Comment On Nelson Mail Article

Postby jonathan on Fri 4/Dec/09 6:54pm

Comment on Nelson Mail article
By Jonathan Kennett

Earlier this week the Nelson Mail printed an article about Project Rameka that was titled “Tree planters slate farmers”. This was completely incorrect, and the journalist, Hayley Gale has since phoned up and apologised. We can only presume that the Editor or sub-editor of the Nelson Mail felt it would generate more sales to have a sensationalist, although incorrect heading, than a true one. Newspapers probably do this all the time.

To set the record straight, I’ve decided to expand on the contents of Hayley Gale’s article here, because those contents were essentially correct, even if the title wasn’t.

We did not slate farmers. Quite the opposite. We pointed out that the farmers around Project Rameka have been supportive. I would like to give a few solid examples.

Dave Edmondson: We bought the project land off Dave. He has been very good at removing stray stock from Project Rameka.

Robert and Myra Fulton: In 2008, Robert and Myra supported the project by buying native trees, and allowing us to dig Totara seedlings from their garden. They have never failed to be welcoming to us and Myra has spent a lot of time writing up the history of the Rameka Valley, which she dearly loves.

Gary Page: When Gary has call to run stock up the Ramaka Road, he does it as fast as possible so that the cattle don’t stray off the road, and chomp our trees.

Fill and Albie Burgess: The list of help and the amount of friendship from these two farmers is great indeed. Planting trees, providing wholesome food at work parties, cheerful conversation and a welcome bed for the night during storms. Fill and Albie also have 50 ha of regenerating forest at the back of their farm.

You might understand now that Simon Johnson, Bronnie Wall and myself were far from impressed when we saw the title saying we slated farmers.

However, to perfectly clear, we did slate the advocacy organisation Federated Farmers and in particular its leader Don Nicholson. The following quotes will explain why.

Federated Farmers of New Zealand Submission
“Farmer opposition to government efforts on climate change policy has been consistent over the years.”

And another quote, this time from their website.

“Federated Farmers opposed the government's 2002 ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and remains opposed to it.

Federated Farmers opposes the inclusion of agriculture in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.”
Fedrated Farmers website (uploaded Dec 2009)

It is clear that Federated Farmers – the organisation – has been opposed to any practical moves to tackle climate change byreducing emissions. Don Nicholson has said that it is not worth trying to reduce emissions because population growth makes this impossible. This is completely counter to the advice coming from every reputable scientific organisation in the world. That advice is, that we to reduce emissions urgently.

However, it is also clear that there are individual farmers who chose to make their own minds up. And many, whether it is for climate change reasons or not, are taking ctions that are good for the environment they are leaving for their children and grandchildren. Good on them!

Link to original article: ... ticle.html
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Original Published: 6:46pm Friday, 4th December 2009 - NZST
Member for: 19 years 0 months

Re: Comment On Nelson Mail Article

Postby Kevin Hague on Fri 4/Dec/09 10:40pm

Thanks Jonathan. I've certainly experienced that whole media misrepresentation thing. Good idea to use Vorb to get the good stuff out there. I reckon there's a good bunch of farmers in the Bay - they seem to always say yes when you ask to ride over their land, and earlier this year I went to the Aorere Catchment Restoration Project, where dairy farmers got together with aquaculture people and conservationists to protect a whole river system (which you get to visit if you ride Aorere Goldfields). They were awesome! We just launched a website ( of farmers using good environmental practices, and have seen quite a few farmers rejecting the Feds' position on environmental issues. I live on a 17 acre block of land, most of which is in a QE2 covenant. As such we get the QE2 Trust's magazine every couple of months, where we learn about the latest batch of farmers who have gone to great lengths to protect the conservation values of their land. I reckon it's a big mistake for anyone to generalise about farmers based on the Feds' position, and sounds like you've had a great experience. We all have a common interest in the long term sustainability of the way we interact with our environment. Kind of gives you hope for the future, doesn't it?
Kevin Hague
Member for: 11 years 11 months

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