Jenée Tibshraeny details why the political unity shown around the Zero Carbon Bill will be short-lived with National and NZ First to battle it out for the farming vote

Jenée Tibshraeny details why the political unity shown around the Zero Carbon Bill will be short-lived with National and NZ First to battle it out for the farming vote
Image sourced from pxhere

By Jenée Tibshraeny

Clear the space - the tug-of-war between National and New Zealand First for farmers’ votes is about to intensify.

With election year on our doorstep, New Zealand First is increasingly digging in its heels to differentiate itself from Labour and Greens.

It needs to reassure its base that although it couldn’t prevent the new oil and gas exploration ban, and was forced to support the Zero Carbon Bill because of its coalition agreement, it is in fact the “champion of the regions”.

National has always been the home for farmers.

In 2017 there was a sense people were tired of the old guard - John Key, Bill English and Steven Joyce.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the relatively young new leader, Simon Bridges, would ride the wave of change, or stick to tried and tested, true blue values.

Two years on, it’s evident National’s gone for the latter.

It sees gunning for conservative votes, at the expense of NZ First and Labour at the fringes, as its most fruitful strategy.

Its “tough on beneficiaries” posturing is one of the starkest testaments to this.

National has made the most of campaigning against changes the government has made around fuel taxes and the exploration ban, for example. Yet on the flipside, it has attacked the government for not being as transformative as it promised around transport and KiwiBuild.

If ever there was a time for a broad-based conservative-ish party to pitch itself as progressive, now is not it.

What’s more, a sense of longing for the “glory days” of Key is emerging - just look at the attention supposed Key look-alike (from a business more than a social perspective), Christopher Luxon, has received as he has been selected as National's Botany candidate.

A “steady the ship” and “put money back in hardworking kiwis’ pockets” is understandably National’s approach.

Its decision to take the conservative path was made clear in July when Bridges moved one of the party’s rising stars, Todd Muller, from the climate change to the agriculture portfolio.

Muller had been praised for working constructively with Climate Change Minister James Shaw on the Zero Carbon Bill, but agriculture was where it was at, and where he was going to get the most profile.

Indeed, while a huge deal for those interested in the environment, as well as those in the beltway, the passing of the Zero Carbon Bill on Thursday hardly made waves in the mainstream. The story secured a place on page 15 of The Dominion Post and didn’t even feature on 1 News’ 6 o’clock bulletin.

National knows this is not where the votes are.

It will keep gunning for those NZ First supporters, as NZ First tries to keep its core happy and pinch a few National votes. The battleground will be the farm.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Avoid underestimation.
The basis of our society is jobs and growing incomes.
This is the long term foundation & funding that enables social initiatives.
Look at the resources we have.
We live on policy, policy enables food on the table, shoes on our feet, not activism, activism shines a light on the few.

Blessed are the cheese makers!

... blessed be the ice cream manufacturers , they make me happy ...

Big nose !

God knows why farmers would want to vote National?

The previous National governments (didnt do them any favours) supporting the focus on milk volume with supplementary feed, which was only ever a short term means to pump up land values temporarily, so Keys mates could provide mortgages to the already cashflow short farmers. Now some are in overseas owned debt to the eyeballs, while the adjoining waterways are full of nitrogen runoff, Silverfern farms is half owned by the Chinese and Westland is completely owned by the Chinese. All assets largely benefiting the farmers gone for good.

If you look back at the history of National, they were the ones that dropped the subsidies too. It seems alot of farmers have shown blind faith in who they were voting for, and Fonterra is but another example. My family are in farming, and with (havent got a clue) Noddy in charge there's no chance I'm voting for National. Didn't vote for Jonkey in his last too terms either, as I saw right through that snakeoil saleman.

No it wasn't National that dropped farming subsidies in the 1980's. It was the 4th Labour government.

if you watch the world news plenty of countries,including our biggest neighbour,seem to be burning,on a yearly basis,like guy fawkes and not a lot being done to stop it happening.seems like we are cleaning up our atmosphere to make room for their smog.

To support farmers means supporting China - the only serious buyer of NZ agricultural output, which in turn supports our banks' precarious lending to the dairy sector. NZ First will have to tone down the sinophobia if it wants to have a chance in this space.

