Jon Morgan at Stuff reports:
Four candidates are seeking the presidency of Federated Farmers for the first time in its 66-year existence.
It is the first contested election since 1999, when Alistair Polson held off two challengers.
It will be voted on by the 40 delegates at the national conference in Rotorua on July 1.
The candidates are vice-president Don Aubrey, the man he ousted as vice-president in 2009, Frank Brenmuhl, and the retiring chairmen of the dairy and meat and fibre sections, Lachlan McKenzie and Bruce Wills.
They seek to replace Southland farmer Don Nicolson, retiring after a three-year term.
It will be interesting to see who wins. I suspect whomever it is, they’ll be hard pushed to match Don’s profile.
The contested election reminds me of Phil Goff’s comments last week, as reported in the Waikato Times:
Labour leader Phil Goff has angered industry leaders at the National Agricultural Fieldays by suggesting that Federated Farmers were considered the National Party in gumboots.
The comment was in response to being asked how important the agricultural vote was to Labour, in election year, during his Fieldays visit yesterday.
“In financial terms agriculture is hugely important, in political terms someone once said that Federated Farmers is the National Party in gumboots, it’s always been that way and we have to accept that,” Mr Goff told Waikato Times.
However that comment hasn’t gone down well with Federated Farmers dairy chairman Lachlan McKenzie who said the organisation was staunchly apolitical.
A silly comment by Goff. Certainly farmers tend to be more conservative in their political tendencies than others, but that is not at all the same as being National in gumboots. Not all farmers think alike.
Federated Farmers have actually had a pretty tense relationship with the National -led Government. Anyone who thinks they are akin to unions and Labour do not know what they are talking about.