Federated Farmers says farmers will protest in Jacinda Ardern's hometown of Morrinsville 5 days before the election over 'continued attacks on rural New Zealand'

Federated Farmers says farmers will hold a protest to "express their frustration with the continued attacks on rural New Zealand" in Morrinsville, hometown of Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern, next Monday.

A press release from Federated Farmers quotes Morrinsville farmer Lloyd Downing saying; "Farmers, and farming communities, are not punching bags for urban politicians." The press release argues water quality issues are a challenge for all New Zealanders and criticises the concept of a water tax, which is being proposed by Labour ahead of the September 23 election.

Yesterday Radio NZ reported on a group of Central Otago farmers who are asking Ardern to visit their farms to discuss Labour's water tax plans.

"The group of women, known as Water Maniototo, say they cannot afford a royalty on irrigated water, planned at one to two cents per thousand litres of water, and it could drive some off their land," RNZ reported.

Labour is also proposing to add agriculture to the Emissions Trading Scheme as part of its climate change policy, which Federated Farmers maintains will cost the livestock sector at least $83 million in year one, rising to more than $830 million each year when fully implemented.

The full press release is below.

Farmer protest planned

Farming communities of New Zealand are being given the opportunity to express their frustration with the continued attacks on rural New Zealand.

A protest will be held on Monday 18 September at 12pm in Morrinsville.

“Farmers, and farming communities, are not punching bags for urban politicians,” Morrinsville farmer Lloyd Downing says.

“The lack of fairness, and consistency in some of the proposed policies, and the laying of blame solely at the feet of rural New Zealand for all of our environmental challenges is what is frustrating farmers - particularly when it is well known that the most polluted waterways are in urban catchments.

“The water quality issues are a challenge for all New Zealanders. Farmers recognise that, and are spending tens of thousands of dollars each on reducing their environmental impact,” Mr Downing says. 

“Policies which increase taxes on farming businesses will not only put their financial viability at risk, but it risks jobs and takes money out of regional towns and cities that do well when farmers do well,” Te Aroha farmer Andrew McGiven says.

“Perversely, policies like a water tax also reduce the amount farmers can spend on improving water quality.

“The march is an opportunity for farmers to express solidarity with each other, so they know they are not the only ones battling these concerns. We invite all supporters of rural New Zealand to attend this event,” Mr McGiven says.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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127 Comments

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“The water quality issues are a challenge for all New Zealanders. Farmers recognise that, and are spending tens of thousands of dollars each on reducing their environmental impact,” Mr Downing says.

yeah to clean up a tiny portion only of your c&&p. Not mine.

Taupo Lakes Rate Levy to pay for your nitrates, massive cadmium build up in our soils, cow poo rivers, silted up and muddy rivers, destruction of our clean green image, value destruction of tourism, exemption from carbon scheme (meaning tax payer covers it) subsidisation of think big irrigation, tax breaks galore.

Time to front up, pay you dues and admit your guilt. Self denial aint gonna wash.

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Couldn't agree more. The cheek of Federated Farmers is unbelievable.

Sadly a water tax, while it will get votes, is no substitute for clear environmental goals, with strategies to achieve them.

The bulk of farmers have clearly displayed they are uninterested in doing anything about it themselves, so a tax is probably the only thing that might work, they had a chance to do something themselves and blew it.

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We previously lived on a 99 acre rural residential zoned property and paid less than $2,000 in rates.

Moved more recently to an 800m2 urban property and pay nearly $4,000 in rates.

Of that, my regional rates bill is just under $500 - a quarter of my total regional + city council rates bill.

Of that $500 in regional rates charges, around half of them are for line items that are directly related to rural land use initiatives.

Not that I'm complaining (very happy for my tax dollars to address the wider environmental matters in my region), but my point to Fed Farmers is that they should probably look at what the overall contribution of urban dwellers is to the regional councils in their areas - as I suspect it is not insignificant.

Depends on which regional council area you live in, Kate. In Southland total rates this year $31,151,449. Invercargill City Council contributes 24.82% - $7,731,003.
Southland regional council area has a population of 99,000 of which 50300 live in Invercargill city.

Yes, very dependent on the region. The website I use for this sort of data, states in 2016;

Rates, Invercargill City Council = $47,359,000

http://www.localcouncils.govt.nz/lgip.nsf/wpg_URL/Profiles-Councils-Inve...

Rates, Southland Regional Council = $14,610.000

http://www.localcouncils.govt.nz/lgip.nsf/wpg_URL/Profiles-Councils-Sout...

(eeeks, have RC rates risen to $31m inside one year, or is the data on the above website rubbish!)

It doesn't breakdown the urban versus rural component of those regional rates above.

Looking at your (roughly) 25% contribution to regional rates by urban dwellers, sounds about right to me (but I'm not that familiar with the region). I'd expect a larger proportion to be paid by city dwellers where there is a substantial public transport network managed by the RC, or (as in the case of Palmy) where the bulk of flood protection is paid for by city dwellers.

Aside from flood protection and public transport (which are charged as 'Property specific rates') by Horizons,

The big ticket items under 'Common Rates' on my RC rates bill relate to 'Sustainable Land Use Initiative' - 'Water Quantity and Quality' and 'Biosecurity - and of course, 'Resource Consent Management.' I suspect those are activities largely focused on the rural environment.

Our local water supply is reservoir (PNCC), not river (Horizons).

Oops apologies Kate - it was valuations not rates takes. Thanks for the heads up. :-) Taken from the Annual Plan. pgs 36-38 give actual examples of different rating situations - locality, capital value, urban, rural etc. Dairy farmers pay a 'Dairy differential' which they are reducing over time. What it doesn't show is the Catchment rate and Southern Pest Eradication Society rate (rating units 4ha and over) as those are entirely dependent on locality.

http://www.es.govt.nz/Document%20Library/Plans,%20policies%20and%20strat...

