Federated Farmers

Why the Ruataniwha Dam is poked

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council has been pushing its forlorn dam proposal hard.

I’ve been covering the whole shemozzle for years now but the Council is just pushing ahead.

Quite apart from the environmental concerns and the wrecking of a river to build a dam for a few farmers, there are other issues which explain why it is that farmers aren’t signing up for the water and why the Council is trying to get sneaky water uptake from its subsidiary councils.

Basically, the economics of the business case don’t stack up: not for the ratepayers and also not for the prospective customers of the water.

Economist Peter Fraser explains how it is all related to the dairy industry and the problems that are besetting them:

First and foremost the Government has a competition policy problem in that Fonterra is hamstrung by a milk-pricing manual of its own design that prices milk based on “an imaginary friend” rather than Fonterra’s actual performance – and this imaginary friend is likely to cause more damage to Fonterra than to its competitors. It also reduces the level of contestability in relevant markets, and by favouring static productive efficiency over dynamic efficiency arguably stifles the sector of innovation by reducing firm-level profitability.   Read more »

There’s nothing like a good crap, But not in your own drinking water

cows-at-lake-taylor-getty

Isn’t that a lovely scene? No. It’s not.

A war of words has erupted between Canterbury’s Federated Farmers and Fish and Game over cattle drinking from a local lake.

A large group of beef cows were snapped by a holiday maker drinking from Lake Taylor, which is also a popular DOC camping ground.

Federated Farmers North Canterbury president Frank Brenmuhl said it’s not the end of the world. Read more »

To rub salt into Labour wounds over the “dairy crisis”…

 

To rub salt into Labour wounds over the “dairy crisis” that has suddenly reversed, Mike Hosking tells them that there isn’t a crisis.

He is National’s stooge of course…and should be drummed out of all his media jobs.

At the risk of getting another serve from Andrew Little or Winston Peters, I fear I may have some bad news for them.

Read more »

No taxpayer money for failing dairy farms, says Bill

As you know, I’m against the government propping up private businesses, but I can’t understand the lack of consistency here.

Bill English comes good but I bet that will give Steve Joyce the shits.

Finance Minister Bill English said today the Government would not be offering special financial support to dairy farmers in trouble because of low prices.

But Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy will head to Auckland on Thursday to talk to the dairy giant Fonterra and to major banks about their response to the downturn.

Fonterra last week revised its payout forecast from $5.25 to $3.85 per kilo of milk solids after a slump in prices Fonterra has got in the Gobal Dairy Trade auction.

It also offered interest-free loans to farmers which wont have to be repaid until the milk price goes above $6.

Mr English told Parliament his afternoon that the drop in prices would have a negative effect on the economy “but a containable effect”.   Read more »

Gareth Morgan calls out bludging farmers

It is not often that I agree with Gareth Morgan, but he has a blog post about how farmers can pay for their own irrigation without bludging off the taxpayers or ratepayers.

Irrigation New Zealand and Federated Farmers are calling for public subsidies for irrigation projects. In their view, this year’s drought, and the prospect of more in the future given a changing climate, has underlined the need for increased water storage. In their view it is no different from building roads and other infrastructure, which benefits everyone. Do they have a point? Who should pay for water storage and irrigation in this country?

The short answer is yes and no. They do have a point, but only so long as water users and polluters paid for the costs of the water they access and the environmental damage they wreak.  This consistency – which is purely the logic of the industry lobbyists extended – would yield enough money to improve water infrastructure. But no way should Average Joe and Jo Kiwi pay a cent for someone else’s pipes and dams – which seems where the lobbyists are bludging for handouts.

The Ruataniwha scheme is a classic case of bludging. The HBRC is promoting a scheme which all ratepayers will have to cough up for, it will poison a river, and provide water to just 200 farmers. At the same time they are prosecuting another council for pumping sewage into the same river they are happy to poison with their dam.   Read more »

Federated Farmers can’t see anything wrong with this photo

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The Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed it’s investigating the condition of cattle photographed by a passenger on a Cook Strait ferry. Read more »

Police take death threats seriously

Police have followed up all the death threats I have received, and generally it results in a visit from the good people in blue to explain something about the law, and what will happen if they ever do it again.

