At Federated Farmers we have 24 presidents covering our provinces. We are on the ground across New Zealand and in the face of decision makers…
Winding up our series of Q&As with new provincial presidents, we check in with SCOTT ADAMS, who shares his views and experiences now that he is settled into his role as the Marlborough Federated Farmers provincial president.
What is your background in farming and where do you farm?
I’m a sixth generation farmer on the same piece of dirt that was settled by my forebears in 1851 on the north bank of the Wairau River in Marlborough. My parents and siblings are still involved. It’s a diverse operations system as we have sheep and beef, viticulture, honey, plantation forestry and permanent forest sink initiative (PFSI). Safe to say it keeps me busy.
Why Federated Farmers?
It’s a united voice for farmers’ concerns and issues. Federated Farmers is ultimately the farmers’ union and stands in to represent farmers on a wide range of topics in the policy and advocacy space. This is a big job that individual farmers wouldn’t be able to accomplish with the same level of detail achieved by the policy experts working on our behalf. We just wouldn’t have the time. Feds does a lot of work in the background on central and local government issues that have significant beneficial impacts on all farmers whether they are members or not. So that is why it’s my belief that all farmers should be members. The beauty of the organisation is that you can be involved or just keep on farming knowing that someone is fighting on your behalf. All farmers – and society in general – need to have the philosophy of united we stand, divided we fall.
What has being a provincial president shown you so far?
I’ve found that Feds does a huge amount of work on their members’ behalf at all levels and that work often goes unnoticed.
What are the top three National issues on your mind?
The bureaucratic erosion and lack of respect for private property rights is a big one. With all the ongoing legislation, property rights are dying a death by a thousand cuts. The majority of farmers, myself included, absolutely recognise the need to look after the environment. However, this should be happening in tandem with ensuring businesses and individuals can succeed and flourish.
The ongoing growing divisions that are showing up in New Zealand society is another big issue. This is of grave concern because misunderstanding and antagonism solves nothing and NZ will end up going back towards a society that all our forebears came to NZ to escape.
Then there’s the speed of all the new legislation and regulations coming out from central government. Rushed law is bad law and all the unintended consequences that go with it ultimately cause more issues that what they were trying to remedy.
What are the top three Regional issues on your mind?
- The Marlborough District Council representation review. It’s important that there’s enough opportunity for people in the region to be represented appropriately. We sent in our submission at the end of October and are still waiting on consultation results.
- The ongoing repair to public and private infrastructure from the July storm and flood. This is going to take a lot of time, probably 12-24 months, and a significant amount of resources to get back to some form of normality of pre-flood standards.
- The splitting up of Marlborough’s three water assets in the proposed new Three Waters management entities is also a big concern. This will have a big effect on the Marlborough District Council’s asset values and there would be a removal of accountability to rate payers.
What’s the message to rural communities about these issues?
Stand united and don’t become divided. Even when we disagree on things, most of the time we all want the same outcomes. There is more than one way to skin a cat, so there needs to be open, robust discussions and we will get there in the end.
If you were in charge of central government tomorrow, what would you do?
Cut the amount of red tape encountered by all members of the community.
Respect private property rights for both urban and rural communities.
Encourage and promote self-reliance and self-responsibility.
Maintain a small and efficient central and local government bureaucracy. It is the taxpayer and ratepayer that ultimately has to fund it.
Stop the division of New Zealanders into groups.
Continue engagement with our key security and trading partners.