidised farming sector have on the rest of the economy. Remember, the last time we tried this was the Subsidised Minimum Prices that Muldoon paid to sheep farmers in the late 1970s, and they damn near bankrupted the country.

    • Tom 3.3

      Is get it, so in the Tory vocab rorting is relative? We can throw a couple thousand million of taxpayer dough at farmers, but as it’s less than some bludging Euro farmer with a couple cows out back, that’s all good? But give a kid without a job a few bob to get by on, and that will bring down the economy? Pathetic. Maybe it’s time Goff or Cunliffe dropped a speech on corporate welfare? I’m sure most kiwis would be shocked to learn how much they subsidies the ‘free marketeers’.

    • Cactus Kate 3.4

      High taxes compared with our developing Asian trading partners perhaps has a greater impact than the ETS. Yet I don’t see any moves or outcry to cut them to make our exports more competitive with lower taxed countries.

      • Clarke 3.4.1

        But we have lower taxes (both personal and corporate) and lower compliance costs than Australia, yet by almost any measure our economic performance is worse than the Aussies. So clearly the taxation impact on export performance is negligible.

        I’d suggest that the real reason for NZ’s export sector being less competitive than Asia is our high currency compared to the managed exchange rates of countries such as China and Singapore.

        • gitmo 3.4.1.1

          Doesn’t your first paragraph rather negate your second, or has the Aus dollar suddenly tanked ?

  4. Red Rosa 4

    Dairy farmers this season won’t even notice $30k – the $6 payout on the average 125k MS kg’s is $750k gross. Would have been painful last year though.

    Sheep and beef farms have been in apparent terminal decline for 30 years, but are still hanging in there…$30k would be a bit tough, maybe 10% of this year’s gross.

    Can’t have it both ways – no-one else relies on pastoral livestock exports to the extent of NZ. And surely it is much less than the 64% that seems to get trotted out regularly by Feds. Wool is 2% of exports these days, dairy 20% odd, and meat a bit less. How they get to 64% is a mystery….

    • Bored 4.1

      There is also the little matter of the distortion of on farm costs created by the ridiculous price demanded for rural land. Given that sheep farming is said to be so unprofitable i cannot fathom the per hectare real estate prices. The same applies to dairy, very profitable but land prices prohibitive.

      • prism 4.1.1

        The base land price requiring high returns for viability, and the higher returns potential from the land pushing up the land price must be a huge cause of farmland inflation.

        Then the farm speculation. We’ve seen West Coast SI Gillespie go down big, he had interests in Tasmania as well, now Frayur or some similar name – a Fair Go client finally got paid after lots of leg work. This from farmer with four dairy farms. I suppose they’ve all bought using leverage.

        My business 101 lecturer said that NZ was the only country in the world to get so high in the developed country list and be agriculturally dependent. He reckoned we teeter on a knife edge all the time.

  5. Bored 5

    There is a contention (Trotter wrote a good piece on this) that the fundamental economic political conflict in NZ is over who gets what slice of the primary product economy, i,e on farm versus off farm costs / profits. The farmers have always claimed to be the backbone of the economy, to them nobody else (and in particular labour) have any valid input into the national primary output. Consequently we have seen farmers in the guise of Masseys Cossacks, Federated farmers (and their adjunct the National Party) forever demanding everything for themselves and nothing for the rest of us. So to hear them winge and succeed in avoiding ETS costs is no great surprise, we should treat it with the contempt it deserves.

    • burt 5.1

      You lost at the point where you said; (Trotter wrote a good piece on this)

      “Well worded” I might agree with – good – not likely.

      • Bored 5.1.1

        Hi Burt, its now tomorrow and you have not dissappointed me, nice attempt to shoot the messanger rather than note the message. You can be relied upon to be reliable, an admirable trait.

  6. burt 6

    Perhaps when they start paying their own way in the world we might take them a little more seriously.

    Do you apply this kind of thinking to all people who “don’t pay their own way” or just to people who have historically been the economic backbone of this country?

    Where will it end if we start applying this kind of thinking equally – no vote for unemployed people ?????

