Wednesday, 08 November 2023 12:55

Editorial: Reality vs fantasy

Written by  Staff Reporters
Anecdotal reports suggest that an urban/rural divide does exist in NZ. Anecdotal reports suggest that an urban/rural divide does exist in NZ.

OPINION: Research out of Massey University claims the concept of an urban/rural divide may not be entirely accurate.

Anecdotal reports suggest that such a divide does exist in NZ. This is especially the case when we see largely urban-based groups like Greenpeace constantly attacking the farming sector – particularly the dairy industry. It can also be seen in the growth of rural ginger group Groundswell, which has done much to highlight the reality of the numerous regulations that farmers currently face and what many – more often than not urban-based – critics claim are the poor environmental standards of the agricultural sector.

Janet Reid from Massey University’s School of Agriculture & Environment, who co-led the research, says the idea of an urban/rural divide does not reflect the findings of their research. However, she concedes that it’s not that straightforward and the issue of a rural/ urban divide is more nuanced and complex.

Reid argues that we can’t put people neatly into pigeonholes – rural or urban – as there is a whole lot more depth to the multiple dimensions of how New Zealanders see themselves. As she points out, there’s variety amongst the farming community as there is diversity and variety amongst those people who live in provinces and cities.

Despite the research’s finding of no rural/ urban divide, it does show a real disconnect between the two – where farmers feel that the urban public doesn’t fully understand what they face on the land.

An interesting finding of the research is how the media fuels the perception of a disconnect. Many farmers point to what they see as misinformation within media and the role it plays in highlighting ‘bad apples’ rather than accurately representing the sector.

The research suggests the urban public wants confidence that farmers are really farming sustainably, that they’re doing their bit for the environment. While on the farming side, they want to see real stories of farming in the media that go beyond sensational headlines.

A key takeaway is that bridging any divide requires building trust through connection, and the media has a role in achieving this.

More like this

Urban/rural divide debunked

New research out of Massey University suggests that the concept of an urban/rural divide may not be accurate.

Rural resilience programme expands

Mental health and resilience programme WellMates is available at Massey University for a second year after research found that it has significantly benefitted participants.


Hole-in-one a lucky shot overseas

A calf born at a Waikato Holstein Friesian stud has stunned her owner with her incredibly high credentials – surpassing his hope that she was going to be one out of the box.

McClay to visit India

Agriculture and Trade Minister Todd McClay plans to visit India in the next fortnight, his first trade mission since the formation of the Government.

Norco bounces back from flood

Australia's largest dairy co-operative Norco is back making ice cream, 18 months after a catastrophic flood destroyed its manufacturing plant.

Political turmoil hits Dutch farm buy-out scheme

While New Zealand seems to be treading water on the subject of pricing emissions and the future of He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN), pending a new government, the Netherlands has been clearer on its proposed farm buy-out scheme, as part of its effort to reduce nitrogen emissions by at least 55% by 2030.


Hoggard 'really excited'

Incoming Minister for Food Safety and Biosecurity Andrew Hoggard says he’s “really excited” to get those roles.

Prevention better than cure

The New Zealand Veterinary Association Te Pae Kīrehe (NZVA) is calling on animal owners to work with their veterinarian to…

Machinery & Products

Simple, practical hay rakes

Grassland specialists Kuhn has extended its Gyrorake offering with the addition of the GA 8731+ and GA 9531+ models.

Bucket grab gets it done!

Swedish implement manufacturer Quicke is expanding its Powergrab series with two new models – designed for silage handling with front-end,…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound


OPINION: This old mutt understands that a number of high profile sheep studs are unhappy with Beef+ Lamb Genetics’ recent…

Still bludging!

OPINION: Your canine crusader is astounded at the sheer cojones of webbased media company Newsroom and its wont to cadge…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter