Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Up next
Listen live on

Jamie Mackay's letter to Chris and Christopher

Jamie Mackay,
Publish Date
Wed, 11 Oct 2023, 5:00am
Labour's Chris Hipkins and National's Christopher Luxon. Photo / NZME
Labour's Chris Hipkins and National's Christopher Luxon. Photo / NZME

Jamie Mackay's letter to Chris and Christopher

Jamie Mackay,
Publish Date
Wed, 11 Oct 2023, 5:00am

Dear Chris and Chris, 

As one of you is going to be our Prime Minister (elect) next week, I thought I’d write to you on behalf of the thousands of farmers I communicate with on a weekly basis. 

I know you’re both well-aware how financially tough the next three-year term is going to be, regardless of which of you gets the job. So, here’s a plea to you on behalf of the productive sector. You know, the ones who drive the economy and the pay the bills for our nation: 

1/ No one denies (except the deniers) that global warming is a thing, but please don’t sacrifice our farmers on the altar of climate change. Or for woke ideology that goes down a treat at the UN but makes no sense in Morrinsville. We are amongst the most carbon efficient pastoral producers on the planet. While we must not rest on our laurels, and must retain our coveted position of world leaders, it can't be at the expense of carbon leakage to other less efficient countries. After all, global warming is the problem, not New Zealand warming per se.  

Without wanting to sound like an Act Party apologist, and I’m not, I believe the market will ultimately drive farmer behaviour around emissions.  The moment the likes of Fonterra, Silver Fern Farms or Zespri pass on a meaningful market premium for zero carbon milk, meat and kiwifruit, just watch the modification around on-farm practises. 

And I’m fine with a fair carbon tax. So long as it encompasses both sides of the accounting ledger and farmers are given full credit for everything on their farm that sequesters carbon. Many, especially sheep and beef farmers, will be getting a carbon tax refund. 

2/ Enough of the unworkable regulations. According to Beef + Lamb NZ, “over the past six years, more than 20 new regulations, laws and reforms have been introduced, or will be in the coming years, by central and local government that will directly affect agriculture – primarily in the areas of climate change, freshwater and biodiversity”.  

Rightly or wrongly, that’s a lot of regulation for one industry to suck up. Particularly the country's most important industry. Some of these reforms, such as the goose-stepping regulations around winter grazing in Southland, were appallingly bereft of any merit or logic. Others, He Waka Eke Noa springs to mind, despite having some merit, have been poorly communicated and sold to farmers.   

3/ Please stop wasteful government spending. This is coming from someone who pays a good whack of tax, and is more than happy to do so, providing it is well spent, targeted and going to those who genuinely need it. The biggest growth industry in Wellington is consultants and bureaucrats. We need less of them and more of people who make, create and do tangible things on the frontline. Farmers, builders, plumbers, doctors, nurses, teachers and police. 

My personal favourite when it comes to wicked and woeful government spending is the $11,742.31 taxpayers shelled to transport a dead turtle from Banks Peninsula to Wellington. After storing it in a freezer for 21 months, it was sent back down to where it washed up, for a high-powered and fully catered powhiri, complete with a helicopter ride and a hand-made coffin by public servants. And no scientific research was performed at any stage! 

When we have people dying on hospital waiting lists and kids going to school barefoot and hungry, you really must ask yourself if this is money wisely spent? Or is it just a rort. 

4/ On a more personal note, we are becoming an incredibly divided nation when it comes to co-governance and the so-called “Māorification” of New Zealand. Do the likes of Health NZ, the NZ Transport Authority and the Ministry of Children need to be consigned to subtitles of Te Whatu Ora, Waka Kotahi and Oranga Tamariki? 

If we’re serious about immersing Te Reo into our language, then we need to make it compulsory in our primary schools. Bring it in from the ground up. Then our second language becomes second nature. We should be proud of our native language for its heritage and beauty, not railing against, because of the perception it’s being rammed down our throats. 

As for co-governance, whatever that means, I’ve been put off by the likes of Rawiri Waititi and his separatist rants. Sorry Rawiri, Māori are not genetically superior to other ethnicities, nor do they have a God-given ownership right to everything under the sun. One of Māori's strongest advocates and trumpeters, Willie Jackson, summed it up best when he said they (Labour) want co-governance, whereas Te Pati Māori wants to “own everything”.  

It's not right, fair, equitable or democratic. Oops, that's right, Rawiri doesn’t believe in democracy! I rest my case.  

Yours in eager anticipation, 


Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you