Newshub Nation: Fieldays political roundup with Labour's Chris Hipkins, National's Christopher Luxon, ACT's Andrew Hoggard and The Green Party's James Shaw

Fieldays is the event of the year for the farming community and election year raises the stakes even higher.

Hoping to win back the rural hearts it lost last election, National arrived in Hamilton with policy announcements, ACT matched their energy with an outsized billboard, and there was the traditional, more muted, local response to Labour.

Newshub Nation's Simon Shepherd went to Hamilton to catch up with the politicians making an appearance while the future of farming is caught up in a cloud of uncertainty.

Climate change, emissions, and a recession are all on the minds of the 140,000 visitors and one relatively new Labour Prime Minister. 

"By and large, I think the people here are passionate about what they do and they want to talk about what they're doing and I'm all ears," Chris Hipkins said.

"I'm keen to hear about it."

Fieldays is a prime rural voter opportunity and National's Chris Luxon was busy spreading the blue word. 

Luxon said, "Oh, people are always very friendly. Yeah. I get well treated around the country. It's nice".

National has promised to delay making farmers pay for methane emissions by another five years. 

Luxon claimed this was not done in a cynical way. 

"When you impose an emissions pricing regime without an ability for farmers to actually, you know, reduce their own emissions, the risk is that you end up moving that production that feeds 40 million people around the world offshore to other places.  

"You make greenhouse gas emissions worse and you destroy the New Zealand economy and make Kiwis poorer," Luxon said. 

Luxon is confident that the sector will have the technology required to deliver on methane targets by 2030. 

Hipkins said Labour has "been really clear that we do need to be pricing emissions in the primary sector. 

"We think that a partnership approach is the way that we do that. He Waka Eke Noa is about bringing all of the players together and designing a system that works. 

"We don't want to defer that for potentially another decade, which seems to be what the National Party are proposing. 

"I just don't think there's any leadership in there at all. 

"Sometimes your role as political leaders is to lead, and I don't think they're showing any leadership in the climate change space."

He Waka Eke Noa did have bipartisan support until National pulled out, but Labour is still trying to seal the deal. 

Shepherd also spoke to a number of rural Kiwis attending the event and was met with a variety of opinions about how things were going.

"The economy is pretty well naked, really. So you're getting run by a bunch of twits," said one man. 

"I wouldn't be voting Labour either. I mean, they just pissed me off," said another. 

However, one man said, "I think we'd be stupid to change".

"The thing is that National is promising things, but in the past, they haven't really worked through for the whole of the country. 

"It may work for them, but not the whole country," he said. 

National's rural vote could be further split - not with Labour but with ACT, with the smaller Opposition party sensing a prime opportunity.

Fieldays was a comfortable home crowd for the new ACT candidate, former Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard, who explained the party's emissions policy in simple terms. 

"Our policy is if the rest of the world is going to do stuff, we will do likewise. But the rest of the world, they're focused on doing stuff that supports their farmers. 

"No other country is focused on how can we penalize our farmers?" said Hoggard.

"We have the lowest emissions footprint in the world, we don't need to go and tax our farmers when countries that have lower, higher footprints than us aren't even considering it. They're only looking at helping their farmers."

Luxon said he is not hung up on ACT stealing votes from National. 

He said "It's really about the fact that we're thinking about agriculture. We want it to be hugely successful for the next 50 years. We know it can be."

Finally, Shepherd caught up with Green Party co-leader James Shaw, who was attending Fieldays for the ninth time. 

With National's emissions policy seemingly popular, Shaw was surprisingly upbeat.

"The people who I talk to who are involved in the industry here would much rather there was some kind of bipartisan consensus so that they had some sort of certainty or predictability, no matter who's in Government," he said. 

Hipkins said that he's "hopeful that we can continue to make progress". 

"I think there is still a commitment to making progress and we'll keep working on that."

Asked about his comments earlier in the week, Luxon said, "I think the Labour Government's incredibly wet and whiney and I think it blames everyone but itself for its very poor performance."

Watch the full video for more. 

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