COMMENT: Manawatu farmer Pete Fitz-Herbert has been thinking about New Zealand and he reckons we're selling ourselves short when it comes to farming.
I've been thinking about the state of our nation. New Zealand.
Generally, that happens just before I say something dumb.
I'm not a scientist, economist or a politician, I'm just a New Zealand farmer. A once noble profession that is now considered a little dirty, and not something you'd want your daughter dating.
And that concerns me.
So, humour me here.
Picture yourself in a classroom.
Go stand in the corner.
While you're standing there thinking about your direction in life, take a deep breath and give yourself a stiff upper-cut.
I know - hurting ourselves doesn't sound logical. But that's exactly what we're doing.
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And we're doing it on the world stage, with a classroom of kids looking on and encouraging such behaviour.
So, pause there for a minute and reflect.
In New Zealand, we love being world leaders.
We love talking about our number 8 wire mentality … without most people in the country being able to identify number 8 wire in a drawer full of television cables.
We love to punch above our weight, but that generally ends in the little guy getting a hiding.
I'm sure you've heard about this zero carbon idea and the emissions trading scheme (ETS); not to mention climate change (which appears to be responsible for everything from you not winning Lotto to chemtrails).
But amid all the chaos, the reality of the matter is thus.
Kiwis are world leaders in farming and trade.
We are exceptional at it and do it all by ourselves, without subsidies.
You live in a country that makes money by selling and exporting to the world – a large amount of which is meat and milk.
This is how we bring money into the country.
You benefit from that money. You spend it. Sometimes out of the country.
You also sell houses to each other, run inside on treadmills and think mowing the lawn to a regular height of 7mm is the best use of your time and resources. But I'm getting a little off track here.
So, as a country, at the behest of a few politicians with the best of misguided intentions, we are all set to plant a heap of trees on land that we currently use to feed people, foster communities and create jobs.
We'll limit our production, based on an ideology and we'll extend the ETS.
It's like a massive game of Monopoly, with imaginary money but real-world consequences.
A game where our farms and resources are traded as credits in portfolios around the world, by organisations that want to feel good about their social licence to operate.
And like every game of Monopoly that I've ever played, someone will end up losing their cool, flipping the board into the fire and slamming the door as they storm out.
This is happening to agriculture, while the rest of you sit in the drive thru, with your engine idling waiting for your box of fried fast food to be passed out the window.
But still, we want to be world leaders.
You know that saying, "Would you jump off a cliff if I told you to?".
The world is a classroom of kids egging you on to be the first.
As you stand in the corner of that classroom, with your nose dripping blood on the floor - take a look around, wait to see if the others will duplicate your sacrifice.
Probably because it was just a dumb idea.
- Pete Fitz-Herbert is a Manawatu farmer and former finalist in the FMG Young Farmer of the year contest.