I covered the 50 Shades of Green March on November 14 for my Farmers Weekly column. It was an interesting experience. I covered the Rogernomics protest in the ’80’s and the Fart Tax in the 90’s. Whereas the Fart tax had 400 the 50 Shades of Green protest had 1200.
The issue is the blanket planting of good farmland with pinus radiata. What’s happened locally is a titled foreigner has purchased a good productive sheep and beef unit and blanket planted it with trees using foreign labour. They then leave it alone claiming carbon credits for as long as they can.
The forest then rots thus returning the carbon to the atmosphere so we’ve achieved nothing.
The land is out of production removing employment opportunities and the support that brings to rural communities.
My view, therefore was that the protesters had a valid point.
It was an orderly protest with many placards with the theme of provincial destruction.
They ended up in Parliament with National’s Todd Mueller speaking. He said National would change things which didn’t resonate with the crowd as National had voted to support the Zero Carbon Bill.
The was followed by Minister of Primary Industries Minister Damien O’Connor who I couldn’t hear properly. If I was him I’d have said something along the lines of ‘you obviously feel strongly about this let’s work something out’ but he didn’t.
Then Shane Jones did his bit claiming, how I have no idea, that the march was disrespectful of the PM.
He then did his redneck quote which I found offensive. A redneck according to my dictionary is ‘a poor uneducated white farm worker’. There were many Maori on the march and an Asian contingent. I’m sure there would have been many substantial farmers and graduates.
Labeling the crew as rednecks would have lost more NZ First votes in Provincial NZ than the largess of his Provincial Growth Fund would have achieved.
Maybe its time to save the $billion annually and put it into something worthwhile like methane mitigation research.
My reaction to the Jones outburst was to label the man a buffoon which means ‘a person who amuses others by ridiculous or odd behavior.
On the button I thought