What do we think of NZ’s primary sector?

Late last year a major survey was undertaken in New Zealand commissioned by MPI (repeating a benchmark survey that was undertaken in 2008) that explored urban and rural New Zealanders’ views of rural New Zealand and the primary sector. The main objectives for the study were to gain an in-depth understanding of the beliefs and values held, across both urban and rural New Zealanders, regarding the primary sector (agricultural, horticulture, food, fishing, aquaculture and forestry industries). A number of important messages for our own industry can be seen in the report. Some of the key points included:

- The most significant change since 2008 was a doubling in the percentage of both urban (from 23% to 47%) and rural (from 26% to 53%) respondents who now see water pollution and quality as the most significant environmental issue facing New Zealand.

- The most significant environmental issue facing the primary sector was also considered to be water pollution and quality by both urban (52%) and rural (58%) respondents.

- The quantitative results showed that many New Zealanders (both urban and rural) still hold overall positive views about the primary sector, however, over the last 10 years or so this positivity has decreased.

- A majority of respondents agreed that, ‘A wide range of skills are needed to work in the primary sector’,(77% rural and 76% urban respondents),however; rural respondents were much more likely (64%) than urban respondents (48%)to indicate that they would recommend working in the primary sector to someone else.

- There was strong acknowledgement that the,‘Primary industries involve cutting-edge thinking and technologies’,(67% of rural and 66% of urban respondents agreed with this).

- Under half of both rural and urban respondents populations agreed that,‘Businesses in the primary sector are good employers’(41% of rural and 37% of urban respondents.

- In 2017 significantly less urban respondents held a positive view of forestry than in 2008 (42% down from 52%), however only 13% held a negative view of this industry.

The full report can be viewed here.

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