A giant chicken was handing out ﬂiers today on Lambton Quay. And from what I know from watching Family Guy (left), giant chickens are not safe. You can wind up having a massive ﬁght with them.
It turns out the giant chicken—OK, a guy in a chicken suit—was campaigning for an animal action group, the Wellington Animal Rights’ Network. ‘Over 2·5 million hens suffer inside battery cages in NZ,’ read the ﬂier’s headline.
I thought it was a ﬂier to promote the purchase of non-battery eggs, which I have been buying for some time. I’ve seen the prices fall as more consumers become clued up. But the battery-egg people know about this. By rebranding their eggs as ‘Farm Fresh’ or ‘Country Fresh’, consumers have been fooled—I know, as my father was one—into thinking they are non-battery.
It had a bit more. It told us that the Green Party’s Sue Kedgley rightly has a bill in Parliament, the Consumers’ Right to Know (Food Information) Bill, that will legislate so that battery hen farmers will have to label their products accordingly. We were to write to our local MPs to get them to support the Bill.
That would have been the end of the post till I discovered that Ms Kedgley’s bill is the one designed also to ﬁght the New Zealand Government’s proposal to end country-of-origin labelling for food.
Yes, you read this correctly. After all the great social policies espoused at the time of the 1999 election, Labour is even further to the right than the right-wing parties on these issues, selling out their voters.
Oops, didn’t I say this in the 1980s?
Ending country-of-original labelling is the opposite to the global trend, which is to inform consumers. The government’s move seeks to deceive consumers to make less healthy choices in food. GE crops, food laced with chemicals—things New Zealanders say they do not want. We expected the government to act accordingly. The Australian government has—in fact, Kiwis selling there have to comply with strict country-of-origin labels.
Ms Kedgley said in a press release:
The Government’s astonishing stance has been taken in spite of the Australia–New Zealand food policy-setting body announcing this week in a policy directive that it supports mandatory country of origin labelling of food. At present the labelling is mandatory only in Australia, under a temporary arrangement, and voluntary in New Zealand.
Ms Kedgley said she understood our Minister of Food Safety Annette King had voted against this policy directive at the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council meeting in Sydney on Monday.
“Ofﬁcials have told me that not only did Ms King vote against the policy directive, but that the New Zealand Government intends to keep ﬁghting the introduction of mandatory labelling in this country, and may even opt out of any future joint standard on the issue,” Ms Kedgley said.
“It is scandalous our Government is opposing our right to know what is in the food we eat and where it comes from—particularly when New Zealanders eat a greater proportion of imported food per head of population than most OECD countries.”
In the months I have blogged, New Zealanders have seen in the news:
• the Minister of Finance, Dr Michael Cullen, telling Japanese investors not to buy New Zealand dollars in the same month certain bonds had to be paid, thereby collapsing the Kiwi dollar from around US$0·7 to US$0·62 so goods cost more;
• a coming free-trade deal with Red China;
• now, the relaxing of country-of-origin labelling requirements.
These all point at one thing: doing Kiwis out of jobs and keeping as many New Zealanders in the dark about “buying foreign” as possible. They favour those who want to source cheap goods from Red China and work in US dollars. Their US dollar holdings are worth more, allowing them to buy more products from an unelected state with a questionable human rights’ record, and sell products made by Chinese workers for 15 to 22 cents an hour to New Zealanders.
I am an exporter. I make royalty income as well, all in US dollars. I do bloody well out of the currency losing its value. I should shut up.
But not when I know I am one of the very few exporters, working in a country where the government has actively discouraged exports. I get no emails from Positively Wellington Business, a fact which thoroughly surprised a journalist today. I get no responses from New Zealand Trade & Enterprise’s Wellington ofﬁces, whether I phone, email, write or make personal requests (and I have to deal with another city). I have had friends, who actually do get answers from T&E, to outsource their production away from New Zealanders and into Asia. First-hand, I know Labour’s policy is to discourage exports as much as possible, no matter what they say.
Given that Labour wants New Zealand to be a net importer—I mean, it has had seven years to show me otherwise, and the balance of trade ﬁgures should show that—then a weak currency will only serve to make things less affordable for New Zealanders.
I do not believe dealing with Red China sends the right signals, when we should be ﬁrmer on its conduct. And creating the potential to misinform consumers goes totally against our desire in the 21st century for transparency. Food ﬁrst; what next?
To Labour voters, I ask if supporting right-wing fat cats was what you envisaged when you cast your vote in 2005. Because these policies only help importers who want to destroy Kiwi jobs.
You can do something about it. Write to your local MP and ask them to support Sue Kedgley’s bill.
I never thought I’d see the day when I’d blog about supporting a Green bill, but there you have it. I have to say the lady is right and the government is wrong. In fact, the government makes us a laughing stock among western countries on these issues.
