A better idea of this thinking can be found in this piece, “Town versus Country” from The Press, which is an interview (i.e. not written by Fed Farms’ PR staff) with his actual words. Nicolson makes some very good points about townies’ misconceptions about farms and farming:
Surely everyone knows that agriculture and forestry account for 65 per cent of New Zealand’s exports? You might think Australia is a farming nation, too. Yet, despite those outback farms the size of small European states, agricultural exports are not even 4 per cent of the Aussie economy. We are quite simply the biggest dairy and sheep meat exporter in the world. Or, to turn it around, the society whose fate is most closely tied to what is going on in its paddocks. . .That last statistic is staggering. The whole thing is well worth a read.
Our farmers continue to be the least subsidised, the least protected, of any Western state. They are also among the most innovative and productive. For the past 25 years, farming productivity has been growing 3.3 per cent a year compared with a measly 1 per cent for New Zealand workplaces as a whole.