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Farmers hope that the Green Party and Labour call-outs on human rights-and-trade remain selective and inconsistent when it comes to China. Meanwhile state-owned Pamu underperforms again with zero consequences

Farmers hope that the Green Party and Labour call-outs on human rights-and-trade remain selective and inconsistent when it comes to China. Meanwhile state-owned Pamu underperforms again with zero consequences
Will Wellington politicians call out China for human rights abuses like it did to Saudi Arabia? China is watching.

The recent criticism Air New Zealand has received from many quarters regarding their dealings with the Saudi military should make primary producers a little nervous.

From the parliamentary sector most of the criticism has come from the Green Party. However as the tempo rose the Government had to give a response and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson, the minister responsible for Air NZ, claimed the government had no knowledge of the deal until contacted by TVNZ. He said he was “alarmed,” adding: “I think most New Zealanders would find it unacceptable to be doing that work.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the deal was inappropriate and “has ramifications for New Zealand, its reputation.”

On the surface these responses seem right and proper. But a problem lies with where we draw the line in dealing with countries who have less than ideal human rights records.

So far little mention has been made of China and this would largely be because of the importance they are to the value of our exports and indeed imports. A mini version of what could be construed as a parallel version is what is currently happening in Myanmar. New Zealand exports little there but it does feature in New Zealand’s aid programme. As a result, any military and political aid has been suspended but humanitarian aid continues. With the Saudi work, it was to the military and hence an easy decision to come down hard on those made the “error in judgement” and Myanmar has little financial consequence, so no loss there.

China, whose track record on minority groups (and now Hong Kong) is not great is a far more difficult beast to tackle. In authoritarian regimes (such as China) the split between the politicians and the military is more difficult to discern (I think).

China’s acts of aggression against its own people are becoming increasingly more brazen and overt and the calls from international critics increasingly getting louder and with more and more associated proof. Our government is not that different from other democratic governments around the world and not immune from trying to walk the line in keeping voters satisfied, being pragmatic, and finally doing the right thing. One just has to look across the Tasman where Australia has learnt the consequences of being too shrill in its criticism of China. To date New Zealand has walked the line pretty well.

However, if China keeps thumbing its nose at international criticism New Zealand will eventually get drawn into the controversy and have to make a stand.

If and when this happens, unless we are very lucky, China is going to react.

China likely values its trade with New Zealand however, we would be an easy target to make an (another) example of and while China may not get the quality of goods New Zealand currently supplies elsewhere, they are available.

The first sector to feel the brunt of this will be the primary sector and the only exception at the moment is the venison trade, which to its current detriment, has little exposure to trade with China. All other sectors from timber to fishing, dairy, red meat and horticulture would be severely impacted followed by the rest of New Zealand. How New Zealand can avoid being drawn into this minefield is difficult to see. The best that can be hoped for is that China starts to back off from its current pathway and positively respond to international criticism. However, this seems a highly unlikely occurrence.

The teflon farmer

Closer to home, Landcorp/Pamu haven’t surprised observers with the recent publication of their half yearly financial results. The $8 million profit after tax gives a return on assets (of about $2 bln.) of 0.4%. Even when just using the livestock as the productive asset ($275 million) the returns are still under 3%.

These results will no doubt improve with the result of the full year figures, however, the results are very poor. One day there may be a government that wishes to see the taxpayers receive some benefit from the country’s largest land manager but in the meantime Landcorp seem to have a free pass for poor performance.

The biggest irony I find is that Health Boards are held to extremely tight fiscal scrutiny even though the public benefit is plain for all to see and yet Landcorp appear to be teflon coated.

Schedule updates

The schedule this week saw some upward movement in mutton and cattle; both prime and manufacturing experienced some lifts. The only movement on the lamb schedule was a fall from one processor. It looks as though lamb is starting to feel the impact of the lockdowns throughout the Northern Hemisphere and is starting to look somewhat like the venison trend; that is, flat or downward. Using Alliance as an example the gap between mutton and lamb is now down to only around $1.20per kg (in favour of lamb still) and the mutton schedule is now ahead of prime beef by over 50 cents.

For most meat grades we are now in what is normally the trough of the season. So, the rises in mutton and some beef are bucking the usual trend. For lamb the unknown is how long the trough persists for. Sometimes it starts a general move upward in mid-March other times in takes well into April. With the now rain starting to fall, outside at least the outlook for autumn feed is looking promising.

P2 Steer

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Guy Trafford, I bet that your source of information is BBC, which has been denied landing and broadcasting in China because they spread lies.

Below are some big unfounded accusations based on biased reports from BBC, I guess.

It is a very a dangerous sign that you/NZ farmers know as little as none about your biggest customer.

"China, whose track record on minority groups (and now Hong Kong) is not great is a far more difficult beast to tackle."

"China’s acts of aggression against its own people are becoming increasingly more brazen and overt and the calls from international critics increasingly getting louder and with more and more associated proof."

Oh Xingmo, you really do come across as an oversensitive shill for your beloved motherland.

just astonished how Western media spread lies about China and how people in the West are brained washed by those lies.

Feel sorry for those who cannot access truth or the other side of stories.

Well why don't you illuminate us with the truth?

You never answer anyone's questions on this forum.

I have been ignoring him for a while. He is simply a CCP fanboy / mouthpiece.

Perhaps we should all read the chinese free press or talk to their investigative journalists ?

maybe read the WHO report on a facility they were not allowed to visit until nearly a year after any potential issue was fixed !

“Feel sorry for those who cannot access truth or the other side of stories.“xingmowang

Truely ironic

It’s a genocidal ethnostate that we should decouple from as soon as is feasible. We can re-engage to contribute aid after the CCP falls.

Exactly. How on earth we and our government can continue on a BAU path with a state committing genocide along with a range of other crimes against humanity, astounds me...

As a member of the west, I always find it amusing how the majority in western nations totally ignore the horrific death tolls visited by western lead coups, invasions, sanctions etc causing untold misery through medical deprivation, starvation, homelessness and then the ever 'illegal' refugees from those countries in the name of empire for corporate profits and hegemony. If anyone has to answer for their ongoing genocides it's us, way before China.

Mr Wang is either a CCP plant or an idiot; probably both.

The Greens in particular would be more than happy to see the end of animal farming in NZ, "an ethical farmer is like an ethical whaler" - Rod Carr.
It's a bit depressing that these extremists are writing the laws for NZ, as a farmer I see being proactive on this front, similar to the turkey who votes for an early christmas.

I don't see that as extreme. You simply need to take a tour around the country to see the negative effects on the environment because of excessive farming. Or look at a factory farm and question the ethics of that.

Trouble is, lots of people depend on maintaining this situation because their livelihoods depend on it.


Having been around the country many times, I think most of the farms look great, I don't see any negative effects of farming. A lot of tourists come to NZ and expect to see exactly that, I am constantly getting great feedback about how good the farm looks. I honestly think you just hate animal farmers and go out of your way to find something, no matter how trivial, to complain about.

There you go with extreme rhetoric. I don't hate animal farmers.

When you drive around the country, do you see the vast native forests that were displaced so we could farm? See the native fish in the rivers? Eels so numerous the creeks looked black?

Nope. Me neither.

Yes, if I want to see native fish, or eels so numerous - I just look in a urban stream. I guess when it come to townies it's 'complicated' and we give them a free pass. Could I suggest one day you visit a farm?

'Not so long ago, it was called Waititiko, 'water of the periwinkles;' now, it's a regular conduit for raw human sewage, and a living illustration of the city's complicated relationship with waste.

Unlike many waterways, Meola Creek, as it is more commonly known, is at its worst at its headwaters. The creek first appears on land somewhere north of Mount Eden, where it is almost immediately tainted with wastewater; one of the city's largest sewer outfalls, on the grounds of Plant & Food Research, pours a mixture of stormwater and wastewater into the top of the creek.'

Yes totally agree.

Cities are like factory farms. Sucking up resources from around them and spewing out wastes.

However, one environmental shambles doesn't excuse another.

There is no comparison. Factory farms aren't allowed to pump raw sewerage in to waterways and the sea. Take trip around NZ and learn about pastoral from and study up on pre European deforestation. Perhaps then you could put pastoral farming in context.

Didn't say they did. And well aware of of pre European deforestation.

Except they do. There was an article about the toxins being regularly pumped into the NZ stream and river systems recently. The culprits know no-one will do anything remotely to stop them because they time their releases, expect the fines( if they get them), are always just a slap on the wrist and far less than the cost of other methods of treatment or disposal. They also know that they can threaten to leave the area and take their jobs with them elsewhere so councillors back off.
Just to name a few recent articles of the many.

"There is no comparison. Factory farms aren't allowed to pump raw sewerage in to waterways and the sea." You provide no evidence that they are allowed to. Cities are the other hand regularly pump raw sewerage in to the sea and urban streams have very low water quality. The difference being a farmer would be prosecuted for doing such practices. If the effluent restrictions placed on farms were places on cities they would shut down - instead the NZHerald just states polluted city streams are "complicated". Now that is a wet bus ticket - compared to a $100k fine.

No such duty of care for urbanites.
"Following the hearing, TRC Director-Resource Management, Fred McLay said the case highlighted the fact that all parties involved in a dairy farm – including any passive investors not normally involved in day-to-day operations – have a duty of care to ensure environmental and legal obligations were met."

No I don’t see that but how would you feed the 5 million (and growing) the country has to support.

I suppose we could stop trying to feed the world and keep those exports for ourselves.

The other part is cease the massive importation of hungry primates.

Timmyboy. if you want to know what happened to the forests that once covered the South Island, I suggest you ask the people who burned them in order to make it easier to hunt the moa population into extinction.
The above doesn't take into account the last 21 years of urban and rural sprawl in further deforestation.

We can stop blaming Maori and Moa for the dramatic deforestation of New Zealand. It is recorded that Moa existed up until the 1830's at least, which is far beyond the British invasion of New Zealand in the 1790's. This... "Seekers after flax or timber for naval spars, and whalers also appeared in the 1790s. Those involved in the timber trade were more permanent residents. By 1816 cargoes of sawn timber prepared in New Zealand by permanent settlements of sawyers were being exported to Sydney, and Busby’s census of 1836 indicated that almost a third of the European adult males were involved in the timber trade."

I think we now have some historical basis to call out those who really created the state of New Zealands current ecology.

OK, so actually yes I do see a lot of native forest, and we have heaps of native trout in the creeks on the farm, the only place I see a heap of eels is when I take the kids the feed the eels. Pretty trivial really, making a big deal about nothing. If you actually believed that what you are talking about is important, farming would be way, way, way down your list of things to change. The first might be driving around NZ, and that is something you could easily do, but I know why you don't. You just hate animal farmers, so everything they do is bad and you are so obsessed about it that you can't see anything objectively.

"Native trout." Thanks for the laugh

its not just their livelyhoods -- its the whole agriculture industry that props up our economy and pays for things like our health system - called a real economy -- based on actual goods - not a ponzi housing scheme!

I wonder what the average Green voter thinks about meat and diary products grown in bio-reactors, versus from an actual animal. I'm all for it, even though our farming community seems to be ignoring the advent of this technology.


'New Zealand has walked the line pretty well'.
Rubbish. Our lack of criticism of China is a disgrace.
Good on Australia.

What has Australia's criticism achieved? How have China changed their behaviour? Has any change in their behaviour benefited or harmed their citizens, or benefited or harmed Australia's citizens?

Sometimes the statement is as important as the result.
Only collective action against China will work. We are dropping the ball on our collective commitment.

how about the half billion in exports to Saudi that the government is quite happy to allow -- plus its own military exports as per the Herald article -- but hey a State Owned company fixing an engine -- does the buck not stop with the minister for Air NZ ?

hell no -- more virtue signaling with the right hand whilst the left is buried somewhere the sun does not shine!

No very often I quote Pelosi but she was on the money opposing Billy Clinton's push for China to join the WTO. It all went downhill from there.
"On the basis of trade alone there is enough reason to oppose PNTR at this time. China has violated every trade agreement it has made with the U.S. over the last ten years. The Chinese government has broken agreements on opening its markets, stopping the piracy of intellectual property and ending the export of slave labor-produced goods. It is already backing away from the 1999 U.S.-China bilateral agreement, on which President Clinton has based his request for PNTR."

China’s acts of aggression against its own people are becoming increasingly more brazen and overt and the calls from international critics increasingly getting louder and with more and more associated proof.

Recently Russian MFA felt compelled to document police brutality elsewhere in the world:

Officials & mainstream media are ignoring cases of police violence against peaceful protesters in the OSCE countries while we are being accused of their own “sins”
We've prepared a self-explanatory visual reel. See for yourself, feel the difference


What about the live shipments of cattle that still go on, tens of thousands of cattle going offshore soon.

$100m from the government buys you plenty of media silence on this, despite past horrific events

I take a more circumspect view on China, this is 18% of the worlds population but represents a much lower proportion of the worlds human rights abuses. While it certainly has many issues (despite their futile denial of what is apparent to all) given its size and overall level of development it is not likely an outlier. It's easy to overlook the sheer size of Chinas population and the path they've been on since the Boxer rebellion. Remember the great famine of 1959-1961 is still within living memmory for many older Chinese. Their development has been rapid but is still a developing country.

Geez, visited any Chinese city on the Eastern coast recently? China likes to call itself a developing country, but I wouldn't fall for it. Most of it's tech is better than the West now, as is most of it's infrastructure (roads/rail/airports). And it's middle class can afford it, unlike our vanishing middle class. Developing country how? Higher pollution? Slightly worse healthcare? Geez, I would suggest they are really splitting straws now trying to figure out how they are still a developing nation.

While I have absolutely no time for the governance of the PRC and strongly believe that we need to urgently reduce our dependence on exports to them, we do need to behave in a rational and balanced manner.
Take two issues that the western world is attacking China over.

1 Hong Kong. I believe that we need to consider the full historical context. At the height of British colonial power it was filling ships with opium, sailing to China, selling it and buying tea for the return cargo. It was very profitable to the powerful British vested interests. Not surprisingly it was destroying Chinese society, so they moved to outlaw it. In response the British traders pushed the British government to attack China and helped fund this. They were successful and defeated the Chinese. The settlement included the continuation of the opium trade and all it's shocking consequences and the ceding of Hong Kong to the British. In that light I cannot blame the Chinese for doing exactly what they liked with Hong Kong when they regained control. I am surprised that they agreed to anything in the hand back process. How would we feel?

2 Covid 19
Regardless of our prejudices and possibly even suspicions with some foundation, I believe that the world should always address these issues on a non judgmental, no blame basis. To do other wise is totally counterproductive and puts up barriers to the whole world getting to the truth and working together to defeat the problem.
From what I can see China did proceed this way initially once the central authorities were aware of it. It appears to me that the secrecy and suppression of the truth occurred at a local level and within the various silos of government. This sort of behavior is not uncommon within authority structures, particularly those that are strongly authoritarian. - No body wants to put their career at risk by being the bearer of bad news.
Australia and the USA's behavior was totally stupid, counterproductive and almost guaranteed to result in a hostile and uncooperative response.

If we are going to take China to task and change their mind meaningfully (as opposed to generating sound bytes for our own population), we need to pick our battles, be absolutely sure that we have all the facts and approach the issues with a mature and non confrontational manner.

Having said all of that I would not trust China as far as I could kick it and strongly believe we need to significantly reduce our dependence on them. Look to Australia for reasons why.

Landcorp is a total waste of tax payers money. Sell it all, put the money into health or education, and ballot out the farms to young keen NZrs with a caveat it must remain in NZ ownership indefinitely. The great irony is that Landcorp management sets itself up as the government's 'shining example' on issues of safety and environmentalism when most of us know we would be bankrupt if we operated like Landcorp does.