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This is why I'm not a member of FedFarmers and haven't been for some time, very much an old boys n girls farm owners only club. National supporters are quite obviously getting desperate. Getting sick of the we don't want to pay for anything backbone of the economy whingers.
Short rant over.

What exactly are they protesting? The election hasn't happened yet.

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GOOD ON THEM ............Labour members clearly know little about farming in general and Goose farming in particular .

We rely on farmers for most of our export earnings making us one of the few countries in the world with a trade surplus with China .

Farming absorbs a huge workforce and vast amounts of productive Capital .

Labour and the Greens spend far too much energy bashing farmers .

Its dangerous

Boatman - you need to get a balanced argument.

Perhaps there are farmers who actually give a damn. Check out this link - you'll be impressed.
https://www.facebook.com/JamesShawMP/videos/1925864180995219/?hc_ref=ARQ...

Perhaps - given the following report from Environment Canterbury there needs to be further discussion around user-pays.
http://irrigationnz.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/Report_ECanIrrArea_2016-07-...

Canterbury farmers on average have larger herd sizes 600+ and higher stocking rates 4 cows : Ha.
They pay a relatively small consent fee $3500.
file:///C:/Users/parrottd/Downloads/ResourceManagementActChargesChangetotakeEffect01072015LTP.PDF

New Zealand may have bigger issues long term which will affect our tourism brand and agricultural economy.
https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/fail-grade-nzs-environmental-future

I'm hoping Simon Upton makes for a really good Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. That was a bold OECD report.

I understand that farmers historically have been strong National supporters. One hopes that they are aware of the issues that are currently so important to New Zealand and will not vote selfishly.

History hasnt proven that to be the case

How many National ministers are owners of a or several family farms?

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Lets talk about water - Fed Farmers.

Specifically the instant overnight capital gain to marginal land that accrues in the order of possible millions when taxpayer money funds an irrigation scheme.

....and they bitch about a few dollars for water charges. Incredible.

Reminds me of the Spoilt Bastard that used to be in the Viz Comics.

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It truly is pathetic. If $1-2 per 100 TONNES of water is too onerous then chances are they're being a little reckless, irresponsible and inefficient with their usage. I'd imagine that cost is a small fraction of pumping costs alone. By their response it's clearly the disincentive we need to protect our natural resources from these self-focussed people.

You are making the dangerous mistake of believing that a water tax will solve anything at all, apart from giving politicians a minority to blame for all the ecological ills. Tax the kulaks and we'll all feel better, but the environment won't.
Simplistic populistic vote grabbing politics that is working.

Yes, what the tax might collect will fall well short of the money needed to restore ecological health to a majority of our freshwater resources. In fact no amount of money will do that. But putting a price on anything encourages more efficient use - and that's a good thing for the environment.

Recently heard that some dryland, non dairy, farmers say that the water tax will mean that they will no longer be able to afford irrigation and conversion to dairy could be on the cards for some as the only way to afford that tax is if they are dairy farming. They are really gutted at this as these are intergenerational arable and/or sheep/beef units. Be careful what you wish for Mr Parker.

My thoughts are that as long as there is a good consent regime for farming in place, perhaps the general public shouldn't be as concerned about conversions going forward if that is what some landowners need to do.

The problem in the recent past as I see it from a planning perspective, is that we've been subject to a sort of triple-whammy - good planning controls were not in place (at a time when conversions/intensification were going gang busters), our monitoring regime has been next to useless, in addition to water being over-allocated in some catchments.

Hopefully, we're making progress.

The issue is the public is concerned about conversions going forward, especially as, in this instance, this would see a 'greening' of so called 'iconic' landscapes in the Maniatoto. One only has to think back to the past comments made on this site. ;-) Southland has had a consent regime for dairy for over a decade - it has been a leader in this.

Kate it seems stupid to tax these arable sheep/farmers just because they can. Many of these irrigators have very good water quality in their catchments and on farms, so they are irrigating and have good water quality, but are paying taxes which will go to non irrigating farmers who may not be practising good management in regards to environmental management and to urban areas (Parker has said if there is a surplus of funds councils can use the funds for whatever they want) who for years have had head in the sand attitudes to urban pollution. Why should irrigators who are 'doing the right thing' have to provide funds for those who aren't. People on this site talk about fairness in taxes. There is no fairness in this tax.

Just because water is over allocated in catchments doesn't mean that it is over used. Otago has a policy of 'use it, or lose it.' I believe this is the most sensible policy around. That Labour talks about 'tradable rights' is not the right way to go. You should not be able to ask for more water than you need. We only have to look at the Waikato shambles that has been caused by 'first in, first served'.

BOTH sides are delusional.

Townies who think their lifestyles arent directly due to the leverage of all resources (of which water is one).
Farmers who think that the leverage is justified because it produces stuff for the townies and keeps them viable.

The delusional bit is that neither position is sustainable.

Does anyone remember the name of that CEO of the Fixated Farmers that came from Dipton, I think he had close links to the National Party.

He once quoted something about an ambition to stop all water from reaching the ocean.

Seriously, he said that? I have often wondered though that there are people that think that any water that does run to the ocean (as nature intended it to, mind) is somehow "wasted". I've dismissed my concern about it by telling myself that surely no-one could be that stupid.

This is the beginning of what looks like a long saga of protests of disgruntled people .. and we have not started yet !!

Picking a fight with Farmers is a bad start and a very bad idea - showing the lack of creativity from a party that has been snoring on the opposition benches for 9 years!!

I fear that we will see more of this as the need to create money out of mud, water, and thin air continues ... and as long as they keep creating animosity between the various groups and sectors in the society !!

Yet, we see all Spin Doctors got down to work ASAP to justify Labour's actions and demonise the Farmers !!

Disgusting really !!

God save NZ !!

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Ah the dulcet squeals of the privileged thinking they're persecuted.

I would definitely have been convinced if only you'd put more exclamation marks in there.

My man!

Something about the way Eco Bird articulates his posts makes me think he's a Flat Earth Believer. Maybe it's because it's inane dribble.

