How Kiwis feel about farmers

New research is challenging the notion of an urban-rural divide, showing New Zealanders are more likely to have a positive view of farmers than negative.

The research was carried out by UMR Research and looked at perceptions of the primary sector.

It showed New Zealanders are almost five times as likely to hold a positive view of sheep and beef farming than a negative one (54 percent positive compared to 12 percent negative). 

They were also more than twice as likely (51 percent) to hold a positive view towards dairy farming than a negative one (20 percent). 

The survey results challenge the notion of an urban-rural divide in New Zealand.
The survey results challenge the notion of an urban-rural divide in New Zealand. Photo credit: Getty

The star of the industries tested was horticulture with 68 percent of New Zealanders declaring a positive view towards this industry compared to only 4 percent who were negative. 

The forestry industry also rated well with 56 percent giving the industry a positive rating compared to only 9 percent negative. 

Just under half rated fisheries positively (47 percent compared to 16 percent negative). 

Executive Director of UMR Research, Marc Elliot, said the research was at odds with the perception held by many farmers. 

"The strong theme we have heard from farmers in the past is that they do not feel well-liked by their urban counterparts, however, when you poll the general population, this is simply not true," he said.

The Minister of Agriculture, Damien O'Connor, welcomed the research and said it showed that primary producers were valued and respected and appreciated by city folk.

"I would say to our farmers and growers, New Zealanders value your work," he said. 

He said there was a lot to be positive about.

"Primary sector exports are strong, reaching record highs, and the Government is looking to the long-term to make sure it stays that way."

UMR surveyed a representative general public sample of 1,000 respondents.