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Framing the argument

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, November 18th, 2010 - 15 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, democratic participation, farming, Mining, workers' rights - Tags:

They say that those who can frame the argument ‘win the argument’.

Connor English the Chief Executive of Federated Farmers is trying to frame the argument in a right wing way that benefits the rich and privileged, to the detriment of working people and the environment.

The Farmers Federation Chief has launched a public attack on environmentalists, the unions and the protest movement generally, resorting to simplistic right wing rhetoric reminiscent of the Tea Party of the US.

Conner English publicly criticised protesters opposed to the unsustainable rape of the environment by mining and agribusiness, combining this, with an attack on those seeking pay justice for teachers, or union rights for actors.

English’s argument boils down to one simple premise:

….those who want decent wages and conditions (for teachers actors and other workers) must trade this off with maximum exploitation of nature and the environment by big business.

Though slyly framed, Connor English’s argument attacking both types of protest reveals that in truth he favours maximum exploitation of both, workers and the environment, and is opposed to any protest that challenges his corporate agenda.

There is no free lunch

watching 4 recent protests in Auckland. The first against just the idea of doing a stock take on the minerals that we have. Secondly the idea that a movie might be made in New Zealand on different terms than in some other countries. Thirdly marching for more pay for teachers, and finally, against New Zealand produced food.

if you are marching for “more pay from government” then you should not also be marching against investigating our mineral potential, our creative film sector or indeed our food sector.

The claim is that there is not enough wealth (money) to go round unless big agri-business or mining companies are free to exploit human and natural resources to their limits, (and beyond them), is an emotive and simplistic framing of the argument that leaves out such embarrassing facts as the extreme inequality in the sharing out of the wealth of this country.

As the Greens like to say: “there is enough for our need but not for our greed”.

Connor English is a well paid advocate for those whose personal greed comes above all else.

Connor English in his diatribe mentions the debt crisis, but nowhere does he mention the excessive profit taking by the banks and finance companies that has made getting a house on an average wage an impossibility without going into risky debt.

Connor English in his attack on those seeking fairer wages or protection for the environment accuses them of seeking a free lunch.

But if you are the manager of Telecom, or you are a rich investor in South Canturbury Finance, or the head of big film production company, or the overpaid president of the Feds. you are enjoying a ‘Free Lunch’ at the expense of the rest of us.

Connor English in his attack on the left wants such privileged people to be able to continue to enjoy their free lunch indefinitely, no matter how much damage to society or the natural environment their continuing ‘Free Lunch’ leaves in it’s wake.

Maybe I should thank Connor English for opening up this debate so that a lot more people are moved to counter this simplistically slanted rubbish.



15 comments on “Framing the argument”

  1. joe bloggs 1


    there is no free lunch

    I can see how that would grate with the cloth cap, cardy-wearing Left.

    • NickS 1.1

      And unsurprisingly you’re missing the fairly obvious point that such a framing as used by Conner ignores the costs of strip mining otherwise renewable resources in the name of “progress”, making it somewhat hypocritical. As returning ecological resources back to prior productivity is a hell of a lot more expensive than maintaining it in the long term, as ecologies aren’t nice wee linear systems. Then there’s the costs they foster onto society like polluted rivers, algal blooms and in the case of Canterbury, polluted aquifers, dust storms from totally dry river beds and a loss of recreational activities such as swimming, fishing and jet boating.

      But hey, it’s awwwwwright as long as we get rich in the short term, despite ignoring all the future bills.

    • bbfloyd 1.2

      joe…you wear your bigotry well… been practicing a while by the look…

  2. I’m sure he’s had a lot more free lunches during his time than the average person – even if you restrict that to the literal sense – hypocrite

  3. HitchensFan 3

    Well his brother continues to have a free lunch for his entire family

  4. Craig Glen Eden 4

    “No Free Lunch” No unless your brothers name is Bill in which case its free accommodation free cleaner. Im sick of these Tory hypocrites. Most of Conner English’s type have not done a hard days work for years.

    Lets see Conner get off his arse and start a business from scratch , working 16 hour days beholden to a bank and trying to pay school fees, feed and provide for his missus and kids.

    As soon as I hear that term theirs no such thing as a free lunch I know the person who makes it is eating corporate lunches, guaranteed..

    People who work or run their own business one don’t often get to stop for lunch and two when they do, what ever they eat will be something they bought with them from home.

    While I know violence is not the answer but I would love to do a few celebrity bouts with some of these pricks. Not that I am a celebrity just I would love to punch the shit out of them for a good cause or two. Yes I know “oh that’s fighting talk” but I feel better just getting it out!

