Election Promises and Bad Politics

Expect a few political blogs in the lead up to the general election- and beyond, depending on which way it goes.
No matter what your views are, all policies affect you in some way if/when they become law.
Take Labour’s water tax for example- I’ve already written about water quality once, but let me repeat a few things in case you missed it. Taxing farmers further is not going to help a financially, mentally and emotionally struggling industry. Farmers are already the working group most at risk of suicide, and I seem to remember hearing that around 30% would qualify as clinically depressed if they saw a doctor.

For a number of years Labour has been struggling to engage with farmers and get their vote- and it is for that very reason we have had 3 successive National governments- as bad as they are, they hold the rural electorates because Labour/Greens is worse. Like someone commented following Labour’s policy announcement- it’s easy to tax those you hate. For all Ardern reckons she came from a farm and holds them close to her heart, she is seriously deluded. Waterways are continually moving through a cycle, with evaporation, precipitation etc. It’s not a static thing like a house which you can own, or animals which live for x number of years. Water has, and always will, continue in a normal cycle so claiming ownership is crazy. Even more is taxing the people who make better and cleaner use of the land than many others.
As I wrote earlier, farming is the country’s backbone and employs far more people or has more people directly and indirectly involved than any other NZ business. Many comments appeared on social media about how farmers have been running this country for too long. Well my response (which I didn’t type) is ‘which planet have you been living on?’ If farmers ruled this country, would we have the increasingly ridiculous health and safety rules? Would we have the more and more politically correct animal welfare policies? Bearing in mind with that one, that farmers by and large care about their animals, as healthy animals are worth a lot more than dead ones on the property.

So my questions for all NZ politicians and parties are:
– which party is not going to be afraid to stand up and speak for the people who voted it in?
– who is going to defend our nation’s biggest industry?
– what are you going to do to help the depressed and struggling farmers in this country?
– how do you plan to support the families and communities where a loved one has tragically taken their own life- and moreover, if you continue to make bad economic policies, how will you support the future families and communities that will be affected?

And now we have this whole ‘equal pay’ thing, with one cafe even charging men more per cup of coffee to make it ‘fairer.’ As far as I’m aware, men and women doing the same job, be it teaching, nursing, secretarial work etc, get the same pay per hour. Maybe women as a whole do have less income at the end of the year, but maybe that’s because they are generally in lower paying jobs and take more time out to raise families. People are so quick to jump on the latest band wagon they don’t even think through what they are saying.

New Zealand politics

With an election only 8 weeks away now seems like as good a time as any to write about how messed up this country gets around a general election.
The biggest culprit that needs reining in would be the Media. For those of you unaware, the Labour leader resigned and now the new ‘face’ of the party is an attractive relatively young female with little life and political experience. But social media goes mad about how they will now be voting for Labour because they like how Jacinda looks. So where does the mainstream media come in? Well after having no ‘face’ to really get behind, they are now painting poor Ms Arden as a female who is being discriminated against and not given a chance as she is a female. They have headlines about the unfairness, sexism and general problems she must now overcome. Yeah right.
The media print the good about her, and the negative about National and NZFirst, comparing Winston Peters to Donald Trump. And why? Because Peters calls a spade a spade. Yes he changes his mind and is harder to pin down than an eel, but I do think his concern over the separatism in this country is real. And he’s right, appealing to the silent majority in what many believe is his last campaign. We need laws based on the best for the human race, not ethnically driven.

The way the media words things calls on people’s emotions. They print misleading headlines about who will win and for some reason, the general public are stupid enough to believe them. The media needs to be required to print equal numbers of articles on each party and to print the facts, no emotion or slant at all. And that’s the rub- one of the keys of democracy is a free media, uninfluenced or controlled by those in power. However our media is so left leaning I’m surprised they haven’t fallen over.

Claims about certain ethnicities being under-represented is a bit of a joke considering 2 parties have Maori leaders, and a further 2 have either a Maori co-leader or deputy. As far as I’m concerned anyone can stand for Parliament, but you must be elected on your own merits and the policies you stand for. If enough people in the country want those policies to become law then they will elect you. Having said that, what people campaign on they must also bring into law when in there. On that note, no one should hold a ministerial portfolio unless they also hold an electorate seat.
A further policy should be the binding referenda- if 65-70% of the people who vote in a referendum say something, the government must be bound to do that- and for this to happen, we need to change our legislation process so in law making based on referenda, there can be no supplementary order papers effectively vetoing key clauses. Public meetings should be held around the country so the public has a voice in the law. That should be the case for all laws really. But which politician is going to have the guts to bridle themselves? On that note, only serving MPs should get a salary, no life long bonuses or payoffs or whatever…….

