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It’s Time for a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Dairy Farming

Written By: - Date published: 7:42 am, May 29th, 2018 - 166 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, exports, farming, farming, food, uncategorized - Tags:

Jacinda Ardern pretty communist

Not just, ‘we’ve got to make the good outweigh the bad’.

I mean: why should dairy farming exist here?

We know the standard facts and figures about how many people dairy farmers employ.

You can look that up on DairyNZ’s website, and they’ll tell you all about how many other benefits that dairy farming brings.

We also know the amount of water required to make a litre of milk.

We now also know that this water volume used will never be taxed, ever.

And we can talk about the amount of excrement per litre of milk into our rivers as well.

But let’s get more fundamental than that.

Other than being legislatively required to do so, Fonterra does not need New Zealand dairy farmers. Fonterra could roam the world sourcing its milk pools at will for its products, and increasingly that’s what it does. It is quite possible that the upcoming dairy legislative review will finally cut Fonterra’s requirement to take every drop that NZ dairy farmers provide. Non-shareholder farmers would be just another stock unit to Fonterra itself. Fonterra doesn’t need NZ dairy farmers.

Historically, dairy farming destroyed much of the native forests of the North Island. Turned their ash into pasture. I’m not asking them to apologize about that, but that destruction is only three generations ago.

In return for that wholesale slaughter of native birds and trees, going extinct fast as a result, the dairy farmers returned for New Zealand a century of cheap, bulky, low-value products generating low returns, low research, poor careers, and forming very few globally strong brands. There’s no Gruyere or Parmesan equivalents from here conquering the delicatessens of the world. We remain, beyond the spin, a slightly more sophisticated bulk ingredient supplier generating much the same stuff as dairy farmers did a century ago. We have been held back by dairy farmers.

Granted, dairy farmers are some of the hardest working people in the country, within a country renowned for low rewards and very very hard working people. They’re the backbone of the country, and what a wonderfully stiff backbone it is too.

Interestingly, even naming and shaming the culprits at the source of the outbreak hasn’t stopped the talkback discussions about what we are being required to spend taxpayer subsidy saving.

Remember those Morrinsville farmers who protested against our ‘communist’ Prime Minister? Those are the guys we are feeding our taxpayer dollars towards right now.

This country owes dairy farmers as much subsidy as it did to South Canterbury Finance, Minnie Cooper Shoes, or any other private business in New Zealand: nil. Dairy farmers usually proudly say that they never take subsidy from the government. It’s never been true. Dairy farmers have cost us this country.

MFAT, the Ministry for Fonterra And Trade, pretend so hard that they aren’t a branch office of dairy farmers largely to ensure they aren’t obviously breaking any WTO rules. Three decades working on dairy farmers’ behalf in trade deals have on balance achieved sweet fuck all. The entire world will never, ever loosen their protections against our dairy farmers. We’ll always be the only country in the world who will ever have an unsubsidized dairy industry, making New Zealand dairy farming the global definition of a useless virtue.

On the balance of damage and cost to our global reputation and to our country, we would make more money turning every dairy hectare back to Manuka and collecting honey. If every dairy farmer gave up tomorrow and farmed pretty much anything else except coarse wool, by export returns, pollution, indirect subsidy, job richness, and global food reputation, we would all be better off than we are now.

Yes, everyone in the world needs food. Even apples can be damaging.

More broadly, agriculture is one of the worst polluting industries on the planet, though it could be such a life-affirming power of good for the earth.

Here, we now know that dairy farming is the most destructive and wasteful industry that we have ever produced. Even gold mining largely confined its toxic waste dumps to just a handful of dammed sites.

No amount of greenwash advertising about the glories of dairy farming will get them out of this.

Because of this outbreak, our exporters are about to face a brown wave of negative stories about our food manufacturing and food security practices, as if we haven’t had enough of those in the last decade.

They are the fault of dairy farmers, but it won’t be our dairy farmers fronting the responses that seek to salvage our reputation. It will be our government and its departments that will have to respond with massive media spends and political capital spends.

This is by a long long way our worst ever farming disease outbreak. It has been caused by dairy farmers.

Maybe this outbreak is the tipping point where New Zealanders start to ask whether the entire enterprise of dairy farming is understood as destructive to New Zealand; has been for years and continues to be so; that dairy farming has made this country sick; and that as a result dairy farming is not worth it.

166 comments on “It’s Time for a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Dairy Farming ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Your placard- bearing farmer picture emotionalises the argument to no good end, in my view. Southland’s oat-milk project is pointing the way.

    • Ad 1.1

      The PM is leading this from the front. Farmers never hold back their emotion and it’s time we all did the same.

      If 160,000 dead cows and $800m of tax money aren’t getting to you, check your pulse.

      • Puckish Rogue 1.1.1

        True that, one thing you can say about the left in general is how well they keep their emotions in check

        • greywarshark 1.1.1.1

          PR
          That’s why you stick around here isn’t it. The vitality and vim and excitement of being near thinking, caring people gets you up and out of bed each day, to join in the talkfest.

      • dukeofurl 1.1.2

        160,000 dead cows ?

        The process of dairy farming kills around 1 mill of their 6 mill cows each and every year. Thats how it happens.
        150,000 over 2 years isnt not a lot when seen in that light
        While beef cattle can be infected most wont be because the farmers are less likely to have infected herds because they dont move stock here there and everywhere like dairy farmers do.

        Most of the cows will be fit to be trucked to the works like they always are. Only the worst infected will be culled on the spot and buried and that will be a small number.

        • Ad 1.1.2.1

          Identifying that killing is a necessary part of the mechanized food industry is hardly a defence.

          Trying to defend even more killing on top of that – this time completely avoidable – is also not a defence.

          This outbreak is going to take out about 3% of our dairy production. That’s about the same as a serious drought.

          Minimising the impact of what is going on because of this outbreak, is what got us here in the first place.

          • dukeofurl 1.1.2.1.1

            A big drought was much worse than 3%, I dont know why you call it the same.

            “On a daily basis compared to the past year, Waikato production was down 27 per cent, Bay of Plenty milkflows were down 21 per cent, Taranaki was down 9 per cent, and Southland was down 1.5 per cent. ‘
            https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10491416
            Those arent full year numbers, but the numbers of cows culled over 2 years wont reduce milk production anything like 27% in say waikato.

            Even 2017 was a ‘dry season’ as Fonterra called means 4% less for last year.
            https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/100255070/dry-season-causes-drop-in-fonterra-milk-production

            Im a bit lost with your arguments for ‘not culling’ because its emotional thing and yet you make good arguments for reducing dairying because of the big picture ?
            Half the calves are killed within a month of birth, the rest are replacements for the milking herd, who once their milk output drops are trucked away for hamburger mince, as will most to the infected cows.

            Im not a farmer so theres no need to caught caught up in the emotion of it, and neither should they, but everyone is different.

            • Macro 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Totally agree with this analysis Duke.
              The average life of a dairy cow in NZ these days is very short whereas in the past, and where they are a cared for animal, they can live up to 25 years.

              Once the dairy cows are so worn out that they have produced all the milk they can, they are sent to slaughter, usually at around four or five years of age; the average natural lifespan for a cow could be as long as 25 years.

              http://www.ad-international.org/farm_animals/go.php?id=120
              During a drought – and droughts are increasing in frequency in the east of the North Island – the culling of dairy cattle is a frequent occurrence. The relatively small number of 120,000 compared to the size of the national herd is not excessive – but farmers are well known to be moaners of the first order. Just listening to the few from Winton on RNZ this morning was very demonstrative – and ironically is seems these are the farmers amongst whom are the main suspects for introducing the disease in the first place!

