National scared of farmers?

Written By: - Date published: 7:07 am, August 24th, 2015 - 41 comments
Categories: health and safety, national, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , , ,

National is being humiliated over its “health” and “safety” bill. Is worm farming dangerous or not? Judith Collins thinks it might be: “I’ve been assured it’s not because of worms turning dangerously; it’s actually because of heavy moving equipment and things”. John Key goes through the motions in this video (“John Key explains why Worm farms are considered more dangerous than beef farms”) – but his heart isn’t really in it. Four days ago Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse said “I think we’ve landed this at the right place”.

But yesterday Woodhouse seems to have changed his mind:

Worm farming will be taken out of ‘high risk’ category in health and safety bill

Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse accepts worm farms being high-risk is a “bit silly”.

Someone should ask Key and Collins how they feel about the news that the policy they were defending was a “bit silly”. (Seriously, please – someone should ask them).

Why are the Nats all over the place on health and safety? Why was the legislation delayed? Why the internal divisions and infighting? Andrew Little thinks he knows:

Little blames the “watered-down” bill on National MPs and Ministers being “terrified of the farming lobby”. He said farmers have reverted to a “classic culture” of thinking they shouldn’t be bound by the same rules as the rest of society.

“I totally reject that and in the absence of leadership from politicians on the government side, we actually need the farming community, responsible farmers, to step up and say we can do better, we’ll take responsibility… and we will do what is right to improve New Zealand’s health and safety record.” “That responsibility sits as much with the farming community as it does with politicians,” he said.

National is terrified of the farming lobby? That would do it. Maybe farmers reminded a few sitting MPs what just happened in Northland, and the prospect of surrendering a few rural seats to NZ first was enough to bring the National Party to heel. Something sure has to explain the fact that they ended up fronting this crock.

41 comments on “National scared of farmers? ”

  1. Ad 1

    Fun to watch though.

  2. gsays 2

    i would like someone to ask our local mp, ian mckelvie, what he thinks of the proposed workplace legislation.

    i suppose he isnt part of the small group of national mps that can be trusted to speak to the public.

    • weka 2.1

      you could email him and ask him yourself.

      • dukeofurl 2.1.1

        Mckelvie’s farming background is:
        My experience includes directorships in FMG and as Chair of Farmers Mutual Finance.
        Hes a “queen st’ farmer

        • kenny

          Wrong on this one – he has a large farm near Tangimoana and his family have farmed there for years.

          • dukeofurl

            Is he like Bill English, the ‘ familiy farmer’ was a myth, Bill left the farm to go to Boarding school. 3 degrees later ( unrelated to agriculture)and didnt go back till the seat became vacant and he couldnt get down there fast enough to get selected ( after election moved his family to Wellington very quickly, unlike most SI rural MPs). The actual farm has had a manager for many many years now.

            I know people of that generation, generally couldnt wait the get away from the farm for good. You dont get to be company director if you have only a farm background.

        • Farming the rural financial companies in other words….

    • Ian McKelvie is on record about the health and safety legislation.

      Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie shows support for unions

      McKelvie said he would like to think legislation would help, but education would still be needed.
      “I just think we might not be paying enough attention to that sort of stuff.”
      Workers’ safety was paramount. “I don’t think for a minute that we would want to impact on workers’ safety.
      “I’ve seen all sorts of people exploited in all sorts of ways in my life and I don’t like it.”
      With a strong farming background, McKelvie said there had been confusion among farmers as to how far the new legislation would go, and clarity was needed.
      “I don’t think in the farming sector there is any will to be exempted from anything.”

      • Atiawa 2.2.1

        So what is McKelvie trying to say? More education, less exploitation, safety is paramount……..

        Can we look forward to him involving himself in tomorrows parliamentary debate should the bill be further discussed on the basis that like the removal of farmer taxpayer subsidies, farmers are happy to be treated the same as any other high risk industry?

  3. tc 3

    This is what happens when you hawk legislation/soverignty/assets in return for the funds and influence required to keep you in power.

    National should get peter talley to respond to the farmers as he’d be relaxed about the new laws given his desires seem to have been met.

    • Skinny 3.1

      Tally Ho my slaves to your rights to be covered by a collective agreement.The cheek of these ungrateful drones all this meddling with safety when we are trying to expand our empire.

      Goodbye workplace elected H & S reps. Death to the bearers of the hammer and the sickle, once you sign on the dotted line your life is mine. Ho ho it feels like it’s Xmas rather than Spring. Jolly good show John dear old chap. What O you have pulled off my ruthless plans exceedly well.

    • dukeofurl 3.2

      That was only a month ago, but I suppose Judith Collins and her faction have more say.

  4. Chooky 4

    National should be “terrified of the farming lobby” because jonkey Nactional is incompetent…it has NOT looked after the farmers interests or free trade in NZ dairy when trade with Russia was open to them

    On dairy cows and milk surpluses in Europe plus the Russia boycott of European dairy trade…basically the EU is a mess for dairy farmers ..

    ‘Huge Glut in European Dairy Cows and Milk Coming Up’ by Mike “Mish” Shedlock


    …”Instead of blaming farmers for producing too much milk, and instead of blaming inane sanctions on Russia, the government and news outlets blame people for paying too little for milk….In a free trade setup, unprofitable farms would go out of business, but there would also not have been a ridiculous set of sanctions on Russia in the first place.”

    ( In New Zealand John Key last year advised Fonterra NOT to trade dairy with Russia when the Russian market was open to New Zealand dairy ! ( and closed to European dairy)…was this sensible when Russia was open to buying dairy from New Zealand?..If i were a dairy farmer going to the wall I would be mad )

    • tc 4.1

      Farmers can join the queue of sectors this gov’t has either ignored or willingly gone about destroying value in such as R&D, education, engineering (hillside) etc etc

      I know a few non dairy farmers who’ve been shaking their heads at their dairying counterparts, to paraphrase one ” commodity boom/busts are as common as….their fathers/grandfathers would’nt have been so easily conned by the smiling routine of Fonterra/Blinglish/Shonky…”

  5. greywarshark 5

    I praise your great choice for the image. Perfect!

  6. save NZ 6

    National have ignored farmers for years. Now that farmers are suddenly waking up to the fact that the ‘free trade’ deals are really about not selling milk but about selling their farms and all this deregulation really is ideology – look at the PSA virus – bought in by National’s deregulation of imports, and the government being sued by the Kiwifruit industry.

    Winston should go after the farmers, while Labour and Greens should do some strategic electioneering to stop splitting the left vote. (Of course Labour might have to give up their pro right wing stances on many issues).

    People want the security of a Cullen style way of running the economy (without more taxes, capital gains increase pension) with the Greens vision for creating Green wealth.No one wants some sort of sudden change – they just want to go back 10 years to the balance then, paying of debt, investing in state assets like railways etc.

    A lot of that is also what NZ First wants so all good.

    • Chooky 6.1

      +100 save NZ…very well said!

    • tc 6.2

      All good except we must increase our tax base if we are to restore what nats have destroyed.

      Everyone wants the education, health, infrastructure etc but it must be paid for so it’s never an easy sell as national and their MSM puppets have sold a blighted future being compatible with lower taxes which’s BS.

      We were amongst the lowest taxing countries in the OECD BEFORE the tax cut/gst swindle in 09.

      Kiwis whine far too much about tax, they pay very little really whilst companies get away with not paying billions.

      • save NZ 6.2.1

        Yes but Labour and co need to get elected first.

        Who do you think Joe blogs will vote for – Nats backed by MSM saying the shine shines out of their behind or Labour who’s policies last time were pretty much National with more taxes and their backstabbing and MSM beat up did not help.

        If Labour campaigns on higher taxes with more public services then they will be vilified in the press and a hook for the Nats to scare monger with. Everyone will be voting as before, I hate the Nats but can’t vote for Labour as I am about to retire and need my pension, have that massive mortgage and don’t want property to crash or do not have anymore money to pay as I’m already stretched.

