Tuesday, 05 May 2020 13:19

Petition aims to spark support for farming

Written by  Staff Reporters
Waite says present Government borrowing for the COVID-19 crisis will be funded by NZ's primary producers’ future exports.  Waite says present Government borrowing for the COVID-19 crisis will be funded by NZ's primary producers’ future exports. 

Te Kuiti-based electrician Terry Waite wants to spark support for rural NZ by demanding that the Government apologise to farmers for the way it has treated them – especially over the last couple of years.

Waite has been so incensed, by what he believes is the Government’s poor treatment of farmers, he’s started a petition asking people to support it so it can go before parliament.  

“The Government has treated our primary producers with disrespect with legislative and regulatory changes as well as additional taxes, which has resulted in suicides,” he told Rural News

“Farmers are the backbone of our country and I believe they need a public apology from our government.”  

Waite says his motivation for starting the petition comes from his experience dealing and interacting with farmers every day in his business, as well as his concerns about growing suicide rates and mental health issues in the rural sector. 

“I have worked in the electrical service industry for around 30 years the King Country area. I work on farms every day and talk to many farmers,” he told Rural News. “Farmers are not happy and feel the Government is their biggest worry.” 

Waite says some farmers are talking about walking away from the sector as it is all just getting too much, while others are getting paid to just grow trees.  

“Food production is more important for our economy now than ever before,” he adds. “However, schools have started teaching our future generations that dairy farming is bad and that sheep/beef farming is bad.”

Waite says present Government borrowing for the COVID-19 crisis will be funded by our primary producers’ future exports. 

“However, farmers feel more threatened by the Government than interest rates, commodity pricing or even then the weather – and that is just appalling.” 

Waite says this has seen a rise in farmer and rural suicide rates. He also blames mainstream media – especially TV and urban-based newspapers – saying they have not helped a growing anti-farmer sentiment in the country.

“If people actually knew how hard working and caring our farming people are; they might not be fooled by biased reporting,” Waite adds. 

He cites as a prime example of the Government’s poor treatment of farmers when a number turned up to protest that too much good farmland was being lost to forestry in Wellington last November.

“The Minister for Agriculture didn't even give them the time of day and the remarks from the Minister of Forestry simply reinforced the Government’s disdain for farmers,” Waite explains.  

“I feel that farmers are owed an apology at the very least and a backtrack on many of the restraints Government has put on them.”

Waite says many small towns in provincial and regional New Zealand need a strong agricultural sector because it is their lifeline.  

The petition needs to attract 100,000 signatures before it can be presented to parliament and closes on May 17.

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_97552/petition-of-terry-waite-inquiry-into-the-government-s

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