Friday, 08 May 2020 09:31

COVID-19: The online future

Written by  Peter Burke
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says New Zealand must look to new ways of operating in a very changed global environment. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says New Zealand must look to new ways of operating in a very changed global environment.

As a result of COVID-19, the world has learned to operate, communicate, and negotiate online.

That is the view of Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, who says New Zealand must look to new ways of operating in a very changed global environment.

O’Connor thinks NZ will be able to progress its trade agenda through the electronic media and at the same time reduce costs.

“I have had a lot of discussions with entrepreneurs, Tim Brown from Allbirds being one of them, on a zoom call, and he’s excited by the opportunities post-COVID can provide,” he told Rural News

“I think if we focus on those people, who see those opportunities, and support and work with them, New Zealand will have an incredible future providing some of the finest food and fibre into a world that will have higher level of awareness of health attributes and the value of nutrition.”

O’Connor says online is likely to become the norm in terms of selling NZ products in overseas markets.

“If we end up with products that can go direct to consumers and utilise airfreight from NZ more often, then we can take advantage of the opportunities in Asia. If we do our job right, I am sure the demand will outstrip supply,” he says.

O’Connor has been kept informed about Trade Minister David Parker’s efforts to keep the trade conversations going during the pandemic. 

He says there is obvious uncertainty about how countries will react post-COVID. 

One issue of concern is protectionism as countries deal with high unemployment.

“Pre-COVID, there were many countries that were looking for any excuse to close the borders more, and COVID has provided a bit of an excuse for some of that,” he adds. 

“We are just going to have to work a bit harder, knock on doors and explain the value of continuing to trade. This is because we absolutely rely on it and there many other countries around the world that benefit from this – even if they perhaps don’t realise that.”

Life in Level 3

Damien O’Connor says the move to Alert level 3 is not a huge change, but it sets a positive direction for the economy – with forestry and floriculture two industries that will now be allowed to operate. 

He says Level 3 will likely allow meat companies to lift throughput as social distancing is reduced from two to one metre. But O’Connor says under Alert level 4 many companies have already been innovative and found ways of meeting the strict health and safety standards, while at the same time increasing throughput.

He says that some processing works may effectively remain in Level 4 to protect their staff.

“Workers, like other New Zealanders, are concerned about the possible spread of Covid-19 and until we have got rid of the disease there will be some apprehension in every part of our community and economy,” O’Connor told Rural News

“So, the transformation will not be dramatic, and neither should it be. It will be about ongoing improvements, while keeping in mind our obligations to meet this challenge.” 

More like this

Delays ruled out on water reforms

Delaying the introduction of new water reforms was not an option according to the two cabinet Ministers directly involved – Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

Delays ruled out on water reforms

Delaying the introduction of new water reforms was not an option according to the two cabinet Ministers directly involved – Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

$700m for freshwater clean up

The Government has announced a $700 million fund to support the primary sector and other groups in meeting new clean water standards.

$700m for freshwater clean up

The Government has announced a $700 million fund to support the primary sector and other groups in meeting new clean water standards.

Overstayers irk farmers

A new law preventing the eviction of tenants from rental properties is causing a headache for some dairy farmers.

Featured

ANZCO makes a $30m profit

Meat company ANZCO Foods recorded its best-ever revenue of $1.7b and a net profit before tax of $30.6m for the year ended 31 December 2019.

 

M. bovis – we’re making headway

Ministry for Primary Industries chief science adviser, Dr John Roche on the indications New Zealand is winning the fight against Mycoplasma bovis.

Delays ruled out on water reforms

Delaying the introduction of new water reforms was not an option according to the two cabinet Ministers directly involved – Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

$700m for freshwater clean up

The Government has announced a $700 million fund to support the primary sector and other groups in meeting new clean water standards.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Dirty water

The Hound understands that Federated Farmers has been cut out of the information loop, for the past year, on the…

Who’s paying?

Your canine crusader noticed a full-page ad recently run in a farming paper calling on meat companies SFF and Alliance…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Popular Reads

Drop in payout looms

Dairy farmers are being told to brace for a big drop in milk payout next season.