Feds are fuming at safety inspectors – but the judge decided the size of the fines in quad bike case

December 17, 2014

Alf has a soft spot for the good folk at Federated Farmers, especially because they always send him an invitation to their pre-Christmas party in Wellington which he enjoys attending.

But he is not entirely sympathetic to their complaint that WorkSafe New Zealand is out of control for pursuing charges against a farming couple for failing to wear helmets on their quad bike.

An account of what happened can be found here at Stuff.

Marlborough farming couple has been fined $40,000 for not wearing helmets while riding their quad bikes.

Phillip Andrew Jones, 33, and Maria Anna Carlson, 30, were spotted by WorkSafe New Zealand inspectors riding a quad bike without helmets on a Havelock farm on multiple occasions since 2012.

The pair were absent from the Blenheim District Court when they were sentenced by Judge Tony Zohrab yesterday.

The court heard the pair, who have a share-milking partnership on the farm, were given multiple warnings by WorkSafe to wear helmets while on their quad bikes, but continued to be non-compliant.

So what does “multiple warnings” mean?

Read the rest of this entry »

The feds are supposed to crash in with all guns blazing – and draw lots of blood in a power play

April 21, 2013

Dunno if Federated Farmers has farmed out its public relations to some outfit in India, or somewhere even more remote, at weekends.

The fury has sadly gone from a press statement issued this evening.

The bloke whose name is attached to the statement is not an Indian, of course, and may well want to boast it’s all his own work.

Alf’s would counsel him to plead confusion somewhere between drafting, sign-off and release, or crossed wires, and blame the distant PR team for placing so much emphasis on the bleeding obvious.

The press release (here) might just as well have declared that beer will spill if you drop your mug, or that the sun will rise again in the morning (in some parts of the country anyway).

Read the rest of this entry »

You get quite a stink when earnest efforts to counter cow pooping run into kaupapa

March 28, 2012

But be ready to embrace the kaupapa.

Now we know what happens when efforts to clean up the environment encounter somebody’s kaupapa.

We get a racial divide and shit hits the fan.

Alf can only record his bemusement as members of several groups – intent on protecting waterways from cow poop – consider how best to proceed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Another spending-cut idea for Bill: put the brakes on those zealous farm-bike inspectors

April 2, 2011

Just a few more, then we'll go home on the quad bike.

Alf agrees with his good mates at Federated Farmers: the tossers at the Labour Department are indulging in overkill in their efforts to deal with quad bike accidents.

Many more Kiwis die from drinking too much booze than from quad bike accidents.

But the bloody Labour Department – no doubt desperately looking for work to to do to justify its existence and avoid budget cuts – is preparing to get tough on farmers who flout safety guidelines.

Read the rest of this entry »

Farmers are exalted by a creature that (just as Labour voters do) thrives on crap

February 4, 2011

It was dropped by a horse - or by Labour Party spin doctors, maybe - and the dung beetles will relish every mouthful.

A funny bunch, Federated Farmers. They have issued a media statement to tell us they are celebrating – would you believe? – the Environmental Risk Management Authority’s approval for the importation and release of eleven dung beetle species.

Alf is happy to celebrate on most occasions, especially when the celebrating is being done with champagne, but he bridles at celebrating the importation of a creature that consumes crap.

For starters, because the wee buggers thrive on shite they will probably vote Labour, or – even more fetid and hence more nourishing for a dung beetle – the Greens.

But the feds are over the moon, saying they believe they will make a great contribution to agriculture’s environmental performance.

“It’s a very good day because ERMA’s process has been thorough, rigorous and sound,” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesperson.

“Dung beetles provide an environmental and agriculture win-win by breaking down ruminant dung while building the organic structure of soil.

“One of the major benefits of dung beetles is their ability to reduce farm related environmental degradation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Give the OIC rubber stamp to a chimp but first let’s take a harder look at the buyup of the Crafar farms

March 26, 2010

Alf is bound to agree with the xenophobic Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa on this occasion.

Cafca regards Federated Farmers as “unbelievably naive” in its reaction to news of a mysterious Chinese company hoping to spend a few billion on dairy farms.

Fair enough.

The feds described the wheeling and dealing in dairy farms as an “unintended consequence” of the NZ/China Free Trade Agreement. ”


Pull the other one, says Cafca.

There’s nothing unintended about this consequence, this is how “free” trade agreements are supposed to work. They all come with embedded investment agreements which protect the rights of investors from the countries which are party to the Agreement, and those foreign investors’ rights are backed up by the force of legal sanction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nah, you don’t have to plead with Nick Smith to ignore a public clamour

January 28, 2010

They must be a sheltered breed, your South Canterbury farmers.

Alf makes this supposition on the strength of a Radio NZ report today that such a farmer is warning Environment Minister Nick Smith not to be swayed by public opinion on applications for large-scale dairy farms in the Upper Waitaki region.

Why should he be worried that a politician might be influenced by public opinion?

Sure, we pollies pore through the newspapers and keep tabs on what people are saying on TV and the radio. And we spend heaps of money on polls to keep tabs on the public mood, and when we have measured it, we blissfully ignore it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Export subsidies – they are the American way

May 25, 2009

It probably lowered Lachlan McKenzie’s blood pressure a tad, and Kiwis up and down the country will shout their approval. But it seems unlikely to accomplish much else.

“It” is the media statement issued today in which McKenzie described President Obama’s Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP) as “un-American”.

Abrasive stuff. But will Obama be sufficiently stung into backtracking?


McKenzie went on to say the programme is designed to target major New Zealand markets “and is being driven by envy that sees uneconomic American farmers being propped up by struggling US taxpayers.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Farm leaders go gunning for the Johnson mob

May 15, 2009

Great news in the ODT today.

Farm leaders are gunning for Bryce Johnson and his mob, questioning whether public funds have been misappropriated by New Zealand Fish and Game and calling for a review of the organisation’s powers.

Their demands follow the High Court’s finding in favour of pastoral lessees and against Fish and Game, the rods and guns outfit which sought a declaratory judgement on whether lessees have exclusive possession and to grant the public greater access to leasehold land.

The right to exclusive possession hadn’t been questioned in the past, because it was the clear intent of the government to grant it when the leases were created.

Federated Farmers is among those now insisting the Government look at the legislative privilege that enables Fish and Game to fund such “frivolous litigation.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Feds fulminate against the ETS

May 5, 2009

Federated Farmers has a flair for robust language, when arguing the toss on political issues (robust action, too, on occasions). And the prospect of an emissions trading scheme has riled them big-time.

They had the opportunity to air their views yesterday, when the Primary Producers Select Committee heard submissions from the agriculture sector.

Bringing agriculture into the emissions trading scheme would be a case of the road to economic hell being paved with good intentions, Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson told MPs reviewing the scheme.

Climate change wasn’t the only challenge the world faces, he contended.
Read the rest of this entry »