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Get NZ’s mojo back — Christopher Luxon at the launch of a pre-election tour in Birkenhead in May (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund, design: Archi Banal)
Get NZ’s mojo back — Christopher Luxon at the launch of a pre-election tour in Birkenhead in May (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund, design: Archi Banal)

The BulletinJune 13, 2023

Farmers prepare for dose of political mojo

Get NZ’s mojo back — Christopher Luxon at the launch of a pre-election tour in Birkenhead in May (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund, design: Archi Banal)
Get NZ’s mojo back — Christopher Luxon at the launch of a pre-election tour in Birkenhead in May (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund, design: Archi Banal)

National has released two agriculture policies ahead of the opening day of Fieldays tomorrow including bumping agricultural emissions pricing until 2030, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s morning news round-up. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday, sign up here.

Politicians get set to have a field day

Tomorrow, politicians will converge on Fieldays at Mystery Creek just outside Hamilton. BusinessDesk’s Riley Kennedy and Rebecca Howard have a run down (paywalled) on which politicians are likely to attend, including prime minister Chris Hipkins. They also confirm Act will be there with candidate Andrew Hoggard, and a bus. Hoggard is the former president of Federated Farmers and his candidacy has raised questions about the party pulling the rural vote away from National. I’ve worked my share of Fieldays, the Southern hemisphere’s largest agricultural event, so I can say that for the sake of the bus, it’s a good thing it’s been dry over the last few days. The weather forecast looks good until Friday, while, as Kennedy and Howard detail, predictions on spending from farmers are less rosy.

A “moo turn” on agricultural emissions charging

A “moo turn” was how the Herald’s Thomas Coughlan’s piece on National’s agri-emissions announcement was headlined. Party leader Christopher Luxon announced that the agriculture sector wouldn’t be forced to pay for emissions until 2030 at a farm in Helensville yesterday. It follows the announcement on Sunday to end an effective ban on gene editing and genetic modification if elected. As Newsroom’s Marc Daalder reminds us, “the first price on agricultural emissions – the so-called fart tax under Helen Clark’s government – was originally set to take effect from mid-2004.” Daalder writes that “delaying the introduction of pricing will threaten the country’s ability to meet its 2030 target for biogenic methane emissions.”

Hipkins heading to China

Yesterday, the prime minister confirmed he will take a trade delegation to China at the end of the month. Exports to China account for a quarter of New Zealand’s total exports, and were worth over $21.6b in the year ending March 2023, double what it was in 2015. Of that, close to 30% of our exports are dairy, followed by meat and offal, then wood. The trip will no doubt be a topic of discussion at Fieldays and as Newsroom’s Sam Sachdeva writes, will also “be welcome news to those who believe the government has begun to tilt too far towards the United States in its foreign policy.”

A mojo-less people

Giving Gordon McLauchlan, author of The Passionless People, a run for his money, Luxon told a farmer he was chatting to in Helensville that “We have become a very negative, wet, whiny, inward-looking country and we have lost the plot.” He went on to say that “We’ve got to get our mojo back… a lot more ambition and aspiration.” No doubt a range of opinions and fun polls to come on whether that’s a widely-held view and the political wisdom of using your outside voice to comment on the national psyche, but out of context “wet” is at least objectively correct in the North Island. Scientists are working to ascertain how much of an impact human-made climate change (emissions, agricultural or otherwise) had on the very wet start to the year. If you’d like to feel 150 years old or don’t know what mojo is, it’s what the French call “I don’t know what” and what Dr Evil set out to steal from Austin Powers in the 1999 film, The Spy Who Shagged Me. Technically, the word mojo is thought to be African in origin and these days refers to a seemingly magical influence or ability. All political parties will be hoping they’ve got it by the bucket load as they face farmers tomorrow.

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