              • dukeofurl

                No surprise at all that the ‘hotspots’ for the earliest outbreaks are very high density dairy farming with herds of 4000.
                Add to that, remote diagnosis for the vets on Waiheke, backdoor imports of items from who knows where .

        • Notreadyet 1.1.2.2

          Not quite correct, huge numbers of dairy beef calves born on dairy farms as a result of putting beef bulls over either late cycling cows or those that the dairy farmer doesnt want to breed replacement stock from are sold onto beef fattening farms, those many beef farms that dont run their own breeding stock

    • mickysavage 1.2

      I thought it was a perfect picture. Heavy duty state response made necessary to a crisis created by private enterprise.

      • Robert Guyton 1.2.1

        The crisis was begun (allegedly) by a single farmer/family/farming operation, bringing bovis into the country. It was exacerbated by the failure of the animal tracking system, brought about by widespread failure to adopt it, made worse by a Government and it’s agencies that didn’t require it’s full adoption and further worsened by shady farming practice; selling un-tagged calves, etc. Or so it’s said. The umbrella issue is agricultural culture. A complete over-turning of that would make a great discussion, but quibbling about this situation; a wheel within a wheel within a wheel, wouldn’t have the needed grunt to change anything much, Imo.

        • Muttonbird 1.2.1.1

          But these sort of accute disasters are the only events which go any way to changing culture from within the industry.

          As the post says there have been too many protections for NZ’s “agricultural culture” riding roughshod over the environment for too long. The dumb hick in the photo represents all those protections and how “agricultural culture” rails tooth and nail against reform.

          This has been a rocket up their arse and it is important to make sure they felt it good and proper.

          • greywarshark 1.2.1.1.1

            Muttonbird
            Hear, hear! Here. here! You tell it like it is.

          • patricia bremner 1.2.1.1.2

            These dairy people have been very slow to pay a “living wage”, consider they should be able to bring migrant workers in “to keep costs (wages) low, yet they cry poor and act like the Government is the cause of their pain, “why are they taking so long….. to compensate us for our losses?/decide what to do??”

            The sheer bloody effrontery takes my breath away!!

            People have gone without/been in pain/gone unrewarded for their labours and this lot expect us to fork out again.??

            Hopefully it can be eradicated, but I feel they should get suspensory loans, coupled with some compensation to change their practices , as happened with the Kiwi fruit industry, not a bloody blank cheque for entitled prats… and I have farmers in the family. They do not “go without.”

  2. Antoine 2

    To have dairy farming or no dairy farming, is not a centralised decision. It’s up to the individual farmer. I don’t want a government that tries to turn the tap off on an entire industry. That is just totalitarianism.

    A.

    • Robert Guyton 2.1

      They aren’t, Antoine, so relax. Do you believe the choice of whether a sensitive area of land should be converted to dairy should lie with an individual farmer, rather than a resource management agency? Are you concerned that a desire for riches or a lack of scientific understanding on the part of that individual could result in harm to the environment?

      • Antoine 2.1.1

        > They aren’t, Antoine, so relax.

        I am relaxed, I am just responding to what I took to be Ad’s suggestion.

        > Do you believe the choice of whether a sensitive area of land should be converted to dairy should lie with an individual farmer, rather than a resource management agency?

        I am happy for this decision to be made by an appropriate resource management agency. But it should be tackled locally rather than nationally.

        > Are you concerned that a desire for riches or a lack of scientific understanding on the part of that individual could result in harm to the environment?

        Sure, and I think we should seek to prevent this. But on a case by case, or at worst region by region, basis.

        A.

        • Robert Guyton 2.1.1.1

          Antoine – you suggest a “case by case” decision on starting dairy farm – who would hear that case?
          Region by region? No coordination between regions then; no national overview to ensure standards, fairness and equal opportunity?

          • McFlock 2.1.1.1.1

            Interesting thought experiment, that.

            Maybe a licensing regime like alcohol or gambling – the prospective dairy farmer has to account for how they will control harms like pollution and carbon emissions, cap herd density, look at literal downstream effects, and it gets reviewed every three years.

            • Robert Guyton 2.1.1.1.1.1

              McFlock – they’re called Farm Management Plans or something similar and they’re what the industry wants. Does that ring a bell (warning) ?

              • McFlock

                Oh, I’m sure they want some bullshit (lol) that’s flawed by either participation of compliance in some way, like the NAIT.

                I actually mean something with teeth that goes through an external system, like alcohol with the Liquor Licensing authority. So photos of cows in lakes mean the farm manager loses a practising certificate, and effluent discharges have penalties that actually affect farm operation. Forest&Bird and environmental authorities get to lodge objections every licensing time, like cops do with bar licenses.

                And a sort of “red judge” to ensure nationally-consistent judgements, rather than cow cockies knobbling a local authority to allow shit flowing downstream.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Good
                  Luck

                  • McFlock

                    lol purely a thought experiment. The next step would be to consider whether any application would ever be permitted under an ideal evaluation scheme 😉

    • Ad 2.2

      – Kauri and other native timber milling
      – Hydro dams
      – Nuclear power
      – Whaling
      – Seal hunting
      – Mining in national parks
      – Oil exploration
      – Any subsidized industry in New Zealand prior to 1986.
      – Coal

      The above are a few New Zealand industries dead or almost non-existent, due in large part to both public opinion and government intervention.

      Dairy farmers operate under a social license like everyone else does.

      • Antoine 2.2.1

        >Dairy farmers operate under a social license like everyone else does.

        Which probably should be cut back a bit, compared to the last decade or two. But not to the point of killing off an entire industry, as your post seems to suggest.

        (Also, some of your examples are weak, but I shan’t nit pick.)

        A.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1

          We actually don’t get any benefit from that industry so why should we keep it around?

          • Macro 2.2.1.1.1

            But! But! But! Draco – farmers are the backbone of the country
            In which case the backbone is well and truly fractured.

      • humma 2.2.2

        Coal dead? We are a large producer and exporter of coal. More than 1 million metric tonnes per annum. What was Solid Energy is back producing again and its not a small operation. A lot of our coal goes to India and other offshore markets.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      It’s up to the individual farmer.

      No it’s not. It’s up to the entire country. The farmers are, after all, destroying our country for their own personal enrichment.

      The rest of us not only have a right to have a say but we need to have a say.

      • Macro 2.3.1

        The rest of us not only have a right to have a say but we need to have a say.

        Quoted for truth.
        If, for instance we are to spend $800m some of it as “compensation” to some of the wealthiest people in our land over 10 years to eradicate a disease from around 120,000 cattle – how are we to compare that to the 41,000 people in our country who have no where to lay their heads at night?

      • patricia bremner 2.3.2

        When it goes wrong they want us to compensate them but not regulate them????
        They can feck off!!

  3. Muttonbird 3

    Massive opportunity here to reduce the stock count in NZ, permanently and to discourage further intensification practices.

    Nice work from this government.

    Even now the farm which brought it in* is trying to minimise and deflect.

    Also:

    “We’ll always be the only country in the world who will ever have an unsubsidized dairy industry.”

    Should this read “never”?

    • Ad 3.1

      No the sentence is correct.

      • Muttonbird 3.1.1

        How does this fit with the previous paragraph where you say, “Dairy farmers usually proudly say that they never take subsidy from the government. It’s never been true”?

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          Subsidy in the trade sense is about price and volume command-and-control mechanisms. See Canada and France.

          Subsidy in the indirect sense is what the post concentrated on. That was what the paragraphs above that explained.

          No, they are not the same thing.

          • greywarshark 3.1.1.1.1

            Choosing the use and meaning of the term subsidy like that Ad. It is really economic rhetoric.

  4. ropata 4

    Amazing how the farmers have stopped bleating about communism. They will never vote Labour so why bail them out

  5. Robert Guyton 5

    They’re coming thick and fast:
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/104286685/mycoplasma-bovis-bumped-us-off-mpi-agenda-oyster-farmer-claims
    Eradicate Mycoplasma bovis? So long as nothing else appears…

    • dukeofurl 5.1

      What even does that mean ?

      Dairy Cows have a value per head. Its easy to determine, its in the $1600 per head range.

      ‘Once a year the Inland Revenue Department publishes the national average market values for livestock to use for tax purposes in farming accounts.’
      https://www.interest.co.nz/rural-news/87845/ird-2017-average-market-livestock-prices-show-increasing-value-year-dairy-cattle

      Oysters might go for a fraction of that, and thats landed price not retail prices. So of course they are getting a fraction of the total amount.

      • greywarshark 5.1.1

        Hey dukeofurl you are worth more than that, whatever low value someone puts on you for being a dunderhead. The return on the item isn’t the top criteria.
        I’ll let you exercise your brain and come up with some others that could change the graph around.

        • dukeofurl 5.1.1.1

          Saying even more garbage is enlightening who ?

          Compensation is paid for the value of the loss. End.of.story. ( well the one the link talks about)

          Its a typical newsroom hype story.
          Dairy farmers have made some fanciful claims too and found them delayed. Oyster farmers seem to be in the same boat

  6. Pat 6

    Why should dairy farming exist here?

    Because we want the lifestyles to which we have become accustomed and sheep and beef could no longer provide it

    Provide a viable alternative

    • Robert Guyton 6.1

      The status quo is not viable – you provide an alternative.

      • Pat 6.1.1

        lol…I wasnt the one asking the question.

        However the alternative is clearly in my response if you care to look

        • Ad 6.1.1.1

          Our lifestyles are perfectly viable if New Zealand changes the kind, yield, density, and value extracted from agriculture practices.

          I don’t feel the need to provide that full alternative at this point.

          The dairy farmers have fucked things up. It’s their responsibility, not ours, to show us all how it will never happen again.

        • Ad 6.1.1.2

          It is the dairy farmers responsibility to now prove themselves again to us and the world, not the rest of us.

          Yes, our lifestyles are perfectly sustainable. The national budget verily overflows with milk and honey. But not at this expense.

          • Pat 6.1.1.2.1

            “Yes, our lifestyles are perfectly sustainable.”

            LMAO

            If nothing else these discussions simply reinforce the increasingly obvious observation that we incapable of avoiding our self destruction.

            Carry on

    • Ad 6.2

      Our lifestyles are perfectly sustainable, even from an agricultural base, if we change the kind and density and value derived from agriculture.

    • lprent 6.3

      You appear to be equating revenue with profit. They are not the same. Who cares about an enterprise that makes large amounts of revenue, but little to no profit for the country.

      As an industry it pays virtually no tax compared to any manufacturing enterprise and its employees. Similarly its spend in local sevices and manufacturing (ie the golden tricle) is very small compared to any urban export enterprise.

      We have enormous tarseal road networks paid by taxpayers and ratepayers mostly in urban centers for milk trucks and their daily routes with heavy loads.

      What profit that is made generally goes straight to austrailian banks as interest on speculative land values.

      Economically as a country we’d be better off without dairy.

      I could go on But that really sums up the basic issues. Dairy is a very low profit industry and an appalling misuse of large amounts of capital that could be put you better used.

      • greywarshark 6.3.1

        Thanks lprent
        for stating the facts that continually get overlooked. I was amazed to see the low amount of money that dairying brings in to NZ despite all the hype and the sacrifices of water quality, and availability, and mucking up the environment caused by this rort which seems to be based on folk legend constantly repeated.

      • Pat 6.3.2

        Think you may be letting your bias colour your thinking

        Dairy (for all its faults, and they are many) is as varied in its profitability as any other industry and uses the same expertise with regard to tax liability as the majority of businesses.

        It has earned recently at times 1 in 3 of our export dollars and currently accounts for around 1 in 4

        Its flow through effect to the wider economy is significant particularly in regional NZ but even in our cities

        As to profits going to Australian banks the same can be said of all economic activity irrespective of any industry, and including home mortgages.

        You may (or may not) recall the last recession in NZ was triggered by a drought…that should demonstrate the place of ag in the NZ economy for anyone.

        http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/sectors-reports-series/pdf-image-library/manufacturing-report-2018/manufacturing-sector-report-2018.pdf

        https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/77893537/dairy-downturn-will-have-massive-effect-on-south-island-economy

        • Draco T Bastard 6.3.2.1

          You may (or may not) recall the last recession in NZ was triggered by a drought…that should demonstrate the place of ag in the NZ economy for anyone.

          That clearly shows that we should drop farming as a major industry.

        • greywarshark 6.3.2.2

          You take the same line of being correct and arguing the case for dairy which at present doesn’t deserve the support you give.

          A point as to why it is so important to the NZ economy is that dairy-addicts have carried out grievous attacks on the rest of our economy while going for the first free-trade economy in the world, so that our dairy can demand entry to other markets on a semi- permanent basis. Most other businesses here have been subject to such huge competition that they have atrophied, and been replaced by foreign owned, our government respect for NZ has also atrophied.

          We are badly situated from a financial advisor’s viewpoint as a stable, good businessplace despite appearances, because underlying everything we are ‘over-exposed’ to dairy (and tourism) and too much investment is going into what is a mature industry.

          One may be overexposed to an industry, a company or even an investment vehicle. For example, a mutual fund may be overexposed to the financial sector by buying too many stocks in banks relative to its stocks in other industries.
          https://financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Overexposure

          • pat 6.3.2.2.1

            “You take the same line of being correct and arguing the case for dairy which at present doesn’t deserve the support you give.”

            You are mistaken Grey….not support, acknowledge….dairy is but one of many targets of opprobrium that we piously point out the costs and failings while demanding the benefits of…..and everyone must change (as long as it doesn’t affect me)

            By all means ban it….and be prepared to live with the consequences.

            • greywarshark 6.3.2.2.1.1

              B-But I don’t want to ban dairying. It seems to me that a lot of the commenters here read their own meanings into others’ comments. It is impossible to get a point over that requires a balanced thoughtful and practical mindset. Narrow views abound, black or white, stop or go. Ideas thresh around like the dirty washing in a machine without any soap.

              • Pat

                my apologies….you haven’t suggested banning it ….I had conflated your questioning of the industries impact on the economy with the calls of other commenters to diminish or ban it…..but I stand by the comment I wasn’t supporting it so perhaps it could be called deuce.

                • greywarshark

                  It goes back to 6.3.2 and I know you were stating facts but as i read it I thought yeah, nah. Despite all that, we need to remember that there have been large uncalculable, externalised costs to get that. Also the borders were opened here in a quid pro quo, and the flood of imports has washed away numerous small businesses and their jobs with them.

                  And as you say the Australian banks are doing very well out of dairying; everyone is having a fair suck of the sav. You weren’t actually supporting it I know but…

      • Observer Tokoroa 6.3.3

        You make good points.

        Dairy Farming runs around rural areas day and night . Right through my town and region on tarsealed roads. Passing lovely Farm Estates, Fonterra Trucks.

        As you know, like most of New Zealand the South Waikato is built on mud. Road subsidence is an ongoing constant. The Tax Payers, including aged pensioners, pay for it. Farmers for some reason do not have major tax bills.

        A Dutch chap from there paid himself $8.32 Million for a year”s work in 2017. I am not kidding you. “Way way up you Farmers, Way way up you Farmers, Earlyey in the Morning. The old pensioners will pay you.

        So a lot of running about is done, by men in trucks, but not much real $dollar value is gained for all the fuss and fluster. The Cheese they make up the road in the Fonyterra plant is not exactly what you might consider haut cuisine. But it is very expensive,

        Nearby Goat farms provide much better value and product solids from far smaller foot print. And no Vet call outs. Fact.

        Please don’t swim in our cow rivers – you will suffer. We have the most Beautiful greatestfinest River in the whole of the Land. The Waikato River. The Farmers have Fucked it. They are still fucking it.

        No wonder the buggers with insulting signs and crocodile tears have mental problems.

      • humma 6.3.4

        You are way off the mark there Lprent.
        Its not profit that is the important figure, it is revenue. This revenue is pretty much all foreign money coming into NZ. Without it we would be absolutely poked and much of the services and goods we provide we would not be able to. Where that revenue money ultimately goes to is not important. It comes in via Fonterra and then gets spread around. Everyone benefits. Including our economy being able to use those foreign currencies to pay for our imports.

      • Observer Tokoroa 6.3.5

        Lprent You make Excellent points.

        Dairy Farming runs around rural areas day and night . Right through my town and region on tarsealed roads. Passing lovely Farm Estates, in Fonterra Trucks.

        As you know, like most of New Zealand the South Waikato is built on mud. Road subsidence is an ongoing constant. The Tax Payers, including aged pensioners, pay for it. Farmers for some reason do not have major tax bills.

        I am not kidding you. “Way way up you Farmers, Way way up you Farmers, Earlyey in the Morning”. The old pensioners will pay your costs.

        So a lot of running about is done, by men in trucks, but not much real $dollar value is gained for all the fuss and fluster. The Cheese they make up the road in the Fonterra plant is not exactly what you might consider haut cuisine. But it is very expensive,

        A Dutch chap from that same Fonterra plant paid himself $8.32 Million for a year”s work in 2017. I am not kidding.

        Nearby Goat farms provide much better value, and product solids, from far smaller foot prints. And no Vet call outs. Fact.

        Please don’t swim in our cow rivers – you will suffer. We have the most Beautiful finest River in the whole of the Land. The Waikato River. The Farmers have Fucked it. They are still fucking it. It seems to be the only thing they know.

        No wonder the buggers have mental problems.

    • bwaghorn 6.4

      From what I can see sheep and beef provides a pretty comfy life .(I m a shepherd who has close friends who own farms) Not super rich but done well for long enough the payoff is tidy enough.

      • Pat 6.4.1

        Yes,,,but would they have if the national flock hadnt over halved?….there has been a huge amount of economic activity associated with dairy conversions and operation that couldnt and didnt occur with sheep and beef operations.

        Dairy utilises far more labour and machinery and the consequent maintenance and service requirements not to mention the daily production flows as opposed to seasonal….we all know the problems with seasonal demand.

        I don t wish to appear an industry cheerleader but the realities need to be acknowledged….if we wish to downsize or disband dairy and its associated problems we either replace it with something that can contribute as much ( which wont happen overnight) or cut our cloth accordingly….and cutting our cloth dosnt appear terribly popular

    • Draco T Bastard 6.5

      Pretty much anything other than farming.

      The problem wasn’t that there weren’t alternatives to farming but that we held on to the delusion that farming was good and that we’re a farming nation. And also that we were just too damn cheap to do the R&D that would have developed those alternatives.

      We really would be far better off if we reduced farming to the point where it was enough to feed us and used the 100 thousand or so people freed up to develop those alternatives.

      • Pat 6.5.1

        “We really would be far better off if we reduced farming to the point where it was enough to feed us and used the 100 thousand or so people freed up to develop those alternatives.”

        Perhaps so…but meanwhile?

        I revert to my original question…provide a viable alternative…or in other words,,,what is the plan?

        • Draco T Bastard 6.5.1.1

          You want a command economy now?

          There’s room in the rest of the economy to absorb those 100k people in one way or another. They just need retraining.

          • bwaghorn 6.5.1.1.1

            Your retraing better be outside and interesting and not involve me working for the types you find in doc or corporate farming

            • Draco T Bastard 6.5.1.1.1.1

              Find an industry that you’re interested in – your choice.

              Same as what’s been told to those of us who’ve been redundant as industries and jobs have gone by the wayside since forever.

              Why do you think you should get special treatment?

              • bwaghorn

                Just flapping my key board which is what you were doing

                • patricia bremner

                  We need to begin a levy (tax LOL LOL) to cover R&D.
                  BUT BUT!!!!!
                  They wouldn’t want that!!

                  It is the old “privatise the profits and socialise the debts/problems.

    • Gsays 6.6

      Organic dairy farming.

    • Bruce 6.7

      crickets

    • Cinny 6.8

      Future farming is….

      Hydroponic warehouses especially in the cities, drought and flood tolerant when it’s inside 🙂

  7. saveNZ 7

    Personally in light of the Melamine crisis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Chinese_milk_scandal

    and the Chinese baby milk blamed for 50 deaths https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/apr/21/china.jonathanwatts,

    I’m not that keen on the idea of NZ sourcing the cheapest milk from overseas aka,

    “Fonterra could roam the world sourcing its milk pools at will for its products, and increasingly that’s what it does.”

    But I do think think that Dairy has to be made more sustainable, they should not be dairying in areas like Canterbury and they should avoid the idea of intensive dairy farming.

    As for Manuka, good idea apart from Myrtle rust has reared it’s ugly head.

    And as for a cost benefit analysis, can government do that for Auckland basket case, because the rate payers are up for billions of debt and we have homeless living in the streets, and people who lived here all their lives being priced out of the city. Not what I call a great benefit for Auckland as a legacy to hand on to the next generation.

    NZ needs to diversify, and actually seems to be doing that but more clear out needed of Natz destructive polices on lazy dairy and immigration.

    Tech for example is doing very well, since it was largely ignored and has not been a political football.

  8. saveNZ 8

    If they do that they will also destroy Fonterra and make a killing for John Key trader types at the expense of the farmers.

    “It is quite possible that the upcoming dairy legislative review will finally cut Fonterra’s requirement to take every drop that NZ dairy farmers provide. Non-shareholder farmers would be just another stock unit to Fonterra itself.”

  9. DB 9

    I’ve had enough and I’ve been trying to stick up for farmers in a way. But the balance from Farmers has been take take take.

    They were rorting us with tax breaks on in-ground swimming pools (reservoirs they said with a wink) in the 70’s. Did the practice stop with pool fencing regulations? Hard to find information now but it was extended family doing this (and the other farmers) and they loudly and proudly crowed about it.

    I never saw a swimming pool with irrigation pump on hand – it was BS. When that loophole closed off they go cap in hand we need water despite the rainfall in the country providing more than enough if one were to think about it…

    Trees were seen as the enemy of pasture, despite the fact significant portions of meat/milk production is lost to wind chill… So we got rid of the damn trees cos – farmers know shit!

    Rye grass staggers in summer – the industry salivates at trying to breed a resistant grass to cover the whole country. Short sighted as one pest could wipe everything out. All the eggs in one basket. W…T…F…?

    The rye grass organism reaches significant numbers as a result of ecological vandalism, arising from overgrazing and over-fertilising. Also, the hot dry weather. If these morons grew croppable shelter belts this could be midsummer feed. Farmers are stupid. I met plenty thought they were amazing doing a feed budget…

    Lately a clever lass in Waikato University is trying to selectively breed a clover requiring less phosphorus as the mycorrhizal organisms that typically supply it to plants are compromised by… phosphorus fertiliser. So farmers pour on more of it to try supply the clover… clover mixed in grasses will lower staggers…. it’s all connected. Farmers though, major disconnect. They pour on the damaging products to compensate for the damage caused by the products. See where that’ll take us. Oh, we can already, go take a swim in a river. The overfertilising directly contradicts one effect of clover, lowering staggers.

    We don’t need specialist clover, GE, or more tech, we need sustainable practise. I do admire the thinking of the Waikato scientist however, it’s very practical except it’s trying to fix a broken system.

    I dream of a day when it isn’t farmers vs townies, rather, NZ’ers. But I am dreaming if I think we should put up with this lot trying to dictate who we are as a nation. As a representative group, there aint that much to be proud of in our Farmers. Plenty of people work like trojans without owning the business and land – hard working is a kiwi trait, not a farmer trait at all.

    There’s a whole clusterfuck of stupid going on today and I’ve tried for decades to introduce science and ecology to Farmers and been treated like an asshole for trying to help. I have ways of increasing production and decreasing inputs. Witchcraft!

    Fuck em.

    • bwaghorn 9.1

      The left supposedly are the bigger people but if you recall pre election the hate pouring from the left towards us was over whelming . You cannot influence people who do not trust you

      • Ian 9.1.1

        The left are full of hate.I hope no depressed dairy farmers read this crap.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.1

          You’re projecting, which is a good thing, because if the Left really were full of hate, you’d still look like a complete hypocrite begging for a hand-out, and then we might confiscate your assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act. As it is, we’re just going to bail you out yet again.

          As a stickler for law and order, you’d then look like a hypocrite even more, and I’d be unable to contain my laughter.

          Now fuck off while we clean up your* disgusting mess.

          *as in “you” singular: other farmers don’t share or participate in your ingrate entitled whinging.

          • Ian 9.1.1.1.1

            Mr big balls anonymous putting the gumboot in once again. Luckily I don’t give a rats arse on how or what you think .

            • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.1.1.1

              And yet you’re still going to stand in the way, eh. You’re going to carry on authoring nasty smears against the very people you rely on when push comes to shove.

              My business model doesn’t socialise my expenses. I get that the food supply is vital to the state, and export milk powder doesn’t exactly meet that criterion. If all the benefits accrue to you, singular, and all the costs accrue to us, plural, I’m sure you can figure out how that ends up.

              • Ian

                This blog is full of nasty smears old fellow. It should carry a health warning.You don’t work at MPI by any chance ?

      • patricia bremner 9.1.2

        Trust!! Now bwaghorn. That is the question. Who should trust who?
        The guys who called us communists? The ones who brought this in? The processes that caused this?

        But we have to turn the other cheek because, correct me if I’ve misread posts here saying in various ways, “we are too important to NZ to fail” and it’s to do with trust.

        No, it is far more like whaling used to be!! Yes… there is an analogy to think on.
        A bloody costly way of life which really needs deep analysis.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      /agreed

      • DB 9.2.1

        I agree there was far too much shrieking and too little thinking pre-election. Turned me right off politics at the time didn’t even bother to vote to be honest. I’m a leftie but that’s on the left. All the hate turned me off.

        Anger is a normal emotion. But is it justified, or second-hand?

        We live to be outraged. Look at Simple Simon, that’s his whole schtick.

  10. Adrian 10

    Payout compo but only to those farms that have paid tax in NZ and haven’t repatriated large management fees to Holland and China and elsewhere effectively putting the entity into a deliberate tax loss situation.
    Give this job to Winston, should be right up his cow race.

    • Antoine 10.1

      Our international agreements won’t let us do that

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        And yet another reason why the present international agreements are no good for us.

    • saveNZ 10.2

      Yep, given the sad state of NZ First, might be time for one of Winston’s famous, ‘wine box’ type enquiries on overseas repatriation of taxes…. there also seems to be plenty of wealthy but tax poor satellite family situations growing up in Auckland that NZ taxpayers seem to be funding, that he could get his teeth into. Could get NZ First back into some sort of relevance.

  11. RuralGuy 11

    Yawn…

    More urban versus rural rubbish on The Standard. What a surprise. I’m the 23rd post on this blog, and the 22 ahead of me show absolutely zero understanding of dairy farming. I remember asking on this blog once before what was industrial farming and had a range of responses that went from a system 1 to a system 5, indicating to me that this blog does not understand how it’s food is made. It’s sad how disconnected urban dwellers have become.

    So I’m a dairy farmer; as right now dairy provides easily the best return on investment and is the best use of my land bar none. I’m also pragmatic. Should there be central or regional mechanisms in place for me to change my land use, then so be it; I’ll still select the most permissive highest value land use. Think of me as the modern version of the gentry class, I’m merely a land owner so can extract value from my land to meet the market.

    I recall talking to a rabid vegan recently who foresaw the demise of my business, only to see the blood drain from his face when he realised that I’m not wedded to dairy farming; and should producing plant based protein actually provide a meaningful return exceeding dairy, then I could easily and happily change my farming entity to match consumer demand and continue quite happily. Owning land gives me that option.

    Of course, there are a few thousand farms for sale, you can always buy a farm and do something better with the farm instead of posting on what other people should do with there private property.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      It’s what you do with our property that’s the problem, especially the health of our waterways and climate.

      I’ll say that again so that it has a chance of sinking in: it’s what you do with our property that’s the problem. If you had to compensate us* for the damage you do to our property, you might have second thoughts about what’s “best” for you.

      *note that in this case “us” includes you, whereas “you” doesn’t include anybody but yourself.

      • You_Fool 11.1.1

        I agree that the true cost of dairy farming isn’t calculated, so it seems like a great return when overall it might not be. It is not just dairy that has this issue, everything we purchase doesn’t have the full cost (financial, social (and cultural) and environmental) included in what we pay, so the free market doesn’t work to actually focus all our available capital to be of most use, to either ourselves or our society.

        • saveNZ 11.1.1.1

          +1 You_Fool – we need to have wider focuses on the impacts of point decision making and calculations and what is real profit into long term NZ coffers and what is not. Too many NZ IYI class decisions being made, that are totally arbitrary, not thought through, plain wrong or misleading or based on completely different circumstances of a different country, different times, or economic formulas that are wrong. Sometimes in the case of treasury recently 25% out in their calculations – they can’t even get the maths right! Industry lobbyists have taken over the government’s ears and the media and even previously independent blogs or groups.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.2

          …so the free market doesn’t work to actually focus all our available capital to be of most use, to either ourselves or our society.

          Yep. The ‘free-market’ would only work if all costs were properly accounted for. Unfortunately, our governments have spent centuries ensuring that they’re not.

          This is actually what calls for deregulation was about – making sure that the costs of a business weren’t properly accounted for.

          And that is why we need regulation. It’s regulation that makes a market system work. Without it the market fails to properly account for costs.

      • patricia bremner 11.1.2

        OAB Yes!! There is the unvarnished truth.

    • Bill 11.2

      Did you just hit the nail on the head?

      The “best use of my land bar none” is a conclusion based solely on financial return, meaning that the chances of your land use being the best bar none is pretty damned remote.

      If (for example) wool prices hadn’t collapsed, or if a whole host of other financial impacts hadn’t become determining factors for land use (including, quite reasonably – “How do I keep this farm making money so it can continue to be passed on through the family?”), then neither you as a farmer, not New Zealand as a country, would be in this terrible fix where, if the farmer loses out the country gains and visa versa.

      For what it’s worth, I might detest some of the stuff farmers get up to, but I don’t blame farmers any more than I blame the latte drinking city professional, for joyfully buying into and supporting a wholly chrematistic culture of worth.

      The good news is that the days of that focus being a somewhat successful determinant for some in how they conduct their life and business, has a shelf life with an expiry date that pretty much coincides with one day in the life of some people alive today.

      The bad news is the likely levels of chaos and misery that will have been brought down on the heads of those finally compelled to abandon this culture we currently exalt.

    • Adrian 11.3

      I don’t know if that’s directed at me Rural but I agree with you, I farm grapes and my sentiments apply to the rapacious corporates in this wine business as well as the diary one rorting and hiding profits and tax obligations in offshore entities.
      Nothing like a good Pinot with a juicy steak, eh.

    • Crashcart 11.4

      I fully support the idea that you should be free to do what is best for you on your land. What ever you think is most profitable is what you should be doing.

      Lets carry that through though and agree that you should also wear all the cost rather than pushing that off on to the tax payer. If water ways around your farm are not swimmable you and surrounding farmers should have to immediately pay to clean it up. If you require more water to make your land suitable for sustaining your choice of produce you should wear the cost of putting in place the irrigation system right back to where the water is drawn from. If a bunch of your cows catch a disease you should either claim it back on insurance you paid for to protect against this eventuality or you should wear the cost of the cows being destroyed. Oh and you should also be bought in to the Emissions Trading Scheme and pay for your share of carbon emissions like the rest of the country.

      Basically if you want to happily claim all the profit from your land feel free to wear all the cost as well. Just like urban business is required too. Then you can at least make an informed decision about what is actually profitable.

      • Antoine 11.4.1

        I am an urban dweller and I don’t pay for my water, my carbon emissions or any low level pollution I might cause…

        A.

        • Muttonbird 11.4.1.1

          A you sure about that?

          • Antoine 11.4.1.1.1

            Positive.

            • crashcart 11.4.1.1.1.1

              You might want to look in to the ETS and which industries it has and hasn’t been applied to. Sure no one has sent you a bill labelled ETS but feel comforted that the other bills you pay do in fact include the cost of your carbon emissions.

            • Muttonbird 11.4.1.1.1.2

              You do pay to get water to the places you use it and for it to be taken away again. You do use water, don’t you?

              Also you pay for emissions as a consumer of goods and services. But then perhaps you don’t consume anything?

              Then there’s the rates you pay to take away your waste and recycling, and I don’t mean the comments you make here!

              I’d say like all of us as urban dwellers you do produce low levels of pollution but to claim you pay nothing doesn’t seem right.

      • Bill 11.4.2

        In your view, should the same be applied to the plastic/chemical industry, the automobile industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the building industry, the paper industry, industries involved in extraction…and so on?

        And if so, are you happy enough to participate at some level in developing a replacement for the market economy that would no longer be in existence due to the effects of business and industry having to assume the full costs associated with their activities?

        Or is your thinking that only some industries and activities get “singled out” on an arbitrary or subjective basis and made to bear the full weight of costs associated with what they do?

        • crashcart 11.4.2.1

          I’m sorry are you saying the market economy can only exist if the players are subsidise by the government?

          Lets be clear. I don’t ask that farmers get treated more harshly than any business. I am not sure how you would pull that from what I said other than perhaps comparing large scale irrigation schemes to normal urban development costs. In fact I am proposing the complete opposite. They receive the same as any other business.

          At the moment it would seem difficult to me to argue that Farmers aren’t a protected class. If the weather goes bad and we have a drought tax payers come to the rescue and bail farmers out. I can’t think of too many instances of this happening for regular struggling small business. As Dr Mapp pointed out we do support in major events such as earth quakes but I honestly can’t think of a single year where farmers haven’t had to be supported through either drought, snow, disease, or any of the other unexpected influences that damage their businesses.

          I am open to being proven wrong though.

          • Bill 11.4.2.1.1

            I’m sorry are you saying…?

            Basically, yes. Costs get externalised and that leaves room to create a profit margin.

            If you want the farming industry to pick up the full cost of its business activities, then why not every other business?

            Some small businesses could (I imagine) cover their full costs and still be thrive in terms of success in a market economy. Maybe. But industry doesn’t and can’t. And that would flow on to affect the smaller “owner operator” or whatever scale of business.

            So for example. A hairdresser might quite easily account for environmental and health costs that flow from their business. But could the wider pharmaceutical, chemical and plastic industries that hairdressers rely on do that? If not, what then?

            Governments have always bailed out or subsidised at the industrial level, either directly as a matter of course (steel, automobile industry etc), indirectly by absorbing health and environmental costs, or in times of supposed emergency to “keep things going” (2008 and the banking/financial sector).

            Small businesses don’t count in the scheme of things. They can “come and go” as far as ‘economic management’ is concerned. But no expense is spared, and no price is too high to preserve the supposed integrity of the environment those small businesses “come and go” in.

            Right now, for the immediate future, and for the past 30 odd years, politicians, “the captains of industry and finance” and the high priests of economics, would have us acquiesce to the notion that the future viability of the very world we live on is a price worth paying, to ensure that “business gets done” tomorrow as it’s done today.

            I happen to think that’s mad, and so adopt the (some would say) crazy position of being a market abolitionist. 😉

            Hope that kind of explains where I was coming from in my above response to you.

            • crashcart 11.4.2.1.1.1

              Yea after re reading your comment I had sort of latched on to where you were coming from but am often a bit slow and reactionary. You are right of course. No such thing as a free and open market exists and for good reason.

              Whilst I am keen to see a new economy (perhaps a resource based economy) come along I don’t hold a lot of hope for it happening in my life time.

              Then again how many times can we ride the boom bust model that we are currently on.

          • Draco T Bastard 11.4.2.1.2

            …but I honestly can’t think of a single year where farmers haven’t had to be supported through either drought, snow, disease, or any of the other unexpected influences that damage their businesses.

            Of course, all the things we bail them out on are expected as naturally occurring events.

          • Jimmy 11.4.2.1.3

            I have farmed through drought, when drought is declared farmers are entitled to an extension on the time too pay their tax.
            Any type of business can apply for this extension if times are hard, not just farmers.
            Mental health facilities are provided.
            Farm advisors are provided in some cases.
            And that’s it, so hardly a tax payer bail out every time it snows, or a drought occurs.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.4.2.1.3.1

              https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/rural-assistance.html

              It’s a bit more than what everyone else gets.

              • Jimmy

                Thanks Draco, had a quick look.
                Be interesting to know how many farmers have met the criteria for payments, very few I would imagine.
                I would also disagree that it’s more than anyone else gets.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  And how many businesses get business advisers paid for by the government?
                  How many get mental health services?