    Statements like this tempt me to call you a class traitor Eddie.

  7. Herodotus 7

    Still on ETS but bit off topic. Who pays for acts of god?
    Volcano erupts, or bush fires caused by God or man e.g. arsonist, of poor bush management or thunder. Unless of course there was a fire, eruption in year zero.

    • BLiP 7.1

      God’s representative on Earth – Brian Tamaki, who else?

    • lprent 7.2

      There are plenty of cases of this, and lots of studies on it (Pinatubo and Mt St Helens in particular). Takes about 1-2 years for the blip effects to wash out into the buffers. The accidental/deliberate burnoffs like Indonesia a decade ago barely registered in the short term (probably an effect in the long term because the biomass wasn’t allowed to regenerate as it would normally)

      The point is that they are point effects – not sustained for long periods. So they don’t have effects that are even measurable at 3 years.

      If you want to look at a sustained effect of this type, then you literally need to go back about 70k years to that volcano in Malaysia or the Deccan events about 65M years ago. They were a series of close events that did cause some pretty sustained changes in the biosphere. Let me know when you see something like that happening – ummm like people burning the large amounts of fossil fuels continuously for the last 200 years for instance…

      Frankly it is another diversion that is well covered in the earth sciences literature. Because we’ve been filling the CO2 buffers, they will have more measurable effects in the future. But at present natural events have no significant lasting effects. Human changes to land-use and fuel burning do.

    • burt 8.1

      Thank god our employment law process isn’t the backbone of the economy.

      The Employment Relations Authority found Marinus Antonisse was unjustifiably sacked from his job on the couple’s Southland dairy farm in January 2007.

      Putting the outcome to one side as I don’t know any more than presented in that link, how the F can it take almost 3 years to settle the case ? Who’s interest is served by a process that drawn out?

      • The Voice of Reason 8.1.1

        If a party refuses to co-operate in the process, as the farmer did here, it can drag on interminably. Set a date for mediation, then postpone. Repeat, then don’t turn up anyway at the third date. Get notice of the date for the ERA hearing? Advise Court that you are overseas. Repeat, then claim you need to hire a lawyer. Repeat, claiming you need a new lawyer. Appeal the adverse decision if you want to add another six months.

        The final financial adjudication is not likely to be much more than if you settled at the first opportunity, so if you’re a self righteous prick, why not?

        In this case, I’m wondering why the cops weren’t called. Surely threatening violence is a crime, even in Southland?

  8. RedLogix 9

    how the F can it take almost 3 years to settle the case ?

    Well the article itself gives a big fat clue:

    “Mr Vernooij has had every opportunity to rectify the mess he has caused,” Mr Montgomery said.

    “His failure to provide evidence to the authority, on top of his failure to attend a scheduled mediation without excuse and his refusal to acknowledge palpable facts, suggests a man who seeks out others to blame for his poor choices and their consequences.

    In other words the farmer was bloody minded and uncooperative with the process. Three years was probably not a bad result.

  9. millsy 10

    It won’t matter in a few years. The Chinese will out compete our farming sector just like they out competed our manufacturing sector 20 years ago. Federated Farmers are too stupid to realise that free trade works both ways.

    One wondered if the grassroots membership (no pun intended) (or all farmers) really share the same extreme views as the FF leadership. I cant imagine the nation’s few thousand organic farmers holding these views…

    I think its time for a rival farming organisation to be setup. One to challenge the neo liberal political correctness held by the gumboot wing of National and ACT.

  10. Cactus Kate 11

    “I think its time for a rival farming organisation to be setup”.

    You ahve never actually met a real farmer have you?

    • millsy 11.1

      Youre a […] kate.

      [no need for that please — r0b ]

      [lprent: Take a week off. There was no need for that – it was pointless.
      I saw it before r0b wiped it, but his edit went in after mine….]

      • Goot 11.1.1

        not nice language millsy

      • Cactus Kate 11.1.2

        What an unusual man. I didn’t even try to incite that.

        Anyway, point being that farmers are all the same.

        From a family of dairy farmers but capable of objectivity, your comments here are correct in many ways, especially the $6 payout hardly sending them all into poverty,

        Farmers are world champions in pleading poverty, especially the dairy farmers.

