Thursday, 14 May 2020 11:51

Frighteningly different priorities — Editorial

Written by  Peter Burke

OPINION: In the cities people are clambering over each other to get the first Big Mac or piece of deep-fried chicken, not to mention a ‘real’ coffee.

So fanatical were some individuals for a fast-food fix that they were stupid enough to risk undoing the good work of the rest of the country by not sticking to the rules of physical distancing. 

Having said that, a few idiot politicians and community leaders have yielded to temptation and broken lockdown rules, setting a poor example.

Their actions are insulting to the rural community – farmer, growers, people who work in meat processing plants, packhouses and other facilities to provide food for these unthinking individuals. And don’t let’s forget all the other essential workers that are the unsung heroes of this crisis.

While some city folk are obsessed with feeding their faces, back on the farm, farmers, their staff and a host of other workers have been focused on feeding the cows and other animals that are suffering as a result of the widespread drought. 

For these people COVID-19 is almost a distraction. Yes, they are fastidiously complying with health and safety rules which add extra time to their day but their focus is on sourcing feed, drying off cows, trying to get culls to the works and wondering what the farm gate milk price might be next year. They are also concerned about labour with world travel stopped at the moment: will they get the staff from overseas who play such an important role on their farms? And, of course, will the bank be kind?

Rural folk – and I don’t just mean farmers – have the added hassle of dealing with poor, sometimes non-existent broadband as they try to obtain goods online, bank online and home-school their children online. City folk use high speed broadband for ordering coffee and pizza.

Unbeknown to most kiwis, how farmers and growers manage their way out of the drought will have a profound impact on NZ’s economic recovery. 

It is encouraging to see the Government putting additional funds this way, but the real dollars need to go the way of broadband. 

This lack of quality connectivity is one of the greatest inhibitors to this recovery and our future.

More like this

Alliance pays back wage subsidy

After being dogged by claims about its entitlement to the wage subsidy, the country’s largest meat processor will now fully pay it back.

Mixed outlook for primary sector

After five years of growth, New Zealand's primary exports are heading for a drop in 2021 - but with a bounce back predicted in 2022.

Remarkable lambing in a challenging year

Despite Covid-19-related processing restrictions and a widespread drought in the first half of 2020, sheep and beef farmers despite achieved a near record 130.3% lambing percentage, slightly lower than spring 2019 where 131% lambing was achieved.


Merlo goes greener

Obviously not wishing to get left behind by some of its competitors, Italian manufacturer Merlo is planning to add to its green-liveried telehandler range- with another set of green credentials in the shape of an all-new, all-electric battery-powered Merlo e-Worker model.


Growing a family legacy

What started with planting some acacia trees 25 years ago has become a multi-generational passion for the Hunt family in Te Awamutu.

Moves to improve winter grazing requirements

DairyNZ says it supports recommendations to the Government from an advisory group looking to improve winter grazing rules for farmers and achieve better environmental outcomes.


Expat workers ready for NZ

Dairy industry recruitment company Rural People Limited is seeing a huge increase in overseas interest to fill New Zealand farming…

Machinery & Products

Kubota ROPS tractors here

Kubota New Zealand product specialist Shaun Monteith says Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) tractors make up 30% of all tractors in…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Dung paint

India now has its own cow dung paint, a world-first. 

Fresh for 60 days

A Queensland-based company is set to release its own production of milk this year that stays fresh for at least…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter