Farmers to stage protest over 'continued attacks' on rural New Zealand

Waikato Federated Farmers president Andrew McGiven says policies that increase taxes on farming businesses will cost jobs

Te Aroha farmer Andrew McGiven says more taxes will only leave farmers less to spend on environmental solutions.

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Farming communities are staging a protest in the Waikato town of Morrinsville next Monday to express their frustration at being a “punching bag for urban politicians.”

The move follows Labour’s announcements it would include agriculture in a net zero carbon emissions scheme, introduce a water tax, and consider including farms in a potential land and capital gains tax.

The Greens have also promised to scrap the emissions trading scheme altogether and replace it with the “Kiwi Climate Fund,” which would include a tax on methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural sources.

National has toyed with the idea of bringing farming into the ETS but has never committed to a timetable.

Farmers are getting frustrated at 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 the country’s environmental challenges, says one of the protest organisers, Lloyd Downing.

“The water quality issues are a challenge for all New Zealanders,” he says.

Te Aroha farmer and Waikato Federated Farmers president Andrew McGiven says policies that increase taxes on farming businesses will not only put their financial viability at risk but also cost jobs and take money out of regional towns and cities that “do well when farmers do well.”

He says the protest is a show of support for farmers who are often "isolated behind their farmgates" and another one is also being planned in the South Island.

"We're calling on farmers to turn up in their utes, and their Swandriis and overalls," he says.

Mr McGiven says farmers are tired and disappointed at negative perceptions in the lead up to the election, particuarly over their environmental performance.

"A lot of the sicence has been cherry-picked and doesn't match up to what we have on farm," he says. "Farmers understand the need for water quality improvements and have been part of the problem in the past but we're also part of the solution in the future."

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

He wants to make the Monday protest a "positive exercise" and is calling for environmental solutions that are "sensible, practical and affordable."

All supporters of rural New Zealand are being invited to support the protest which is being held at midday on Monday in Morrinsville.

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There does seem to be a tendency for farmers to think they are better than other people. Now they seem to think they are smarter than the scientists, too.

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Sound remarkably like socialists.

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There seems to be a tendency to want farmers to be sub-servient peasants and bow to the intelligentsia. Property rights and free enterprise is what carved NZ out of the scrub.

Animal Taxes, Water Taxes and Land Taxes is clearly a direct urban attack on farmers. How smart to you have to be to see that?

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Would be interested to know whether you think a farmer has a property right to leach nitrate into a neighbour's property (or into a publicly owned lake) without paying for the damage and remediation (if at all possible).

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While we are on it, should a municipality be given a right to discharge nitrates etc. into a public lake?
What does the panel think?

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Astonished is a good headline there, we don't think we are smarter than the scientists, just the people who rely purely on headlines for their limited knowledge of the actual science.

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Only the guilty get offended

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Derek, I have a farm that we operate to the highest environmental standards. We have fenced all our waterways, protect native bush, have moderate stocking rates and look after the land for the long term. Believe it or not a lot of farmers are very responsible environmentally.

To blame water quality on farmers is grossly unfair. It is like saying CD couldn't win the cricket because the opening bowlers were hopeless. There are 9 other players in the team that must share responsibility.

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Dairy conversions are the target here, and rightly so.

Through mates on the Regional Councils, they have been over allocated water for free.

Meanwhile their business value has doubled, but the nitrate leaching is killing our waterways. Why have sympathy for this lot, when the privatise the profit but socialise the loss.

Tax this lot big time. Call it what you like, but a pollution tax would sit the best.

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Far simpler to impose land use restrictions on the leakiest soils.
Let's face it , it is not all conversions to dairy: it is just those in the wrong places.

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Only the west coast of NZ is suitable for dairying due to plentiful rainfall. All the greedy, polluting feckers east of the Alps in the SI and east of Taupo can swing for all I care: their impact on NZ negates any financial benefits.

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Well that might explain the high dudgeon of our urban social justice warriors.
Certainly the facts point that way.

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The number of cows and sheep on the land is many times more than the number of humans in NZ. The huge number of dairy conversions over the last decade had inevitably increased the effluent outflow and is only partly cleaned by remedial matters. Urban population might have increased by a third over the last 30 years but a lot of the main urban pollutants say die factories or urban freezing works in Sth Auckland or Petone have long closed. Most urban environments in NZ are now much cleaner than the very smoky dark ones one the 1970s in the country the reverse is the truth with pristine water and swimable lakes, long gone

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Been for a quiet wade down in Otahuhu creek lately have we?

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They really have themselves to blame. They knew the issues of water better than anyone and for sheer greed elected to ignore the issue. No wonder the rest of the country is furious at them.

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Shane, I know many farmers and how many successful farmers operate, and what you say is utter rubbish and exceptionally ignorant, though not untypical of someone living in a city perhaps. I doubt you would know a nitrous oxide from a carbon atom nor a pinus radiata from a Douglas Fir. I also doubt you would realise the extent of the uncontrolled pollutants and excrement pouring into city streams and beaches. Every time you eat, thank a farmer.

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Exactly

They denied it for years and only started to act when they knew they were found out
We all support the farmers and what they do for NZ but they need to own up to their issues and work with NZ Inc So We all fix the issues

They are not a privileged section of society. They are part of it

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Have you ever worked on a farm? Do you really understand the water issues from a farmer's perspective? Do you know what farmers have done to help the environment over the years? Perhaps you have a degree in agricultural science that qualifies you to blurt out such an opinion. Remember to thank a farmer every time you eat.

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You all should ignore Mr Scribe he has been detailed to be negative and riling other correspondent. That's his job. At the moment he is sucking on bitter lemons preparing to try to explain the thunderclap that is derailing his good work. Old Abe said "you can't fool all the People all of the time" we await the next negative repost.

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Well I for one aren't going to thank them for the cost of it. Apples were $7 a kilo over summer, and lemons can be over that. Someones getting well paid. You farmers must think us townies are all rich.

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And putting multiple taxes on production will help reduce the cost of that food how exactly?

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Do you know what an orchadist gets for that kilo of apples?

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A lot.

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What's more polluting to the Manawatu and Waikato Rivers? The Manawatu and Waikato's cows, or Palmerston North's and Hamilton's sh*t?

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re the Manawatu River, you left out the discharges from Ashhurst, Woodville, Dannevirke, Pahiatua etc.

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What. Poor rural towns of 3.000 to 6,000 people and rural related industry, compared with probably a couple of million farm animals, pissing in the Manawatu and Hawkes Bay. If a pocket calculator is too complicated maybe an abacus would help you count. And actually it didnt seem too smart to me for the farmers to sign the freezing industries and meat farmers up to a Shanghai corporate before the TPPA which gave generous access to US/ Canada and Japan was even voted on. So whose intentions are false and hidden. Labour. Greens. Ambassador Tim Grosser. High Commissioner Lockwood Smith. Minister Smith or PM Bill English. NZ No 1 Socialist equalist.

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O.K. You need the facts.
The average volume of liquid waste water, discharged to waterways, is 40 times more for a human, in comparison with a cow.
There are roughly the same numbers of each species in NZ, so now you do the arithmetic.

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That's why most urban population have sewer treatment plants or septic tanks.

If we all urinated on the ground, the waterways would be a lot worse than they are.

If farmers are keen to intensify their grazing, they should have their own sewer solution. I know some do, but the majority don't.

Local authority rates have a uniform charge for the number of toilets. If farmers don't provide their own solution, an option could be a uniform charge per stock unit.

All fair in peace and war.

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No, you just got sucked in by Greenpeace's lies, misinformation and divisive smear campaign. The rest of the country of the mostly easily-manipulated tools.

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Labour are picking on farmers as they know that rural voters never vote labour.

Time for farmers to run a campaign in safe labour areas reminding voters that water and emissions taxes will mean higher food prices and higher unemployment.

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$18 bottles of water! $18 bottles of water!

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Farmers accept that they are not above reproach. However we do take exception to the regularly promoted premise that we are solely responsible for all water degradation. Yes there are problems that can be traced back to agriculture. But how many urban folk take responsibility for what is flushed down toilets and basins? How much Wellington and Auckland sewage is directly piped into the sea? How many carbon emissions come from vehicles on the roads?
Carbon emissions from farms are largely balanced by photosynthesis that occurs during pasture growth. It is impossible to look far across farmland without looking at trees.
My dairy cows do not use cosmetics and exfoliates with plastic micro beads in them. My dairy cows do not spread supermarket bags into the environment where they ultimately finish up in the oceans and kill fish.
Mr Astonished, how do you get the idea that I think I am better than you? Mr Stirling, I am not offended. I am dismayed that most of the population seems to believe that agriculture is the sole cause of water pollution.
Furthermore, I am dismayed that although scientists, by their own admission, have been working on agricultural GHG emissions for close to fifty years, they still have very little in the way of concrete recommendations to mitigate the effects and still allow for the efficient production of food for an increasingly hungry world.

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Those well heeled dairy farmers are still making a fortune, although the milk price is down,water is cheap, stop complaining.

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You have summed up labours election campaign in 1 sentence. Using the politics of envy to garner votes. Jacinda if elected is going to face so much fury she will be wondering,what have I done

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If you consider what an average dairy farmer is responsible for and achieves, you will see that their wealth reduces to a function on hard work.

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Spoilt little boys that are finally having their toys taken off them because they keep hitting other people with them.

Grade: C- need to try harder and play better with others.

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Easy to have a healthy green party when bellies are full.
Don't believe? Try setting up a "green party" in Somali , Haiti, Zimbabwe?
It's easy being a green with a full belly and a healthy WINZ.
Farmers care, they prove they care.
How many streams/rivers flowing through urban have ever been tested at entry and exit?????
I wonder why not??

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The waste water discharged to waterways by the average NZer is 40 times the volume dicharged to water by the average cow.
if you do the comparison on solids the average human waste is twice that of the average cow.

You will never see the Green Party tell the truth about this , just as you will never see the Greens tell the truth about AGW.

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Aye Ms Lory, but it isn't the real agenda of Ms Adern and her "green" allies.
The real agenda is the erosion of private property rights in favour of State.The first move is to attack farmers for everything possible, make them as lepers in society then move on them.
If I'm wrong let the Labour/Greens post here and declare that private property rights should ONLY be transferred on a "willing buyer/willing seller' agreement.
Patiently we wait.

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Yes but lets be truthful here, you can just about bet that their bellies aren't full of meat. Have you seen the price of it. I was in paknsave the other day, a supermarket that is regarded as the cheapest of the lot, and I was looking at a piece of steak smaller than my hand. It was $6.50. It's a hell of a price. looking around, I didn't see too many people putting meat in their baskets. Go for a drive around the countryside and you will spot some very nice million dollar farmers homes around the place. Don't worry about them, they're doing alright.

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They are doing very well.

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It would be expected that a couple , both working 80 hours a week,
all year round, would be able to at least make ends meet.That is the typical reality for many in agriculture.
But some years even that does not happen.

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The idea that a profitable lifestyle could be earned from farming has always been dubious in the 21st Century. I have been predicting for the last decade that synthetic milk or at least the inclusion of synthetic mixes in milk was very likely to be the future and that would result in a considerable erosion of the profitabilty of dairy farming as NZ scientists are unlikely to be competitive in this area. The argument that New Zealand could expand production and returns by franchising dairy operations in China, South America or Australia always has been ridiculous considering the differences in scale, the known intense nationalism of Australia, Argentina, Chile and Australia and the reality of the law and international legal power. Once they get the idea they would inevitably take it and forget it.
most of the reason for Australia's economic difficulties is that the Chinese and Japanese suddenly stopped buying their coal and steel in early 2014 and the profitability and value of Australian mining holding slumped say 400% and the associated Australian banks halved. It is impossible to see why China which is essentially like Russia an old military dictatorship would see any long term obligation to New Zealanders.
Generally the world is no longer prepared to pay a high price for raw material or basic unprocessed food let alone milk powder which is fattening low grade product which is not much desired by good looking mothers. In the world today what pays is beauty and intelligence.
In NZ case it is difficult to see why the full development of urban tourism and associated industries would not be just as productive as rural overdevelopment. I acknowledge Tim Shadbolts point that your former dairy hand may not be the most attractive selling point at the Mossburn cafe or Lumsden hotel to the van full of 20 year old Germans or Americans, but in terms of overall GNP I believe the return higher longterm.

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Which is not to say that the bulk of the rural housing stock does not qualify as even habitable, let alone rentable.
You might be over- egging that particular pudding.

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Come off it Julie. The housing stock you talk of, will have the lowly paid farm laborers living in it, not the farmers.

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Well then , I guess that I must have been a lowly paid farm labourer for the last forty years.
I always thought I was a farmer.

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Got all your laborers out doing the work have you? so it can give you the time to comment on here. Nice.

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Retirement beckons, after 40 years of milking cows.

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Time to knock it all on the head and grab the old man, and head off to pastures green, so to speak. Or at least to somewhere where the sun comes out anyway. My dragons holidaying in Hawaii at the moment, and keeps telling me how hot and sunny it is. Well it sure isn't here, yet.

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Hi, Ivan. Do you know how much of that "$6.50" goes to the farmer who produced it, and how much goes to the urban processors/carriers/ retailers?
I don't know, maybe Ms Lory could help here?

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Oh yeah I've no doubt that there's plenty clipping the ticket before we get it. Maybe these no called middlemen need to be investigated.

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In reply to Gary,
You would know Gary, On what do you base your comments and where is your proof ? .
Please share your "facts " for us all to know.

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For one,I sold a property to one of nz most wealthiest dairy farmers in nz,and thats just one I know.

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You don't need to spend money to increase water quality, you need to reduce the extensive amount of farming, maybe even stop it all together that could help.

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Really unfair to farmers who have been the back bone of this country for a long time.

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Not for much longer.

Change of government will see the back of those of you who continue to pillage a public resource then repay the favour by pumping your crap back into it.

Good riddance to the lot of you.

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Exactly, who needs farmers anyway?
You can get all the food you need at the supermarket.

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Why are all you Labour supporters so nasty? You all seem to be such angry people. Angry Andy etc. I've never meet a happy Labour supporter in all my days. Strange lot.

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I have supported National for decades now... but no longer. Just maybe the Labour supports are nasty because they are the wage earners and the farmers are the capitalists.... and of the two, who gets the best tax deal. Wages earners have to buy their ute with after tax money and pay 15% gst on it.(I know it's a business etc etc) Time for a fair deal for all us Kiwis and unfortunately the have's will have to give back some of their gains over the previous decades.

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Federated farmers are a sycophantic policy arm for the National party

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Seems like they're always crying over spilt milk when they don't get their own way.

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Good on Farmers for standing up for their democratic rights and freedoms and protest against this deliberate campaign of marginalisation and abuse from Labour and the Left. Farmers are right to be worried. God alone knows to what extent they are going to suffer under Labour's tyranny and the Left's bullying should Labour form the next Government.

Every farmer and every farming community both big and small should disabuse themselves immediately of any notion that Labour or the Greens are their friends or that either has their best interests at heart. Nothing could be further from the truth. You only have to read the comments above from Labour and Green party activists to see the contempt that they hold you in.

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At least folk can get out and protest something. Been a remarkable lack of concern or protest at increasing homelessness, the housing crisis etc. etc.

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Probably because it is mostly a made up "crises" by the media during an election cycle. There have always been people looking for houses in NZ. RMA council rules and gold-plated building standards are not helping ... no one wants to live in an army hut these days, that always used to solve these kinds of problems.

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Who built your army hut?

People are resorting to living in Tiny Houses and stacking flatmates in by the dozen, and you honestly think they wouldn't jump at the chance of access to some of the affordable housing options created through earlier governments' policies, that made such options available to the older generations?

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Us townies are polluting the waterways as well. Me and all the other kids in the street where I lived used to swim in a waterhole in the Happy Valley stream in Wgton every Summer. The council put a tip upstream from it, and now that stream is poisonous. There isn't anybody swimming in that stream these days.

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Time for farmers to front up and do something about a growing problem and perception over our clean green image which will harm farmers in the long term.

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You are right , but do you not know that it was scientists at the NZ Dairy Research Institute, along with the Hauraki Catchment Board, who initiated the cleanup of the Waihou River , which was close to collapse , in the early seventies?

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No I didn't know that. Good on them for fixing it. Unfortunately these stories never get a mention, only the negative ones seem to.

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