Wills on Irrigation

May 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

writes in the Herald:

’s Shadow Minister of Finance David Parker looked the part in delivering his party’s monetary policy. I was impressed and it lasted until Mr Parker’s sequel, which read like was targeting farmers as if we are ducks.

A recent jaundiced attack upon has me questioning if the party gets it. This speech reads as an electoral game plan designed to demonise a minority of the population while amplifying prejudices and preconceptions about what we do.

Labour’s political calculus is cynical because “farming equals bad water” is dog-whistle politics. 

Evil evil farmers.

Labour’s anti-irrigation stance is a flip-flop from when Jim Anderton was Agriculture Minister. It also contradicts Labour’s desire to enact the world’s most repressive emissions trading scheme.

Winding up the Crown irrigation company not only flies in the face of regional economic development but regional climate adaptation. Are memories so short that we have forgotten adaptation was a key criticism of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?

According to the panel, Hawkes Bay can expect double or even triple the time spent in drought by 2040. Adaptation means new pastures and technologies, but fundamentally, it means storing rainwater. Residents in towns and cities do not wait for rain before taking a shower.

While water is vital to farming, without stored water some of our rivers increasingly will run lower and warmer. This is a consequence of less rainfall in a changing climate. It will also impact on farming and the environment equally.

So why is Labour so anti-irrigation?

The most distressing thing about dog-whistle politics is that it denies that farmers live where we farm.

It is a naked attempt to make farmers a breed apart. It is unreconstructed class warfare.

So the capitalists are no longer the enemy of the working class – it is the farmers!

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54 Responses to “Wills on Irrigation”

  1. redqueen (553 comments) says:

    Farmers own stuff and aren’t sucking off the teet of government 24/7, so they’re the same thing as capitalists…

    Beneficiaries of the world, unite!

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  2. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    The only thing this Parker creep has ever succeeded in was taking off with his stroke-ridden friend’s wife. His background reads like a failed loser, even ruining financially, another friend, through incompetent business dealings. Then we must remember, he misled the House over financial discrepancies, being sent to the back of the class. At this point he was a shining light, but even the foul Clark regime demoted him. He is no different from the rest of the left-wing leeches, they envy, but could not match the rural sector in any facets of operation, they would be too lazy, and clueless.

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  3. martinh (1,241 comments) says:

    Bet those bastards dont have any empathy for the stress of the biggest drought virtually ever in NZ last year, not just on farming families but the poor stock too

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  4. GPids (18 comments) says:

    What will be really galling is seeing the Labour party politicians strutting around the Fieldays at Mystery Creek this year promoting this policy. I feel sorry for Damien OConnor, he’s a good bloke and the only one in the entire labour caucas that has any knowledge of farming within the farmgate yet he has been saddled with promoting this policy as well as agriculture in the ETS. You also have to put it into context with all of the tighter N leaching restrictions coming in from regional councils. If labour gets in, it’s going to be challenging times ahead for farmers.

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  5. Psycho Milt (2,405 comments) says:

    Labour’s political calculus is cynical because “farming equals bad water” is dog-whistle politics.

    Maybe if dairy farmers made more of an effort to stop turning our rivers to shit, Labour wouldn’t be making such claims. Wills could always turn his attention to that.

    So why is Labour so anti-irrigation?

    Well, it could be because irrigation = dairy conversions = rivers turning to shit. Or, it could be DPF’s view that Labour just hates farmers. I wonder which it is?

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  6. louie (96 comments) says:

    Sounds like Labour, or at least the current bunch, want to take NZ down the path of the UK where the urban liberal elite have demonised farmers who are now widely regarded as land rapist rather than productive members of society. The Greens view is even worse, the only use they have for non-urban areas is a place to go morris dancing.

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  7. ross411 (494 comments) says:

    Look, I think Labour are about as on the pulse of what’s relevant as Winston on purchasing guns that are actually smoking, but.. I’ve seen the maps about the rivers nearby that are unsafe to swim in. Where is there a river that is safe to swim in, is the real question? There’s none around here.

