This blog has two parts- the first, a general update, and the second, a dumping of my thoughts on the urban rural divide. maybe next post I will consider how that gap can be closed….
I have been playing a lot of pool lately, and getting better by degrees, plus going for walks most weekends. I recently climbed one of the nearby hills for the sunset and took the following shots:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The camera doesn’t really do it justice but anyway…

Uni is almost over for the year, and I have one final test, a 2,500 word essay, home for 11 days then I come back and sit my final exam, and then spend 3 months at home working. Looking forward to it.
I am all enrolled to come back here to the hall next year, and also am enrolled in 8 papers (4 per tri) next year which will see me complete my degree as a BA, double major in psychology and criminology. Scary thought….

In case you hadn’t figured, how farming is viewed in this country concerns me. A lot. Especially given I’m living in the capital where policy is made and far from those who actually know what it is like.

Recently I saw an article on TVNZ published on FB about farmers protesting in Hawkes Bay. There were a heap of really negative comments about how bad farming is, how we pollute the environment, are rich and can afford all these taxes and are always wanting handouts- when the reverse is true- we pay taxes, don’t get handouts in droughts and contribute more to the economy than anything else in this country. Penalising us only drives prices up, or makes us go bankrupt, leading to food shortages and so more expenses for everyone else…..
People’s view of farming probably stems from the 1970s and 1980s when subsidies were around and the aim was to get as much out of the land as possible. However the subsidies were cut in the early and mid 1980s and over the next decade dramatic changes took place as farmers lost their government protection and subsequently started looking at what the consumer demand was and attempting to meet that. As a result farming practices improved and there was more environmental awareness and less ‘raping’ of the land. But such changes towards better farming methods and sustainability are seldom acknowledged in the mainstream media, the biggest outlet for the general urban public to get their ‘facts’ (or lack thereof) from.

Recently we had a class discussion about food processing that came under the topic of White Collar Crime (WCC), using examples from the UK which had the horse meat scandal a year or two back and chicken factory practices that were less than ideal.
A discussion ensued about whether we really know what is going on, with undercover footage emerging of unhygienic practices in a chicken factory, again in the UK, along with false labeling. Examples like these are why it is becoming increasingly appealing to cut out the middlemen, and some farmers in NZ are setting up their own butchers and selling direct to consumers, building relationships along the way.

To add to the gap I saw an article this morning about how farmers need to start thinking about the advantages of growing meat in the laboratories to tackle climate change. My breakfast nearly resurfaced! Aside from the fact that the planet is NOT warming and hasn’t been for the last 20 years, plus the fact that CO2 is good for us, plus the fact that any climate change is due by far and large to the sun and solar conditions such as water vapour and human impact is minimal, tampering with chemicals to make fake meat is going to lead to serious health problems further down the line. But people don’t think about things like that, they just want to point the finger at some of the hardest working people in this country who are simply trying to survive, rather than bothering to take the time to check their facts by reading the other side of each story, or something like Air Con by Ian Wishart- one I recently read and explains the above climate change facts…… It is a very good read, explaining complex science in simple layman terms…….

We live in a society that wants things and wants them now. Unfortunately the media, politicians and lobby groups know that and take advantage of it, giving people catchy phrases that on closer inspection have little substance. But most people are too busy stuffing round on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram to actually be bothered looking deeper into everything they are being spoon fed. Daring to challenge the status quo invites ridicule and name calling as well as blaming. Which is why a number of people are simply too scared to speak out anymore and so the dumbing down and  political correctness continues even faster because it is largely going unchecked.

Bye!

Advertisements

Urban-rural divide exists- here’s why

If I were in politics…..

Earlier this year a friend wrote a blog about what she’d do if she was a politician. As we edged closer to the election and the amount of political bribery increased I thought about what policies I would implement…..
As we now wind down from the election, waiting to see the outcome, logical or not, I decided to be brave and publish this:
(Some of the ideas within each category overlap with others….) 🙂

Health

  • subsidies for under 18’s and also NZ citizens.
  • Recognise the qualifications of overseas doctors, perhaps make them sit one test to ensure their knowledge.

Education:

  • Emphasis on the basics- reading, writing, maths and science.
  • Less computer and more teacher time, with students learning the reasons and rationale behind things, not just rote learning answers so they can pass levels.
  • Te Reo available but not compulsory.
  • Teachers do not have to treat those with Maori origins any better than students of any other ethnicity.
  • Keep clause allowing schools to close for religious instruction.

