Dairy LegislationTuesday, Aug 21, 2001
Socialism is alive and well in the Green Party if claims by MP Ewan-Street are to be taken seriously.
For the past 20 years a succession of governments has set about ensuring that the market directed where
products should be sold to best advantage.
Now this green wag proposes that individual dairy farmers should subsidise the consumption of milk products
in New Zealand. He has jumped straight from market price parity to consumer protection by
indexing to CPI without bothering with even a hint of state subsidy.
Should such a principle be established, would the meat, timber, fish and oil and gas industries also
be willing subsidisers of the local consumers by also indexing to the CPI?
The dairy industry is suffering from these perverse interventions as a result of a long period where
urban folk have seen the dairy industry as some sort of state owned enterprise. Now as the industry
attempts to clear the last hurdle of state intervention in its operation an MP pops out of the
woodwork with a proposal that probably fits well with most consumers’ perception of a fair deal.
While not expecting the greens proposal to be included the final form of the dairy industry legislation.
The enabling legislation for the consolidation of the Dairy Board into its major shareholding
companies has the potential to contain some nasty fish hooks.
With such a fickle coalition in government in power, until the final nature of this legislation is known
the industry cannot be certain that it has been granted the best base on which to build its future.