        While I don’t believe in welfare and paying beneficiaries to lie idle that much, I definitely think that farmers could afford to pay much more than $30k a year if this silly tax has to exist.

  11. well i’ve met real farmers. i’ve been doing plenty of tax returns for them recently. and almost all of them (dairy and sheep & beef) that have 2 or more kids are getting at least $10,000 from working for families. on top of that, the dairy farmers (even the ones without kids) are paying no tax and getting all their provisional tax payments refunded, because they have tax losses this year – from a lower milkfat payout and from the fact that we were clever with our livestock valuations enabling clients to take advantage of the fall in price of livestock. so they are paying no tax but getting a whole heap of public services, basically for free.

    so actually, a significant part of the government spending federated farmers is complaining about goes to farmers through these methods, even if we ignore the ETS. and it’s right that these families should be getting the support in the lean years when they need it. federated farmers is actually advocating a position that is not in the best interests of their own members when they call for big cuts to government spending.

    • Sheep and beef farmers are to farming what South Auckland is to Remuera, poorer cousins.

      But as to the dairy farmers, are they new and loaded with debt? The newer farmers, like most businesses will make start-up and short term losses.

      Issue is farmers do not see the activity for what it is, an investment in the price of land. No farmer gets rich by pulling the tits, they get rich when they cash up the farm on sale. Farmers are just land speculators in theory as noone would buy farmland with the expectation of the land value going down before they sell it.

      Therefore as long as the loan repayments can be met and their reasonable cost of living there is no reason why they cannot pay more for their pollution if we have to be in this crazy ETS. Those loan repayments are not just paying for their homes but their businesses.

      • Herodotus 12.1.1

        The same re land speculators applies to almost every business, what reval does Thw red Shed, Foodstuffs, of the little guy with a small workshop. They are all just keeping the cashflow positive waiting for retirement (the small guy) as divestment out of property. Others have a property arm to max tax advantage with rentals. This is essence is all NZ is Property speculators for those wealthly enough to own

      • stargazer 12.1.2

        not true kate that farmers can’t make money from farming activity. in the previous financial year, with the payout at $7.30 per kg of milkfat, dairy farmers were making shitloads of money. this was despite the fact that there was a major drought and basically no production in march/april/may 2008. at the projected payout of $6.10 (i think was the latest estimate for the current year), they’ll do ok. and remember that a lot of the farmers were paying down debt in the 07/08 year, even though the banks resisted this as much as they could.

        you’re right about sheep & beef farmers though, they only tend to make big money if they have little debt.

        i agree that farmers should pay the costs of pollution – it’s the only way to encourage more environmentally-friendly methods. after all, if a farm can’t meet it’s pollution costs, then it’s not a viable business anyway and maybe that land should be used for something else.

        i just disagree that massive cuts to government spending is in the best interests of farmers, and particularly not at the time of an economic downturn.

    • graham 12.2

      remind me not to go to your firm if i want my details to be private

      • stargazer 12.2.1

        if this was directed to me, which client’s confidentiality do you think has been breached? i’ve talked about industries and general issues, not individual cases. kate has done exactly the same.

  12. Jenny 13

    The RAT RACE (we’re winning)

    The Feds accurately depict their agribusiness rivals in Australia as “Rats up a drain pipe”, in escaping the Australian version of ETS.

    http://WWW.FEDFARM.ORG.NZ/n1758.html

    The Feds can afford to be smug as greenhouse gas polluters in New Zealand being much cleverer, have found their own drainpipe, and have swarmed up it, to arrive at it’s outlet in the Tax Payers Granary.

  13. graham 14

    i agree with eddie we should ban all farmers we will see how useless they are to the state then

  14. graham 16

    if we shoot all the cows
    then nationalise the farm land and plant trees and while we are at it hang all the kulaks i am sure the planet will be better off

  15. Geek 17

    If we were to release a targeted bio weapon that wiped only human beings from teh planet it would be better off. However using stupid extremes to try and discredit valid discussion has never been a good way to debate has it graham

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