Yes God save NZ - because National clearly aren't going to...unless by NZ you mean expensive houses, exporting white gold, and high immigration, then yes National will save those things at all costs because at the end of the day NZ is all about the money....(oh but aren't we also clean and green?)

The world knew our rivers were stuffed back in 2011 even though our chief scientist JK did his usual BS.

http://www.noted.co.nz/archive/listener-nz-2011/john-keys-unhappy-week-a...

Labour govt knew some of our waterways were in trouble in 2000 but legislated in DIRA that opened the flood gates for dairy conversions. https://teara.govt.nz/en/water-quality/page-1

Keep things in perspective people.......a vote for Labour is a vote to transfer more of your hard earned money to someone else. If you don't like that idea just don't vote Labour or their friends in the Fraud (Green) Party.

Keep things in perspective people.......a vote for Labour is a vote to transfer more of your hard earned money to someone else

Heh...it only took a few dots for that sentence to veer wildly out of perspective.

Besides, it's National who is proposing to increase Working For Families and the Accommodation Supplement as a bandaid instead of addressing the housing crisis. This takes money from my income and uses it to supplement wages so companies can pay less, and rents so property investors can receive more.

Labour will make precious little difference to my tax load.

trouble is a vote for National is a vote for the do nothing party.
Not aschually a viable option either.

I think you need to drive from Wellington to Auckland to see how much they have done and are doing. But Labour vsoters will always be blind to what is staring them straight in the face.

has Gerry dumped a whole lot of KFC wrappers on the side of the road?
You young nats ,... its all black white in your wee bubble

"Water quality state in the pastoral class was not statistically different from that of the urban class, and water quality state in the plantation forest class was not statistically different from that of the native forest class."
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00288330.2004.9517243?src=recsys

"Ten-year trends (2004–2013) indicated recent improvements in ammoniacal nitrogen, dissolved reactive phosphorus and total phosphorus in the pastoral and urban classes, possibly reflecting improved land management."

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00288330.2016.1150309

Now now, don't go injecting reality and data into a urban green farmer hate-fest. Feelings and uninformed assertions trump data, and those dirty Kulaks should be beaten until they shut up and give us their money.

JK getting out while the going was good, seems to be such a wise decision, more and more every day now.
Lucky Teflon Guy that one. And a visionary too, for personal well being.

We will soon be changing the name of this website from natbash.co.nz to labourbash.co.nz. Nee houseprices.co.nz.

housepricecirclejerk.co.nz

Feds own fault, they jumped into bed with National instead of keeping the pretence of being politically independent. They thought National would be around a lot longer.

You could see a faint thread of logic in a water tax if it was going to be applied to enhancing the extensive cleanup measures already underway, but it's not. Labour says it will give the money to councils to spend on roads and the like and some to Maori.

Even if Labours environmental spin were true, the majority would be collected from south island regions which, apart from a small number of Canterbury lowland streams, has the least polluted water. A transfer of this money by way of a regional subsidy to the most polluted areas such as Northland, would then occur.

So clearly this is a sock it to non Labour voting farmers and the towns that depend on them, just because we can. Why not be honest and admit this is a pure tax revenue extraction exercise rather than dress it up as an environmental initiative?

I heard Ardern say that tax would probably not be applied to very wet areas,like Taranaki, and maybe mainly to the irrigated areas. But she was a bit unsure as to how much and who and where.
My simple mind might imagine that if rains in a high rainfall area, more muck will be flushed into the creeks. But if the area is dry enough to need irrigation there would surely be much less run-off??
All sounds like typical flakey ad hoc policy.And it's obviously working for votes.

kiwichas. I wouldn't be so sure putting the boot into farmers will 'work for votes' - outside of party apparatchiks, ideologues and reflexive Labour voters. A large number of urban Kiwis have rural connections, empathy with farmers and a keen appreciation of the prosperity that primary production brings this nation. Witness the enduring popularity of country calendar and high levels of interest in rural lifestyles.

I have business interests in the south island and spend a bit of time in Canterbury. I believe many urban politicians from Wellington and Auckland don't understand the extent to which the lives of many Christchurch people are integrated with the land. Farming there is physically far closer than other large NZ cities. The press runs regular multi page feature on matters rural, showday is still a very popular annual event. People are well informed on rural issues and will quickly spot a cynically opportunist attempt by outsiders, to demonise farmers. There is much justifiable anger at Nationals slowness to address lowland waterway degradation but Cindy jetting in for a few hours and announcing a poorly thought through, punitive tax on local farmers, will be viewed by many in CHCH with distaste.

I hope you are right, but the TV1 poll showed 60% in favour of water tax, although it may have been conflated with the tax on bottled water, (the main sin there being not the free water, but the possibly billions of plastic bottles to contain it; naturally not picked up on by Labour/Greens)

The question was misleading in that there was reference to commercial water users and they didn't mention any detail as to what the policy involves. Actually we still don't.

Greens have always won young, urban voters. They don't know or care what makes up our export earnings or how important the rural sector is to the well being of the nation. They don't care to consult or ask questions of the rural sector or work with them. Labour is clearly going for that vote as well but has forgotten that while the youth vote now outnumbers the baby boomers, there is gen X and Y in there as well and I and others in that age group are not terribly impressed with short-sighted, expensive policies or envy politics. Lets work with the rural sector, and work for the best results for everyone.

Yep, Greens clean up the urban ignoratti vote - disconnected, minimally financially dependant upon, and with a tribal hatred for the productive industries of NZ. Central wellington, with ~30% Green vote, their highest in the country, highlights this.

On the topic of bottled water, for a while there's been some rhetoric going around that nobody owns the water. So who owns the water in the drinks fridge at the supermarket and if I were to take a sip and put the bottle back does that amount to theft?

There are so many policy gaps in the water royalty that need to be highlighted. On the announcement Jacinta said the cost would be between gravel and gold. So that would be 50 cents a cubic meter and a lot more.... now is between 1-2 cents a cubic metre.......

Someone is making stuff up here.
Then it was going to be given the regional councils to clean up the river.... until someone points out that the dirtiest rivers and in the ares with the less irrigation.

It doesn't cover off the nitrate loads from farms and actually what reaches rivers. It doesn't cover the water extracted from rivers via deep rooting plants... on farm storage.... Stock water is not addressed. What about irrigation of golf courses / sport fields?

And all this to make unswimable rivers truely swimable. (And no one can swim in them anyway as they are too shallow and cold or in flood from time to time).

And this 'ere thread just beautifully illustrates the strapline....

Identity politics is a dangerous game for us all: it's easy to gin up the angst, hard to damp it down once it reaches flashpoint.

Enough already.

Good on the Farmers to stand up to oppression and arrogance ... It is time that the wise ones teach this reckless Labour Party team ( and their tails) a swift and sharp lesson in respect and appreciation of the real producers and workers in this country ...
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11...

Oppression? Wtf? Like the Labour apartheid police are beating the poor hard working farmers with whips and cricket bats! Ridiculous comment you posted. Then you, a bludging landlord who sucks every last cent you can from hardworking Kiwis, has the audacity to talk about ..."appreciation of the real producers..." For you the real producers are the people you rought with your low level rentals. Maybe you should show some respect for the people who produce your unearned wealth. Damn you can be offensive!

When you have worked for 2-3 years straight on a farm, 100hrs/week,each; through drought and low milk prices, going backwards $200,000 pa then you can comment. When you have had PSA in your kiwifruit, borrowed a million for replanting only to find afterwards the experts were wrong and you have to replant again;etc then you can comment Mr Meanie.
Nothing to do with landlords and their pros and cons.

Hilarious Eco Bird. I cannot wait for the point of Godwin's law to be reached. Where you are at right now it might just trail off into a repetitive whine without substance, murky water. I encourage you go further. Say how labour will round up all farmers, put them on a register and take their land...

Go farmers block the main road in Morrinsville with your Tractors just like the French Farmers ! Fonterra have made sure enormous progress has happened with Farmers to fence of wetlands etc give them a chance what have city folk done to help......

Does it really need to be spelled out? Its about intensification! Fencing waterways is an irrelevant sideshow.
Too many demands on the ecosystem (from People...! which includes townies!)
Once the debt structure is locked in (to provide a lifestyle for everyone), farmers CANT de-intensify ... that is the problem.
example; border dyke irrigation (all in place and working) was outlawed & replaced with expensive / debt hungry pivots ... because it "reduced water wastage".... apparently in the name of efficiency .... but all it does is ultimately leverage up the anti on the ecosystem ... more debt, more intensity, more runoff, more production per acre, more soil depletion, more fuel usage, more consumption, more people ... until we need to up the anti again.
Its thinking in a linear fashion .. (ie we must reduce water wastage) ... not holistically

and then theres Jevons paradox ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox

An example of a high use farmer @ $50,000 / year was given on Nat radio. It was equivalent to water for 31,000 people in town.
At 2 Cents / 1000 liters thats 2.5 million litres / year if I have it correct. Thats 80,645 / person / year (@31,000).

So your great learning for today is that farms use a lot of water? Or that most farms can produce more with irrigation? How is this a revelation unless you have been living your whole life with your eyes closed? Have you never visited a farm or do you not have any farming friends or family? How do you think your opinion on any of this is significant if you do not understand even basic things about the farming sector and what it does? For example do you realise that that such a high use farm produces enough food calories to sustain 2000-40000 urbanites depending on food grown?

Second time today I am left wondering how did so many urbanites become so ignorant and dismissive of rural NZ, imagining that they are some sort of rapacious destroyers to be virtuously hated, the new Jews. Well I grew up in a rural area before moving to the city and must say that Farmers I have met, who have to survive on their wits and hard work are generally far better informed than almost all urbanites I know. They are true stewards of the land with strong environmental focus, because for them to increase the value of their farms they have to focus on long term sustainability.

So ask yourself if your urban neighbours dictate what you may grow in your garden or the colour of your house or how many times a day you are allowed to flush your toilet? Do they peer over your fence see that you have a vege crop and demand that you give them some of the produce cos you look like you can afford it? Why should urbanites have any say over productive land in the provinces that they drive through maybe once in a lifetime on holiday? They have no ownership of the land, and have nothing invested in it in time or effort or community but regularly see fit to gird their political loins and callously take huge economic shits on people who they will never meet or even get within 1000km of to assuage some tribal urban thought fashion without ever having to confront the damage they do to those affected.

Urban greens have economically destroyed the West Coast in this fashion and are now working to demonise dairy farmers as the new great satan (ignoring that are the source of the wealth that pays for all the technological trappings of your life). It is just incredibly entitled, patronising and arrogant - like the capricious behaviour of old time medieval lords.

Oops... thats 2500 million litres / year.

yep, 2.5 billion.....

I roughed out the numbers a while back and figured that dairy farming only made money if the land came at no cost. Probs why most stay in families for generations. Biggest income seemed to be capital gain and many would only turn a profit annually if they sold off a small chunk of the farm as a lifestyle block for an amount that was many times greater than the value per hectare of the rest.

What a crock of sh.te you have written spinach1.
Non dairy farming has a much bigger history of intergenerational farming, than does dairy.
Inter-generational farmers who buy in to the 'family' farm have to pay something for it.
Dairy farms are usually smaller in size than non dairy, therefore to continually be selling of a small chunk of the farm is unsustainable.

It struck me this morning that it's interesting the Feds are mobilising farmers to protest about something that might happen sometime after Sep 23 if Labour wins. When you might think that those protesting before the election would be young people over environmental degradation and being locked out of the housing market...Just a thought.

Young people are farmers too Gareth, and farms = their homes in majority of cases. ;-)

Stardust and twinkletoes (aka Ardern n Robertson) are so behind the play its mind boggling. The regional councils are bringing in restrictions on farming. For our home block it starts in 2020, for our Taupo block its already here. I cant winter cattle on the block, or do any cropping. Unbelievable how little they know.

Bit of homophobia there from the country gal. I thought we had all moved on from that type of viciousness.

Oh get over yourself. Twinkletoes relates to his airy fairy (pun there, see that)nonsense of being a finance spokesperson. Viciousness is what they attempting to do to the productive part of our society.

"Airy fairy" yeah right - keep digging that hole. Nice to see the rural sector is about 200 years behind the rest of NZ.

http://queersunited.blogspot.co.nz/2008/10/word-of-gay-twinkle-toes.html

Interest.co.nz are you going to let this gay bashing of Robertson to continue?

If you stand in the arena that is going to dictate what the rest of us can do I imagine being called twinkletoes aint so bad. Especially when you are threatening to take a good percentage of peoples livelihoods off them. Especially coming from a group who are generally physically able and look it. Robertson however looks like the guy who gets someone else in to do the work. Um soft. Never lifted a hammer. Never had to spend a day in the rain and wind and mud. And then the next and the next and the next. Yip a twinkletoes. A bloody fairy. You may look at it as calling out his sexual preference. Us rural types look at it as calling out a useless bugger.

Wow - make that 400 years.

I am watching a couple of totally inexperienced wallys threatening to take away my livelihood. So I grow grass all year round. Sometimes heaps. Tonnes of the stuff. Full of carbon. Now those two want their hands on my money cos the carbon out in way of the cattle and sheep is valued but not the carbon in, noooo it just magically appears in the grass. Yet overseas they put large tractors over the land many times to do what I do without a tractor. Thats where production will go. Overseas. Airy fairy thinking is a valid thing to say. They are airy fairy, they are stardust and twinkletoes. Go look at the new hospitals built in the last few years. Hamilton and Rotorua are way better. My best friend got two new hips. The first within 6 months of diagnosis. The 2nd as soon as he was well from the first. Who will pay for that going forward. You see name calling as sexual. Thats attacking the argument because you have no other attack. I see peterpans mate with a wand sprinkling fairy dust for our future and thats how I will express it. Whats your argument?

By the way the press should get back out to the ex crafar farms. Currently owned and run by Shanghai pengxin. I havent seen it with my own eyes but I have heard stories its not good. The one down western bays on Karangahape rd. The Benneydale farms and Taharua. The chinese have no money and bad shit is happening.

Hard enough running a family farm, imagine all the costs a corporate has. I also think Landcorp gave up the share milking contract on the properties?

Belle you should give MPI a ring and see what they say, awful sensitive these days.

Yip Landcorp have been out for a few months. I think they stripped the farms before they left. Pasture covers were terrible come june 1st. And no money to address the problem. Farms were left without staff, as the housing was so bad on some of the farms no one stayed. Calf facilities not done. You know how it works, it doesnt take long on a farm for things to fall apart. I havnt seen it myself so not doing the mpi thing Aj. Among other people a fert rep told me it was bad. Hopefully they will report what they know.

Unfortunately Belle, Hunan Dakang the dairy side of Shanghai Pengxin which is the controlling entity is still suspended on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, undergoing restructuring. Interlinked share pledges and party related transactions are proving troublesome, although it did manage to find funds for recent repayment of a corporate bond. Polite Chinese term for overly indebted company seeks further governmental help. Pengxin International Mining which is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange,and is the mining aspect of Shanghai Pengxin also was suspended for 7 months and has only last few days been relisted.Anyone that believed Shanghai Pengxin was a private entity that came in as a white knight to rescue Crafer farms is seriously deluded. For heavens sake a Chinese builder with a copper mine in the Congo seeks dairy farm. This is a Chinese government run entity that looks for global distressed assets , to gain favour in multiple countries, with the assets eventually being rerouted onto Chinese public exchanges after the profits have been removed and non public share offerings are distributed among a small elite group..It is common among many Chinese companies seeking to fulfil political aspirations. Hunan Dakang is struggling , and oozing cash, as it is a minor player in the Chinese dairy market and its scale is insufficient to keep up with the upfront cashflow issues, its pig business has cratered and it is underfire from locals to whom it may some promises. Sadly enough I invested in an Australian company Clean Teq about 6 months ago after Shanghai Pengxin had brought a substantial stake. Shanghai Pengxin basically lied/overstated its position to the OIO, to which it will still have obligations , even though its relationship with Landcorp has now passed.

Very enlightening cowpat. Thankyou

Would you say that the chinese govt kinda held a gun to Keys head over the crafar pengxin sale? Sales of milk powder being the gun? And if that was the case why did the Lochinvar sale get turned down?

Absolutely ,there is a wonderful photo in November 2014 of Johnky, the Chinese President Xi, Jiang Zhaobai of Shanghai Pengxin/Pengxin International Mining,and the CEO of Kuangchi Science signing a triparty memorandum to launch the 'Traveller' into New Zealand airspace , another epic fail. Kuangchi is a Hong Kong listed company, full of hot air and overinflated share price and is often in tow , alongside Jiang Zhaobai of Pengxin and Premier Xi at various international photo shoots. Lochinver, was not a distressed sale and came under more scrutiny as to the true reasons for purchase.The Crafer farm sale primarily was centred on the poor management by the Crafers, the banks would have been excited by the possibility of full payment, so public opinion was not as divided. The Chinese moaned and wailed like wounded possums when the Lochinver decision was announced with the usual 'this is not good for New Zealand ' crap.The Australians eventually put up road blocks on the 2015 Kidman farm sale when Pengxin became involved. Pengxin has since moved its interest to Brazil and a company Fiagril, which it is now trying to offload into Hunan Dakang.

What never made sense to an awful lot of people including yours truly was why they didnt sell the farms separately. There was so much interest back then. Most thought they would get paid more. I guess banks dont work that way. Do you think that with all the problems they have they will keep farming here in NZ. They dont seem to be doing a good job at it.

And that Belle is the understatement of the year! :-) Large numbers of dairy farms are still being sold to overseas interests because they are bundled and not being sold individually. This is rural NZ's equivalent of a housing crisis for first farm buyers.

Fascinating and infuriating, thanks for the time taken to write and explain it CO.

This Crafar story ought to be revisited in the media and the headlines should be even bigger this time around.

It's worse than the FHB urban crisis as we can build more houses but we can't produce more farmland.

Makes me sick.

Be interesting to know if there is no money available, or whether those farms are just being run down because someone doesn't want to allocate money for operating them properly. Have you heard any details there?

Their credit around town has been questionable. I think Landcorp and the chinese parted badly. You can imagine both sides would have been pretty pissed off. They went in there together all guns blazing. Each side gona make a fortune. Next thing two very very bad years, and one year of just very bad. Most sharemilkers lost money hand over fist. What would make Landcorp any different? According to a real estate agent around here who does mostly dairy work, smaller farms have accrued at least 100k of debt thru this and bigger farms 500k. Extrapolate to this scale. Chinese gotta be thinking they bought a dog. Trouble is with dairy farms they literally eat money. You pull back and whoops youre naked. Dead cows and calves.

Which brings me to this point. And I am no apologist for dairy farming. But these guys are down. Seriously down. I mean dairy farmers in general. They believed in $7 payouts. Truly believed. The model is a wreck right now. What the hell do Ardern and Twinkle think they are doing? The banks will be crapping themselves. If perchance this was all to come to pass, this will get passed on to urban dwellers. Banks dont do losing money. Dairy farming is on a knife edge right now. If farms are sold up someone will pay. Who could that be ...ah yes Mr and Mrs Joe Bloggs from urban st in urban town who has an urban mortgage.

Go look at The Healthy Rivers accord Jacinda....actually read something....this alone will send a lot to the real estate pages. Add in your nonsense then who is gona pay for the hospitals and Pharmac

Belle, we all have to get used to a new world order. If those over 78 had not voted in the States it would have been Sanders all the way, Trump wouldn't have got a look.

It's happening here as those over 75 today exit the new order will look very different.

Well thats an interesting fact Aj. Of course Hils missed out cos she's a woman...heh heh. How are things down your way? We have pretty much done our annual rainfall. The ducks and pukekos seem very happy with life in general.

very short, not looking like spring yet.

Same here Aj. Have you settled back into New Zealand life? Usually your posting from some far flung outpost.

I've been everywhere, bit over the driving. Enjoyed Spain and Portugal, did the drive across France again, then up to Scotland. Our car has done some miles, but the final straw was a drive from Edinburgh to Cornwall, which should have been 8 hours turned into nearly 13, on a Friday.
However did lots of farming stuff, talked to lots of locals, mountains of Nth Spain are worth a visit, loved the locals, like going back in time, Galicia was magic.
Too many tourists now everyone travels impact is noticeable.

So whats our future? because somewhere along the way we have gone seriously off the rails.

Not wrong there. I drive down the south island a couple of times a year. Not so keen anymore. I had a pup on board last time. We made frequent weewee stops. Unfortunately there were many human plops and loo paper everywhere. People camping at any large verge. Lucky you tho, that sounds like a fabulous trip.

Just trying to win an election Belle. Not enough votes in farming it would seem.

Yeah I know Ralph, I havent had a rant for a while though. I feel a lot better.

Despite the fact that after an afternoon of blazing cold wind, the wind has gone and its raining again ;-(

Just to put this water charge into some sort of perspective.
At 2 cents per cubic meter, the $50,000 cost that they are claiming equates to 2,500,000 cubic meters.
The average sort of bulk petrol tank that you see at one of the oil company bulk depots would be in the order of 10,000 cubic meters.
That means to use $50,000 worth of water a farmer would have to consume 250 of these tanks full of water.
That is a hell of a lot of water and if they are using that much they are either very inefficient or producing a. hell of a lot of milk. Either way $50000 seems very cheap, in fact too cheap. If they had to pay for it, maybe they would be more careful.

Looking at it another way.
The large road tankers that deliver fuels to the petrol stations contain about 35 cubic meters. That would cost 70 cents under Labours proposed 2 cent charge. How many hundreds of dollars would you pay for this amount amount of water to be delivered to your home?

Yet another way.
It takes about 1000 litres of water to make 1 litre of milk, so from 2,500,000 cubic meters of water you should get 2,500 cubic meters of milk, or 2,500,000 litres. The irrigation cost of the milk would therefore be 2 cents per litre. We pay about $1.75 per litre for our milk. The 2 cents per litre irrigation cost seems barely relevant.

For those in the know, there is such a thing as evapotranspiration. You pile the water on....it evaporates back into the sky. Sometimes faster than the irrigation....edit, oh and the plants um transpire... ahem...uni was a helluva long time ago

Yep it's all irrelevant because as every salaried urbanite knows money just falls off the money trees into the grubby hands of farmers and if they need to increase prices to cover extra costs then they can just do that because there is no competition and they never have to deal with any risk like fluctuating commodity prices or interest rates or drought or hail or frost or disease or storms or changing trade barriers or capricious laws and bureaucrats or commodities cycles or consumption fashions or.....

Meanwhile back in reality a lot of farmers are surviving on razor thin margins with no wiggle room. But they have a visible revenue stream and don't vote Labour so lets tax em higher than we do urban businesses under every pretext we can find like: for water, methane, milk solids production, ETS, Capital gains, Land tax.... Labour #letsnailthosedirtyKulaks.

Well put Foyle

My friends have a large 40 footer boat and a couple of houses and a batch. They are farmers. I dont begrudge them what they have as they have worked really hard for what they have, but they certainly are not paupers. Plus their marinated steaks are the best.