    There’s a shrill taint of hyperbole about this being an attack on farmers. The fact is, around here, farmers = bad water.

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  8. Kea (11,923 comments) says:

    It is not old fashioned to claim farming is the economic backbone of this country. The figures clearly show where this countries wealth comes from. Primary industry.

    Its about time Labour showed some respect to the humble farm worker. What sort of communists are they ! ;)

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  9. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    The word Parker was looking for is ‘Kulaks.”

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  10. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Psycho: Are you a beneficiary or a leeching public servant? You show the usual traits of lazy, good-for-nothing, bludging Labour supporters posting on “The Standard”. Bet you have never done a day’s work in your life, even getting someone else to mow lawns at your State accommodation, paid for by taxpayers.

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  11. OneTrack (2,973 comments) says:

    ross411 – around where?

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  12. lilman (949 comments) says:

    PHYSCO -Where and what do you do for a living?

    I would bet my local river is far cleaner than your local river that runs through the nearest urban settlement.

    What a tosser,you have absolutely no idea about farming practices and the work being done to ensure that water quality is enhanced and safeguarded.

    What a knob end you are.

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  13. tom hunter (4,683 comments) says:

    I predicated this several years ago based on the following facts:
    – farmers are small in number
    – farmers are relatively wealthy, at least in terms of assets
    – farmers don’t vote for left-wing parties anyway.

    The perfect target group for demonisation. All that’s needed is a rational reason and “shit rivers” is a far more effective and emotive than Global Warming.

    Therefore this won’t stop and anybody using rational arguments against it or wandering around whining about why farmer’s are being picked on, will simply be setting themselves up as a defenceless target.

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  14. freethinker (688 comments) says:

    Prker & Liabore etc al should consider what happens if all NZ farmers decided to withold their produce for 2 weeks.

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  15. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ freethinker (655 comments) says:
    May 15th, 2014 at 8:42 am

    So you agree that the farming sector is holding New Zealand to ransom, then?

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  16. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Judith: Go get on your mobility scooter and hack a track . . . leftie loser!

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  17. GPids (18 comments) says:

    One other unintended consequence of this policy is that it will push food prices up for New Zealanders as farmers will have to pass on this extra cost to consumers.
    Weren’t Labour saying that food costs are too high and its all the government’s fault.
    Also, the person that said irrigation leads to dairying – that is an assumption that is not always correct. There are lots of hill and high country sheep farmers, mostly in the South Island that what to irrigate the flat minority area of their land to grow summer feed for their stock so they have feed over the drier months.

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  18. itstricky (1,770 comments) says:

    you have absolutely no idea about farming practices and the work being done to ensure that water quality is enhanced and safeguarded.

    Can you give us some more details on what those are then, instead of just hurling knob end abuse?

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  19. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ igm (1,015 comments) says:
    May 15th, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Oh dear? Childish insults because you can’t answer the question?

    The fact is that in labours 9 years of surpluses, the farming sector was not adversely affected, so the attempts to say otherwise, are sheer bullshit. And I know this, because our family trust has over 2,000 acres of prime farm land, and during that period the trust did very well, and no losses were recorded.

    In fact, GDP records a drop in the Agriculture GDP in the last quarter of 2013 from 1,959 to 1,919 – so the argument doesn’t stack up that farmers are better off under National than they are under Labour. Farming like many industries is affected by external conditions beyond the control of any government…. And Farming is not our biggest industry – manufacturing is.

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  20. Kea (11,923 comments) says:

    Judith, Some of us can remember the tragic scene of farmers, whos family had spent generations working the land, walking off their farms in tears, broken men, due to changes by Labour targetting the nasty National voting farmers.

    I guess you were hoping we all forgot that.

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  21. Scott Chris (6,019 comments) says:

    Labour’s political calculus is cynical because “farming equals bad water” is dog-whistle politics.

    I disagree. Farming has led to bad water there’s no two ways about it.

