A lesson for Ireland as NZ’s farmers thrive in adversity

A lesson for Ireland as NZ’s farmers thrive in adversity
‘Ninety-nine per cent of New Zealand farms stayed in business after the end of the subsidies. Export volumes exploded’ Picture: PA

Predictions of the destruction of rural life in New Zealand after the removal of farm subsidies in 1984 proved highly exaggerated. There is a lot we can learn from what happened in the decades since then

‘What do they do in New Zealand?” is a common question asked by Irish civil servants. It doesn’t matter what the policy problem is - healthcare, early childhood education, climate change, you name it - if Ireland is thinking about changing something, it looks at New Zealand and how it is getting the job done first.

It’s not hard to see why. New Zealand is a small open economy beside a far larger one,...

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