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Fed Farmers -stunning specificity to bring dollar down

Written By: - Date published: 12:38 pm, October 27th, 2009 - 36 comments
Categories: farming - Tags:

lamb_chop_hand_puppetHave a listen to Sean Plunket’s interview this morning with Fed Farmer’s economic spokesperson Philip York. Fed Farmers is calling on the government to cut spending to rein in the rising NZ dollar.

FF: Well there’s going to have to be some tough decisions made. They’re going to have to look seriously at everything they do…(there’s) a lot of departments that are no particular use to the country.

SP: Could you name some?

FF: I can’t um…there’s all these departments that tell you what you can’t do rather than what you can do…you know…

SP: Could you name just a couple of those for us?

FF: Well it’s probably quite difficult….

Mr York then lights upon a new MAF scheme to trace and identify livestock as an ‘illogical’ spend (I’m guessing this has something to do with the country of origin in food debate) but finally hits his stride with what’s really causing all this trouble for the economy – welfare.

To be honest, I’ve come to expect a little bit more from Fed Farmers in recent years. But at least they’re providing comic relief.

36 comments on “Fed Farmers -stunning specificity to bring dollar down”

  1. Clarke 1

    FF’s view of the world is particularly hilarious when a decent portion of the ~$100 billion the country will have to borrow through until 2050 is made up of subsidies to farmers under the shiny new National Party Emissions Trading Scheme.

    From this we can conclude that farmers don’t do irony. Or logic. Or maths. And certainly definitely not media training.

  2. Tigger 2

    This reads like the transcript from the Daily Show…

  3. rocky 3

    I’m guessing this has something to do with the country of origin in food debate

    Actually I think they’re talking about a system to track individual animals to food products on the market to make disease tracking much easier.

    • Tammy Gordon 3.1

      Cheer Rocky. You would have thought Fed Farmers might have backed something like that 🙂

    • Herbert 3.2

      Just to add to this, where I live (Sth Korea) the major mobile phone companies are introducing a service where you can track each peace of meat that you buy from the supermarket. By scanning the bar code on to your mobile phone you will get each piece of meat’s history, from farm(where, when born) to factory(when slaughtered and by what compary)and who is the marketer. Guess FF are not interested in the Sth Korean market. Mind you I do see lovely photos of cows in a luch NZ paddock eating lovely green grass – no palm nut kernals in sight!

  4. paul 4

    well the exchange rate is a real issue – not just because it’s high but because it bounces up and down so much it’s pretty hard to plan ahead – my take home pay has gone down by 30% since the beginning of the year – NZ’s such a small economy that we bounce around in the wake of the bigger ones – we’re at risk at the moment because the exchange rate is already so high that if the RBNZ starts to raise interest rates to head off any inflation it’s going to push it even lower as the carry trade floods in again.

    That’s probably not sustainable long term, what we’ll see is exports shutting down, imports rising to the point where our balance of payments gets a bit too far out of whack, then another rush for the door by the carry trade $$, our dollar crashing again and the start of a new cycle …..

    I’m not an economist, I don’t know what the solution is – cutting welfare certainly wont change any of the things I’ve mentioned above … fixing our $ to a larger economy may be a long term solution but it means a loss of sovereignty and probably chains out government’s hands in ways we on the left may not be happy with

    • James 4.1

      Well, I still like Tobin Tax (there’s a 3 hour window when ours is the only open forex market) and making the Approved Issuer Levy variable. None of these is going to make the banks happy or become politically sexy.

      • George.com 4.1.1

        The Fed Farmers seem a little out of touch eh. What has kept our dollar high for a number of years is iflows of money and higher interest rates. It has been a ombination of several factors such as hot money, a housing binge, oil prices and maybe govt spending has played some part. But you know, tinkering with govt spending ain’t going to have a major impact on the dollar. NZ actually needs to kill off much of the desirability to trade our dollar. I don’t expect however Fed Farmers to divert much from their neo-liberal free market approach. They are after all, like a dog thnking how nice thistles are whilst simultaneously sitting on one and howling about the pain. On the tobin tax, I wa told last week that Brazil ha srecently introduced something similar on foreign capital transfers. Th CTU has also released its alternative economic policy and it looks well reasoned, worth a look on their website http://www.union.org.nz

    • Clarke 4.2

      There’s a very good piece of analysis and some very concrete recommendations over on Red Alert.

      And here’s the background presentation (PDF): http://www.pec.org.nz/wp-content/files/Lets-look-again-at-monetary-policy.pdf

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      Easy solution to the carry trade – put GST on financial transactions or bring in a Tobin tax.

  5. Walter 5

    FF call for drastic govt. spending cuts, National’s ‘modest’ cuts look reasonable.

    Hide calls to privatise all of ACC, National’s modest privatisation proposal seems balanced.

    Shirtcliff (what’s his name again?) calls to bring back FFP, National’s modest shift in electoral system appears sensible.

    If someone else says I should kick your head in, will you thank me for a simple punch in the face?

  6. Federated farmers were done like a Christmas turkey this morning. However, I think that it was primarily an issue of media training, rather than substance. Their chap could have simply repeated the Government’s original line about a line-by-line assessment of departmental expenditure and avoided the department-closing and welfare-bashing corners into which he was herded. He could have projected his government-cutting message far more effectively.

    What is important is that another major National-supporting group is showing real irritation about Mr Key’s ‘centrism’. Yet there is no political imperative for Mr Key to move in that direction at all; indeed, his polling might fall if he became too explicitly ideological.

    The neo-liberal agenda is, therefore, extending on a piecemeal basis (ACC, Supercity, for example), in tune with general government behaviour.

  7. randal 7

    hey guys lay off federated farmers.
    they are like little people you know.
    if you keep picking on them they will cry foul.
    we are only little people.
    in that case give ’em a good kick.

    • James 7.1

      Lots of farmers are little people, and some are corporations with 20+ farms.

      Federated Farmers is a national organisation that broke New Zealand’s first response to Kyoto.

      Farmers deserve encouragement to do the right thing; if someone steps into the ring wearing the FF label, they should play the game like everyone else.

  8. Zaphod Beeblebrox 8

    Seems like cuts to welfare are the universal panacea to everything. FF are right that its a problem that we need to do something about- but they really need to get a better insight about waht to do about it.
    If I were them I’d talk to Hickey and Oram.

  9. Red Rosa 9

    Maybe if farmers practiced what they preached, and reduced their own levels of debt, they would be spared the looming cash crunch on many dairy and sheep and beef farms this autumn.

    Interest charges are the single biggest expense on both the average NZ dairy farm, and the average NZ sheep and beef farm.

    Interest charges on many farms far outstrip crucial items like fertilizer, R&M and wages. Interest for the current season on the average dairy farm could be ten times ACC charges or local body rates, items which FF spend so much time whingeing about.

    The Crafar fiasco is just an extreme example of a farm sector which has become addicted to easy credit.

    Come on Feds, get those budgets into line and show us how it’s done! Might even help the balance of payments.

    • Mark M 9.1

      Red Rosa

      interest and other debt payments are commonly the biggest payments for most New Zealanders wether it be for houses , cars boats , plasma tv,s etc.
      The difference with Farmers is there debt benefits us all with jobs and export income which is valuable in providing some money to buy the plasma tv,s and cars etc.

  10. torydog 10

    Yep the only way to sort NZ’s problems are to get rid of benefits……and then have loads an loads of people begging and stealing to survive, also get them living under bridges and in bins (not in Remuera)…that will certainly solve all of our problems…

    Typical wonderful thinking from the right…….

    Oh and lets not forget….all those kids that are born to solo mothers…..just sell them on to Madonna!!!!

  11. George D 11

    Brazil just last week put a 2% tax on capital inflows. NZ would be wise to follow, as it suffers from all the same problems. We’re an agricultural (primary production) led economy spectacularly exposed to foreign currency flows, and thus have more in common with developing countries than we might like to think. Most developing countries’ central banks have learned from the Asian Financial Crisis of 97-98, and moved to protect themselves. Ours haven’t, and we’re still paying the prices of higher interest rates and currency volatility.

    Funnily enough, even the Financial Times endorses it.

  12. Robert Winter
    October 27, 2009 at 1:25 pm
    “Federated farmers were done like a Christmas turkey this morning. However, I think that it was primarily an issue of media training, rather than substance. Their chap could have simply repeated the Government’s original line about a line-by-line assessment of departmental expenditure and avoided the department-closing…”
    I tend to agree with Roberts assessment of Phil Yorks performance this morning, preparation is vital if you want an interview to stay on topic. Despite the mauling he recieved at the hands of Plunket the message is still relevant , just poorly executed.English is hiding behind the statement ” the US dollar is weakening , we cant do a thing about it”. This attitude is crippling the productive and export sectors, this isn’t about farmers crying hard up , this is about farming losing the ability and confidence to reinvest in our biggest export earner.I’m not saying reigning in Government spending is the total solution , but it is part of it, stop jumping on a opportunity for Feds bashing and try and see what they were trying o say at least. Wasn’t a good look tho , I must say.

  13. snoozy 13

    Federated Farmers have had credibility at times of late, like a genuine representative of our essential primary industries, not a National bunny.

    Like Johnny wanting to by-pass our biosecurity measures to look good to his buddy Kev…

    screwing the rest of the country and the people that keep your infrastructure running isn’t going to be the best way to keep the wheels turning.

    Didn’t the razor gang find nothing or little to cut?

    or is it pensioner housing and libraries again?

  14. Adrian 14

    Stop worrying about FF, they are getting less and less relevant to the farming community, their membership is falling every year and those that get elected to local and national office are generally considered to be boofheads by the better educated and market and enviromentally aware sucessful farmers. I heard the interview and I actually thought it was a piss-take. The fact that it was genuine was even funnier. Interestingly they (the boofheads) don’t seem to be aware of the ease of traceability such as Herbert in South Korea pointed out earlier. Now that ignorance is real scary.

    • Mac1 14.1

      At an election meeting hosted here last year by Fed Farmers, a similar thing happened where an overseas born farmer wanted to know what we were going to do about “all these race based laws”. I challenged him as to what they might be, could he please give some examples. After five minutes of excruciatingly bad sarcasm and over-acting, he came up with ‘Maori seats’.

      At the same meeting, when FF were told that the government had done well with the purchase of the St James’ Station, with a fair price agreed by both sides, did the farmers present congratulate the former farmer owner for negotiation of a good price in appreciation of his property rights? Were they overjoyed by his success and reassured that Crown purchase of land would be fair and equitable?

      Funnily enough, no…….. they turned on him and accused him of facilitating a possible increase in the cost of crown rentals.

      Both stories are examples of a narrow, restricted and blinkered world view. Farmers at another meeting further south denied global warming was a possibility. The winter had been particularly cold where they lived. They had no idea, or didn’t want an idea, that extreme local seasonal events were actually symptoms of change in global weather.

      I hope that you are right, Adrian, and farmers’ leaders are indeed unrepresentative of their occupation. Certainly they represent those who turn out for political meetings, in my experience.

  15. Galeandra 15

    Ignoring his poor interview, was his thesis on the money? Surely central to the problem is hedging in our currency by overseas investor/speculators, with subsequent proft taking? Does running or reducing a budget deficit make any difference over the short term usually favoured by such speculation?

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 15.1

      If you think that private debt and currency speculation doesn’t exist you might have a case. Could it be that Fed Farmers don’t realise that hot money flows in to take advantage of our interest rates and that private individuals borrow to fuel our property bubble? Or is it that the solution to all our problems is to eradicate welfare? Will we cease to be the tenth most traded curency then?

  16. Sam 16

    What an idiot.

  17. prism 17

    How confusing to hear such stuff from FF as on Morning Report. If The Onion was doing a satire of NZ political thinking it could sound much the same. There is a connection with the FF statement and the educational testing regime being introduced and the slashing of night school budgets. This will ensure simpler basic education suitable for farmers and rugby players, and stop encouraging these smart-alec academics and inventive types to waffe on about new ideas that you have to think about and which may never amount to anything. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and if it does break blame it on someone else – like the guvment, or bewrocrats.

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