James Herbert

Dear Jacinda and Winston 

We are now looking down the barrel of a massive health crisis and equally as bad economic crisis predicted to make the last financial crisis look like a kindergarten. The tourism industry you touted as the darling of the New Zealand economy is now losing 350 million dollars a week. Your crazy selling of tens of thousands of acres of good pastoral land to overseas buyers to plant in pine trees as a carbon sink is looking like a bad gamble…  made even worse by the berating, belittling and ridiculous policies aimed at the farmers of New Zealand. 

Well, what a difference a week makes… you have just announced a 12 billion dollar package to soften the blow but you well know that’s not even a scrape in the bucket of what’s needed. 

The BFD. Farmers: Cartoon credit BoomSlang

I guess now all we have once industry shuts down and tourism crumbles completely is the farmers.

  • The same ones who your coalition called Rednecks
  • The same ones who are committing suicide at a terrible rate
  • The same ones who get up at 5:00 am to milk their cows so you have your milk and butter for breakfast
  • The same ones who work tirelessly on the hill country day in day out during drought conditions to make sure their lamb and beef is the best quality before it hits the shelves
  • The same ones who are struggling with the ridiculous policies that are coming in relation to cows’ farts and fencing
  • The same ones who have been doing it for generations to make sure people have something to eat
  • The same farmers who produce food more efficiently and more environmentally sustainably than anywhere else in the world
  • The same ones who your coalition has made to feel like they are the problem in the world – are now suddenly the only ones we need

Isn’t it funny how things change so fast and you suddenly need someone – who you belittled – more than ever? As you sit down for dinner tonight pondering how we are going to get through this, take a look at the food on your plate and be thankful for the ones who you have ignored. In fact, invite Winston over for dinner but have him bake a humble pie and bring that around and take a bite both of you. It will be good for you, and the farmers will get up tomorrow and keep on producing food for us and the world.

Next time you decide to belittle the mainstay of our economy remember a couple of old sayings we learnt on the farm. ‘Never bite the hand that feeds’ – and ‘you reap what you sow.’  When you order the whole country on lockdown the farmers will still get up and go out and work their asses off for this country like they have always done. We will get through this but you are going to need those farmers more than you have ever needed them before. They will keep the supermarkets full, they will be the ones exporting our produce worldwide and returning ever so needed revenue for the coffers. 

Peace and love 

James Herbert

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