Damien O’Connor has been put in a unique position in the Labour Government’s new cabinet line-up announced last week.
Last week, Rural News reported that the New Zealand Agricultural Aviation Association (NZAAA) was unhappy with a proposed new aerial safety levy.
NZAAA claims the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) levy unfairly targets the ag sector and will increase the costs of aerial spreading of fertiliser and spraying of crops.
NZAAA is not alone in such claims, as evident in the social media reaction to the levy.
Popular New Zealand farming Facebook page, NZ Farming wrote, “Of all Government departments, the CAA must surely have the title of the most out of control with what they charge in terms of compliance costs.”
A top comment by Jeff Davis added, “This country has lost the plot with safety we have made a whole industry out of heath [sic] and safety it’s getting out of control.”
Another comment by BC Warren said, “Transporting people should attract the higher levy, contributing to growing food for the economy should be exempt.”
Agricultural aviation company Farmers Air wrote on their Facebook, “We think this type of levy is grossly unfair and is just another tax that will have to be passed onto our clients, please speak with you [sic] local Federated Farmers rep and local MP about this unfair tax. We don’t mind paying our way but we have seen no improved service or efficiencies in the way CAA conducts its business.”
What was clear within the social media reaction was disapproval for the current Labour-government, with many farmers feeling betrayed by Labour’s promise of no new taxes and supporting the primary sector.
“On the news tonight everyone is voting labour,” wrote Richard Langdon on the NZ Farming post, receiving only laughing reactions.