A survey on New Zealanders’ views on the primary sector shows the rural-urban disconnect may not be as marked as some commentators believe.
The broad survey conducted for the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in October 2017, in the heat of election campaigning and with ‘farmer bashing’ high on some politicians’ and lobby groups’ agendas, found a drop in positivity about pastoral farming among both urban and rural respondents.
“It’s hardly surprising given the political climate at the time,” Federated Farmers National President Katie Milne said.
“It appears we’re united in our determination to do even more to continue to strive for improvements in water quality. Double the number of both city and country folk see water quality as our most significant issue when compared to a similar survey done in 2008, after-all we are all in this together,”
The primary sector otherwise, was still viewed as a significant contributor to the wider economy with 2/3 of respondents believing the country is better off when farmers are going well.
The report also notes that positive views towards the dairy sector are still twice as high as negative ones.
Federated Farmers meanwhile is impressed that urban folk share farmers concerns about such issues as biosecurity incursions and the need for more education and awareness around prevention.
Farmers would also take heart in the report’s findings towards their activities and licence to operate.
“The report considers that the primary sector currently earns its ‘social licence to operate’ by providing employment opportunities, economic stability and food for New Zealanders,” says Katie.
Source: Federated Farmers