Rachel Stewart has laid a complaint, as she should, and some very, very, dense people will discover that they aren’t as safe behind their keyboards as they thought they were.

Stewart says she has been subjected to a string of malicious messages this week, including threats to rape and kill her, following the publication of her fortnightly opinion piece in Fairfax papers, among them the Manawatu Standard, on Monday.

This week’s article, headlined “That high-pitched whining must stop”, talked about irrigation schemes, water quality, the low milk payout, workplace regulations, suicide, stress and farmers complying with the law. Read more »

Has Winston sold out NZ First to Federated Farmers?

The MP for Wogistan, Richard Prosser, has been running a lot of the Federated Farmers lines in the last few weeks.

We called him out for promoting the dodgy socialist dam.

Now he is running Federated Farmers lines on the RMA, a piece of legislation that may be screwed but it has been in place for over two decades and everyone knows the rules.

Political pressure is mounting on National MPs to make changes to the Resource Management Act following the prosecution of a Waikato farmer’s company. New Zealand First primary industries spokesman Richard Prosser labelled the decision to fine farmer Bas Nelis’ company $16,875 a “mad council decision”.

Nelis was nailed with the fine a week ago by the Environment Court for unlawful use of land and disturbing the river bed when he tried to carry out work to plant native trees.

[…]

Nelis came under fire from the council after he used a digger to clear willow and privet from a gully system, so it could be replanted with native trees.    Read more »

Should the government step in to support the regions more?

Air NZ recently announced they were dropping some loss making flights.  This has been particularly stressful for Westport, Kaitaia and Whakatane because they lost all Air NZ flights in and out of their locations.  Subsequently it was discovered Rotorua pays Air NZ one million a year to keep the airline from pulling it services.

Roger Ludbrook , president of Federated Farmers Northland, shares his view

I never knew the Prime Minister was part of Air New Zealand’s PR team, but his supportive soundbites for the airline are going down in the Far North like a cup of cold you-know-what.

While I believe in free markets, you cannot tell me Air NZ’s chief executive woke up one day to find routes like Kaitaia suddenly unprofitable. If Air NZ was losing so much money on them, then presumably they were under Rob Fyfe and, before him, Sir Ralph Norris.

So what’s changed? The chipper media release of the airline’s CEO made me angry but the answer is there in black and white: “In addition to the route withdrawals we will be progressively winding down our 19-seat fleet and moving the remaining destinations to larger 50-seat aircraft.”

In other words, the bean counters have written off aircraft of less than 50 seats thereby writing off places like Kaitaia. This isn’t about better services. It’s about rationalising Air NZ’s fleet and a tweak of numbers can easily turn profit into loss.

Roger can’t stand liars, that’s for sure.  But he also isn’t a socialist.   Read more »

Bludgers be bludgers, Fed Farmers caught sucking on government tit

The biggest representative group of corporate bludgers in New Zealand have been caught bludging themselves.

Taxpayers have forked out over $228,000 to lobby group Federated Farmers since 2009, much to the surprise of its president William Rolleston.

Dr Rolleston has also refused to say whether corporate donations are part of the $7.45 million the federation has received in unspecified “other revenue” since 2008.

When NBR ONLINE informed Dr Rolleston that the Ministry for Primary Industries and its predecessors have paid about $228,000 to the federation over the past five years he replied, “Gosh, really? What have they paid it for?”

The information was obtained under the Official Information Act and only includes payments of $500 and over.

It shows Federated Farmers received many payments via three Sustainable Farming Fund projects – a contestable fund investing up to $8 million a year in applied research and projects led by farmers, growers and foresters.

The $228,658 in payments include three separate Federated Farmers farm days from 2010-2012 that the ministry contributed almost $150,000 toward. Other payments were made for leadership programmes, training seminars for farm managers, two Federated Farmers’ AGMs, as well as attendance at an international sheep meat forum in Brussels.   Read more »