I say we get some balance and sense back in to the country. As an exporter, show me a bit of respect by helping me give my fellow countrymen jobs, lower my taxes, and let the currency go down when we are good and ready to deal with it. By all means, let us have free trade, with lower tariff barriers—but when we are ready, as a nation, to capitalize on it.
Oh, Prime Minister, Ministers, I said as a nation. Not as a bunch of rich fat asses in a boardroom. If you want to keep your jobs, note that there is a difference. The former group is the one who put you in your jobs, and we sure as heck can take them away from you. (Only thing is, who can we vote for? Beats the crap out of me. Miss Clark and Dr Cullen might yet have the last laugh. But not before generating a lot more poverty by their term’s end.)
Del.icio.us tags: New Zealand | exporters | jobs | animal rights | consumer | transparency | genetic engineering | poverty | politics | policy | globalization | patriotism Posted by Jack Yan, 08:30
Hmm, thanks Jack, for making me think beyond my art world. makes me think I should perhaps paint my protests someday too!
I don't always side with MS Sue... but in this matter... I do.
I think more NZ politics opinion peices should have Family Guy ties ins.
And who DO we vote for? sheesh.
There is a Family Guy tie-in to every situation in politics. Dan, we might have to start our own party. I did it once (99 MP Party) …
Amanda, I think you should paint whatever you are inspired by. As to Sue, I wonder if I am confusing her with another Green MP. Who is that one who goes nuts at protests? Is it her?
Crap, I got her mixed up with Sue Bradford. These Green MPs don’t get enough of a proﬁle in the MSM—I need to go back into my post to correct this.
Good to see a few others sacrifice a couple of dollars to free a few chickens ;-)
Its always nice to see the Greens playing in the area they do well.
They would probably double their vote overnight if they declared that they were only going to stick to their environmental policies.
There is no reason a green party has to be left leaning. And less for it to be the Socialist extreme found in this country.
Bought some free-range, free-roaming-laid, SPCA-approved eggs today. I agree, IIQ, and have been writing about social responsibility in a capitalist system for years—‘moral globalization’, I call it.
I imagine why the Greens attract an extreme-left faction is that this bunch has nowhere else to go politically; plus the way the party is presented, it can only attract this lot. The problems are propagated with each new member and the party keeps fulﬁlling its image … It’s a pity, because I consider myself to be environmentally conscious, but not someone who agrees with everything the Greens say.
Agreeing with everything isn't necesarily a problem - as a (generally) ACT supporter I definately don't support everything that Rodney says ;-)
But at least I don't see around half the policies proposed as being probably disasterous to our future.
Whereas with the Greens although many of their policies would be good - there are at least as many calamatous ones. And the thing that is irritating is that the truely bad ones aren't normally necessary for their position as a Green party. They could just cull them and still get the support they do (plus some...)
Good point, IIQ. What they really need is decent leadership. Fitzsimons is a nice lady, but not a media ﬁgure; the late Rod Donald, with respect, seemed to be more the tough guy with glasses image-wise. Neither inspired me as a regular Joe.
Being a Confucianist, a libertarian party would be closest to me philosophically, though Mr Hyde’s predecessors irritated the heck out of me (after having met Richard Prebble, and I didn’t get a good vibe). I don’t know that much about the ACT party today—the old American rule was that a hairless guy would always lose a seat against a guy with hair, something that did not apply in Epsom …
To pull out the "hair rule" you must also be a Scott Adams reader :-p
It is worth checking out ACT's policies again then - The battle between Prebble and Hyde really was the battle between the Capitalist and Libertarian sides of the party - with Hyde representing the Libertarians.
Their policies have moved alot towards that since the Prebble days (who also gave me the creeps) although they have found it hard to shake off the media image of a hard line capitalist party.
Thanks for that, IIQ. I have a bit more respect for Hide now that you’ve explained where the guy’s coming from. He never got that much air time so I never knew. Douglas and Prebble turned me off that party majorly, to the point where I would not even consider it, so I may have mentally blocked out all ACT messages.
Struth, the guy has been blogging heaps: www.rodneyhide.com/.
I thought everyone knew about Rodney Hides blog by now, most especially because its on my blogroll ;-)
Another interesting ACT blog is from Lindsay Mitchell - although she tends to focus more on the welfare state:
I was very turned off ACT as it used to spam us—one of our Lucire addresses in Texas used to get Prebble’s letter. No idea why, so we can only assume it was illegally harvested. A lot of ACT petitions requested email addresses, I noticed. So any online communications that it might have never register that strongly with me. I mentally block them out.
I'd like to share Jeanette Fitzsimons' quote about where the Greens are on the political left to right continuum:Post a Comment
"Does it matter if you are sitting on the left or the right of the bus when it is heading over a cliff?"
It's worth thinking about.
# posted by Anonymous: 6/17/2006 08:42:00 AM
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