This water talk is over my head, I have no view on it. But I can see both points. But I will never vote National, not while BE and Joyce are at the head of it anyway, politicking for unlimited immigration, poor productivity and low wage inflation.

Remind us again why Nz taxpayers subsidise weak business models that require "farmers to survive on razor thin margins" ?
Farmers have now conceded that their fragile business model is not sustainable - and will require ongoing subsidies by way of cheap foreign labour , free use other peoples water and a taxpayer sponsored clean up of the resulting mess.
Our dairy industry is an embarrassment , world leading, my arse.

You have good points macawsley. I have thought the same. But here we are. The cowsheds and effluent ponds are built. Its done. The money is invested. Huge loans are out there. To keep New Zealand chugging along and those hospitals and schools working we have to swallow a rat. But times are a changing. Regional councils are bringing in new rules. As debt is paid farms will change. A new farming model is on its way. In the meantime our health bills will be paid too.
As for the water. My god we are lucky. We have this amazing rainfall in this country which enables us to grow all this food. Its a blessing. Yes it needs to be managed well. Better. But tax it and urbanites are taxing themselves. Apples, oranges, potatoes,cabbages, broccoli, bread, butter. All our mainstay food will go up in price. You want to do that to the poor?

Belle, the problem is many of our soils are very poor. Yes we have a benign climate but then again she can blow and the 'best made plans' go out the window.
It's a new game and we are on the old field with the wrong ball. In Russia there are now well over 100 farmers farming over 100,000 hectares of wheat, want to go head to head? how do your costs compare, fuel is cheap and Russian soils are excellent, their wheat is becoming top quality, labor is good and cheap and the competition is starting to falter.

"
There are two "chernozem belts" in the world: the Eurasian steppe which extends from eastern Croatia (Slavonia), along the Danube (northern Serbia, northern Bulgaria (Danubian Plain), southern Romania (Wallachian Plain) and Moldova) to northeast Ukraine across the Black Earth Region and southern Russia into Siberia, and the other from the Canadian Prairies in Manitoba through the Great Plains of the United States as far south as Kansas.[2] Similar soil types occur in Texas and Hungary. Chernozem layer thickness may vary widely, from several inches up to 60 inches (1.5 metres) in Ukraine.[3]"

Yep happy to pay less for a cabbage that did not require irrigation to produce.
Consumers deserve the choice - support unsustainable irrigation or not.
Why are you afraid of your customers making informed decisions via price signaling?

Exactly.
We have been dairying for over 100 years and still now require subsidies to make it individually profitable. No matter how you look at it, that is a joke.
And anytime anyone dare mention the fact that we are subsidising a volatile commodity product as opposed to high value production, they are chastised as being ungrateful urban folk.

Typical scenarios each year are:
- It's too wet, feel sorry for the farmers.
- It's a bad drought, feel sorry for the farmers.
- Tax payers need to pay for irrigation schemes for farmers.
- Our waterways are deteriorating, but it's definitely not nitrate and effluent run off from farms; they've been fenced.

I have no doubt in my mind that farmers are hard workers. But any industry that relies as heavily as farming does on subsidies indicates real fundamental issues.

Often those so called subsidies actually mask a unseen number of well off bureaucrats doing very nicely thank you. Quangos like irrigation NZ serve no useful purpose in what is supposed to be a free market, instead support intrenched old school thinking at the cost of taxpayers and the environment. But debt is good right?

It's the same old pathetic story of the National Party - they want a free market, except they also want to artificially protect business.
They say Labour is a confused party. But my god, the National party announcements range from neoliberalism one day to introducing new subsidies the next.

Debt is good in that it helps raise commodity prices and keep the trucks running.
It is bad in that it puts in place a promise about what the future must deliver.

All commodity producers are being subsidized with money printing. Take away capital gains and artificially low debt for consumers ... and commodity production/farming simply doesnt stack up.

Imagine if there were no capital gains on houses. How many "amazing add value" home renovations would ever stack up? So the building ponzi would shrink massively.

You do however have to acknowledge that about 50% or more of our national income is derived from farming and the efforts of a relatively few people. You could look at this as being our main line of business and it is true that it funds much of what the rest of the country needs. The rest of the country are poor contributors to the point of being little more than overheads in the business of running the country. (why we can't organise ourselves a lot better and do away with the need for immigration is beyond me)
One of the problems with farming in NZ is that it too is tied up in a capital gain ponzie scheme similar to housing, so farmers are willing to pay farm prices well beyond a farms long term earning capacity warrants. This is particularly so when we get a boom in whatever produce is flavour of the month. Farmers over invest and prices go up, bank loans go through the roof to put the farmers on a a knife edge so that they are very resistant to meeting their obligations to the environment. Put another way if farmers were not afforded the indirect subsidies that they receive, had to provide for the lean times like any business and had to fully meet their environmental and resource obligations then maybe this would be reflected in more realistic farm prices and debt.
If Labour introduce a capital gains tax this could have a significant effect on how farming is viewed, perhaps adjust their values and put them on a more realistic and sustainable footing. The transition however would be a hell of a shock and the poor old farmers have my sympathy; far more so than the property speculators.

This is the equivalent of saying housing would be affordable if townies didn't pay so much for their land... and suggesting an annual $50,000 charge on every town properties to help cover environmental damage due to consumption ....( I think you might see a demand issue).

But do you think there might also be income and cashflow issues?

The point is that the debt behind the capital gains ponzi IS the only reason the entire system is still "viable".

It's only a minority of dairy farmers who have real debt issues ham n eggs. I would suggest that sheep farmers have bigger issues. Down our way dairy land has dropped up to $5-12k/ha but sheep farms are still at around that $1000/su and banks require 70% equity in land and stock. The likes of Harvard Uni, Canadian Pension plan, NZ Super funds etc have had a large effect on the rising price of farm land as have corporate investors - some of whom comment on this site about their multiple investments in farms and yet are unlikely to ever have spent a week in the cowshed. It is the corporatisation of dairy that is mainly to blame. And yet these investors are largely insulated from the volatility as their investments can be likened to Monopoly money - Good to have some fun with but not essential as their main income source is outside these investments.

