NZ’s primary exports held up well in April, again proving the country’s farming industries are sustaining the economy despite many sectors being stricken by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Almost coincidentally, a UMR probe of public opinion about farming revealed a sharp swing in perception.
Instead of the negativity that had been undermining morale – particularly in the dairy industry, triggered by anti-farming lobby groups which conjured up the slogan “dirty dairying” to turn urban opinion against the industry – the UMR polling showed attitudes have tilted deeper into positive territory.
UMR Research, a skilled operator in its field (better known as the company which does polling for Labour), found in its sampling 63% of those polled had a positive view of sheep and beef farming, a rise of 9% compared with a previous poll on the same issue eight months ago.
Similarly, the perception about dairy farming had also strengthened by 9% , from 51% to 60%.
Horticulture has the top rating of 65%, while fishing clicked over to 53%, up from 47%. Continue reading “Poll finds a growing public appreciation of NZ’s primary exports – and new trade stats underscore their importance”
NZ’s dairy industry has a clear role to play as one of the country’s saviours in the battle to recover from the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic — even if there is little evidence that ministers in the coalition government recognise its importance.
The industry, as it has done so often before, will just have to do it on its own.
Luckily, the giant co-op, Fonterra, has stabilised, after racking up a massive $600m loss last year and there’s a refreshed sense of where the dairy industry stands in the economy’s hierarchy, as other pillars (tourism, international education, air transport, construction) tumble over the pandemic precipice. Morale at the grassroots level is rising again.
So what’s the message for dairy farmers as the 2019-20 season ends and they look ahead to the next? Batten down the hatches or seek to expand production?
It’s not an easy one for many Fonterra suppliers, as they move out of a debilitating drought. But they have the encouragement from the co-op – the payout for the season just ending, though at the lower end of the range earlier signalled, will still be between $7.10 and $7.30kg/MS. That’s above the break-even point, said to be around $5.90. Continue reading “Dairy farmers will be in the vanguard of NZ’s economic recovery – but it looks like they shouldn’t count on much govt help”
London’s Financial Times reports on a struggle within Britain’s cabinet on how much to cut farm tariffs in any US-UK trade deal. It’s not the most edifying reporting – and the economics are even more questionable.
Of course, there’s always artificiality in the briefing of intra-government squabbles. Political slogans predominate and reporters struggle to present the real views of ministers who can be incapable of understanding, let alone articulating, the underlying economic arguments. But here the gap between presentation and reality is truly remarkable. Continue reading “Agriculture a difficult issue in US-UK trade negotiations; what a surprise”
What’s to celebrate in the wake of the crushing blow to the economy delivered by the Covid-19 pandemic?
Certainly it’s a relief NZ has emerged less scarred than other countries. Whether the country absorbed more economic pain than was necessary will be debated fiercely.
As ministers begin the search to fill the economic hole left by the collapse of the tourist industry and by permanent damage – perhaps – to sectors like international education, PM Jacinda Ardern says she wants “specific” and “ specially designed” initiatives for different industries.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson, in talking of the government’s “strong recovery plan”, says all ministers have been tasked with reaching out to their sector to help develop this plan. Deputy PM Winston Peters believes the fragility of the highly interconnected global economy has been exposed, and NZ must become more self-reliant. Continue reading “Food producers can do without the green shackles when they are driving the post-virus economic recovery”
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor eschewed the words “Gypsy Day”, in a press statement yesterday that addressed dairy farmers’ concerns about what would happen on June 1. He preferred “Moving Day” and said Moving Day will go ahead as planned this year, but with strict controls to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Reporting this news, Farmers Weekly explained that Moving Day is also known as Gypsy Day and occurs on June 1 each year when many dairy farming families, sharemilkers, contract milkers and employees move to new farms to start new jobs and milking contracts.
Yet another expression was incorporated in a Federated Farmers press statement headline on April 9: GYPSY / MOOVING DAY.
In the statement, the feds said they were aware of the level of concern among dairy farmers over how the annual 31 May/1 June “Gypsy Day” or “Moving day” shift would work under the COVID-19 controls. Continue reading “Whatever it is called, Gypsy Day will go ahead this year and cows will be mooved – but under strict COVID-19 controls”
As the Covid-19 pandemic plunges the world into a recession – deeper probably than the global financial crisis – thousands of New Zealanders are losing their jobs and the country’s economy is already under enormous pressure. Some authorities predict it will precipitate a revolution in how we live.
What, then, about that other revolution which climate change warriors insist is essential if we are not to face extinction? Can it be relegated in policy priorities as the government seeks to plot a way through the human and economic misery of the pandemic?
Covid-19 has cleared the skies of pollution. Carbon emissions from the worst polluters (airlines and land transport) have shrunk almost to zero. International tourism has come to a halt, cruise liners are being laid up, and the global warming which appeared to be such a threat only weeks ago is moving at a much slower pace.
Those in the Extinction Rebellion movement who preached business as usual is the enemy in the campaign against global warming have fallen silent. Business as usual looks to be a nirvana NZ is unlikely to reach again any time soon. Continue reading “Pandemic nobbles the polluters and prompts a rethink about climate change’s place in policy priorities”
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the primary sector will play a critical role in NZ’s economic recovery once the country emerges from the Covid-19 lockdown.
It is the first time (at least within Point of Order’s close surveillance of the issue) that a coalition minister has acknowledged how the pandemic has shifted the dial inside the economy.
O’Connor says there is no shortage of demand for what NZ produces.
“Our primary sector is part of the solution to global food security concerns in the short-term”.
The government is working alongside the primary sector to help ensure workers get to the places they are needed. Continue reading “O’Connor recognises how pandemic has affected the economy and its primary players”