Are we low-hanging fruit?

by Matt King, Member of Parliament for Northland

Recently National’s spokesperson for climate change biosecurity and agriculture Todd Muller and I held a series of public meetings throughout the Northland electorate. Our intent was to listen to what you have to say about the state of politics in our nation and the issues that concern you.

Our electorate has many diverse communities, but it quickly became clear to Todd and to me that there is a ground-swell of deep concern as to where this government is taking us — the track the government is taking us down.

That track, you told us, is taking us too often to the farm gate.

You told us that those in the rural communities feel they are being singled out by this government. Measures such as the Zero Carbon Bill and Water Quality Consultation are unfairly skewed toward the rural community as if we are the chief pollution culprits.

We are not; cities are.

On the water quality issue, this government has come up with a totally unworkable one standard fits all, that does not take into account the unique characteristics of our rural communities — yet does virtually nothing to address big city polluters. Carbon emissions seem to be the sole domain of cows, according to the government. Their solution? Get rid of the cows and plant trees.

Thank goodness for Todd Muller, who was able to address these real concerns and to give clear concise solutions.

Unfortunately, none of these solutions can be enacted while we remain in opposition, and we can only hope that not too much damage is done in the meantime.

The most prevalent question at those meetings remains unanswered — why is this government picking on rural communities?

I don’t have an answer to that, but I have a view. First, I don’t think they understand the farming sector.

That, I guess, is a given. Second, and far more insidious, is that they find us an easy target.

Low-hanging fruit. No votes to be gained here.

Well, let me tell this government that if they persist on taking us down the track they are, this particular fruit will come back to bite them.