I was talking to a young dairy sharemilker - his cashflow surplus this year is predicted to be in the mid six figures - no cashflow issue there, nor would there be for the farm's owner (and no it's not me ;-) ). Smart operators who were still able to have a small profit in $3.90 payout year. You don't hear about farmers who do well, only those who don't. I don't deny that some farmers are going to take a couple of seasons to get back on the right side of the ledger due to additional debt that may have been taken on, but there are many others for whom that is not the case.

NZ govt, whoever it may be after 23rd Sept, would do well to take a leaf out of Canada's farm ownership book and ban any investment and trust funds from owning farmland. That will take some of the offshore players out of the market. They also need to regulate that multiple farms cannot be put up for sale as a block but each farm has to be sold individually. That will also stop speculation.

So throw the baby out with the bathwater? So whats the plan guys to pay the bills. Show me the money? :-)

Well pines trees just earned more than meat, first time. I am concerned that NZ never had a backup plan out side produce more. Nearly everytime someone outside farming opens their mouth i am astounded by their lack of understanding.
Its up to the rest of the country to decide what the future looks like based on their own endeavors, NZ ag has limits.

In my rounds at candidate meetings, the Green and TOP party candidates have had by far the least understanding of not just farming, but also of what communities are actually out there doing in regards to working together to find and action solutions.

If I were a farmer, I'd be all over pushing for cannabis to be legalized - plant that's supremely easy to grow, exceptionally profitable. Hemp can also be made into bio-fuel, bio-plastics, rope, clothing etc etc... so there's little wastage.

I'd also put my hand up to the Greens and say, those trees you want to plant, I'll take those and be paid for the carbon that they sink.

Is there an export market for cannabis? Hemp requires a license to grow and perhaps irrigation given the Canterbury Plains is the main area for production?

A few years ago a move was made to get farmers to grow flax, with a view to (re)develop a flax industry. It hasn't yet taken off as it isn't good to plant near fence lines where fences are electric. Not sure how this project turned out http://maxa.mpi.govt.nz/sff/about-projects/search/03-153/flax-bulletin.pdf

I would prefer to get recognition/paid for the carbon that grass/soil sinks. Or even recognition for the trees that we have planted over the years, but am told mature natives don't sink carbon so no credits. :-(

The temporary plan is a US denominated debt mountain. $20 trillion and counting.
The real answer is energy rich abundant fossil fuel energy. That pays everyones bills. Energy backs all debt.
The kicker is that its no longer available. So all countries are running up unpayable debt mountains to keep the wolves at bay...

https://medium.com/@GeeeBee/looking-down-the-barrel-the-tooth-fairy-the-...

In other words a (very flexible) debt ceiling ... meets a finite resource world.

Belle, them Trees that the Greens are gonna plant, (and that idea Labour may well steal from them a few seconds before L throws G under the bus - unicorn-fart-fuelled, of course) - well, to get back to them Trees - they are Magic Money Trees.

Our future is secure....

Andrew - you are quite right about the astounding iggorince shown by urbanites. You may enjoy this little dissertation - it's about magical thinking...https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2017/08/27/the-return-of-magic-2/

Apparently there is a pine tree that will be ready in 20 years now. Good but thats not great cashflow. In the meantime what if the scientists deliver a lab grown timber? Like the lab grown meat. Speaking of cashflow.....who here does a cashflow budget a couple of times a month and lives by it? I swear these pollies dont know what one is.
Growing hemp is a great idea. Its great stuff. But you dont need a lot of land to harvest a lot of hemp. What do we do with the rest of it....with a cashflow?

Friend in California is busy around Fresno cleaning up dead pines from a pine beetle infestation. Tells me it's a job for his life time. There is risk in everything, unless you work for the government ;-), but risk of disease in our pine forests, with our dependence on the same tree being cloned millions of times is a bit scary.

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-sierra-tree-mortality-2016...

http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article73627167.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEF1UtKxb9I

Brilliant thread of comments... Belle , AJ, Cowpat...casual observor,.macawsley., nymad, ...and others
very informative
Many thanks.! ...

We are all responsible for environmental issues. Is anyone asking their local council how they get rid of human waste from cities, and where are the worst rivers in NZ. I know Taranakis rivers are improving and that is with DOC having no toilet on the top of the mountain and many of our tourists using the top of the mountain as a toilet - oh where to begin! What we should be doing in NZ is investing in the science and if any of you listen to Dr Tim Mackle Dairy NZ you will know that dairy farmers are investing big time on farm and in research. Unfortunately research takes time. No farmer that I know of wants to be part of subsidy in any way. If you look at the latest Niwa maps most of NZ is at saturation point water wise. We have a huge amount of water and for 10 months of the year we have far more than we can cope with. We have policies on farm to make our environmental footprint as minimal as we can. There is power in education and research. It takes time to implement new strategies and to educate people. The riparian planting scheme in Taranaki is very powerful to locals. a. it looks great in our landscape, people have got on board with it because there was education and help from the regional council with plans and plants. This is a big start. There are other changes happening but to do things correctly takes time and a lot of money. Fonterra farmers are not allowed to have animals grazing riversides. It is part of their supply agreements. Farmers want to farm sustainably. Dairy Farming in Taranaki has come along way very quickly. I am not talking about the other regions as I don't live there and every region is different and has different issues and local regional council regulations. I just know the power of getting the population on board and working together to find solutions. All New Zealanders play a part in this. Look in your own back yard and do your bit. I think Labour and the Greens have sadly tried to put the blame on Dairy Farmers alone rather than getting all New Zealanders to do their bit for the environment and looking at investing in research in all aspects of living and reducing our environmental footprint. Water taxes or levies is not the answer. Investing in education, systems and research is the answer. How about implementing our kiwi ingenuity and being world leaders but not through regulation and levies through education and research.