Brash keen to act for farm­ers’ sake

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By JA­SON HOW­ELLS

The po­lit­i­cal cam­paign trail led ACT Party leader Don Brash into Mata­mata last week to dis­cuss his way for­ward for New Zealand with talks re­volv­ing around the econ­omy and gov­ern­ment spend­ing.

Dr Brash sin­gled out Mata­mata for the talk af­ter de­liv­er­ing a sim­i­lar mes­sage to a Fed­er­ated Farm­ers con­fer­ence in Ro­torua last Thurs­day to get the farm­ers’ ear on the im­por­tance he be­lieved they made to the New Zealand econ­omy. ‘‘ Farm ex­ports gen­er­ated $ 23 bil­lion last year,’’ he said.

Dr Brash ad­dressed an au­di­ence at the Mata­mata Club about the three main ob­jec­tives to as­sist the farm­ing sec­tor his ACT party would im­ple­ment if elected.

Firstly Dr Brash spoke of re­form­ing the Re­source Man­age­ment Act, in which he be­lieved peo­ple should be able to do what they want on their own prop­erty with­out seek­ing build­ing con­sent and if a re­gional coun­cil did dis­ad­van­tage a prop­erty owner, that they should be com­pen­sated.

Dr Brash also spoke about aban­don­ing the Emis­sions Trad­ing Scheme, in which he ar­gued global warm­ing to be a good thing for agri­cul­ture.

‘‘Plant life thrives on high car­bon-diox­ide, which is why gar­den­ers pump it into their green houses,’’ he said.

‘‘The main ef­fect of the pol­icy though is that farm­ers are in­cur­ring on-farm costs of up to $4000 an­nu­ally which is due to in­crease to around $10,000 by 2015, so they don’t need to in­cur any other costs.’’

Dr Brash said the high ex­change rate had ben­e­fited farm­ers in the short term with the $ 300 mil­lion a week in gov­ern­ment bor­row­ing, which had been good for ex­port prices but said in the long run the ex­tent of that bor­row­ing had blunted the in­cen­tives of ex­port.

‘‘ The sec­tor needs to do ex­tremely well on its own, by pro­duc­ing more meat, milk and wool.’’

Al­though Dr Brash was in sup­port of John Key’s de­ci­sion in se­cur­ing rights to The Hob­bit film be­ing shot in New Zealand, he said: ‘‘the for­eign ex­change from ex­port­ing movies is tiny in com­par­i­son to the ex­ports of farm­ing.’’

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