A boomer for Fonterra's farmers!
A record payout for the current season and a cracking opening forecast for 2011-12 should have dairy farmers hooraying in their herring-bones, rejoicing in their rotaries! And it’s not only farmers who should be popping open the bubbly. A $12 billion dairy contribution to an economy running a $17 billion deficit has to be music to the ears of John Key and Bill English. National Bank chief economist Cameron Bagrie called it a “game changer”. I don’t know about that but Dr Allan Bollard can surely feel confident he’s blown the whistle for half time and we’re now going to play with the elements at our back in the second spell.
# Big Political Story of the Week: Farming – the election year whipping boy.
It’s now abundantly clear the dodgy Dom Post beat-up was a softening-up process ahead of Labour’s attack on farming at its annual conference. The politics of envy is alive and kicking (farmers in the groin). It’s a shame some in the Beehive don’t take a moment to reflect on agriculture’s contribution to society and the economy, rather than being hell-bent on making it a divisive election issue, pitting town against country. Rich farmers are not the problem. Rich farmers are the solution.
# Big Sporting Story of the Week: Hail Richie and the second coming within a week!
Last week it was Dan Carter. This week it's Richie McCaw. The two crown jewels in the NZRU's playing ranks are now safely under lock and key until 2015. All of which raises the question of how the NZRU is going to pay for these expensive contracts?
For years we’ve been told the All Blacks jersey is not for sale to the highest bidder, that the All Blacks brand stands alone. Eden Park has maintained its autonomy but look at the other main centres where Westpac, AMI and Forsythe Barr have taken naming rights of the major stadia. Who would bet against the Fonterra All Blacks lining up for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in protein-hungry Asia?
And am I a cynic or what? No sooner was the ink dry on Carter’s contract than he was out there against the Chiefs attempting dropped goals - left, right and centre. I wonder if, in World Cup year, Carter's new employment contract includes a compulsory dropped goal clause?
# Brickbat: Phil Goff.
Sorry Phil, you might be a good bloke and you might have some farming sympathies because of your hobby lifestyle block in Clevedon, but you and your party have now firmly played your hand by putting your boot into farming. From a political perspective it’s probably a smart move to champion the cause of your constituents and good on you for sticking up for the poor buggers on the minimum wage because it beggars belief anyone can survive on $13 per hour. Besides you were never going to get any farmer votes, nor any from the 10% of tax payers who pay the lion’s share of income tax in this country. Robbing from the rich to give to the poor worked a treat in Sherwood Forest but in a cash-strapped modern economy Phil, I think you’re struggling to see the forest for the trees.
# Bouquet: Maori Television.
I was not alone in being against the state funding of Maori television when it was launched in 2004. However credit where credit’s due. I tip my hat to the Iwi TV for some really innovative and energetic programming. Its Anzac Day coverage and excellent sports show, Code, are but two fine examples. It is also to be congratulated for being brave enough to go where the major networks feared to tread by running a telethon for the Canterbury Earthquake, raising $2.5 million in the process. Of that, Fonterra contributed $1 million, or roughly $90 per dairy farmer. The remainder of New Zealand contributed $1.5 million, or roughly 35 cents per man, woman and child. And the Dom Post says dairy farmers are not paying their fair share?
Footnote: Jamie Mackay is the host of the Farming Show which airs on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB. In a past life a Southland sheep farmer, these days he comments on farming, politics and sport for a living from the relative safety and comfort of his radio studio in Dunedin.