New Zealand does not need to ‘‘be a world first ’’ when responding to climate change, Winston Peters says.
About 200 people attended a NZ First listening tour meeting in Gore on Sunday where party leader Mr Peters spoke on a variety of topics including climate change, education and co-governance.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s reasoning that New Zealand should lead the world with measures to reduce climate change was flawed, Mr Peters said.
‘‘Our farm animals have the lowest carbon footprint in the world.
‘‘Getting rid of our farm animals, in favour of farm animals in other countries with a higher carbon footprint, means the world is going to be worse off.’’
When there were countries including China, Russia, India and the United States not part of the movement to cut emissions why should New Zealand lead the way? Mr Peters said.
‘‘Why are we kidding each other?
‘‘We are sending our country broke.’’
It was unlikely shoppers overseas would pay 35% more for produce because they were ‘‘enraptured by our stance’’.
The country’s rural economy had been the backbone of its prosperity ever since 1882 when refrigerated exports started and should be supported and not undermined, he said.
‘‘When Covid hit this country, in early 2020, together with it’s variants in 2021, and we faced economic hardship, one sector, above all the rest, kept our economy going with exports from our land, sea, and climate advantage.’’
It was not a time for farmers to be cutting food production as in the next 30 years the world would need a 70% increase in the amount of food produced.
‘‘In the next three decades the world is going to need you more than ever.
‘‘In the next three decades your country should need you more than ever.’’
The education system was in ‘‘a mess with truancy at totally unacceptable levels’’.
‘‘There should be no level of acceptable truancy and the system to deal with it is simply pathetic.’’
He did not agree with the co-governance agenda being supported by many politicians.
New Zealand was in danger of becoming a version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, he said.
‘‘A sort of South Pacific Animal Farm where some animals will be more equal than others.
‘‘Whatever our ethnic backgrounds we should nevertheless be New Zealanders first. In the next three decades the world is going to need [farmers] more than ever. In the next three decades your country should need you more than ever. “