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Foreign ownership will be a hot topic at farmers' conference

Federated Farmers' national conference gets under way in Auckland today and the recent approval of Fonterra's controversial trading among farmers (TAF) scheme will no doubt be on high on the agenda.

Chief executive Conor English says the main panel discussions taking place over the next three days are on water, local government reform and foreign investment.

He says about 200 people will attend and they willl also be discussing Fonterra's TAF scheme, which must be put to a third vote after farmers approved the scheme but rejected the associated constitutional changes which would limit the scope of non-farmer investment.

Mr English has just returned from the Rio+20 earth summit in Brazil, where he says there was much talk about sustainable growth.

But New Zealand seems too timid to really embrace growth because of the possible backlash from environmentalists.

"There's concern about the number of dairy cows growing, and about possible mining activity, or exploration for oil and gas," he says.

"We say, 'no, we can't do this, the rest of the world's going to think we're bad.' But that's an incredibly outdated and naive view.

"We should be talking about harvesting our natural resources in an environmentally sustainable way."

Mr English says the mood among farmers is pretty good heading into the conference.

"The season has been good for growing grass, and that always gives farmers options, so in that sense everyone's had a pretty good season weather-wise.

"There's a little bit of apprehension about what's around the corner, but I think overall it'll be a positive meeting."

The conference, being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, doubles as Federated Farmers' AGM, where elections will be held for some board positions.  

More by Caleb Allison

Comments and questions
5

Foreign ownership?

How about the farmers and New Zealanders coming to grips with the fact that they have been on an orgy of foreign borrowings and using the debt to :

Bid up farm prices up to unsustainable and uneconomic levels,

Buy holiday homes in Fiji, Queensland, Coromandel, Queenstown and anywhere there's a beach. lake, water or empty land,

Buy TVs, electronics, cars, overseas holidays etc

and pay billions for social welfare.

Now they are worried about foreign investments?

In the old days in mother England, they threw creditors into jail when they could not and would not pay.

Maybe that's the only way New Zealanders will learn to live within their means.

It's like the school system and welfare state of mind in NZ - always someone else's fault that things are in a mess.

Yup, it's all the foreigners' fault. The Asian ones only, of course.

Dragon, I believe you mean debtors not creditors..debtors owe, creditors are owed. You are right though..spending more than one earns always ends in tears whether an individual or a country.
Look at what organisation is behind the Rio+20..I heard the buzz phrases back in the 90's...sustainable growth, biodiversity, waste minimisation, etc. The United Nations Agenda 21 is a 'blueprint for control, based on the premise that mankind is destroying the planet and therefore the population (especially those nasty capitalists) must be controlled. Anyone heard Brown (Lefty Mayor of Auckland) speak about a "sustainable city"...straight from the Socialists (United Nations) handbook. Global government was a fictional fancy 20 years ago..now it is fast becoming reality with our 'esteemed' ex-prime minister right in the 'thick of it'. It is no wonder that she never once verbalised just where all the carbon tax payments were going...money is power....United Nations global government...it is becoming all to clear. Bill English has returned and UN-speak rolls off the tongue with ease. Any one else feeling extremely uneasy regards the UN role in our policy making??
Most of the country wouldn't even think for one moment that UN is anything other than an organisation 'doing good'. If they doing so much good then why is Mugabe able to slaughter Zimbabwains at will; look at the Middle East; look at Myanma....UN is not what it seems.

It would be a bit rich to have NZ farmers complaining of foreign investment when many of them directly and indirectly having been investing overseas for years.