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Auckland ‘Super City' must super size the farmers

Media Release
30 March 2009

Auckland ‘Super City' must super size the farmers

The recommendation by the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance to create Australasia's largest local authority is a bold step into the future, but urban domination must not impact the viability of farm businesses.

"Federated Farmers is broadly supportive of local government consolidation in Auckland,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President and local government spokesperson.

“While Federated Farmers works hard advocating for farmers and rural communities, farmers need good elected representatives. Queen Street will no doubt get another makeover but where farming fits in the new Auckland’s priorities is of real concern.”

While the Federation is still analysing the report in detail, it broadly supports what the Royal Commission recommended for the existing regional council, the four cities and the urban centres in Papakura and Rodney. From the Federation’s perspective, this is a natural pairing of similar urban communities. The Federation wished to see a cohesive and planned approach for local government, if the Auckland model became the spark for national reform.

"With 86 percent of New Zealanders living in our towns and cities, there’s real potential for tyranny of the urban majority if wider reform is not consistent,” Mr Nicolson continued.

"Farmers may only be a very small part of the general population but they directly generate 64 percent of everything New Zealand sells to the world. Agricultural productivity has outstripped every other part of the economy for much of the last 27 years and its GDP contribution grew, rather than fell, in the last quarter of 2008.

“Farming is New Zealand’s future and a unified Auckland council needs to understand that economic reality. Real power will reside with the urban majority and not the proposed local councils.

“Rural areas are not urban playgrounds to be ‘protected’, but productive working landscapes vital to New Zealand’s economic future, keeping much of urban New Zealand in a job.

“Federated Farmers looks forward to working with central and local government in implementing the thrust of the Royal Commission report. After all, its true what the Royal Commission said, what happens in Auckland matters for the whole of New Zealand,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

ENDS

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