The Dominion Post

Help farmers, don’t punish them

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Duncan Garner, while admitting to a lack of first-hand experience, blamed farmer arrogance and complacenc­y for the quad bike toll and concluded it was time to forcefeed some sense into our rural brothers (January 31).

As one with experience of the four options for on-farm hill country transport (foot, horse, 2 and 4 wheelers) his conclusion is simplistic, reactionar­y, shallow, unhelpful and wrong.

Essential physical activities are all more dangerous than the stuff most of us do. Thinking authoritat­ive ranting demanding big-stick penalties and ridiculous rules will fix it is self-delusion.

Negative attitude changes are already prevalent where it matters from this Putin-like vindictive approach as capable people see themselves demonised. These people use effective but dangerous tools because they have to make a living. Ignorantly applying harsh penalties is not the answer.

I seem to remember when the chips were really down with the Christchur­ch earthquake­s, the free help given by farmers was found very effective and much appreciate­d by the recipients.

Informativ­e help, not bullying scorn, is the proper course to take here. ALISTER WHITE

Lower Hutt

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