‘We need to understand what we can do well as a nation’

Nationwide attention post-Covid-19 lockdown is now turning to economic recovery — or at least slowing the freefall — arable farmer David Clark says.

‘‘We need to understand what we can do well as a nation, what we can do better and what we can do to extract more value in order to earn the foreign exchange that is so desperately needed for the economic prosperity of this country.’’

Mr Clark, who was unchallenged for the role as provincial president at Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury’s annual meeting, said closing the borders to tourists for what appears to be an extended period is the equivalent of foot-and-mouth disease.

‘‘The ensuring (and justified in my view) lockdown during Level 4 has dealt a crushing blow to countless retail, hospitality and service sector businesses.

‘‘We have heard of 1000 redundancies at Fletchers and a further 1300 at Air New Zealand. This will only increase as the wage subsidies come to an end and business owners confront the reality that their market may not return for some time,’’ he said, in his president’s report.

‘‘More than ever, New Zealand needs a strong, vibrant and economically, environmentally and socially sustainable primary production sector.’’

He said borrowing ‘‘seemingly limitless billions of dollars from offshore to recycle within our economy on some grand-scale social welfare experiment is not a pathway to long-term sustainable economy’’.

It would be better achieved by producing goods and services to sell to the rest of the world.

Mr Clark said in the last four months the nation had responded to the ‘‘most significant health crisis for a century. We now face the prospect of the largest economic collapse since the Great Depression’’.


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