Coronavirus: Time to lift restrictions, clear meatworks backlog says Southland farmer

A Southland farmer has joined calls for COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted saying they are causing huge stress to farmers as productivity drops at the country's meatworks.

Pressure has been mounting on the Government to move the country into alert level 2 with growing concern about the impact the level 3 restrictions are having on the economy.

Meat processors have been among industries that were able to continue operating under level 4 and 3, however, they have had to follow strict health and safety rules to stop the spread of the virus.

These have included workers standing at least two metres apart, which has meant a slower processing chain, and a drop in productivity.

A Southland farmer told Magic Talk's Sean Plunket the slowdown was taking a toll on farmers and it was time to remove the restrictions.

"A lot of the farmers here are stuck with all these animals eating into winter feed, there is a massive backlog," he said.

With temperatures cooling down, grass had also stopped growing which put even more pressure on feed supplies, he said.

"Everyone is feeding out all their winter supplement and the money is going into a hole, because stock aren't putting on weight."

He said the restriction was causing stress among farmers.

"There are guys stuck with thousands of lambs, hundreds of cattle and people are feeding out baleage they are trying to save for the winter.

"It is stuffing everything really, it's just an absolute crock."

It's understood details of level 2 are expected to be revealed by the Government sometime this week.

No new cases were confirmed on Monday for the first time in seven weeks, almost a week after the country shifted down to level 3 of the alert level response.