                  Do unemployed?

                  I’m not against farmers being helped when necessary but I do get pissed off with them claiming these benefits while trying to deny them to others and the fact that they do seem to get more help than anyone else and often they should have planned for the event as a part of their business.

                  • Jimmy

                    I don’t think farmers try and deny others benefits.
                    I’m pretty sure mental health services are available to anyone who needs them farmer or not.
                    Seem to get more help, I think you hit the nail on the head.
                    Seem too, not actually get.
                    People like Cashcart seem to think farmers get taxpayer money every time it snows or dries out, just not true.
                    On this site I read comments about how farmers willingly pollute, cow shit in every stream, again not true.
                    Comments asking why farmers should get compensation for M.Bovis, while forgetting it’s MPI, police and government forcing the culling of the Farmers herd, it’s not a choice.
                    Comments saying farmers circumvent NAIT for monetary gain, I can’t see how that’s even possible. (Although I agree something’s not right)
                    Comments saying farmers should have insurance for all sorts of things that insurance companies don’t even offer insurance for.
                    Comments saying levy’s should be in place to get the tax payer money back for M.Bovis, when farmers have been playing disease levy for years, every time an animal is killed at the works a levy is paid, where has the money gone?
                    A bit more understanding from both sides would be good.

      • patricia bremner 11.4.3

        Crashcart well put!! 1000%

    • Stuart Munro 11.5

      “Think of me as the modern version of the gentry class”

      Nope – just another tax-evader, a temporarily unimprisoned felon.

    • james 11.6

      “I’m the 23rd post on this blog, and the 22 ahead of me show absolutely zero understanding of dairy farming”

      I think you will find a lot of people who comment on here have an inflated sense of their own knowledge as such I predict that you will be told you are wrong – despite this being what you actually do and understand.

      • saveNZ 11.6.1

        Of course just because someone says they are a dairy farmer on this site, does not mean they are actually working on the farm, rather than owning the land while working as a financial trader, for example.

        • ropata 11.6.1.1

          I’d say that most “farmers” in NZ are only in it for the capital gains. They complain about margins and operating costs but the actual value in the business is the ability to retire at 50 with $10 million

      • Robert Guyton 11.6.2

        “A lot of people who comment here have an inflated sense of their own knowledge as such I predict…” – James
        Help me, Jesus!

      • Draco T Bastard 11.6.3

        Just because he does it doesn’t mean that he understands it. In fact, I’d say that him doing it proves that he doesn’t.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.7

      So I’m a dairy farmer; as right now dairy provides easily the best return on investment and is the best use of my land bar none.

      1. It’s not your land – it’s ours. You have a lease title to it.
      2. You’re damaging our land.
      3. You need to pay for the damage that you’ve caused.

      Think of me as the modern version of the gentry class,

      I do, as a matter of fact, think of you as an absolute bludger.

    • Sabine 11.8

      ahh the landed gentry

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landed_gentry

      “Landed gentry or gentry is a largely historical British social class consisting in theory of landowners who could live entirely from rental income, or at least had a country estate. It was distinct from, and socially “below”, the aristocracy or peerage, although in fact some of the landed gentry were wealthier than some peers, and many gentry were related to peers. They often worked as administrators of their own lands, while others became public, political, religious, and armed forces figures. The decline of this privileged class largely stemmed from the 1870s agricultural depression.

      The designation “landed gentry” originally referred exclusively to members of the upper class who were landlords and also commoners in the British sense, that is, they did not hold peerages, but usage became more fluid over time. Similar or analogous social systems of landed gentry also sprang up in countries that maintained a colonial system; the term is employed in many British colonies such as the Colony of Virginia and some parts of India. By the late 19th century, the term was also applied to peers such as the Duke of Westminster who lived on landed estates. The book series Burke’s Landed Gentry recorded the members of this class. Successful burghers often used their accumulated wealth to buy country estates, with the aim of establishing themselves as landed gentry.”

      a more useless group of people never existed, and sadly they breed politicians.

    • solkta 11.9

      I’m merely a land owner so can extract value from my land to meet the market.

      This would not be true of most dairy farmers. There would not be many who have tertiary qualifications in both dairy and horticulture or have grown up gaining hands on knowledge of doing both let alone doing both within the restraints of their property’s soil types and microclimates.

      Permacuture systems are far more complex than factory farms and would require huge upskilling for most dairy farmers. There would be many not up to the task.

  12. Sabine 12

    in the meantime Forest and Bird are posting this on Facebook

    https://www.facebook.com/forestandbird/?hc_ref=ARQT4BgaGl0TdmuI_JyTiggfq-pdt9BU7kpq1miND3ZYCFCPPG2To4sJF1957N2u23w&fref=nf

    “Forest & Bird
    31 mins ·
    Want to get illegal cattle out of Mount Aspiring National Park?

    Then join us in telling the Department of Conservation to decline an application to graze a huge area of conservation land in the Haast River valley.

    This is a rare braided river ecosystem, home to vulnerable birds like the wrybill and the banded dotterel. When cattle trample nests on public conservation land, where can our birds be safe?

    In addition, inadequate fencing means cattle get into forest of the National Park.

    Submissions close 5pm this Thursday and you can just email your opinion in to chtaylor@doc.govt.nz

    so for those of you that can write nicely and such, maybe email that chtaylor@doc.govt.nz that maybe maybe grazing cows in our last reserves of left over NZ is not that grand an Idea.

    • Andrea 12.1

      I wonder why DoC would offer such a grazing right… Do we know the conditions of the offer?

      Are they choosing to allow grazing to conserve habitat from weed invasion?

      Will the cattle actually be in the area over the breeding/nesting season?

      Has anyone donated the money, labour/materials to erect the desired fencing – and maintain it in perpetuity? Plus revegetation costs. And ongoing weed/pest management? No?

      How very unsurprising.

  13. DB 13

    The 20 people before me know nothing. I am gentry!

    LOL.

  14. Milkman 14

    Talking of tax payer money being spent. How much has been pumped into Auckland motorways, tunnels etc. For once money is being spent on an industry that has been earning it for a long time. If we are to stop anything it is building houses in Auckland until at least they can sort out the pollution of beaches with raw sewage.

    • Muttonbird 14.1

      ‘Milkman’. Nice troll.

      Rural broadband must be at breaking point today.

    • saveNZ 14.2

      It might be a troll, but Milkman’s right.

      Time NZ thought about pollution in general and where it is coming from and how to stop it by doing something about it rather than just going to and fro rural pollution vs city pollution and not doing much about either because construction, transport and cows all have huge political backers on all political sides.

      • Robert Guyton 14.2.1

        Plenty’s being done about both. Both “parties” should own their pollution. Few human activities have minimal pollution outputs but some do and those should be our models. Most useful models are from the non-human world. Trees, for example, and forests, wastenotwantnot.

        • solkta 14.2.1.1

          Whangarei District Council has sorted their shit in dealing with our shit and discharges to the harbour are now a rare event (we were having 7+ a year). Northland Regional Council however has done fuck all about farm pollution and the Whangarei Falls has a permanent sign warning not to swim.

          • Robert Guyton 14.2.1.1.1

            There’s plenty also, that hasn’t been done. The most significant yet-to-be-done “thing” is a change of culture: AGRIculture: it’s a way of thinking about the world. Human manure into the harbour is due to our AGRIculture.

