NZ First likely to be the big loser over Zero Carbon Bill

Winston tried to tell everyone that farmers would be happy with the Zero Carbon Bill but, as it happens, they are not happy at all.

As you might expect, Winston is not particularly sympathetic, however, apparently opining, “Sometimes the stuff at the end of cows can get into your ears and contaminate your thinking.”

He may be somewhat disappointed that his voters are not impressed with the bill, but he also needs to remember that… well, they are were his voters. His reaction has probably not improved his chances of re-election either. quote.

The grand unveiling of the sixth Labour Government’s Zero Carbon Bill is a seminal moment for many reasons, not least because this is the “nuclear-free moment of our generation”.

Under the Zero Carbon Act, governments will be duty-bound to reduce biological methane by at least 10 per cent by 2030 and between 24 and 47 per cent by 2050.

The split-emissions target is a carve-out and a significant one at that, for farmers.
It’ll still hurt, and likely have significant implications for the economy. That is arguably the point, the world is past-due for bold action. 

The bill has the support of all three Government parties; Labour, NZ First and the Greens have all committed to vote it through to become legislation.  

But while many farmers may think this is par for the course from Labour and the Greens, there’s little doubt rural New Zealand will feel deeply betrayed by NZ First. 

NZ First has styled itself the regions’ champion – indeed, it’s picked up a decent vote in the past from farmers, sometimes with the express purpose of teaching National a lesson. 

This one won’t be forgotten come election time though. end quote.

If Winston thought that farmers would be happy with the bill, he was totally deluded. Having to cut your herd by 50%, even if it is 30 years away, spells death to most farmers. Champions of the regions should know better, but for some reason, Winston thought farmers still would back him. It appears not. quote.

There’s scientifically little to be done about that particular brand of emission produced by livestock  that hasn’t already been achieved – other than to reduce the source. 

And so the urban-rural divide opens wider, with the regional view (accurate or not) that an increasingly Auckland-focused Government is looking to subsidise the emissions of the cities by taking a ruler to a sector that affords all those nice imported things which city folk like to buy.  end quote.

You can hardly blame the rural sector for feeling betrayed over this. They are the backbone of our economy; their emissions in world terms are miniscule and, by and large, they feed the world. They must seriously wonder exactly what it is that they are doing wrong. quote.

There’s always been a question over whether Labour should bother reaching out for the rural vote at all. It always has where it can, and it’s not fair to suggest Labour and the Greens don’t value the primary sector and the economic foundations New Zealand is built on. 

Stuff. end quote.

Honestly, I disagree with this. Labour has never valued the rural vote and the Greens actively disparage it. You only had to listen to Russel Norman on the radio late last week to hear his opinion on the rural sector. They want us all to eat plants, and nothing else. Russel clearly has never heard of the ‘be careful what you wish for’ mantra.

Farmers never had much time for the Greens, or for Labour for that matter. But NZ First has always been a champion of the rural sector and is currently trying to brand itself as a benefactor of the regions. Farmers’ reaction to the Zero Carbon Bill might suggest that NZ First has not got this quite right this time.