        Strategically the left must try to make the economy work by growing the economy and being smart with technology. For example in health. They don’t even have electronic records in the most part! Don’t F-ing scare people by this BLAME culture of – lets crash everything, then poorer folk can afford stuff – middle NZ still have 65% owning their own property for example. Crack down of speculation and foreign housing investment by all means which will automatically dampen Auckland by don’t go mad like last time and go after 65% of Kiwi property owners.

        There is a massive waste of public money under National and all these bribes, we can pay the Saudi’s bribes to fly sheep around the globe and run the NSA spy bases here – maybe start charging them for corporate welfare for a start. User pays for security.

        Personally think the US would be more amendable for NZ paying for spying locations here than shaft their US farmers under some sort of bogus free trade deal which Groser is champing at the bit to do to NZ farmers.

        Stop corporate welfare and all the immigration scams instead of wanting more taxes out of Joe Bogs for a change while championing immigration who have never even paid any taxes in the country and many never do such as the folks speculating on property –

        I agree the rich should pay more, but that is not happening – it is the middle class that end up paying more, doctors, teachers, etc – under Labour policies of higher taxes. They are not rich enough to get the accountants and off shore bank accounts and can’t fly off and avoid their capital gains taxes like the immigrants who often have multiple passports.

        The rich and immigrants are not effected by higher taxes targeted under PAYE at all – and that is what makes middle Kiwis see red.

  7. BLiP 7

    Nah, National Ltd™ isn’t as terrified of the farmers. Rather, it is blinded by its neoliberal ideology and the concomitant doctrine concerning organised labour. National Ltd™’s argument that there is no need for worker-designated safety officers in small, family-run farms is so disingenuous as to run counter to the very legislation it is seeking to introduce. The legislation states that workers can designate safety representatives “if” they feel it is necessary – its not a requirement, its an option.

    Leader of the National Ltd™ franchise. ACT, David Seymour gave the game away last week. In response to someone who had lost a family member in a work accident, all Seymour was capable of doing was spluttering out an ad hom attack on Andrew Little who he described as ” . . . a union apparatchik . . . “. Wottaguy – but, also, what a glimpse at the thinking driving National Ltd™’s watering down of the health and safety legislation.

    Putting National Ltd™’s intransigence down to a fear of farmers is too simplistic and obscures its real intention: keeping its jackboot stamping on unions for ever.

    • Macro 7.1

      Yes that’s what National Ltd™ are there for – and the sooner we have Amazon style labour conditions in this country the better for all of us – (read all of us 1%ers).

      • greywarshark 7.1.1

        That’s really frightening. When we use the big parts of our brain, our higher intellect, and succeed at our goals, the result is we just want to enslave our fellows, and invent new thumbcrews to manipulate them with. What a piece of work is man? Are we fatally flawed? Is the only way to escape the hubris of affluence and success to be like the Amish and control our minds to an accepted level?

        We certainly need to put restraint, enjoyment of our present and pleasure in interacting with people on the list of aims to laminate. These would be different than those of Amazons hell-bent leader functionaries.

        • Macro

          I think the spiral backwards into the working conditions of the dark satanic mills of early industrial England is a direct result of (at least three) major global factors, The first was the great leap backwards in economic policies under Thacher, Douglas, and Regan. The second was the collapse first of the Berlin Wall, and secondly the Bamboo Wall, opening up millions of previously highly functional workers in Russia to the European work force following the breakup of the Soviet Union and the consequent deterioration of its economy. For instance, women who were previously employed as scientists, engineers, teachers and academics etc suddenly found themselves out of work and having to turn to anything to make ends meet.