    Mind you a blanket stance against irrigation is a blunt and ill-thought out policy. Much easier to make farmers responsible for excessive effluent discharge by charging them for its true cost. Trust me, they’d soon either stop discharging or go out of business.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_full-cost_accounting

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  22. Nick R (505 comments) says:

    Labour attacking farmers is easy politics for both parties. Farmers don’t vote Labour. Never have, never will. Plus they are an easy target – they pollute rivers, and make dodgy water grabs so they can irrigate and create more pollution, etc. There is no reason on earth why Labour wouldn’t want to whack them. After all, what are the farmers going to do? Vote National?

    It’s good for National too. It allows DPF to make posts like this. National can look strong to one of its core constituencies and defend them as the backbone of the economy, etc.

    But it’ll have very little impact on the polls, because opinions on farmers are pretty firmly entrenched. Most on the left see them as parasitical polluters and most on the right see them as heroes of free enterprise and individual responsibility. There are exceptions on both side – Whaleoil frequently blogs against irrigation (dodgy socialist dams etc) – but not enough to make a difference, I reckon.

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  23. Psycho Milt (2,405 comments) says:

    Psycho: Are you a beneficiary or a leeching public servant?

    No. Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

    I would bet my local river is far cleaner than your local river that runs through the nearest urban settlement.

    My nearest river is the Manawatu, and it certainly is suffering from poor sewerage/wastewater management in Palmerston North. What’s your point? Is your argument that because urban settlements are also performing poorly in this respect, farmers don’t need to care about polluting rivers? That would be more of a logical fallacy than an argument.

    If we were to treat these two different situations as equivalent, how would you regard proposals to drastically increase the size of urban settlements along your local river, without any corresponding proposals to improve urban settlements’ management of sewerage/wastewater? If you were to feel that perhaps it wouldn’t be a good idea to increase urban areas on your river without improving sewerage/wastewater treatment, would that constitute an ignorant hatred of urban dwellers?

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  24. Scott Chris (6,019 comments) says:

    In support of irrigation I’ll say this; the majority of effluent discharge into waterways generally happens during periods of heavy rain so the judicious use of irrigation really won’t make much difference.

    But farmers do need to be made responsible for their effluent discharge, an idea I’m sure most real libertarians would agree with.

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  25. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ Kea (11,614 comments) says:
    May 15th, 2014 at 9:08 am

    There is one primary reason why those farmers lost their land, and that was not due to government policies, but to greed.

    Had they continued the farming practices using the same philosophies of their fore-bearers, they would still have their farms. Instead they borrow big money, to buy excess stock, and over stocking their land. For a while it raises their production levels, but as soon as there is an alteration in the ecology, adverse weather conditions etc, they cannot sustain their outputs. Hence they are unable to service the debt they have, and they lose their land.

    Nothing to do with governmental policy – but plenty to do with greed, and stupidity.

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  26. Kea (11,923 comments) says:

    There is one primary reason why those farmers lost their land, and that was not due to government policies, but to greed.

    Labour are running the same “greedy farmers” narrative to this day Judith.

    Labour are demanding more and more punative taxes, even wanting to tax cow-farts ! We would be a third world country without farming. Under Labour we would have no farming, no forestry, no mining, no nothing.

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  27. jcuk (665 comments) says:

    Kea 9.08 I seem to remember those walking off in tears was a result of a right wing political group rather than traditional Labour. The situation was very sad for those involved but needed for the sake of the country.

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  28. Nick R (505 comments) says:

    @ Kea – I think you are in for a disappointment if you think Labour is suddenly going to start worrying about farmers’ welfare or profits. Ain’t going to happen. Face it, Labour don’t like farmers and farmers don’t like Labour. Labour have zero incentive to be nice to farmers and I think they genuinely believe that there will be little or no impact to the economy from imposing more cost and regulation on farmers.

    I recall a few years back when Michael Cullen referred to Fed Farmers as the National Party in gumboots. Fed Farmers had a hissy fit. But I reckon that if the gumboot fits…

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  29. Kea (11,923 comments) says:

    Nick R, I am not from a farming background, but I think farmers around the world deserve far more respect.

    Farmers create a necessity of life. Other professions that create nothing and speculate on the wealth of others are elevated, while farmers are looked down on. It is absurd. Especially in NZ where they really are the backbone of the country. Tinkering with IT and other things is not where the nations wealth comes from. That is simply an appeal to the vanity of city dwellers in order to win votes.

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  30. Nookin (3,264 comments) says:

    “Had they continued the farming practices using the same philosophies of their fore-bearers, they would still have their farms. Instead they borrow big money, to buy excess stock, and over stocking their land. For a while it raises their production levels, but as soon as there is an alteration in the ecology, adverse weather conditions etc, they cannot sustain their outputs. Hence they are unable to service the debt they have, and they lose their land. ”

    Gee, the 100 year evolution of farming in NZ in a nutshell. And here was me thinking that the social and economic climate of our forebears was materially different. Maybe we should all wind the clock back to a different era. Thanks Judith.

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  31. Nick R (505 comments) says:

    @ Kea – Yep, Labour is pandering to their base.

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  32. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ Nookin (2,908 comments) says:
    May 15th, 2014 at 10:25 am

    When you inherit freehold land and a working farming unit, there is only a few ways you get to lose that
    Either you are a bad farmer, making poor choices and not protecting yourself against adverse condition (disease, weather, etc), or you use your asset to borrow more money, which you cannot service.

    Whilst some improvement is good, so many farmers have taken undue risks in a desire to increase their profits dramatically. They are the ones that have lost their farms. Their grandfathers knew how to farm in accordance with the natural environment, modern day farmers have ignored the natural environment to farm in accordance with bankers – farming will always be dominated by the natural environment – these farmers didn’t have to farm their land like their ancestors did, they just had to farm with the same philosophy – that is working with nature – they didn’t, they over extended themselves and they lost their inheritance – boo hoo!

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  33. thedavincimode (6,606 comments) says:

    Maybe if dairy farmers made more of an effort to stop turning our rivers to shit, Labour wouldn’t be making such claims. Wills could always turn his attention to that.

    Milt

    If you’d said: “some dairy farmers just don’t give a shit” instead of your uninformed generalisation, I would have agreed with you. Just like some (a very small minority) farmers don’t give a shit about animal welfare. Or is it that you have reviewed in detail all the work that Fonterra is doing on nutrients and the steps it is taking to enforce compliance and satisfied yourself that the science doesn’t stack up and the codes of conduct, involving the ultimate sanction of losing supply won’t ensure compliance?

    So why is Labour so anti-irrigation?

    Well, it could be because irrigation = dairy conversions = rivers turning to shit. Or, it could be DPF’s view that Labour just hates farmers. I wonder which it is?

    Have also been doing some in-depth work on the economic viability of dairy conversion of dryland Milt? Your inference that irrigation itself will create a stampede towards conversion of land must mean that you are all over the numbers. What was the cost of water that you used in your high tech financial model?

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  34. mikemikemikemike (323 comments) says:

    Farmers don’t own anything – for the most part they run massive overdrafts and are entitled to more instant welfare than any average person in town.

    If we are truly running as a free market economy, then when farmers hit bad times (i.e. droughts) then tough shit, as far as irrigation goes – they chose to set up shop and live/work where in an industry that can be hurt by adverse weather. Forcing me to assist in screwing the environment around them for their cause (so they can make money) and having people and animals around them to pay for it is wrong – I fail to see how you could come to any other conclusion.

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  35. thedavincimode (6,606 comments) says:

    The worst thing about these bloody dairy farmers is that they recruit foreign workers rather than giving jobs to unemployed people who don’t want to work or learn new skills.