... " sinophobia " ? .. oh ... I thought they were busy slagging off at our Indian community ... back to shredding the Chinese again , are they.... I really must try to keep up with Winnie & Jonesy ... rotating revolving racial rhetoric ...

I was thinking specifically of this hardly veiled threat.

The reliance on framing international law in the following manner:

“We share mutual goals of defending the rules-based international order, and advancing regional peace and security.”

raises alarm bells for me.

'Rules-based order' is not the same thing as 'international law-based order.' Rules could be anybody's rules. International law, on the other hand, is universal.

This 'rules based' verbiage (instead of international law) is a rhetorical dodge needed because the US openly rejects much international law- ICC, etc.

Shredding the Chinese
Chinense shredding the

What do you make of this.

... luckily , organ harvesting would be impossible here in NZ .... if we're too uptight about picking apples or kiwifruit theres no way in hell that anyones gonna harvest spleens and kidneys for a living ....

Where is getting to the bottom of this on the Greens agenda. Cause if as described it's a ww2 type issue. You'd think with trade and trade deal environmental issues that Shaw & Co would be loving to set up & run a Chinense Green Party. You know making it all fair & free. Same way they have arranged for us to get interpreters... quid pro quo...

Watermelon Greens will be busy fighting off the challenge from the Blue Greens ... and Shawing up the party internally ... can't allow 5'th columnists to shift across to favour Fava . ..

I’ll be impressed if Tava’s party gets 3% plus in 2020. I’m willing to bet that Sustainable NZ won’t get any seats

Yes ... 5 % is a tough threshold to leap ... they'll need a hand up into an electoral seat

I wonder how much support they'll take from the Greens .. if any .. Tava wanted the Greens to be open to negotiate with either Labour or with the Gnats ... hence he departed after being defeated in that , and in being the co-leader ...

.. and , he believes that NZ needs a strong economy , good science & technology... very un-Greens of him !

I doubt National will make another electorate deal with an unproven party. They only do it for ACT as ACT has been a dead-cert in Epsom for long enough - outside of that, there's some pretty generic election strategy in the current set of parties. And without a seat or the magic of 5% then what they do take from the Greens won't matter much in how the final allocation of seats will work out.

But how important is the rural vote, actual numbers? I would have it would take a lot of hard work to get bugger all change in voter behavior as I don't see the numbers being significant enough, particularly for National.
Anyway, it's the the right of any Man,or Woman....

With Noddy in charge, National are a basket case anyway and havent got a hope in hell of being in government. Its only the outdated polling system, driven by vested interests, which suggests they have.

In fact, National should rebrand to the International Party. It seems that they have been the major benefactors to their government; namely the continued sell off of strategic NZ owned assets to overseas interests (Power, Air New Zealand, Farms and their processing factories, Auckland housing, etc), and not too mention the sugar fix of record immigration of low skilled workers.

National knows this is not where the votes are.

It will keep gunning for those NZ First supporters, as NZ First tries to keep its core happy and pinch a few National votes. The battleground will be the farm.

The battle ground might well be the farm, but the turf on which it is fought could be Facebook. - Link

Yes Audaxes, there was a young candidate in the Southland Regional Council Elections, Bonnie Mager, who successfully ran a social media campaign - didn't appear at any of the pre-election 'Meet the Candidate' meetings and rolled incumbent councillors.

2020 could be the battle of the short sellers. Neither Winnie or Simon are much over five foot.

Last election many of the horse racing elite were endorsing NZF and Winnie as the saviour of nz Racing.
Pretty sure that won't be happening this time.
Once Winnie went with Labour and the Greens she was all over red rover.

. . It is clear to anyone except the Gnats themselves that Winnie won't work with them ... it'd be a toxic relationship . .

Simian needs to grow a pair , and rule out NZF . . But , to keep the welcome mat out for the Greens ..

