Fight Against Ridiculous Taxes Rally Sunday, Sep 7, 2003
Speech by Tom Lambie, President, Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc.)
64, 136 people have signed this petition in just six short weeks. It is tangible evidence of concern about the impact of Kyoto policy not only on farmers but on all New Zealanders
There is genuine concern about unrealistic taxes. There is genuine concern that the Government and their advisers have turned their back on farmers and have stopped listening.
It seems to have been forgotten that the New Zealand farming system converts the suns energy to feed. It is not the fuel dependent system of the Northern hemisphere.
We grow good grass. We produce milk, lamb, beef and venison from a low input energy system. We plant woodlots and shelter belts. We pay $77 million a year in voluntary levies much of which funds a wide range of research from which all New Zealand benefits.
Yet the Government wants farmers to do more
New Zealand farmers aren't standing still. They have been spending on research. Good research is fundamental. It has driven farm productivity of 4% per annum while the rest of the economy has achieved less than 1%.
It is good research we need - research that is practical and realistic. Research that fits the New Zealand farming system and underpins the economy. The significant and on-going farmer investment into research seems to have been forgotten.
We keep hearing that farmers are not doing enough.
As I prepare to fly out to attend the WTO meeting in Cancun to hear the catch cry we are not doing enough seems extraordinary. NZ Farmers sit around the WTO with pride. We stand out because we take on the full risks of farming unassisted and unprotected.
We have taken significant change on the chin. Through difficult times we have kept investing in our business and in the industry. We are fully exposed to the vagaries of the international marketplace. We have earned the right not to be exposed to unrealistic policies at home.
We have earned the right to say no to the emissions tax, to be in control of our own voluntary levies, and the right to have existing research acknowledged.
I am pleased to be able to tell the farmers here today that discussion with Minister Hodgson and Sutton in the last two days has given greater recognition to current industry research. More discussion is needed but at last the focus is where it should have been all along.
Today is the culmination of a series of events held at the busiest time of the farming year. We hope that recent discussions on research will make any threat to tax evaporate.
Gerry [Eckhoff] we ask you to convey to all parliamentarians the significant effort that farmers have had to make to be here today.
Over 64,000 signatures show the level of concern. Thank you for your support and accepting this petition.