Mike's Minute: Labour needs to get real on farming

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 24 Sep 2020, 9:25AM

Mike's Minute: Labour needs to get real on farming

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 24 Sep 2020, 9:25AM

You've got to hand it to Jacinda Ardern. Having been spanked in the debate, such is the life of a politician in a campaign, you got to get out of bed the next morning and carry on like it never happened.

The irony being this day saw her down on the farm. If there was a single comment on the debate that sunk her, it was the condescending nonsense she dribbled out over farming and how what Judith Collins has said about being proud as a farmer's daughter and how the farmer felt beaten and embattled sounded like farming from another age.

Forgetting, of course, the Labour Party's credentials on farming weren't exactly stellar to start with, and, in fact, this farming from another age is actually keeping the country from going completely bankrupt.

Labour's policy for the farm, as released via a cowshed by the Prime Minister, was to use yet more money we don’t have to help farmers meet compliance. The irony being, why not cut the compliance as opposed to keeping red tape and pretending the cost doesn’t exist by subsidising it?

And the policy doesn’t actually have a plan yet. The first thing they need to do is set up the obligatory group, think-tank, and gab fest session to work out what the rules are so we are all on the same page.

In that is Labour to a tee, announce an idea that hasn’t actually even been formulated.

What Labour have never understood about the rural community is that farmers are business people, and all the ideological crap they want to dump on them isn't actually necessary because  it doesn’t work and  the stuff that does, they were doing anyway due to the fact that farms are businesses and no business person sets out to wreck their business.

Water, waterways, planting, run off, all the stuff that’s being regulated, is already on the radar of your New Zealand farmer.

The pugging, the slope of the paddock nonsense is the stuff only a wonk from Wellington without a set of gumboots could ever dream up. And as such even Damien O'Connor, who passes for a man of the land, but is lonely in his caucus, could see a lot of it was unworkable rubbish so at least acquiesced to some change.

But here's a thought for Labour, indeed all parties who have obvious areas of weakness, identify what you don’t know and aren't good at, and do something about it. Bring in expertise. In Labour's case, get O'Connor some mates in caucus that know one end of a cow from the other.

Look like you care. If you don't, you end like Ardern in a debate writing off an entire industry with your ignorance and disdain.    

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