Wednesday, 09 February 2022 12:55

Editorial: Is the roadshow the right thing?

Written by  Staff Reporters
Consultations for He Waka Eke Noa begin this week. Consultations for He Waka Eke Noa begin this week.

OPINION: This week sees the start of the revised He Waka Eke Noa roadshow run by DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb NZ.

It is designed to give farmers up and down the country the opportunity to quiz the two organisations about the proposal to government on how to deal with climate change. Or perhps a chance to endorse their proposal?

This would seem a laudable initiative on the part of the two industry good organisations to get farmer feedback face to face. The consultation being undertaken by DNZ and BLNZ is not just face to face - there are online options for those that can't get along to the meetings.

Behind the scenes, it's understood that the industry good organisations have felt 'pressured' to go ahead with the face to face consultation out of fear that the Government will just stick to its deadlines and pass its own rules regardless.

Or is it a case of the dog wagging its tail before it's patted on the head? DNZ and BLNZ have been asking for the whole consultation process of He Waka Eke Noa to be postponed, but the Wellington bureaucracy works at such speed that it would lose a race against a snail and hasn't come up with an answer yet.

BLNZ and DNZ have revised the schedule for the meetings and made changes that, in theory, bring these into line with the red traffic light setting, including by limiting numbers. But there is a dilemma: on the one hand, there are messages circulating in the community that older people should effectively 'hunker down' with Omicron on the rise.

There are also concerns that the new Covid variant could cause mayhem should it hit farmers and others in the primary sector supply chain, such as those in processing plants and in rural supply and logistics.

The question must be asked, is the He Waka Eke Noa consultation in any way compromising the health of rural communities? Would it matter if the Government postponed the consultation until the Omicron wave has passed or stabilised? Or is the whole consultation process just a farce anyway?

This all comes at a stressful time when livestock farmers are dealing with a drought, and waiting longer than usual for killing space at processing plants because these are already short of labour.

The horticulturalists are in the middle of harvest. Don't the politicians and bureaucrats understand the farming cycle? Why not stage the consultation when there is downtime in the primary sector, or is that too logical?

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