Defense

  • Boot camp for 16-20yr old repeat (3+) offenders. Put programmes in place which would enable them to keep the discipline, manners and respect learnt. Camp would last 6 months.
  • Invest in decent military equipment- ships, aircraft….

Primary Industries

  • No water tax for farmers, but charge bottling companies royalties that go back towards riparian planting, monitoring and improving waterways.
  • No emissions tax on animals
  • Agriculture would be taken out of the ETS- in fact that little piece of legislation could be bye-bye.
  • No foreign ownership of farms or farm businesses, eg. meat works

Treaty of Waitangi

  • Recognised as an important document close to 200yrs ago. However all treaty claims would be stopped, the Waitangi Tribunal closed, and all Iwi corporations would lose their charity status. Paying millions of dollars is not helping them, with increasing numbers of iwi filtering through the criminal justice system. There has to be a better way, by treating people equally and providing incentives to work and better their lifestyles.
  • All references to ‘the principles of the Treaty’ to be deleted from legislation where it has no relevance.

Tax, Income and wages

  • Lower wages for inexperienced under 20yr olds, with wage increases after X number of hours. Minimum wage for 20+yr olds until they have some form of qualification and/or experience.
  • Benefits would be paid direct to suppliers- i.e. beneficiaries don’t get much cash upfront, rather cheques are sent direct to power companies for example, and they also receive supermarket vouchers of X amount each week. This reduces the amount they have to spend on drugs or cigarettes.
  • No beneficiary would recieve more than someone on the minimum wage doing 40hrs a week.
  • Student loans cancelled if the student works in NZ for 5yrs immediately after receiving their degree.
  • An MP’s salary reflects the average wage of a NZer, with the PM getting marginally more. In both cases the income only lasts the duration of their time in Parliament. Upon leaving, all perks cease.

Social Welfare

  • Must have been a resident who worked in NZ for 25yrs to qualify for Superannuation and all the other healthcare benefits for those in retirement.

Transport

  • Regular freight trains to all regions, encouraging less trucks on the road.
  • Upgrade state highways

Law and Order

  • More police on front line
  • Intential murder means life sentence, no parole.
  • Introduce prison labour

Immigration

  • Only highly skilled migrants who offer services we need.

Foreign Ownership

  • No more land sold to foreigners, either farms or houses, unless they live and work in them, and have been in NZ for a minimum of 5yrs.
  • Buy back SOE that are partially owned by overseas companies.
  • Stop foreign companies buying shares in our businesses, certainly set a cap on how much- no more than 20% of shares.

Other:

  • Binding citizens initiated referenda- if legislation is passed, people have 90 days after the final assent to organise a referendum. Of those who vote, 70% must oppose the legislation for it to go back to the drawing board. The Government must be bound by this. People have 90 day trial periods, so why don’t we have that in law?
  • Encourage more growth in the regions, spreading out government departments- central ones obviously, but not all major business done in the capital. More people living in the regions means more spending which leads to more growth.

Go ahead, tell me this would never work and why. I accept some of them may be idealistic, but with a bit of tweaking they could work….

True or false?

Is life like a pendulum? We swing one way and then the other, trying to find equilibrium. History shows us that over time a wide range of viewpoints- religious, political, legal, moral and environmental- have come and gone and come back again. As I look at the current stance on farming, and the growing urban/rural gap, I wonder just how much more hammering farming can take before we either give up (!) or fight back and there is once again an awakening about the benefits of living off the land. Maybe it’s time to do a little basic education session.

False: farmers hate their animals.
True: the majority of farmers care about the environment.
False: Farmers are rich.
True: Farmers are price takers, not makers.
False: water that runs through untamed, native bush is perfect.
True: Cities have a lot to answer for in terms of environmental pollution.
False: Taxing farmers for emissions will help save the planet.
True: Taxing farmers for water and emissions will drive prices up, no matter what the subsidy which will raise food prices as farmers walk off their land. This in turn will mean higher imports, lower exports and greater national debt.
True: Tests done on waterways like the Waikato, Manawatu and Avon are actually still swimmable. The Waikato is only not AFTER passing through the city. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVHiygsKOT8&app=desktop

Blame shifting doesn’t work. For the farmers out there who do need better work practices, heavy taxes do nothing other than create resentment. It is far better to come alongside someone and help them than to lay down blanket rules that penalise not only farmers, but all consumers of animal products. You might say ‘well, go vegetarian then’- but have you considered that horticulturalists use water too? Probably more than livestock farmers in particularly dry seasons.