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  36. Psycho Milt (2,405 comments) says:

    …is it that you have reviewed in detail all the work that Fonterra is doing on nutrients and the steps it is taking to enforce compliance and satisfied yourself that the science doesn’t stack up and the codes of conduct, involving the ultimate sanction of losing supply won’t ensure compliance?

    Fonterra’s efforts have reached the point where additional dairy farms won’t result in additional pollution of rivers? You’d think they’d be publicising that remarkable breakthrough widely, but I haven’t heard of it.

    Have also been doing some in-depth work on the economic viability of dairy conversion of dryland Milt?

    No. Previous irrigation schemes have resulted in uptake of dairy farming where it wasn’t previously feasible. Is there some reason to assume that won’t happen under future irrigation schemes?

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  37. thedavincimode (6,606 comments) says:

    Milt

    The answer to that question depends upon where you farm, what you farm on and the nature of your on-farm management practices. There is work being done on this stuff all the time at our public research facilities and by private enterprise. From what I can recall seeing, there is evidence to support the view that it is possible to farm more cows with less pollution. That does not necessarily address the issue of “legacy” pollution from the good old days when urea and phosphate were poured on at rates that made your eyes water. But again, it comes down to where you do it and how you do it.

    As to your second point, the answer will depend upon the cost of the water and the reliability of supply. Digging a canal to reticulate water out of the Rakaia is a lot cheaper that building a dam to store water and then reticulate it. Some historic schemes have been extremely cheap but new schemes are becoming far more expensive from what I’ve read.

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  38. Akld Commercial Lawyer (165 comments) says:

    Putting to one side the grim political reality that this election is likely to be won or lost in Auckland (and maybe Christchurch) by a chunk of the electorate who may fail to understand the significance of the agricultural economy and its role in softening the impact of the GFC, the only thing I find surprising is that the Feds thought Parker’s monetary fantasy was credible.

    The VSR is by far the bigger example of dog whistle politics.

    The reaction that follows is equally predictable. Although the Feds must worry about the misunderstandings that continue to be pedaled about the changes that have occurred to the rural economy in the generation since SMPs came off – and the sector had to face the challenges of massive economic upheavals, challenging monetary conditions, exchange rate fluctuations whilst the markets for NZ produce were turned on their heads. The decline in the national sheep flock as a result of the twin peaks of the brutal impact on the sheep meat market of changes in the supermarket sector in Europe and plummeting demands for greasy wools being are just the tip of the iceberg.

    The reasons for Crown investment in irrigation are a micro example of the NZ economy over the last century – few sources of domestic capital and low returns mean that a sector dominated by small, mostly family-owned players, can’t fund development that the economy as a whole needs to occur. And at the same time, the science community is working hard on solutions to the issues that intensification and changing water use patterns will inevitably bring.

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  39. gump (1,616 comments) says:

    There’s been a couple of references to farmers being the backbone of our country.

    That hasn’t been true for a long time. By way of comparison, even the financial services sector generates a higher proportion of our GDP than farming does.

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  40. tom hunter (4,683 comments) says:

    Wow

    Tons of juicy quotes to deal with. I’ll start with Scott Chris:

    … the majority of effluent discharge into waterways generally happens during periods of heavy rain so the judicious use of irrigation really won’t make much difference.

    We’re not talking about effluent discharging directly into the waterways as still happens with small urban centres. In the case of farmers we’re talking about run-off from the pasture during periods of rain, especially heavy rain. This is already understood – as far as the science is understood – and the primary method of dealing with it is to build large effluent ponds that can hold the waste until dry days can allow for it to be spread. The various environmental council bodies have been cracking down on farmers spreading the effluent when it’s raining – but they’ve been doing so via Fonterra because that’s far more effective coercion.

    There are a couple of “bugs” in this however. First, Fonterra made it clear to me that someone from Environment Waikato could turn up on the farm and fine us if “ponding” had occurred. But there is no definition around “ponding”; it could mean that pools of effluent are forming in hollows on the paddock because the spray unit is stuck – or it could simply mean that droplets of shit had splashed on the inspector’s boots. In short, for all the science, there was no quantitative method on which to make the decision, whether the decision-maker is a farmer, Fonterra rep, or bureaucrat.

    Second, the inevitable result of this is to not take any chance at all: just build the pond and not spray at all on rainy days. However, the councils will not sign off on any such pond, even if it’s sealed with concrete, so one could still be in the gun. Still, farmers have been doing this: I’m not aware of any that have not. They have no choice.

    Much easier to make farmers responsible for excessive effluent discharge by charging them for its true cost. Trust me, they’d soon either stop discharging or go out of business.

    Effectively farmers are being charged, through capital expenditure. My effluent pond cost $84,000 all up and we’re merely a median farm. Obviously there’s more than digging a hole involved, hence the cost. The pond has to be big enough to hold at least 30 days of discharge, preferably more. Whether this amounts to the “true cost” is something that would be very difficult to figure out, since this “pollution” is less the sort that makes a river unfit to swim in than the sort that may cause excessive growth of unwanted water weeds. Scientifically one can see the “pollutant” level rise, but exactly what effects that has is still being determined.

    As far as going out of business is concerned you will no doubt get your wish as these sorts of demands increase, although it will not be the simple scenario of said farmer going broke. They will sell out to a bigger dairy farm, one that can better capitalise such costs. This is already occurring as family farms get swallowed up by Trusts and Corporate farms. This will suit the class warriors of the Left much better, but paradoxically they’ll have less success, since such large concerns are more capable of fighting than your average family farmer.

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  41. Kea (11,923 comments) says:

    Primary Industries

    contributes over 50% of New Zealand’s total export earnings

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/economy/overview/2012/16.htm

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  42. gump (1,616 comments) says:

    @Kea

    Look up the figures for farming as a percentage of our GDP.

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  43. Akld Commercial Lawyer (165 comments) says:

    http://nzier.org.nz/economics/measuring-the-economy

    As there appears to be some confusion about the difference between the impact of export receipts vs GDP – I attach a link to a simple explanation from NZIER. For example, the more people employed in a sector = greater GDP contribution. If GDP were the sole measure then, for example, oil & gas would not rate highly.

    Whereas, without the ag sector and oil & gas – we would not be able to engage in what my kids have patiently explained to me is ‘trolling’ by computer.

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  44. gump (1,616 comments) says:

    @Akld Commercial Lawyer

    According to the 2013 Business Demography Statistics, there were 1,941,000 paid employees in the whole of New Zealand and 109,500 of them worked in agriculture, forestry, or fishing.

    So less than six percent of New Zealand employees work for agricultural enterprises, and the entire sector generates less than 5% of our entire GDP. While the sector does generate much-needed export receipts, it only makes a small contribution to employment and overall economic activity.

    Farming is not the backbone of our country and hasn’t been for a long time.

    Reference: http://www.stats.govt.nz/~/media/Statistics/Browse%20for%20stats/BusinessDemographyStatistics/HOTPFeb13/BusinessDemographyStatisticsFeb13HOTP.pdf

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  45. Akld Commercial Lawyer (165 comments) says:

    @gump – with apologies, whilst I enjoy an intelligent debate, I am not entirely comfortable with one conducted by psuedonym.

    You are quite right about the contribution to GDP – its 7.6%.

    But the ag sector provides over 50% of export receipts. And without those export dollars, paper shufflers such as myself would quickly find ourselves working in a much smaller economy – without a very wide array of imported raw materials and finished goods with which to not only ply our trade but also maintain the 21st century lifestyle to which our children at least have become accustomed.

    And we would be finding ourselves having to make do with a radically different diet too.

    So the point might be better expressed as farming is not the backbone of GDP but the ag sector is still the backbone of the export economy and pretending that we don’t need to have meaningful conversations about farming practices, including water and land usage, and the science (and commerce) that goes with it is another of Parker’s economic fallacies.

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  46. tom hunter (4,683 comments) says:

    You are quite right about the contribution to GDP – its 7.6%.

