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Primary Industries Feel Besieged by Prospect Of Labour Govt

Published: Tue 22 Aug 2017 12:18 PM
Primary Industries Feel Under Siege As Prospect Of Labour-Led Govt Firms
INSIGHTS ABOUT THE NEWS - The divide between regional and urban politics is being thrown into ever sharpening contrast as the election campaign unfolds. Agricultural industries and rural communities feel under siege in the looming election.
As reported in Trans Tasman's sister publication The Main Report Farming Alert, weeks ago the chances of a Labour-led government seemed unlikely, but now the chance of this happening seems possible with policies which could prove ruinous for NZ’s main export industries.
Labour will tax users of water, including farmers (but not those companies using municipal supplies). Both the Greens and Labour are committed to bringing agriculture into the emissions trading scheme and say the carbon price should be higher. They have not stated how high they want animal emissions to be taxed.
The Greens talk of a cap on dairying, which implies state intervention in land use, with the landowner taking the consequences. There’s speculation a capital gains tax policy will be back on the table, so farmers could not even sell out of a declining business without facing a tax.
Add to this the “regional” petrol tax, which experience shows is spread around the country and rural economies fear taxation which could make marginal businesses unprofitable.
The appeal to urban voters is to paint farmers as “polluters” who should be punished and taxed. The reality is farmers will have to pass on costs in food prices or just go under.
Reported threats from Labour MPs that if farmers complain about their policies it could mean tougher imposts on their businesses is another worrying sign.
Labour seems to be treating agriculture as collateral damage in its bid to win office. If it does win and implements the policy proposed then it may find a scorched earth ahead of it.
Trans Tasman’s sister publication, The Main Report Farming Alert, is a weekly source providing you with in-depth news, analysis and opinion on NZ’s agriculture sectors.

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