National needs to remember we voted in the coalition based on( or in spite of ) the binning of thier tax cuts. Act's polling also suggests big tax cuts are not an election winner.Plus Labour will counter with a tax cut of their own.
Its easy to paint the Greens and Labour as anti farmer. They are not, they are simply dealing with the reality of what must be done . In the same vein , its wrong to paint all farmers as National voters ,driving around with baby sealskin hubcaps on their Rodeo, looking for spots to dump their cow poo , without been caught. Most are responsible farmers , quite rightly peed off their efforts so far have been poo pooed . They also may be fed up with the bad cowboys giving them all a bad name. So I don't think a campaign to keep the status quo , or significantly water down any progress, will necessarily be a farmer vote winner. While none could see the majority voting Labour/Green , say 10-20% doing so would put a hole in that already small voting group. If it drove off Blue Green voters it could be a net loss.
The only chance I see for the Nats , is to ensure NZF dont get in , and force a red/blue split in the Greens. The split would have to be done before the election to effect the result this time around.

... here's the question ... now that Vernon Tava has officially launched the Blue-Green Party ( Sustainable NZ ) ... will the Gnats do a deal to gift them a seat into parliament as they do with ACT . . or will they TOP them . . .. continuing to deny the need for allies to get them across the line ....

Depends if Sustainable NZ start lobbying for massively complex tax structures like TOP did. I wouldn't have wanted to deal with them in coalition either.

.. true ... TOP did themselves no favours with the incredible complexity of their policies. .. and Gareth Morgan got ratty with anyone who challenged him on them ..

I think Vernon Tava is far far more politically savvy than that . .. he says his new party is pro science and pro technology ... that they'll support gene tech to reduce introduced predators in our environment ... and most importantly , that Snooze .... sorry ... that SNZ will negotiate with the Gnats . ..

Thing is, TOPs tax policies aren't complex. Basically it was to be a flat tax on capital owned (not gains) and a corresponding reduction in income & company tax rates. I think capital gains tax is a more complex arrangement (and inefficient) than a straight up "wealth tax". I believe they shot themselves by not providing a ball park of what the income/company tax cuts would actually look like - that might have got them more votes from the wage earners.

They are not, they are simply dealing with the reality of what must be done....

That belief in their reality is commendable, and it's also the problem. Because their reality is more the belief.
They run it the wrong way round.

Seems why the blue green flank has opened up.

. . public perception seems to be that the Greens are a socialist party , with an interest in the environment ...

Tava's cleverly snatched at their open flank , an environmental party who believe in progress & science ...

Yes Gummyy, there is a body of work that agrees with you and more.

Some of these green folk have an uncomfortable past, that needs context.

"Like most of those on both sides of the debate, Rupert Darwall is not a scientist. He is a wonderfully lucid historian of intellectual and political movements, which is just the job to explain what has been inflicted on us over the past 30 years or so in the name of saving the planet."

Google invested $178 million in the Ivanpah project. Why would they do so? Darwall argues that the purpose of much of corporate America’s embrace of environmentalism is to provide cover for their un-green behaviors and to allow the wealthy (especially those in the tech sector) to lead lives of material excess without guilt because they have contributed to the right causes. They can live it up, feel virtuously green, lecture others on their failings, and avoid being green-shamed—even when their donations and the policies they espouse don’t help or actually make things worse. Darwall stresses that the point of Greens—especially those at the top—is NOT to fix environmental problems but to make them permanent so that the green lobby will be able to raise ever-rising contributions from do-gooders and/or earn massive subsidizes and profits from taxpayer largesse. Their ultimate goal, he warns, is to utterly subvert democracy by proposing top-down “solutions” to exaggerated problems, replacing the electorate’s will and interests with their own.

My problem with the Greens is that they seem to be an SJW party as well as an ecology party. It's the former that annoys a Gen X white male like me ;)

Been near a river lately ? care for a drink , or a swim even ?That's the reality.

Thanks for demonstrating my point.
I'll take the win

Just answer the question.

Dangerous to swim in a river in flood - potentially even for rats

Yep, was on the Coast in the weekend.
Rivers bank to bank.
Whole trees being washed down.
Lake levels up a metre.
Rain coming on the horizontal.
Water everywhere!

Send some up to the Eastern Waikato, I was planting trees on the weekend , and the soil was bone dry down to a foot depth. Scary considering we had 200 mm of rain in October. Still making up the deficit from Autumns drought . Cheers.

I wonder what will happen in the 2023 election if Fonterra doesn't recover itself......