AgProud NZ Chair Jon Pemberton joins REX host Dom George and delves into the complexities of rural life and the dynamic world of agricultural policy. The conversation offers a rich blend of humour and insight as Pemberton shares his experiences and perspectives on the evolving landscape of farming.
One key talking point centres around the impact of immigration on the agricultural sector.
"We've got great immigrant workers on our farm...they've been a fantastic part of people coming into New Zealand," Pemberton observes.
However, he acknowledges the tension this creates in the local job market, explaining that employing immigrants at higher wages "forces you to lift the whole pay rate...which by default lifts the pay grade around the whole district."
This reflects the broader debates on immigration and labour competition with countries like Australia. Another focal point of the episode is the intersection of politics and rural advocacy, particularly with the approach of elections. Pemberton and George discuss the spectacle at Mystery Creek, where political theatrics often overshadow substantive policy discussions.
They underscore the importance of staying informed without getting ensnared in political drama.
"It's a win-win for everybody," Pemberton states, advocating for a balance between personal and business growth and political involvement.
The conversation also explores Ag Proud NZ's role in shaping a positive, non-political image of rural life. Starting from a simple barbecue as a response to activists, Ag Proud has evolved into a constructive force for advocacy within the farming community.
Pemberton reflects on this transition, "I recount the pivotal meeting in a pub where I drew a line in the sand, emphasising that the movement was not about protest but about proactive change."
The podcast episode touches on various other topics, including the challenges of environmental responsibility on children, the role of innovation in agriculture, and the implications of China's push towards self-reliance on New Zealand farmers.
Throughout, the importance of community and long-term impact over short-term political gains is emphasised.
Listen to the full chat between Jon Pemberton and Dominic George above.