Tuesday, 04 May 2021 06:55

Strong voice needed

Written by  David Anderson
North Otago farmer Jane Smith says industry-good bodies need to come together and serve the sector better. North Otago farmer Jane Smith says industry-good bodies need to come together and serve the sector better.

North Otago farmer Jane Smith believes continual appeasement to government by industry-good bodies is not serving the sector well and it's time for a mega-merger of primary sector advocacy groups.

She told Rural News a 'come to Jesus moment' is needed with DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ and Federated Farmers combining into one strong, coherent farm sector group.

Smith cites the recent performances of both Beef+Lamb NZ and DairyNZ over the reforms to freshwater regulations and proposed greenhouse gas rules as leaving farmer levypayers dismayed, disappointed and feeling abandoned by their representatives.

Smith acknowledges the increasingly unpalatable 'low or no' consultation processes in the current political environment, but sees this as a catalyst to ensure one united front for primary industry advocacy is formulated, rather than an excuse for poor outcomes.

She says this has opened the door for movements like Groundswell NZ to fill the gap. She believes that movements such as Groundswell shouldn't be seen as threatening to industry advocacy bodies, but as an opportunity for all stakeholders to air grassroots concerns and has seen first-hand opportunities presented at meetings.

"I found it enlightening to see farmers, councillors, mayors, rural servicing reps, politicians and the Rural Support Trust having the opportunity to be in the one room at the same time and chew the fat on issues at a grassroots level," Smith told Rural News.

She says the ideal journey would have been to have this dialogue long before the National Policy Statements on freshwater, biodiversity and carbon were formulated.

Smith cites the delay in Wintering Rules as an example of this and congratulates the working group tasked with looking at these regulations closer.

"However, if it weren't for two farmers standing up [Federated Farmers leaders, Geoffrey Young and Bernadette Hunt] and saying 'enough is enough' then the working group would never have been formed. It shouldn't take individuals to go out on a limb to get action," says Smith.

"As an industry, we need to be crystal clear on a line of sight for both the environment and the economy and the vast difference between pragmatic policy and misaligned, misinformed, mediocre outcomes".

More like this


OPINION: While your old mate was not surprised by the Government's decision to impose a ban on the live cattle exports, as it has previous form in pushing anti-farm policies.

VLG receivership causes dismay

Canterbury farmer and former Federated Farmers dairy leader Willy Leferink says farmers shouldn't let banks run their businesses.

Do more on climate change - Shaw

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says New Zealand dairy is the world's lowest greenhouse gas emitter but that's not good enough.

Breed mastitis out of your herd

CRV is encouraging dairy farmers to carefully consider the bulls they select for mating this season to help them address ongoing herd health issues like mastitis and reduce the need for antibiotics.


An 'amaizing' change

The success of some of the early Māori adopters in the kiwifruit industry is starting to catch on.

Machinery & Products

Made in NZ... Hansen Products

Made in New Zealand looks at the wealth of design and manufacturing ability we have in this country, producing productive…

New models mark seventh decade

Celebrating its 70th year – and having already released the fifth generation A Series in January – Valtra has just…

Kubota's new autumn offerings

Kubota, which is gaining traction in the agricultural sector with an ever-broadening portfolio, has announced some additions for autumn.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Bad company

The Hound is among many in the agriculture sector, including many of our top scientists, who are somewhat cynical claims…


OPINION: This old mutt wonders what it is about tall, balding, ex-Fonterra executives and their (non) ability to handle life…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter