Farming And Coronavirus
Currently New Zealand is looking down the barrel of a massive health crisis and equally as bad economic crisis due to the advent of the Coronavirus.
New Zealand farming has over the last couple of years under the current government has been berated, belittled & blamed for almost all of the pollution problems that we are facing as a country.
This coalition government has produced many polices aimed at the farmers of New Zealand that are supposedly going to fix all of the problems that we have with pollution of our land & waterways and protection of our national indigenous biodiversity.
In the latest Budget Policy Statement this government talks about transitioning away from reliance on agriculture and in fact they talk about having 20% less land used for sheep and beef production by the year 2035 (1.3 million hectares less).
The tourism industry which has been one of the supposed new mainstays of the New Zealand economy is now losing 350 million dollars a week.
We have allowed and even in some cases promoted prime pastoral land to be sold to overseas owners to be planted in pine trees as carbon sinks.
This government has promoted freshwater policies around farming and horticulture that will effectively end up resulting in the 20% reduction in pastoral farming as stated, and end up costing this country our ability to both feed our own population and pay our overseas debts.
Whether we like it or not we still rely on the agricultural industries exporting food and fibre to generate approximately 70% of our country’s income.
Well! What a difference a little virus makes in the scheme of things.
We have now seen in the space of little more than a week, the tourism industry die, the overseas student industry die, the log export industry die, etc.
Suddenly just about all we have left once industry shuts down and tourism crumbles completely is the farmers.
The farmers that our coalition government has put under huge stress, to the stage where they have been committing suicide at a terrible rate.
The farmers that get up at 5:00 am to milk their cows so you have your milk and butter for breakfast. The farmers that work tirelessly on the hill country day in day out during all weathers to make sure their beef and lamb is the best quality before it reaches the shelves.
The farmers who are struggling with the ridiculous polices that are coming in relation to farming.
They have in many cases been farming their land for generations producing food more efficiently and more environmentally friendly than anywhere else in the world.
The farmers that this current coalition government has made to feel like they are the cause of the problem in relation to pollution when in fact most of them have been improving their environmental footprints for many years.
The farming industries have never been asking for a free ride in relation to the environment but just to be given a “fair go”.
To be allowed to have time to improve without being bankrupted.
We have always agreed with the objective of having clean waterways but have been objecting to the proposed methods to achieve this, when they are likely to send many farmers bankrupt due to the very short timeframes for enactment.
Well what a difference a week (and a Coronavirus) makes...
Isn’t it funny how things change so fast and suddenly we need the farmers more than ever. Not only do we need them for their export earnings but also for the ability to guarantee security of food supply for the nation.
As you sit down for a meal and wonder how we are going to get through this crisis, take a look at the food on your plate and be thankful for the farmers who have produced that food.
Those same farmers will get up tomorrow and keep on producing food for us and the world and as the main stay of our economy we should remember those old sayings. ‘Never bite the hand that feeds’ - and ‘you reap what you sow.’
Even with the whole country on lock down the farmers will still get up and go out and work for this country like they have always done.
We will get through this crisis but we are going to need the farmers more than we have ever needed them before. They will keep the supermarkets full and be the ones exporting our produce worldwide and returning ever so needed overseas earnings to our country.
Overall remember farming is still the backbone of New Zealand and we are not asking for a free ride just a “FAIR GO”.