GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – Bullshit and Hunger


The government’s proposed law change to keep agriculture out of the Emissions Trading Scheme has passed its first reading.

So what did Climate Minister Simon Watts (pictured) say about this Bill in his speech?

Did he argue it was a really bad idea because the most recent inventory published by Ministry For The Environment revealed our greenhouse emissions have increased by 21% over the last decade ? Did he point to the line at the top of that report that says :

“The major contributors were methane from an increase in dairy cattle numbers and carbon dioxide from road transport.”


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Here’s what our Climate Change Minister said in parliament.

“It actually supports farmers…Agriculture is the backbone of the New Zealand economy, it contributes 81 percent of goods exported and New Zealand-grown produce feeds over 40 million people worldwide.”

So much for this government promise of evidence- based policies!

But putting aside for the moment the irresponsibility of this Bill with regard to Climate change, the above statement by Watts is an official admission of something I raised in my Inside Child Poverty Revisited documentary .

We are a nation of just over 5 million people . If , as you say we are producing “over 40 million people world wide ,“ Minister Watts , then why do we have so many food banks? Why are so many of us going hungry?

The answer, Minister, lies in your political ideology that holds we will all be better off if the rich are allowed to get richer because wealth trickles down.

Well, 40 years of neoliberalism has demonstrated that’s a lie. Wealth doesn’t trickle down it sticks with wealthy.

Hunger is not OK Minister.

Pretending there is no increase in the floods and fires we are experiencing is not OK Minister.

And negating our duty to our children and grandchildren to leave the world a better place than we found it is not OK Minister.

In short – Money does not come first Minister. The well-being of the people you were elected to serve comes first.



Bryan Bruce is one of New Zealand’s most important and respected documentary makers. His work is available on


  1. Believe trickle down floats all boats, if you like, but you have to accept all it does is drown the poor who can’t afford the ticket of life jackets.

  2. That “agriculture” doesn’t pollute evenly though does it Mr Watts. Also why is it an issue excuse to pull out the backbone bollocks. Taxing omissions doesn’t end farming FFS. This government is a f’ing joke.

  3. If we are feeding 40 million people world wide where is the evidence of those meals being shipped out of NZ .That is a crock of shit .We export bulk milk powder cheese ,butter and meat along with a few logs .All sold at the lowest value posable because they are sold as commodity not finished value added meals .Agriculture does not make up 80% of the value of GDP .iT WAS 60% BACK IN THE 1960S BUT IS NOW LESS THAN 20% .If ag is 80% of our product exported then clearly the value has plumeted per kg .I get sick of hearing how farming is the back bone of NZ WHILE THE LAST 50 YEARS HAVE SEEN A DRAMATIC DECLINE in the real $ value .Flying in tourists is nearly earning as much and may well take over from farming in the next decade .

    • Good Go.rdon what great facts – light them up in neon! Ag only 20% of GDP value. A large part of our output is services, ie financial, isn’t it? The goblins come in the night and bleed us like old-time medics. How long can this go on? How long can we still function and be active?

  4. Good points made by Bryan. Food Banks funding being cut, school lunches being reduced to $3 sandwiches and then gone altogether if Act get their way. Obesity on the rise because many people can only afford to eat cheap crap food.

    Food Banks should not be necessary in this land of plenty at all. Food for 40 mill?–joke–and anyway how about feeding everyone of our 5 million first…the obvious problem here is capital and neo liberalism. Thousands are in debt to MSD/WINZ because they had to get grants for food and basic living costs.

  5. Keeping agriculture out of the Emissions Trading Scheme puts the financial burden on the rest of us.

    Countries pay for not meeting their climate commitments. Essentially paying other countries to account for the excess pollution. Therefore, climate harm is being offset.

    It is estimated New Zealand could face a bill of $24 billion in the years leading up to 2030.

    It’s the cost that will be our problem. While mitigating exacerbating inequality.

  6. Well said Brian. Add to that Potakas statement that saving endangered species is too expensive.
    This government doesn’t care about the people of this country it is more interested in selfish policy that only benefits the privileged and those like Ada and Trevor who would like to be in that group.

  7. but gordon WE PAY the overseas processed price for our primary products which is a gigantic con pulled on the nz public

    • gagarin
      You have pinned it and this should be pointed out time and time again. Feed the 40 billion or whoever have bred lately but ‘wot abart the children’ – of NZ/AO?

      My observation for my non-child house – sliced cheese from Denmark I think, separated with thick greaseproof for convenience in packs of 8 slices sell for less than 10 slices in a block made in NZ? I use them in toasted sandwiches for quick nutrition and watch pricing at my supermarket as they are expensive compared to block cheese, but I pay for convenience with no waste There is other choice but I compare the two similar; very obvious that we are paying high prices for Our Own Stuff Manufactured Here.

  8. What Simon? That same old line –
    i>“It actually supports farmers…Agriculture is the backbone of the New Zealand economy, it contributes 81 percent of goods exported and New Zealand-grown produce feeds over 40 million people worldwide.”… Oh blah. Set to music in 1919. ‘How Ya Gonna Keep Them Down on the Farm’…

    At least let us hear some new material, or were you the only one still standing after one of the sessions with the aggrocultural types? The new big farmers like to live in Paris or some attractive urban environment and never stand in a cowpat, just run the thing by internet.

  9. Farmers should go on strike then let things take their course. Like starvation, a lack of money, then the withering then the decaying of urban, logical fallacy cities.
    Farmers by themselves individually are powerless but together, a mighty force and that’s why The Federated Farmers attracts so many Natzo’s. To make sure farmers never, ever realise their independence and strengths because otherwise they’ll be impossible to exploit.
    Two words that farmers must become familiar with. *Machiavellian and **Confederate.
    ** People, in AO/NZ’s case dodgy urban bastards and all bought and paid for farmers united in a common crime. Think bill english?


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