Tighten com­pan­ion an­i­mal rules?

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By STEW WADEY

Ithink we can safely say, pas­toral live­stock farm­ers in our area of in­ter­est are very happy with the rel­a­tively mild spring be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced to date. Milk flows in our dis­trict are ahead sea­son to date, and stock sales have been very buoy­ant due to good feed lev­els in the North Is­land. As to farm gate prices, dairy ex­port prod­uct sales us­ing the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) as the real-time guide to the mar­ket­place, are in some prod­ucts be­ing quoted 54 per cent ahead of this time last year. That can only mean, in my opin­ion, that world dairy food in­ven­to­ries are low, and buy­ers are pur­chas­ing prod­uct on a just-in-time ba­sis. Nearly all dairy com­pa­nies in New Zealand have ac­tu­ally posted a con­fi­dent pre­dic­tion 2012/2013 milk solid price tar­get range around the $8 kg so early in the sea­son to their re­spec­tive sup­plier base. Early days as to lamb­ing per cen­t­ages and red meat sales but our dry­s­tock farm­ing fam­i­lies should also ex­pe­ri­ence some re­al­is­tic re­turns on their ef­forts. Bi­o­log­i­cal (bio) se­cu­rity is still an im­por­tant is­sue for my­self and my fel­low Fed­er­ated Farm­ers’ elected col­leagues to keep a con­stant brief on, we make no apolo­gies as agent provo­ca­teur in pre­vent­ing in­cur­sions of un­de­sir­able nas­ties get­ting through our bor­ders, we are ever watch­ful of MPI (Min­istry of Pri­mary In­dus­tries) at­ten­tion to that is­sue. Right now, our live­stock farm­ing peers in Aus­tralia have got a huge in­ter­nal bio se­cu­rity prob­lem with wild canine pre­da­tion; not din­goes but dogs. Sig­nif­i­cant con­cern is be­ing raised right now over there; with huge num­bers of new­born live­stock be­ing easy prey to th­ese ma­raud­ing dogs. One quote is that their sheep in­dus­try will be no more within 20 years , if ac­tion is not taken now. I see the new Aus­tralian prime min­is­ter has ap­pointed his var­i­ous port­fo­lio of­fice hold­ers, but with no min­is­te­rial ti­tle I see. I ob­serve with in­ter­est how this pre­da­tion is­sue will be ad­dressed. It was com­mon knowl­edge that Syd­ney had a huge freeroam­ing cat prob­lem. I sug­gest to say that both the cat and dog pre­da­tion is poor stew­ard­ship by do­mes­tic pet own­ers. Per­haps we may have to be more mind­ful here, do we con­sider to in­tro­duce some sort of le­gal obli­ga­tion other than the wel­fare code to own a com­pan­ion an­i­mal in New Zealand? As you can see, never a dull mo­ment in agri­cul­ture.

An­drew McGiven, Chair of Te Aroha Fed­er­ated Farm­ers, on the Hau­raki Gulf Spa­tial Plan.

Just re­cently I was no­ti­fied about the ex­is­tence of the Hau­raki Gulf Spa­tial Plan, and what ef­fect this may have on all landown­ers in the Wai­hou, Waitoa and Pi­ako River catch­ments. Upon read­ing the ob­jec­tives of this plan, about pre­serv­ing the Hau­raki Gulf, im­prov­ing the har­bour’s wa­ter qual­ity, shell­fish and wildlife; it all sounds well and good and things that we all as farm­ers would read­ily sup­port. But when I dig down into the de­tail, what be­comes glar­ingly ob­vi­ous is that on the board of the Hau­raki Gulf fo­rum is not one rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

I would have thought that if a plan was be­ing com­posed that en­com­passed not only the Hau­raki Gulf, but also our en­tire river catch­ments, that key stake­hold­ers such as the agri­cul­tural sec­tor would be rep­re­sented not only on the stake­hold­ers’ fo­rum but on the ac­tual de­ci­sion-mak­ing body it­self, the Hau­raki Gulf Fo­rum. At present it ap­pears that this is top heavy with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from lo­cal govern­ment (es­pe­cially Auck­land) and iwi. Can we as farm­ers af­ford to be dic­tated to by bu­reau­crats from Auck­land about wa­ter qual­ity is­sues?

I be­lieve the only way to get farm­ers and other pri­mary pro­duc­ers on board is to work with us, not set some im­pos­si­ble stan­dard and ex­pect it to be achieved overnight. We farm­ers are prob­a­bly the most ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists.

How­ever to com­pletely shut out any agri­cul­tural rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the fo­rum board, when agri­cul­ture in the Hau­raki Gulf con­trib­utes more than $1 bil­lion an­nu­ally, I be­lieve is a mis­take. It is very easy to be green when the com­mu­nity is af­flu­ent and can af­ford to im­ple­ment th­ese ini­tia­tives and as farm­ers we have al­ways been easy tar­gets for th­ese green zealots but now I be­lieve it is time we stand up for our­selves, get our­selves ap­pointed onto th­ese com­mit­tees and make our views known.

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