What would happen if all farmers walked off their land because it became too
uneconomic to farm? Who would look after all our animals? What would we eat? What about all the other products like pet food, woollen clothing and blood & bone fertilisers? Where would they come from?
Not to mention all these products that have some trace of animal in them- shampoo, beer, wine, toothpaste, anything with gelatin, perfume, crayons, nail polish, paint…… not to mention animal fat and hide being used in tyres and some tools, particularly handles. Google it if you don’t believe me.

All the along the way to making a healthier and sustainable environment credit needs to be given where it is due and advice and consultation is a must with all parties concerned. Greater weight should be given to those who stand to lose the most.

Why I write what I write

A friend recently asked me how I got into blogging and why I write what I write. The basic reason is because I see so much misinformation and straight out lies in the mainstream media and coming from the Government and legal system that I want to educate people that they are being lied to.
Initially the blog was to try and share with my urban friends what it means to grow up on a farm, and that we are not the mean, hard-hearted, animal-abusing, environment- polluting people the media portrays us as. As time has gone on, I’ve written about issues that concern me, particularly those that are based on lies, such as the whole Treaty Settlement process. Having read several books on NZ history, I believe the yearly handouts of taxpayer money are based on fraud. Once again the media is so powerful, portraying groups like Hobson’s Pledge as the baddies…….

Back in the early 1800s whalers and other explorers came to NZ. They brought with them things to trade, particularly muskets. There was widespread lawlessness, prostitution and dishonesty. Marsden and other missionaries came with the aim of teaching Maori about Christianity. The term ‘Maori’ was not even around, rather there were many tribal groups warring with each other and continually seeking utu or revenge. The missionaries brought with them horticulture and agriculture and taught the people how to read and write, as well as Judaeo-Christian values.
James Busby signed the Declaration of Independence in 1835, but shortly after there was growing concern about Maori welfare. The British were initially unwilling to settle NZ, but the French and Dutch also had interests. Marsden appealed to the Crown for help, as did a number of Maori chiefs who had by then seen the damage the muskets were doing. Warfare was now incredibly unfair with whole tribes being shot to extinction. The chiefs wanted saving from themselves.
Enter the Treaty, February 1840. The Littlewood Treaty was written on the 4th and is the document in Maori which the Chiefs signed. Read the speeches made back then- they knew darn well what sovereignty was and wanted British protection with some form of law and protection from themselves and the whalers among others, not to mention the NZ Company which was selling land left, right and centre for minimal prices. We go by the ‘official’ version which was basically a glamourised version that had more flowery language- and was not the actual translation signed.

In the 1860s Maori Chiefs all met at the Kohimarama Conference and agreed that the Treaty was working fine; they restated their ceding of sovereignty. The Maori seats were put in place for Maori as many didn’t have defined addresses due to communal land ownership. In 1893 when women had the right to vote, it was discussed whether the Maori seats should be abolished, with the agreement that now everybody had a chance to be elected and Maori did have a voice, but no action was ever taken. The subject was ignored until late in the 20th century and now we argue that Maori are under-represented- that when up until a few weeks ago, there were two Maori that were leaders of parties, and a further 2  co- or deputy leaders. Many Maori are on the general roll and vote like anyone else.
You may argue that we need a minority voice in Parliament and that is true, but there are enough people to vote for them the same way as Europeans. We have Asians and other immigrants in Parliament and they get elected via the general roll same as everyone else.

Personally I think our entire legal and justice system needs to be overhauled, and we need to go back to the basics. Ex MPs and PMs should not continue to have a taxpayer funded wage long after they have stopped ‘serving’ this country (themselves). Bring on the day when Jesus returns and establishes a new heaven and earth because without divine intervention, the separatism and division in this country is going to continue even more rapidly. Many ignorant people simply either don’t know what is going on, or are deluded into thinking that they won’t be affected. Well you are wrong, eventually you will be little more than guests in your own home, and will no longer be able to say anything against the political establishment. Wake up to the fact that politicians and the media alike are lying to you and deliberately hiding the truth for fear of the public outcry. The essence of democracy is that the people speak and we need to stand up and say enough is enough. Stop punishing everyone for the mistakes of a few 5+ generations ago.
Today’s conspiracies are tomorrow’s history.

Got that rant off my chest…. Head home in a few days, maybe I can write about some farming related stuff that has no political content…. 🙂

EDIT: For those thinking I hate Maori, you are wrong. I grew up with and have many Maori friends, all lovely hardworking people. My issue is the misinformation and lies out there that enable some with very little Maori blood in them to make a lot of money at other’s expense and that money does not funnel down to those in need.

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.