Coronavirus: Online vitriol from farmers slammed

Ag Proud is unhappy about comments from some farmers on Facebook.
Ag Proud is unhappy about comments from some farmers on Facebook. Photo credit: Getty

A group formed to rebuild the urban-rural divide has slammed farmers who are taking a swipe at their urban counterparts during the coronavirus outbreak.

While the primary sector was expected to weather the crisis relatively well with economists predicting global food demand to remain firm, other industries including travel and hospitality were taking a big hit.

Chairman of Ag Proud NZ trust Jon Pemberton said some farmers who felt they had been treated unfairly by urban dwellers in the past, were taking to social media.

"Across social media, we see some members of our agricultural community sharing vitriolic posts aimed at the government and those members of society that have been critical of our industry. 

"No amount of politicking or grandstanding will change what has happened in the past or what people are currently experiencing," said Pemberton.

The group said the agricultural sector needed to show care and compassion for all New Zealanders as the crisis continued to develop at unprecedented levels.

"Now more than ever is the time for all of New Zealand to pull together."

Pemberton said the sector would play an important role in managing the impacts of the crisis.

"With the current global situation, agriculture will now be in the spotlight and relied on not only for sustainment but potentially for the economic crutch we can provide as an exporting nation. 

"Now is the time for unity, for community spirit, and to help all our whanau through whatever lies ahead."