    Yet another example of how GDP fails to capture the true health of the economy. The export receipts come back into the country but only as they “trickle down” throughout the economy as spending – especially consumer spending – do they begin to count.

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  47. tom hunter (4,683 comments) says:

    There is one primary reason why those farmers lost their land, and that was not due to government policies, but to greed.

    Crap, and another good example of how the State does stupid things but still gets to blame the private sector for the resulting cluster-fuck.

    Farmers throughout the 1970’s were encouraged by both Labour and National to constantly ramp up production. This reached a peak level of insanity during Muldoon’s time with SMP’s, which resulted in farmers doing everything they could to increase production. This included buying land whose non-SMP revenue could not justify the price, developing land that should never been turned into pasture, and increasing flock sizes. The target was our traditional sheep and beef farmers rather than dairy and it “worked” in the same way that Soviet Five Year Plan Steel Production Targets “worked”.

    In fact any number of farmers understood how crazy this was, but they had little choice. You either expanded production or you died. Federated Farmers made numerous submissions and visits with the National government of the day, begging them to (slowly) unwind the whole thing. Muldoon told them to take the money and be grateful. I recommend the book Honourable Men for some of this history.

    The result was that many farmers actually welcomed the end of SMP’s and other incentives with the arrival of Rogernomics, quibbling only about the speed and severity with which they were removed. And farmers did go under, but not in the numbers and not with the degree of pain so often described in the media.

    Their grandfathers knew how to farm in accordance with the natural environment, modern day farmers have ignored the natural environment to farm in accordance with bankers.

    What utter crap. Only someone wholly ignorant farming in the last 150 years could say such a stupid thing. From the bush and scrub clearance required to create sufficient pastureland for sheep and beef cattle, to the drains away from every dipping plant, the rubbish “tips” on every farm and so forth. The very nature of farming clashes with “the natural environment”, but our grandfathers were far greater “sinners” in that regard than any modern farmer.

    And I know this, because our family trust has over 2,000 acres of prime farm land…

    Oh lovely. Those big units I spoke of earlier that are slowly taking over the smaller family farms of yesteryear? This is one of those and as such, and such what is seen here in these comments is exactly the sort of Trust-Fund-baby mentality that lazily waves away ever increasing government regulations and allows comfortable votes for Labour and the Greens. Huge capex costs because of increased regulation you say? Not a problem, we can easily absorb that, now where’s my annual allowance?

    And this is a world-wide phenomena, as demonstrated by this excerpt from a piece by the historian Victor Davis Hanson, who both lectures in the Bay Area and owns a 40acre raisin farm inland. He observes the following contrast between his two worlds:

    Out here is the antithesis of where I work in Silicon Valley. Each week I leave at sunbreak, and slowly enter a world of Pajama boys in BMWs and Lexuses, with $500 shades and rolling stops at intersections as they frown and speed off to the next deal. Somehow these techies assume voting for Barack Obama means that they are liberal. They are not.

    By proclaiming that they are progressive, they feel good about themselves and do not have to worry about why their janitorial staffs are not unionized, or why no one but they can buy a house, or why they oppose affordable housing construction along the 280 corridor, or why they fear the public schools as if they were the bubonic plague. Their businesses don’t create many jobs in the area; they don’t live among the Other; they seek to get out of paying income tax as they praise higher taxes; and they use money to ensure their own apartheid. And so they are “liberal.”

    No wonder millionaires like Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer represent such a culture. How odd that the power, the water, the food, the lumber, and the minerals that fuel Silicon Valley all come from distant invisible people, the uncool who are overregulated, overtaxed, and over-blamed by those they never see.

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  48. Ross12 (1,378 comments) says:

    Tom Hunter
    Thanks for your posts on this thread. Interesting reading and I always like to see the real facts knocking over the armchair critics.

