Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The English Connection

The old adage that 'farmers do well under a National led government' has not always been true.
However, this could turnaround in light of the English connection.
Bill English, of course, is of pure Southland farming stock - Dipton in fact, but ironically it's his brother that may well shake the National party up and hold them to their rural values.
Federated Farmers CEO Conor English is a feisty agricultural advocate and is already making a significant impact, not only on the lobby group itself, but on national issues affecting all New Zealanders (Aucklanders).
It was distinctly refreshing to see the man in action recently, stomping his feet about the $1.9 billion 5km motorway proposed for Auckland. Fair go, he said, how about thinking about water storage for the agricultural industry and the jobs that might create. (Okay, so I paraphrase a little).
He certainly got up John Bank's nose (an impressive feat considering the size) and you could hear the whooping through-out the rural hinterland as farmers rejoiced at having someone 'take it to em city-ites once more'.
Farmers have had to endure possibly the worst year of criticism from urban-ites in New Zealand's history. The contempt for agriculture by those ignorant to how the industry operates and what it means for the economy has been palpable and dangerously contagious.
Here then is a way of gaining some ground at what best can be described as a 'difficult economic time'. Creating jobs and furthering agriculture is a win-win situation.
And herein lies the fascinating fight. Bill English happens to be the Infrastructure minister and Conor is the farmer's friend. Will Bill concede this one and finally put water storage high on the Government priority list.
The power each of them holds may yet deliver National as the Government that farmers 'do well' by - and if that is the case, you can thank those English genes.

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