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.

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