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3 NAIT response falls short Vol 16 No 41, October 23, 2017


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Farmer: Let’s do it Richard Rennie


ATUANUI dairy cow and goat farmer Richard Cookson believes the change in government brings opportunity and vision to the sector that has been sorely missing over the past eight years. New Zealand needed more courage and vision to help effect changes in many areas, including sustainable land management. “It simply has been too long without any of that courage. “By now we should be at the forefront of how our products are placed in the world markets and how we genuinely create a premium for those products. “Until now this has all been left up to the industry with no leadership from the Minister of Primary Industries.” He welcomed rumours Green Party leader James Shaw might even head up the

Primary Industries Ministry but hoped pragmatism would win out over idealism when it came to helping the primary sector develop more sustainable practices. “I worry that he may fixate upon organic farming but that will not deal with the issues we face right now and it will not help in getting farmers who own the land on board with any changes.” Cookson believed the last inspiring minister the sector had was the unlikely figure of Jim Anderton. “His roots were far from farming, coming from working class Christchurch, but he got good people around him and had a real belief in making agriculture better.” On the whole the primary sector tended to do better under a Labour-led government. “I think it is because they come in with no preconceptions about the industry and about what it should be.” NZ had been shuffling and indecisive over big issues like managing greenhouse

gases as the rest of the world got on with acting on its commitments. “Right now we have all these disruptors coming down the line at us, especially around environmental issues.” Meantime, countries like Ireland had pushed ahead with successful and authentic efforts to improve their sector’s sustainability and make it a marketing point of difference. He was disappointed the government had left it to the primary industry to grapple with the issues, offering little vision and fewer goals on what needed to be achieved. “DairyNZ is going a really good job but it’s on its own and government has left it to regional councils to enforce standards. “Whoever comes in needs to re-establish trust and contact with regional councils and government departments like MPI. “I am not afraid of this change in government. We badly need more inspirational leaders who are leading change.”

BRING IT ON: Waikato dairy farmer Richard Cookson says he’s not afraid of the change in government and welcomes inspirational leaders who want change.

Reactions go from relaxed to hunkered down Annette Scott FARMER reaction to the new coalition government has so far been muted and relaxed though at least one farmer is barricading himself in for a tough time. “We are completely hunkered

down – in defence mode with all non-essential expenditure and all capital development and plant replacement suspended until we know what new government policies will mean for us,” Mid Canterbury arable farmer David Clark said. “Potentially the two biggest


Weigh Up. Track Ahead.

issues of concern come from (Winston) Peters saying he is going back to some old style of capitalism and the Labour Party’s industrial relations policies that were never challenged through the election campaign. “I sincerely hope we are not going back to the 70s style union-

dominated workplace,” Clark said. “Obviously there will be a massive turning point for the New Zealand economy and I guess we will see what effect that is going to have as it unfolds. “It is very concerning, the thought of renegotiating freetrade agreements and it remains

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to be seen what the changes in foreign investment will do to investment confidence in NZ. “Peters was very clear he was not going to support water tax and I certainly expect him to follow that pledge.” 

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Profile for Farmers Weekly NZ

Farmers Weekly NZ October 23 2017  

Farmer: Let's do it

Farmers Weekly NZ October 23 2017  

Farmer: Let's do it