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  49. Scott Chris (6,019 comments) says:

    As far as going out of business is concerned you will no doubt get your wish

    I don’t want farmers to go out of business Tom, just to farm sustainably. Apparently intensive production coupled sustainable practice is achievable if the example of Gavin and Oliver Faull of Faull Farms Limited is anything to go by:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1404/S00164/tikorangi-farm-wins-taranaki-ballance-farm-environment-award.htm

    And yes I was using the term ‘effluent’ loosely to encompass any kind off excessive run-off.

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  50. thedavincimode (6,606 comments) says:

    And yes I was using the term ‘effluent’ loosely to encompass any kind off excessive run-off.

    What made me think of the demented water woman?

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  51. wiseowl (860 comments) says:

    No-one has touched on the mention of Hawkes Bay droughts and climate change.
    I would say Hawkes Bay will experience the same climatic fluctuations in 40 years as happens now.
    I am sick of so much BS about models we cannot say are going to be right.It is also unfortunate Fed farmers are towing the NIWA line over CC.

    I disagree with Parker but will say the new found interest in irrigation is being driven by people who wish to make money out of water, not farming.
    I also object to ratepayers money and taxpayers money being ‘invested’ in schemes.If farmers want water then they can pay for the dams. In the case of Hawkes Bay $80 million of ratepayers money being used first of all to pay exhorbitant fees to executives and investment company members and used to subsidise farmers is wrong .$80 million, just say it a few times.$80 million.

    The main reason they want to build the dam is to flush out the discharge from Central Hawkes Bay towns which is where the pollution is coming from.

    It is just great to be able to spend other peoples money.

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  52. Akld Commercial Lawyer (165 comments) says:

    People, you need to do better than this.

    For example, Tikorangi is not the Manawatu or great chunks of the Waikato. Different soil and drainage types, different river catchment set-up, rainfall etc. And vastly different to farming in Canterbury or North Otago or Southland. So there is no one size fits all solution to what is achievable with dairy effluent – and as others here have alluded to – different regional councils see these isues and the potential solutions in different ways. One man’s sustainability is another’s pollution.

    Which is why the way the Green manifesto in its current form is almost childlike in its address of these complicated issues.

    And as for the Hawkes Bay – a very complicated matrix of factors at play, including soil types and a clear pattern of weather events.

    In the absence of a tradeable rights scheme for water – the slogan that the cheerleaders are people who wish to make money out of water, not farming does not hold water (pun intended).

    And the history of this country (take for example the Maui oil & gas field) is that with a low level of personal savings and private wealth – the taxpayer is often the only person to get some things done. We continue to rely on the savings of people in other countries – and even they won’t invest in some things with very low rates of fiscal return over a long period.

    The ag sector, like most of the rest of this funny little economy is mostly made up of small firms not making or saving much and without the capital to grow. And if they Hawkes Bay ratepayers don’t invest in infrastructure for their own regional economy – few others will and the tumbleweeds will multiply. Tourism and wine growing are excellent but only part of the picture.

    And it is self-serving of me to comment on professional fees – but without experts, this will continue to be a low-productivity economy. The amounts involved are large – but so are the returns to the region over the long term.

    Enough

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  53. ross411 (494 comments) says:

    OneTrack (2,086 comments) says:
    May 15th, 2014 at 7:57 am
    ross411 – around where?

    My part of canterbury. There was a picture in the paper showing water quality a few weeks ago, and pretty much all the rivers north or south of me were marked as being bad. I’d love to be able to post a link to it, but I am unable to locate it.

    If you live in a different part of the country, you’re likely in a different position.

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  54. wiseowl (860 comments) says:

    Great stuff ACL but tell me why ratepayers should subsidise this scheme when other industries do not get any subsidy and I would say at the present time in fact the Regional Council and Central Government are becoming so regulatory they are actually penalising and screwing other export producers.

    CHB is not a good area for growing crops climatically and freight back to Hastings for the likes of Heinz Watties is a huge cost .Why have the large plantings of apples been marginal?

    This is nothing less than picking winners which has been proven to be failed policy in the past.
    BTW.You can trade water rights now.

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