          The third was the opening of borders under “free trade” agreements. This was a particularly disasterous move from a workers point of view for it quickly enabled large companies to “off-shore” jobs countries with less responsible labour laws and lower wages. The clothing industry in the US for instance, once a huge industry employing millions of workers from designers to seamstresses etc went down hill very rapidly as Nike and Levi and all the name brands moved their production off shore to factories employing slave labour. We still have this today – despite many protests. Today in the US the numbers employed in the clothing industry is measured in the thousands- mostly in high end production. The US and every other western country could not clothe itself if and when a major world event – such as another WW was to happen.
          So the employees of Amazon are in direct competition with the workers of India and China – Amazon could just as efficiently run its operation overseas if it chose. Is it unusual then that they must accept the working conditions of India and China under this present state of affairs – prescribed for them by their “betters” in Govt?
          The only way we can really address this problem of declining working conditions for workers world wide is to scrap every “free trade” deal in existence and in their place enforce fair trading for all. Trading that recognises the value of people as human beings with needs and rights and not resources to be used and then thrown on the scrap heap.

          • Chooky

            +100…”The only way we can really address this problem of declining working conditions for workers world wide is to scrap every “free trade” deal in existence and in their place enforce fair trading for all”

            …and ‘free trade” is not “free trade”…it is political block trade …corporate control and rort trade….and big country squeeze on little country


            while John Key was exhorting Fonterra not to trade with Russia….China…our supposed friendly “free trade” partner …which we depended on for dairy …was busy setting up its own dairy industry (with expertise and cows from New Zealand) to trade with Russia!

            This government is stupid!

            • dukeofurl

              You wonder what Fonterra got by way of policy in return for not selling dairy to Russia to fill gap from EU?
              We know that Fonterra ‘overpaid’ its farmers during election year, is there something relating to supplying the local competition to come that will make Fonterra’s day ?

              • greywarshark

                Surely not. What you say – tch tch etc.
                Cynical is the only way to be about government since Douglas et al engineered us into the capital mainstream. We’re now in what to the USA is a game of Poohsticks down the river (as in AA Milne). We aren’t hugely important but they love to see us, our allegiance, and our money float down their river.

                And Macro. I am getting big bits of interesting background and analysis from reading your comments. And it seems spot on, from what I have learned so far. Thanks for putting it up.

            • b waghorn

              The Botulism scare appears to be the reason we weren’t selling to Russia

              • Chooky

                yes…Russia was open to trading dairy with New Zealand last year when the Europeans at the instigation of USA boycotted trade with Russia ….and Russia retaliated by stopping buying European dairy creating a glut

                …but John Key advised against New Zealand selling dairy to Russia

                …”Mr Key also revealed that although New Zealand has not officially imposed trade sanctions on Russia, government officials had called in Fonterra and other companies to ask them not to exploit the gap left in the Russian market.”…


                …”New Zealand was not included in the ban, and Russia has signalled it will increase cheese imports from New Zealand to make up some of the shortfall.

                New Zealand is already a significant supplier of dairy products to Russia.

                According to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, New Zealand exported $193 million of dairy products to Russia in 2010 and supplied more than half of Russia’s imported butter.

                While the ban offers an opportunity to increase dairy exports to Russia, businesses have been warned of potential pitfalls in trading with countries that are under trade restrictions from other nations….

                Waikato University agribusiness professor Jacqueline Rowarth questioned whether New Zealand should be doing business with Russia.

                “We need to be looking carefully at the reasons others have stopped trading with Russia,” she said.

                “We stood up against the Springboks in 1981 because we didn’t like the way people were being treated.”

                Rowarth said New Zealand could experience “short-term gain, long-term pain” from continuing to send dairy products and other food to Russia.

                “There could be repercussions for other trade if we just say we’ll keep selling you our products,” she said.

                Prime Minister John Key said he had received advice New Zealand wasn’t on Russia’s banned list.

                “But whether that ultimately means we do sell more we’ll have to work through the fine print of that,” he said.

                “I’d hate to think that New Zealand was doing something other countries weren’t, but you’ve got to remember this is being driven by the Russians and not driven by us.”


    • mickysavage 7.2

      But but but but …

      Trade union takeover of New Zealand businesses and COMMUNISTS ….

  8. Saarbo 8

    Prior to last years election we had 2 senior Labour MP’s visit and we managed to get 40 odd people to listen to them speak. The next week 200 plus farmers paid $100 a head to listen to Paula Bennett speak at a local restaurant, about her “bene bashing” techniques and her attacks on our most vulnerable and weakest, apparently she was given a rousing reception. At the time it made me really angry but I realised how strongly Farmers support National and how this group, who are virtually 100% socially isolated from urban environments don’t give a damn about those, who for one reason or another find themselves on hard times.

    Now I hear of all of the support groups and suppliers talking about how “vulnerable” our dairy farmers are in this low payout environment.

    Oh the fucken irony.

    Sorry, slightly off topic.

    • Chooky 8.1

      I have seen farmers give Winston Peters a rousing reception….and I know farmers who have voted Labour all their lives…so at least some have a social conscience

      …However agreed it is farmers who generally support National ( the blue ribbon seats are often rural farming seats)…and this is why it is true “National is terrified of the farming lobby”!…and Winston Peters !

      …because jonkey Nactional has done a very poor strategic job of looking after farmers’ long term trade interests….and Winston Peters will be the winner of farmers turning away from Nactional

      However Colin Moyle was once a very popular Labour Minister of Agriculture….Labour should be pulling its finger out and finding another Colin Moyle…to hammer National and woo the farming vote away to Labour

      …finding new trade partners away from China (which has stockpiled and let our dairy down and is rorting our housing and other assets )….and actively promoting and engaging new markets eg Russia ( which is open for trade with us) for our agricultural produce, would be a good proactive start. Farmers are pragmatists…offer them a better alternative than John Key and Nactional and they will take it.

      • greywarshark 8.1.1

        Think you’re right Chooky about pragmatism and farmers. We have traded with Russia before, we can do it again. We traded with Iran too at one time. We just can’t afford to be part of a highly politicised economic sanctions approach, not for long.
        A vassal state is where we will be then. and not to the Russians.

        China may not be helping us in their trade patterns. However they are trying to help themselves in their dealings. How different that is to our behaviour. We just can’t wait to give up advantage, and our government presents that as wise and smart dealing with our ‘trading partners’. We should put an Ansett plane on our flag. What an appropriate symbol for the f..k-upped country our ‘clever, smart’ business and trade deals have resulted in.

      • save NZ 8.1.2

        Agree, but if Winston Peters and Labour split the farm vote, guess what, Nats get in, again!

        Better to let Winston go after the farmers, and strategically work together with Greens too to avoid vote splitting.

        Have Labour learn’t from Northland? Better to have a more moderate party get it, than the Nats and also have the ability to Sock it to them.

        Yes, they may need to co operate big time and not have their delicate politicians ego’s massaged with entitlement – are they capable of it?

        Can Labour be fair to the Greens for example?

        Or will they ALL go for gold split the vote and get the most disgustingly corrupt government we have ever had, romp through again.

    • b waghorn 8.2

      Nathan guy is coming to talk at a beef n lamb function in Taumarunui in early September I don’t know if its possible but it would be good to see his opposite number getting along to this sort of thing.

  9. Stuart Munro 9

    I wonder what the worm farmers would drive up parliament steps if they revolt.

    • save NZ 9.1

      I would love to see a digger load of worm excrement dumped on parliament steps.

      Now that’s dangerous!

      • dukeofurl 9.1.1

        You can see for yourself

        “Robbie runs Wormworx, a 2 acre worm farm in Cromwell, New Zealand. He brings in food waste from all of the local orchards, apple mills, and even the franchised grocery market. Starting out with only 40,000 worms he now has over a million organized into 14 rows along his property.”

        Maybe its slippery ?

      • greywarshark 9.1.2

        Nah the Nat gummint have a primitive worm function in their being, and most having adopted a slimy, slithery way of moving through life, so they would just coast down the steps over the real worms. No worries.

  10. Stuart Munro 10

    I understand the most rapid change of government is achieved by blowing the shield wall with the family atomics and sending the Feydakin through the storm on worms to crush Brownlee/Harkonnen’s effete minions.

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  • Further sanctions against Russia
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  • Joint statement of Christopher Luxon and Emmanuel Macron: Launch of the Christchurch Call Foundation
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