Maybe I should find an uninhabited island and start my own legal system……

What is wrong? Let me count the ways….

As some of you may know, I’ve had a lovely four weeks working at my parents. During that time I managed to injure my back but fortunately after a visit to an osteopath seven days later it is sorted. I also had a wisdom tooth pulled out which was not nearly as bad as I have heard. I had to do salt mouth rinses after every meal for 3 days which is annoying- holding salt water in one’s mouth for 2-3 mins is gross……..
I have enjoyed riding the new horse, Guylian who is technically dad’s but I (and others) will ride him so he gets used to lots of people. Guylian is a very teachable sweetheart due largely to him being part Clydesdale.
I wrote the above about two weeks ago and started on the rant then as well…. oh well, never mind….. better publish this before it gets any more archaic…… 🙂

The rest of this blog is me ranting about life in general. Actually, more specifically, this country….
1) Education- history is currently being rewritten. No longer do we focus on important life skills and knowledge like English, Math and the Sciences that will actually help people get jobs in the real world , but we focus on being politically correct, forcing people to learn Te Reo and Maori culture when there are more important things to learn. Te Reo and Maori culture should both be optional as are all other languages and cultures- subjects that people can study IF THEY WANT. Then there is the sex-education being forced on everyone, right down to primary school aged kids. Such a topic should be left for discussion in the family environment, not dictated out by the government.

2) Urban-rural gap- more and more media attention is going towards the farmers, how bad they are and the need to stop eating meat and reduce stock numbers blah, blah, blah. Farmers are (rightly so) getting ticked off with being scapegoats. And so the gap widens even more. Those in the city need to look closely at where everything they buy comes from- agricultural products go into a huge range of products.
3) Health and Safety- There are so many rules and regulations that commonsense is being lost. A few people do stupid things and out comes a whole list of do’s and mainly don’ts- rules that the idiots don’t give a stuff about, and therefore won’t follow. Meanwhile the law-abiding are having their every move dictated.
4) Political correctness- No longer can one say anything even remotely offensive to anyone. Free speech is long gone if it clashes with the current political and liberal views. Which is ironic that the liberals are the most upset about being offended…..
5) Ignorance- we have organisations like SAFE that post up little clips of cruelty to animals. They make it sound like this is the norm and are currently calling for a ban on farrowing crates for pigs. What they are not showing is all the footage where animals are treated well. What they are not telling you is that farrowing crates are actually a safety feature to stop a sow rolling on her piglets and squashing them. After a couple of weeks the piglets are big enough that the sow can be let out.
6) The Media- following the UK’s policy to ban petrol cars from 2040, a poll was put out to ask if NZ should follow. Along came all the ‘yes of course, let’s not pollute our planet’ etc, etc, etc. There was a small voice of reason of ‘how the hang are we supposed to get around NZ in electric cars as the distance they go before needing to be recharged is rather short?’ But any argument that fossil fuels are not actually the big bad monster they are made out to be is lost. What about the fact electric cars don’t have the same horse power or are largely unaffordable for the hundreds of already struggling households?

The people in this country need to go back to fair, reasoned debates and discussions where all voices are welcomed and given equal hearings. People should be allowed to think for themselves based on all the evidence presented to them from all sides, and their subsequent views should be respected- everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

 

Water Quality

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 12 months you probably know that we have a general election in September. Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last 18 months, you should also be aware that freshwater is under much debate, and as usual, farmers are getting the blame.
Thus it should come as no surprise to you that water quality in NZ is an election issue, with every party wading in to have a say and the media pushing hard for the left wing votes. As usual, general ignorance leads to much emotion and little facts.

In my final year of high school I studied the water quality on my parents’ farm. Water was tested where it came out of the ground (a spring) and then several kms later where it left the property. The spring water was as clean as could be, and where it left the farm, it was well and truly safe enough to swim in. Water quality was worse immediately after rain when sediment had washed in, but once the rain stops, our shingle and stone bottom creek naturally purifies itself within hours, especially as it is relatively fast moving compared to lazy rivers seen on the flats where there is a very small gradient to the sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dad recently did a first aid course where he learnt that 10% of kids have an allergy, with much higher rates in urban places. This didn’t really surprise me as after 2 1/2 years in the city I have realised that those of us from the country are generally healthier and have stronger immune systems. Although having said that I have been sick several times in the city, but usually after most of the others I live with are down with it. I blame it on me not being outdoors in all weather anymore and thus my body not adjusting as well to the seasonal changes. People need more exposure to bad things (not life threatening!) but just little things to help build up strong immune systems from a young age so the body gets tough.