    • dukeofurl 14.3

      Milkman, the government money being ‘pumped’ into motorways and tunnels comes from the fuel tax being pumped into cars by motorists filling up.
      Thats is purpose

  15. Robert Guyton 15

    I am gentry, hear me roar – RoaralGuy?

    • patricia bremner 15.1

      Robert, Thanks for light relief LOL LOL.
      Next it will be “gentleman farmer”

  16. jimekus 16

    Severe Global Water Cycle Shifts from Abrupt Climate Change

    “Freshwater availability for drinking is being disrupted around Earth. Same for irrigation water relied upon to grow many crops. Soils are drying out and groundwater is being depleted much faster than it can be recharged. Alpine glacier water storage in snow and ice is collapsing, and extreme droughts in some places and torrential rains with floods in other places is accelerating. I discuss Terrestrial Water Storage (TWS) measurements from GRACE satellites, and changes around Earth from 2002 to 2016, while the satellites ran.”

    • saveNZ 16.1

      don’t worry jimekus, you can get free water to bottle in NZ and send overseas! We are such a generous country which is why we have so many ‘friends’. We even charge those in cities for water but those taking it for export, next to nothing because we have not worked out that it’s the water that is the most valuable, not the pipes. You can make the pipes but you can’t make more water, easily once it’s gone or polluted. And countries that used to have a lot of water, suddenly find, it might be gone or reducing rapidly due to climate changes. Here in NZ, we don’t like to bother to think about the future risks, she’ll be right.

  17. saveNZ 17

    Another good use for Dairy farms is sending out troubled youth or even adults to work on them. Have a young relative, got into trouble with law, got sent to a dairy farm by family in the middle of nowhere in South Island, and viola, no more crime. Hard to do crime when there is nothing around. Seriously, dairy farms are a lot more useful than prisons for someone going in the wrong direction. Same can probably be said for horticulture.

    I’d prefer to be working, getting skills and job experience and earning money, than being double bunked in overcrowded and crime filled prisons.

    • In Vino 17.1

      Maybe not such a hot policy: my experience has been that city people dumped in lonely rural places become depressed and prone to psychological problems, with possible danger of suicide.
      Mind you, as you say, it may still be better than prison. But not by much, I fear.
      Futile to expect people to like a job that they have not chosen for positive reasons. They will find reasons to dislike their situation, and want out.

      • Gabby 17.1.1

        City people aren’t that soft and pathetic are they viny?

        • In Vino 17.1.1.1

          No, Gabby – but the minority who end up dumped in a job they had never seriously considered beforehand often are very vulnerable. That is how a semi-slave-labour system works. On the vulnerable minority. The ones who have not been able to suss out a good job in the big city with their ‘mates’.

      • solkta 17.1.2

        reasons like being shat on twice a day.

        • In Vino 17.1.2.1

          Oh, come on solkta. It is only soft, mushy, not-so-stinky vegetarian shit. Not really smelly like dog or cat-shit. And one soon gets skilled at dodging it if one stays at the job, so no real problem.

          • solkta 17.1.2.1.1

            Yes you are right. It is the piss that gets through your hair and down the pores of your skin that leaves a smell worse than stale McDonalds.

            • In Vino 17.1.2.1.1.1

              So farmers should be advertising for cheap labour on the notice-boards at McDonalds? Maybe not a bad idea..

  18. adam 18

    Can I congratulate the author Ad, for creating a good post to generate real economic discussion.

    Economics, may it long take centre stage on the standard.

  19. Ed 19

    No benefit is worth this cost.

  20. mikes 20

    “Because of this outbreak, our exporters are about to face a brown wave of negative stories about our food manufacturing and food security practices,”

    – Not necessarily, considering every other food producing country in the world has the bacteria in their cattle populations (except maybe Denmark or Norway I can’t remember). Its surprising NZ hasn’t been infected majorly until now, it’s probably only the fact we are so isolated geographically which has helped us until now. Other nations could hardly give us a hard time over having an outbreak of a disease they’ve all had for years and wil have for the foreseeable future.

    I’d say we will, however, make international headlines (at least in the agriculture world) if we are the first country to be successful in eradicating it.

    “why should dairy farming exist here?”

    – Because some people noticed there was a demand for dairy products and decided to go into business producing those products for the market, just like most other businesses in most other industries. Nobody has the right to tell you what products you can or can’t produce as a business. (As long as you’re producing a legal product and meeting any health / quality regulatory requirements).

    Oherwise you may as well say “why should any business / industry exist here?” Who would decide what businesses are or aren’t allowed to exist? I’m guessing an authoritarian government?

    If an industry is causing problems for society (who decides that) then the government can regulate that industry and enforce those regulations. Prohibition is hardly ever (if ever) the answer, as history shows us.

    ” Fonterra does not need New Zealand dairy farmers”

    – Fonterra is a co-op owned by thousands of NZ farmers so not sure how you arrive at that conclusion.

    “Historically, dairy farming destroyed much of the native forests of the North Island”

    – Historically, prior to European settlement in 1840, Maori burnt around 6.7 million hectares of native forest, which was about one third of the total, contributing to the extinction of many species of native birds. After 1840, uncontrolled fires and destructive logging by European immigrants destroyed a further third of the original forest cover.

    There was 85% forestation covering NZ prior to humans arriving here.. Maori reduced that to 55% and since 1840 it has been further reduced to 23%. Most of that destruction of NZ’s native forests wasn’t due to dairy farming.

    I’m not necessarily a fan of dairy farming, but I’m definitely not a fan of the way this article is written.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1

      To an extent, I think Ad is being deliberately provocative, and still, the answer to your question “Who would decide what businesses are or aren’t allowed to exist?” is that it’s the wrong question. Businesses survive because they make a profit. One way to make a profit is to socialise your costs.

      Manufacturing milk powder is hardly a human right, after all. Sure, if you can do it without loading costs onto me, go right ahead. Otherwise my lawyer says I can sue your sorry effluent.

  21. R.P Mcmurphy 21

    the term is comparative advantage.
    how to make money doing one thing rather than another.
    the thing is the tories allowed the fake boom and it has been a disaster from start to finish.
    all ideologically driven so patrons could carve off the public assets and sell them to “the market” and mortgage everyone to the hilt.
    it all turned to custard.
    it is going to take some time to return to regulated growth and a steady state economy but that is what must happen otherwise this gem of the pacific will be stripped of everything and the environment totally depleted if the morons of morrinsville got their way.

  22. Philg 22

    I’m all for fairness. Just give the farmers a loan like a Student Loan. Pay back when they make some profit. That would please the taxpayers and Nat supporters.

  23. millsy 23

    Waghorn and Ian – the only hatred I have seen is from Farmers toward the idea of having clean rivers.

    They would foul every river and lake in this country of our if it meant a few extra dollars in their bank account. Never had I seen a bigger disregard for the health of this nation’s people. Farmers are willing to murder babies for profit.

    The ICC are making poisoning the water supply as a crime against humanity. I hope the entire leadership of Federated Farmers are hauled before the Hague one day on such charges. Their desire to launch an effective genocide campaign against the NZ people for profit by poisoning their water supply must not go unpunished.

  24. millsy 24

    I think that someone has full legal grounds to perform a citizens arrest on the Federated Farmers president for encouraging crimes against humanity in the name of profit.

  25. millsy 25

    I have just read that anyone can make a complaint to the ICC who will then investigate. Given that dairy farmers, are commiting crimes against humanity by poisoning our water, then it is time for someone to drop a letter to the prosecutor.

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    ...
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