N. Zealand farmers turn away from Ardern’s party
As a result, her party’s popularity has declined – a major challenge for Chris Hipkins, who will take her place as leader of the Labor Party and the country.
Farmers and rural voters say that reforms by the Labor Party, intended to improve the environmental impact of farming, are expensive and ineffective – and will make their products less competitive.
Scotty Bright is the Auckland representative of a farming lobby group called Groundswell.
He says that a government proposal that farmers pay for methane emissions from their sheep and cattle is among regulations that cannot work.
“This emissions tax, you know, the ‘fart tax’ is going to mean, like all these cows here, it’s going to be three hundred and thirty dollars per head. So on a farm like this, it’s about a hundred and thirty, one hundred and forty thousand a year extra tax farmers will have to find.”
New Zealand farmers are some of the most efficient in the world.
They receive minimal subsidies but compete with the best economies due to good practices, good agricultural land and a climate that is suitable for agriculture all year round.
Most New Zealanders live in urban areas, but farming is essential to the economy in a country with five times as many sheep as people.
Ardern made the shock news on Thursday (January 19) that she was resigning, saying she had “no more left in the tank”.
Part of her burnout may also have been caused by rural New Zealanders not liking her.
“I think the worst thing would be that they don’t seem to listen to the farmers. It seemed that they (Labour) are in their own bubble and they didn’t really know the facts of what the farmers deal with on a daily basis. “
Ardern won over rural voters with her effective “go hard, go early” approach to locking and sealing the border.
This allowed it to form the first one-party government since New Zealand adopted proportional voting in the 1990s.
But tractors and pickup trucks descended on parliament in protests across the nation against Labour’s reforms.
As that vote has now largely backfired, angered by Labour’s efforts, which also include plans to reduce water pollution from fertilizers and animal waste, change the high country ranch rentals and changing water systems.