Update: Rachel on Twitter and Martyn Bradbury on TDB have accused me of defending farmers’ rape threats and similar. I was not aware of any such threats, and certainly would not defend them under any circumstances. That was never the intention of the post, as I hope is clear to other readers.
Update2: Bradbury has updated his post at TDB and repeated the allegation that this post (original is below the line) is a defence of rape threats against Rachel Stewart. It is not: (1) I wasn’t even aware of the threats so I could hardly defend them, and (2) I condemn such threats utterly, as would any decent person. Bradbury is on some hate-fueled campaign against “The Standard”, but “The Standard” didn’t write this post, I did, my name is at the top. I find Bradbury’s repeated lies about me deeply and personally offensive. He has lost his way.
Rachel Stewart this morning:
The column causing the furore. Is it THAT controversial? http://t.co/O2Jr0n8wMD
— Rachel Stewart (@RFStew) January 24, 2015
From the piece mentioned:
Farmers not exempt from country’s laws
There are a few tell-tale signs leading me to the conclusion that dairy farmers are very close to the brink.
What brink is that, you ask? It’s the brink of being totally “out and proud” about unashamedly asking Kiwis to subsidise them even more than we’re already doing. What subsidy is that, you ask? That’d be the one where public water resources are turned into private wealth generators via irrigation schemes, in such dairy-unfriendly land use environs as Canterbury. That’d also be the other massive subsidy where taxpayers and ratepayers are already on the hook for all manner of mitigation and cleanup programmes for degraded water quality. In fact, the true cost of even attempting to repair the damage to our rivers from dairying has only just begun. Yet, it seems the cockies want more.
Over the summer slow news period I have noticed a rather disturbing trend. It’s subtle, considering the general un-subtleness of farmers when engaged in their default whine position, but it’s there. …
And so on in a similar vein.
Berating farmers seems entirely unhelpful. They are in the front lines of the fight between economic and environmental imperatives, especially so here in NZ. There lives are only going to get more difficult – much more difficult – as climate change kicks in.
Yes, it’s a mystery to me, given that farming is so completely dependent on the environment, that farmers are not at the forefront of the environmental movement. Instead far too many of them refuse to follow best practice and fight against environment laws. The mindless campaign against the “fart tax” was a particular low, and symptomatic of all that is wrong with farming.
But there are exceptions. And the worst of farming is no worse than the worst of the rest of us – trying to make money, not taking the action that is needed to protect the future. It’s just that farmers are much more visible than the rest of us because of the large scale of their activities. In short, farmers are copping stick for doing what the rest of us are doing. We all need to change, not just them.
So while I think Stewart’s points are mostly valid, I don’t think the tone of the piece is helpful. Attack anyone and you get an angry, defensive response. Farming needs to change, and constructive engagement is the way to do it. Just as Nixon could go to China, it’s the National government’s role to lead this process (because sure enough if Labour try we’ll have tractors on the steps of Parliament again). Where are the so called “blue-greens” when you need them?
Hey Anthony, I fixed up the typo. Couldn’t cope with it 😉 [Bill]
Thanks for that Bill…