Why an Aucklander wrote an open letter to farmers

An Auckland architect has explained why he wrote an open letter to New Zealand farmers in which he pledged his support for them.

In the letter, sent to farming industry groups, Mark Ellery described himself as a 'normal hardworking small business owner in Auckland.'

However he said was concerned at how farmers had been treated, and the stress caused by proposed Government environmental policies.

"From me, as your average Kiwi, to every one of your farmers - I love them, they are the backbone, the guts and the legs that have kept this country going and will for the next millennium," the letter said. 

"My apologies at how every farmer is being treated in this country. It is totally disrespectful to a core of our country and I just feel so sick at the stress that is being placed on every man, woman and child in the rural sector."

Ellery told Magic Talk's Rural Today that he wrote the letter as it was an issue he felt strongly about.

"I thought about it for quite a while, after seeing what was going on in the media and with the Government," he said.

He claimed that criticism of farmers didn't represent what most New Zealanders thought, and he wanted the farming industry groups to share his letter with their members

"I said tell your members that there is a whole swag of Kiwis that love them and love what they do."

Environment Minister David Parker said he was hearing the concerns from farmers. 

"The vast number of farmers doing incredibly well and farming profitably with a very low environmental impact," Parker told Newshub. 

"We need that best practice to be adopted everywhere," he said. 

Agriculture Minister, Damien O'Connor believed the repeating of negative rhetoric was putting fear into the farming community unnecessarily.

"We need to clarify things to remove uncertainty, but let's have a clear and honest discussion," he said.

A recent study by UMR Research challenged the notion of an urban-rural divide, showing New Zealanders were more likely to have a positive view of farmers than negative.

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).