so fonterra threw a party yesterday, in several places around the country. there were free concerts, handouts of free food, and a general good time to be had by all. particularly well-timed given the RWC vitory. they were aided and assisted by farmers.
i didn't attend, on principle. given it was a blatant PR exercise, trying to counter the bad publicity they & the farming sector have been getting regarding the price of milk in nz. possibly trying to bridge the gap between town & country.
it's not that i have any problem per se with a PR exercise. i do have a problem with it when the underlying situation hasn't changed. i resent the implication that a free ice cream and a free sausage is supposed to make me forget about:
1. the high prices of dairy products;
2. the lack of policing of dirty dairying - see the auditor general's report here:
Based on my detailed monitoring data, I conclude that Waikato Regional Council and Environment Southland are not adequately managing the causes of non-point source discharges in their regions. In both regions, significant intensification of land use (dairy farming) has meant more pressure on freshwater quality. The current regulatory and non-regulatory methods, and how they are being implemented in these regions, are not enough to reduce the known risks to freshwater quality. Both councils are trying to tackle the challenges of non-point source discharges and their cumulative effects, and there are some signs of improvement, but there is still significant work to be done.
but most damaging is this:
With regard to enforcing compliance with regional rules and resource consent conditions, I was concerned to note that councillors in all the regional councils had some involvement either in deciding whether the council should prosecute or in investigating a case once the decision to prosecute had been made. There are strong and longstanding conventions against elected officials becoming involved in prosecution decisions. All investigation and enforcement decisions on individual matters should be delegated to council staff for an independent decision.
3. the fuss federated farmers are making at the idea of having to pay a fair price for their water usage,
4. and the constant push by the agricultural sector to have the taxpayer pay for their carbon emissions. they've been particularly successful with this under this current government, putting off their entry to the emissions trading scheme until 2015.
what is consistent is their expectation that the public of this country pay the environmental costs of their business while they personally reap the benefits of the high prices. or as the saying goes, socialise the costs, privatise the profits. i really don't see how throwing a party is supposed to make us forget about all of that.
a quick link: you really should have a look at this.