When the Farm Gates Opened

The Impact of Rogernomics on Rural New Zealand
by Neal Wallace
rrp $22.27

Publisher: Otago University Press

Publication Date: August 30, 2016

ISBN: 9781927322987

Binding: Kobo eBook

Availability: eBook

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The economic reforms launched by the 1984 David Lange–led Labour government changed New Zealand forever. Agriculture bore the brunt of those changes and Rogernomics, the name by which the era came to be known, became an historical reference point for the primary sector: a defining and pivotal moment when financial subsidies abruptly ended and farming learned to live without government influence, interference or protection. The changes were more sweeping and wide ranging than anything farmers and farming had expected. Some adjusted, some did not. Farmers downed tools in protest, many were forced from their land, families split, there was a spike in suicides and stories spread of farmers hiding machinery from repossession agents. Thirty years on, there has been little documentation of what is folklore and what is fact. This gripping and moving social history, by award-winning agricultural journalist Neal Wallace, relates the story of a rural sector battered and bruised by rapid change. It traces the period building up to the economic changes by talking to political and sector leaders, and the most important contribution comes from interviews with those most affected: farmers