But back to water- once again we are seeing people living in urban communities with no knowledge or experience of the country trying to lay blanket rules on everyone- one size fits all. And if they can’t make policy, they will certainly have their tuppence worth on what others should do. They advocate for fencing ALL waterways, and in some cases, polluter pays- which according to Gareth Morgan is fine; farmers can be taxed out of existance. And if you think I made that up or am exaggerating, I read it in the paper yesterday. (https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/94638579/political-parties-sense-opportunity-on-water-issues).
But you see the thing is, our animals don’t get sick drinking the water, and many rural kids splash around in waterways during summer, with no adverse effects. The argument that fertilisers and nutrient run-off damages waterways is only partly true. Consider this- why spend tens of thousands of dollars to fertilise your farm and help grass growth only to have that wash into the waterways the first day it rains? Doesn’t really make sense does it? The goodness goes into the ground and is taken up by the pasture plants.

 

 

 

 

Look at the rivers running through cities, particularly downstream from big cities like Hamilton. These waterways look more polluted than those in the countryside. In cities when it rains, it falls on tarmac and concrete which don’t soak up water. So that water runs off into the creeks, carrying with it the oil and such from roadways and the litter people drop in gutters. Out in the country the ground soaks up water until it has reached capacity and only then does it run off. But it takes little with it- loose soil and light debris.
The forestry industry possibly has more to answer for given that when hillsides are logged a stunning amount of trees, branches and logs are left behind, cut down and just waiting for a heavy rain shower to cause them to slip into the creeks and rivers below. They then block up the waterways and in floods can often be left high and dry on people’s properties as water recedes.

The idea coming from politicians to make farmers fence all waterways is economically unstable, not to mention totally impractical. You see agriculture IS the backbone of this country’s economy. Tourists come here to ski and bungy jump and all that, but also to look at our beautiful farmland and bush covered mountains. Agriculture contributes far more to the economy than simply meat, dairy and wool. We also have the rural schools with staff, the shearers, crutchers and fencers, the fertiliser and farm consultants, rural banks and businesses, not to mention all the farm workers, managers, vets and institutions that train people in agriculture. Almost all of which will be out of a job should the farmers leave. With the current unemployment level in the cities, do you really want that many more people coming begging??? Not to mention the cost of food going through the roof as imports increase significantly.

Blanket, one-size-fits-all rules don’t work. The few places where maybe farmers could do be better need to be addressed case by case. Not to mention the fact that credit needs to be given where it is due- dairy farmers who farm flatter, easier country with slow moving streams and rivers have by and large fenced them off where practical to do so and planted these waterways. However fishermen now complain that the roots get into the water and tangle with the fishing lines/nets. Slower moving water runs the risk of getting stagnant and having weeds grow over it which leads to problems in and of itself.

While I am not saying that farming is perfect, I argue the case for the people making the policy decisions to get out of their insulated and comfortable offices and go look at the real world. The world were people are up at dawn, working rain, hail, wind, sleet and snow, not stopping until dusk, 6-7 days a week. They can take a look at the land and realise just how hard it would be to fence, and just how good the water quality is in many places.

Back into the old routine….

As some of you may know, I have just spent a wonderful month at my parents doing farm work and not having to think about study. I passed all of last trimesters papers very well, with three at B+ and one an A- overall. I’m quite happy with that. While home I had a wisdom tooth pulled which was not actually as bad as I have heard, but certainly felt weird once the anesthetic had worn off. I also managed to injure my back, but a visit to the osteopath a week later helped it immensely. I’d twisted something that shouldn’t have been twisted…. Now I just have a nasty cold with runny nose and chesty cough so please pray I recover quickly.
Yesterday I braved the wind, rain and snow and arrived safely back at the Hall. I reminded myself at times that ‘the Lord will protect [my] going out and coming forth’.

This trimester I’m only taking three papers- Abnormal Psychology, Criminal Psychology and White Collar Crime. Hopefully that gives me more time to garden here at the hall as we head into spring, but also means a less intense work load on my way through.
Hopefully I can have an easier next few days planning this trimester (writing all assignment dates up) and get over this cold.

Here are some pictures taken through the bus window yesterday:

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Apologies about the quality of some what with rain outside, misty windows inside…….

Bye for now!