Howard de Klerk writes:
Imagine the justified uproar if a political party instituted a policy against a minority group based on race, gender, sexual orientation or religion? Just by asking the question, I run the risk of being labelled a racist, sexist, homophobic, religious bigot. Yet it is fine to vilify a minority sector of our community, especially if painted as "dirty dairy farmers". This is a slippery slope New Zealand can scarcely afford and should not be tolerated.
New Zealand needs dairying. According to the Institute for Economic Research, dairying contributed $7.8 billion to GDP in 2016. Over the past five years, dairy export revenue has averaged $14.4b making it the largest export sector, accounting for between 29 to 35 per cent of all export revenue.
The dairy sector employs 40,000 people. Dairy employment grew twice as fast as total employment growth since 2000. It provides 10-20 per cent of all jobs depending on the region. Dairy farmers spent $1.3b on farm inputs plus another $1.5b on agricultural, financial and accounting services last year. Dairy processing invested $2b in New Zealand over the past four years. Given these facts, any political policy that sets out to hurt the largest earner of foreign revenue in order to gain votes is either very brave or totally foolhardy.