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      No free lunch:


      New Zealand farmers are unlikely to be brought into the emissions trading scheme in 2015 unless scientific advances are made in reducing animal emissions and our trading partners make giant strides in putting a price on carbon, the Government says.

      Speaking at the Federated Farmers National Council yesterday, Climate Change Minister Nick Smith noted the Government had already said it would not proceed with the inclusion of agriculture and other sectors until it sees comparable progress from other countries.

      The entry of the agricultural sector into the emissions trading scheme (ETS) has been delayed once – from 2013 to 2015 – and the Government has also increased measures to shield the sector from the full impact of the scheme once it does enter

    • joe bloggs 4.2

      Nah it’s not fighting talk, you old sook, it’s just good old-fashioned grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side jealosy

      • Craig Glen Eden 4.2.1

        Come hear and say that joe bloggs. ha ha.
        Jealous of what?
        No not jealous just sick of Tory Hypocrisy. These people who suck of others are all to ready to preach about self responsibility but as soon as they can they are into anything and every thing they can get. English, Bennett, Grosser,Hide, bla bla. It wouldn’t be so bad if they just did their bloody jobs, but no they have to preach at us and all the while keep taking from us.

        I feel a chant coming on “enuff is enuff stop taking our stuff”

      • bbfloyd 4.2.2

        “it’s just good old fashioned jealousy”,says the man as he walks away with the family silver toward his bentley..

  5. Lez Howard 5

    Connor is Nelsons Breed One Eye One arm One Arshole

  6. vto 6

    Take a snap-shot of the NZ environment in 1850.

    Take a snap-shot of the NZ environment in 1900.

    Take a snap-shot of the NZ environment in 1950.

    Take a snap-shot of the NZ environment in 2000.
    (and maybe take one more of Canterbury waterways in 2010 for good measure).

    And what do we see? A constant degradation in the environment. Which leads to …

    The quite obvious conclusion that extrapolated out to 2050 the environment will be in such a poor state that farming itself may even collapse. Certainly there will be no rivers to swim in, all drinking water will require removal of shit and inclusion of chemicals, there will be no bees, there will be no wide range of flora and fauna, there will be increased soil loss, etc etc.

    The farmers are doing NOTHING to stop this slide. And it is not even their environment – they are shitting in an environment that is not their own.

    I am disgusted in farmers, as represented by the likes of English and Nicholson (an even bigger dipshit).

  7. vto 7

    I’ve got it! Connor English was in fact referring to the BIGGEST free lunch currently on offer in New Zealand – the free lunch that is the environmental slice that the farmers take for nothing to support their own lifestyle.

    Farmers take of the environment is NZ’s biggest free lunch. Name one bigger Connor.

    You want to frame the argument? Well then, perfect framing Connor – you just allowed the description of the biggest free lunch going.

    • Bored 7.1

      Thank you VTO, somebody had to say it. It really pisses me off, in the last 30 years we have witnessed the collapse of the lowland trout fisheries almost entirely due to the farming sectors increasing innappropriate land usage and industrial farming practices. As the trout go, so have the other species of flora and fauna in these systems. It is a disgrace. Federated Farmers as a single body are to my mind the ecological equivalent of concentration camp guards.

      On the up side there are a number of success stories out there with individuals and groups of farmers who have done somethng about the impact of farming on the environment. These farmers give me faith that their is an alternative vision and methodology to the intellectually challenged myopia proposed by English. As you say he is the biggest taker of a free lunch, he ranks in my mind with bank robbers and banking executives for larcenous intent.

  8. Bored 8

    As an alternative vision to the English rip shit and bust how about this:
    * restoration of wetlands to be paid for with a levy from all water extraction users (urban and rural) as a key policy toward ensuring a constant and clean water supply for farmers and city dwellers.
    * long term tradeable government bonds backed by hardwood timber planting on marginal land and farmland rented for the purpose to provide local (as opposed to imported supply of hardwoods) whilst providing erosion control.
    * fencing off of riparian edges from all stock to allow riparian systems to act as a filter to agricultural run off as an unemployment relief package.
    * substantial government subsidy to farmers to begin non industrial sustainable practices for the retention of soil moisture and fertility.
    * redirection of Massey and Lincoln toward leadership in education of agricultural sustainability, backed by non market based emphasis and investment in government funded agricultural research.

    Dont think English will go for it as it does not involve ripping the shit out of our future….

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