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That the vintage year for rural New Zealand according to Adrian Orr of Westpactrust may be over for-shadows a change in NZ's rural economic climate.

The Prime Minister in her outlook forecast last week is much more optimistic than the bank's and she has been generous enough to acknowledge that "the current upswing in the economy was being driven by better agricultural growing conditions, improved international commodity prices and a "very competitive" New Zealand dollar"

All factors that are key to strong rural performance contributing to growing the total NZ economy.

But what are the Prime Ministers plans to counter the inevitable decline in rural returns as any one of the three key factors she highlighted - season, international prices and exchange rate turn negative on rural performance

It seems the politician's capacity to identify the success factors and then blithely ignore their importance by proceeding on with pet ideological projects is as much a component of the rural cycle as market realities.

The PM believes the country "is in a race to maintain its first-world living standards" and her answer is to "encourage a qualitative improvement in the education system, fund new training programs and promote initiatives to encourage industry development in regional areas of the country"

The PM seems to be in love with the Irish model where perhaps correctly they have been a component of Irelands rapid economic development but she ignores Ireland's relationship to the vast EU input into the new Ireland.

Find NZ a similar fairy godmother and the educate and hope policies may bear fruit, but fail and the expense of educated citizens who will flee the country will become an unsustainable loss.

NZ farmers this past year have shown that their industries perform remarkably given the smallest shift in the economic environment towards them. Not only does it perform efficiently but also immediately there is a lift in return individual farmers proceed to plan further investment in their businesses to develop further growth.

The blindness of successive governments to the strength and importance of the rural economy to New Zealand's living standards has been costly to farmers but the saddest loss has been the diminution of farming potentials to be the solid base for the rest of NZ to build on.

Rural folk should wonder if the Deputy PM's adhoc fund distribution for regional business development analysis will identify this fact - if it does not, prepare for the economists prediction of impending down turn to be realised.

Good farming




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