For many of our early settler ancestors, the New Zealand dream was to own a piece of ‘God’s own’ for themselves. Somewhere to raise a family, grow crops and tend to stock so that their children would not grow hungry – or for themselves, to be less dependent on money alone. Most of our people were of humble origin, so the idea of becoming landed gentry was appealing.
Rural New Zealand has been the backbone of this nation since its inception. Not only did it help us subsist, we created and exported high quality produce and resources across the world, primarily composed of wool and beef. Today we see our farms increasingly run by big corporations, instead of independent, family owned and operated enterprises. People in this country see less of their own produce and instead go for inferior, cheaper products from other countries in the supermarket.
We believe there is more to rural New Zealand and farming then simply making a profit, and that our ancestors who built this country did not intend merely to sell off land and goods to the highest bidder. Our land continues to fall under the ownership of non citizens, with our government doing nothing to curb this trend. In particular, the Chinese have been buying sections, to sell goods back to China irrespective of our wellbeing.
Some such individuals have also been known to have used purchased land for weapons testing, clearly a blatant disregard for our sovereignty. Other non-kiwis and foreign born peoples have taken a significant chunk of our industries for themselves – for example, our forestry industry is almost half foreign owned.
Our farmers have also been suffering on a more personal level. Coupled with the isolation and lack of support, suicide rates have been staggering in the modern era. Suicide rates are higher in rural areas at 16 per 100,000 people; compared with 11.2 for every 100,000 people in urban areas.
Our young farmers are not living the wholesome, family orientated lives they used to – take into consideration the added economic and financial pressures in this new age of globalized agriculture, and it’s easy to see why this harrowing statistic is on the rise.
Our dairy industry is becoming increasingly reliant on foreign interest. With it practically governed by the interests of Chinese buyers of milk powder, and with many family owned operations caught up giving their produce to big business, I believe it’s clear we need to see an overhaul of the agricultural sector – so that cash crops and commodities are not the be all and end all of farming. In this country, people have raised problems with the way we do things, with issues such as: a monoculture of production leading to high rates of nitrogen in waterways, overreliance on singular crops, stock and intensive farming leading to disease outbreaks, etc.
For most big operations there are too many cows per hectare, which means more methane pollution. I would argue a more protectionist stance to agriculture should be taken, with large farms being converted to sustainable multirole ventures.
There is also the problem of using foreign labour in the industry. Instead of helping our unemployed, or educating the youth of the possibilities of more agrarian work roles, we instead rely on seasonal workers from other nations. In fact, on many occasions, we simply give the full time contracts and housing to immigrants. We see the industry hiring people a world away, and for what? To save money. Why willingly support a system with money as our sole motivator, rather than the importance of our people and their future above all else? Why not allow New Zealanders have a stake in their food and trade? I assure you, our people will have a greater attraction to an industry that’s primary goal is more than making money for Fonterra, or some other company.
The industry itself is corrupted – like all things in a modern society – as the globalized world needs to parasitize off of all things, we feed it, giving it our trade, money and resources, while our people’s standard of living becomes lower with every passing day. The folk in a globalized society worship the dollar – subsistence isn’t enough, family isn’t enough, the very people aren’t enough. No, the world must be fashioned into one big market place, and all people – no matter who or where they may be – are naught but rootless individuals who live only to consume.
These labour units (people) go from one economic zone to the next, the terms sovereignty, independence, and culture becoming simple buzzwords for the few milquetoast conservative elites. All this to pretend that they care about something other than the dollar sign.
Meat-works and the Beef industry both have a high rate of animal cruelty – by their very nature. Mass death as a result of the constant need to supply a market leads to uncaring hands. In an overarching system such as this, how could we expect anything else? This is to say nothing of the unethical, culturally adverse practice of halal slaughter.
Agriculture in the modern day is not about feeding people. It’s about creating goods for companies, so that those companies can make a profit and so the world’s citizens can continue to consume. Mass production is the issue – as an industry, it is profit driven. It is the reason we have such destructive farming practices. We at Action Zealandia, however, believe that farming can be done in a more holistic manner, as has been done throughout history.
Our Horticultural sector by and large is a waste of land – just how many commodities for foreign markets do we need? Orchards, most of all vineyards, do not provide essentials to our people, only fatter profits for the few. Worse still, one of the consequences of this globalized agricultural system is that mass production needs mass measures of control. One who goes anywhere near these farms will have seen Pesticide/Insecticide being blasted in great plumes of spray. Not only is this bad for the environment in general -especially the chemical runoff in the rivers – this practice can also be linked to bee/pollinator die off, leaving us closer to ecological collapse worldwide. Horticulture is also responsible for over-irrigation from rivers, sucking them dry for the purpose of an few more bottles of wine, or simple commodities – such as apples – sold off to Europe and elsewhere.
It is often said by agricultural schools, such as Lincoln and Telford, that we should “feed the world”. I say: We have the capability to feed our nation – something that should always be our priority, first and foremost. We simply need to muster the will to see our land reclaimed for our own!