Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Nicolson speech to Telford Polytechnic


21 November 2008

Don Nicolson speech to Telford Rural Polytechnic graduands at 1.00pm

Stand tall. Take pride in being a farmer as your future starts right here, right now.

I would like to acknowledge the Chief Executive, staff and members of Telford's Board of Management, for giving me the privilege of honouring your hard work today.

I am a little awed at being here for my motto, many years ago, at school and college, was not dissimilar to that of Mark Twain's:

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."

To the graduates of Telford Rural Polytechnic you are the future and what an exciting future awaits you in the years ahead.

This ceremony is not the beginning of the end for your education. Rather, it is just the end of the beginning. We farmers never cease learning.

Some of you will go onto higher education. Others will embrace life's university and build a practical career.

Whatever you do, here and abroad, you have been the beneficiary of an excellent academic foundation at Telford.

While your friends may have gone onto study law, accountancy, commerce or medicine, you have embraced the farming profession.

For we are a profession. A profession with many exciting arms.

Forestry, agriculture, equine, bee keeping, grains and seeds as well as agribusiness.

We are all farmers. Farmers whose commitment to the land generates the wealth that keeps our country afloat.
As farmers, it is often easy to play down what we do and what we achieve.

I wish you, when you return to your farms and homes to go away with one single thought. One single proposition.

Farmers are the founders of civilisation.

"When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers are the founders of human civilisation."

That was written 144 years ago by Daniel Webster and how true it is.

Without safe, reliable and wholesome food nothing would be possible. Not literature, not music, not art, not science, not engineering. Nothing.

Our labours and those of our forbears created the climate for communities to form and for learning to flourish.

We are the founders and maintainers of human civilisation.

You are now about to embark on varied careers in New Zealand's most dynamic and progressive profession. Agriculture.

Agriculture is the undisputed backbone of our economy.

65% of everything we sell to the world comes from the land and the sea. If we include mineral exploration, that reaches a massive 75% of New Zealand's total exports.

Three quarters of New Zealand's wealth is generated by a mere 14% of its population.

Now if that doesn't give you bragging rights with your urban cousins, I don't know what will!

In 1985, before many of you were born, New Zealand agriculture abandoned subsidies to live in a world where we made our own way, under our own steam.

At the time many, including a rather famous ex-Prime Minister, predicted the death knell for our great profession.

Yet we resilient, canny, efficient and entrepreneurial farmers responded with verve and gusto the world had never seen before.

Let me explain it like this.

For 25 of the last 27 years, New Zealand agriculture has outperformed every single sector of the New Zealand economy.

When times got tough, we got tougher. When things got better, we got even better. That's the farming way.

You may be joining our great profession at a time when the world economy is uncertain. But don't be uncertain about your future. Not for a single moment

We are engaged in life itself.

We farm in a world where 800 million people are hungry right now. A world where global food reserves are at their lowest for nearly 35 years. A world that has 80 million new mouths joining it each and every year.

The future of New Zealand is farming in a world that needs more food and not less.

While we await the wall of subsidies to fall around the world, they will fall like dominos. This will create new market opportunities for you that I can only dream of.

While we face many challenges ahead you will have no regrets for the choice you made to study here at Telford.

From all your colleagues in the farming profession and from Federated Farmers I salute you and welcome you.

Stand tall. Take pride in being a farmer as your future starts right here, right now.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

.

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election