As well as laying out its new strategy, Fonterra should make clearer how it got into this trouble, says Federated Farmers national vice-president and dairy farmer Andrew Hoggard.
Hoggard agrees with Beef + Lamb NZ chairman James Parsons who last week said farmers need to work with the Government on climate change or their voices won’t be heard.
“If you’re not at the table you’re on the menu,” he told Rural News. “We’ve had meetings with [Climate Minister] James Shaw on this, talking through the issues; we are definitely engaged on this to make sure we are doing the right thing.”
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE), Simon Upton, earlier this month outlined nine recommendations in a report, ‘A Zero Carbon Act for New Zealand’. He supports
setting up a climate change commission similar to a UK model that has backing across the political spectrum.
The Feds position is that proposals to tackle climate change can work as long as there is cross-party support backed by a climate change commission informed by science.
Asked by Rural News how easy it will be to get that cross-party support, Hoggard says “it could be relatively easy”.
“But if the Government tries to put in a whole lot of flunkies and jobs for mates… which governments of all stripes are wont to do, then it will be difficult.
“But with this climate commission, [they must look at who are the best people, and pick people on their experience and knowledge and not on the number of tweets they do, and not just for representation.... It should be ‘we need these skill sets and these are the people we need on board’.
“Across the [parliamentary] floor, I hope if the people with the right skill sets are put up they would all agree with them.
“Where you’ll have problems is when one party is trying to put their favourite activist on and another party is trying to put their favourite on. Then you’ll struggle with to get consensus quite frankly.
“And they need to be actually trying to achieve the goals they are after, not just doing something for the sake of doing it and bringing bugger-all results.”
Hoggard says he finds Climate Change Minister James Shaw receptive and keen to work with all parts of farming and all New Zealand industry. “He seems keen on coming up with a long-lasting solution.”
However, Hoggard is concerned Environment Minister David Parker may be of a mindset to do just what they tried to do last time they were in government.