Carter’s attack on SAFE a diversion

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, May 19th, 2009 - 22 comments
Categories: animal welfare, national/act government, spin - Tags: ,

mikesowtouchSo, Agriculture Minister David Carter finally creaks into action on the brutal and inhumane treatment of factory farmed pigs, then spends most of the press release attacking the animal rights group that brought the issue into the public light.

He’s obviously covering for his abysmal performance on Sunday, where he had to admit he didn’t know his own portfolio and then proceeded to defend factory farmers as ‘probably having a good reason’ for abusing and torturing their pigs.

The fact is SAFE had perfectly good reasons not to immediately disclose where the farm featured on Sunday was based.

For one, their actions in breaking into the farm were illegal. Justified, but illegal all the same.

But more importantly, SAFE wanted the story to highlight the fact this is an industry-wide problem, not an isolated incident. As SAFE’s Hans Kriek said in the Herald, “I’ve seen them slightly dirtier, I’ve seen them slightly cleaner. I’ve seen them slightly better, I’ve seen them slightly worse.”

It’s not very often that organisations like SAFE have an opportunity to highlight these conditions, and when they do they’re up against the farming lobby’s millions of dollars and hordes of lobbyists. Nothing would have been gained from letting the farming lobby divert this into a story about how one ‘bad apple’ pig farm in Levin is mistreating its livestock.

The good news is SAFE’s strategy appears to have worked. This is now a political issue and David Carter is under pressure to show he’s not in the pocket of the factory farming lobby. No wonder he and his allies are trying to divert attention from the real issues.

22 comments on “Carter’s attack on SAFE a diversion”

  1. toad 1

    David Carter:

    As an investigation is now underway, I will not be commenting further on the details of this case.


    I don’t want to do a ‘Melissa Lee’ so I’m just going to STFU until officials in MAF and my mates in Federated Farmers and the Pork Industry Board give me some suggestions how I can wriggle out of this one.

  2. The Voice of Reason 2

    “one ‘bad apple’ pig farm in Fielding”

    Levin, Irish.

    There is actually a formerly notorious pig farm near Feilding (note spelling IB, the locals get miffed if you get it wrong) that was the subject of a similar story and attempted prosecution many years ago. The owner assures me that he cleaned up his act after that publicity and now has a facility that rivals the best in the industry. However, the best probably ain’t too flash either.

    And there is the possibility he’s lying to me; his nickname is Porky after all!

  3. Tigger 3

    Carter made the mistake of trying to shoot SAFE over this rather than showing any believable concern for the animals or indeed industry standards.

    Yet another own goal by National, they had a spate of similar own goals during the election campaign so nothing new there…

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 3.1

      Not sure attacking SAFE was a wise political move, public emotion over this is running pretty high.

      • IrishBill 3.1.1

        They are still using opposition tactics. In this case an attempt at misdirection. They may eventually learn that misdirection doesn’t work for governments because the buck stops with the government.

        • Tigger

          I think this government thinks that they can do anything and get away with it simply because they’re in charge. We’ve seen that type of behaviour woven through everything from ramming through 90 day fire at will and supercity legislation, to appointing Rankin to a ‘Families’ commission when all she’s really good at is creating broken families… It’s all shock and awe and no care.

          The arrogance of that approach, the lack of thought for the people they’re affecting, is bordering on sociopathic.

  4. Very good interview on bFM today about this:,

  5. Natpicker 5

    Which all tells me who the pig in this story really is.

  6. KiwiGirl 6

    Good gracious, did all this bad farming just start in the last six months?

  7. cocamc 7

    Did anyone watch Campbell Live. Seems this was raised by TV3 back in 2006, same farm, same people, same result. Nothing done about it. MAF did nothing then

  8. MAF will do nothing now either. Seems their investigators did not find any major problems when they visited the farm today. WTF?!
    SAFE seem to be correct when they said MAF wouldn’t do a thing. Now is the problem the investigators, or the guidelines given to the investigators that make it almost impossible to find problems and hand out punishments.

    • Anita 8.1

      It would have been better for Carter and the Pork Board if the investigators had found something and be able to argue it was unusual and addressable under the current rules. If it’s legal under the current rules that’s a pretty big strike against those rules.

  9. Bob R 9

    If this is the same farm that TV3 outed a couple of years ago that would mean that the last Government had a couple of years to investigate and do something about the situation. Didn’t happen so can we therefore assume that the last Minister either wasn’t on top of his game or didn’t care?

    • Spot on Bob R. The previous minister Jim Anderton is quite happy for factory farming to continue. Here’s hoping that David Carter sees the light and does what the previous minister wouldn’t.

      • Chris G 9.1.1

        Yes well Jim Anderton doesnt exactly have the best environmental record.

        As Fisheries minister he increased the maximum allowable bycatch of sea-lions by the squid fisheries. Admittedly he caved in to pressure and introduced some good things aswell regarding sea-bird bycatch.

        an interesting resume.

        • gingercrush

          Nobody here listen to The Panel? (I don’t exactly blame you since Mora is just pure filth) but they had Jim on to talk about his retirement (DPF had a post about Ipredict bets going up suggesting some insider knowledge of Anderton’s retirement). Anyway if one accuses of Shearer of providing a diversion I’m not exactly sure what you will make of Anderton and therefore Labour’s position on the subject (I bring up Labour because Anderton acts as their agriculture spokesperson). They seem to think this isn’t a matter of concern at all.

          I suggest you hear it. Its the last five minutes of The Panel Part two.

          Edit: Has Labour said a thing about this subject? For what is actually very important and has been getting a lot of media exposure. You think Labour would at the least have an opinion on it. Yet their silence has been extraordinary.

          • lprent

            Why? It is jim LOL. Does the national party have a policy on Dunned retiring? Or Hyde getting too embarrassed to continue as MP for Epsom

          • Rochelle Rees

            I’m in agreement with gingercrush on this one. Labour’s silence has been extraordinary. The Greens haven’t been silent. David Carter is now using the MAF investigation as an excuse to stay silent.

            Labour’s silence says that they are happy with factory farming. Despite not being in government, their silence ensures the status-quo continues. Until there is a policy differential between the two major parties on this issue, National will not feel like they are losing any votes on it.

            If Labour are happy for factory farming to continue, they should at least have the guts to admit it publicly.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Compliance strengthened for property speculation
    Inland Revenue is to gain greater oversight of land transfer information to ensure those buying and selling properties are complying with tax rules on property speculation. Cabinet has agreed to implement recommendation 99 of the Tax Working Group’s (TWG) final ...
    7 days ago
  • Plan to expand protection for Maui and Hector’s dolphins
    The Government is taking action to expand and strengthen the protection for Māui and Hector’s dolphins with an updated plan to deal with threats to these native marine mammals. Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash ...
    1 week ago
  • Cameras on vessels to ensure sustainable fisheries
    Commercial fishing vessels at greatest risk of encountering the rare Māui dolphin will be required to operate with on-board cameras from 1 November, as the next step to strengthen our fisheries management system. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Fisheries Minister ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Greatest number of new Police in a single year
    A new record for the number of Police officers deployed to the regions in a single year has been created with the graduation today of Recruit Wing 326. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of 78 new constables means ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Ensuring multinationals pay their fair share of tax
    New Zealand is pushing on with efforts to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax, with the release of proposed options for a digital services tax (DST). In February Cabinet agreed to consult the public on the problem ...
    3 weeks ago