Home' Straight Furrow 70th Anniversary : Dec 19 2011 Contents Straight Furrow • December 19, 2011 19
STRAIGHT FURROW CELEBRATING 70 YEARS -- THE 1970s
EARLY 1970s Prime Minister
Norman Kirk expected the same
attributes of farmers as he
expected of himself ... more hard work
Farmers came to see him in his short
tenure as a very special kind of prime
minister with a rural background and
understanding of the aspirations and
problems of farmers.
In 1974, the year of his untimely
death, he gave an interview outlining
his view of agriculture.
He said he did not believe farm input
prices had risen and that farmers'
opposition to a proposed Meat
Reference Price Scheme was unthink-
ing and perhaps even unselfish.
He was also an advocate of competi-
tion, as were most New Zealand farm-
ers, and also saw salvation in more
hard work and productivity with which
he said most farmers would agree.
"Nobody likes to have any interven-
tion that affects what they can get.
"But the farmer needs to ponder. He
is inclined to complain when the man-
ufacturer puts his price up because of
an increase in costs and the manufac-
turer is being belaboured for that . . .
because he has an increase in costs he
has an increase in price.
"But the farmers put up the price
due to the facts that had no relation to
the cost of production. He was not put-
ting the price up for the kiwi consumer
because his costs had gone up, he was
could do better in the external market.
"And there is a distinction between
the two -- one that I am sure troubled a
lot of farmers who think about the
issue as I do.
"If the price of meat falls in the
export market, wages won't fall; so in a
way by resisting some more moderate
price level in the New Zealand market,
the farmer ensured greater difficulty
for himself when that happened."
Mr Kirk said he would be glad when
the whole price control structure in
force at the time could "jettisoned".
"I would be the happiest man in New
Zealand if the economic conditions
difficulty with price control is that
there are so many variations of trade,
even in the same field, and to try and
devise a single rule that covers all the
varieties is very difficult.
"But some price control is necessary
and we faced up to that," he said. "I
think it is having an effect and a bene-
ficial one at that but on the other hand
it is not wholly satisfactory
• The whole nation was stunned
when Norman Kirk died on August 31,
1974, aged 51. Straight Furrow printed
one of the most remarkable editorials
in its history on the event.
IN February 1972 farmers were due
to begin receiving an advance pay-
ment of two-thirds of their sheep
retention grant. This was to be based
on flock sizes as at June 30 the previ-
Straight Furrow reported that farmers
who did not take advantage of this
advance payment would lose the tax
advantage of having the amount
spread over two years.
Any adjustment necessary because of
a change in flock numbers would be
made when the final payment was allo-
cated after June 30, 1972.
The advance payment application
forms were to be sent to over 30,000
sheep farmers and advance payment
would only be made to those who com-
pleted the form.
The payments would be made by
direct credit to the farmer's bank
account or two his seasonal financier
and the system was designed to make
sure farmers got the money as quickly
Payments would be made on sheep
of all descriptions and not confined to
The payments were to be $1 a head
where flocks were between 250 and
5000, a further 60c a head in excess of
5000 and up to 10,000 and at 20c a
head on numbers over 10,000 with no
payment for the first 250 sheep in any
At the same time, the Dominion presi-
dent of Federated Farmers, Alec Begg,
praised the Government's action in
deciding on the sheep retention grant.
Although he was not altogether
happy that meat industry funds were
being used for the aid "in the circum-
stances, we feel that the need is so
urgent we have to accept it".
He accepted that the aid system did
not do anything to create relativity
with other sectors but would greatly
help normal farm management such as
top dressing for the remainder of the
Commenting on the fact that the first
250 sheep in a flock would be exclud-
ed in the payment scheme, Mr Begg
said that any farmer keeping such a
small number could not really be
called a sheepfarmers, so this did not
He predicted a real headache when
the Agricultural Production Council
had to decide the terms of long term
aid to farmers.
"There will be some social as well as
economic problems to be solved.
"Farmers with large families are not
going to like being told to move off
"They won't be forced to leave their
farms but it could be the best thing for
Sheep retention grant big news
Kirk promotes hard
work and productivity
President, NZ National
READ, VALUED, TRUSTED, SINCE 1941
1941 -- 2011
"Straight Furrow and NZ Rural Press have been aligned with New Zealand
National Agricultural Fieldays for many years. Not only does NZ Rural Press pro-
duce and print the exceptional Official Fieldays Programme and Fieldays Focus,
but Straight Furrow is also a sponsor of the Innovation Competition, helping
kiwi's realise the potential of their back yard inventions. We thank the team for
their contribution to Fieldays and support of our event and look forward to many
more years of partnership."
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