opine on a general farmer’s opinion of Auckland paper shufflers and speculators? Particularly the exchange speculators. I can’t do it without using expletives.
I won’t presume to speak for all farmers or even farmers in general, but I suspect Eric Roy’s observation in response to a question on Wellington would apply just as well to paper shufflers further north: “There’s too many people up there who’ve never had a bad lambing.”
And then I offer this story:
A farmer was grazing his flock on the long acre of a remote road in the Otago backblocks when a brand-new shiny 4WD emerges from a dust cloud.
The driver, a bloke in an Armani suit, Gucci shoes, Bolle sunglasses and Yves St Laurent silk tie, slides down the window and says to the farmer, “If I tell you exactly how many sheep and lambs you have in your flock, will
you give me a lamb?”
The farmer looks from the man to the peacefully grazing herd and
murmurs, “Why not?”
The well-dressed bloke whips out his notebook, connects it to his mobile phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get a fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. Then he opens the digital photo in Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg Germany.
Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. Now he accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC-connected Excel spreadsheet on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.
Finally, he prints out a full-colour, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturised LaserJet printer, turns to the drover and says, “You have exactly 2,586 sheep and lambs.”
That’s right.” says the farmer. “Well, I guess you can take one of my lambs,” And he watches the man select an animal and stuff it into the back of his 4WD.
Hey,” muses the grazier, “If I can tell you exactly what you do for a living, will you give me back the animal?”
The man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”
“You’re a bureaucrat from Wellington” says the farmer.
“Wow! That’s correct! But how did you guess that?” the bureaucrat asks.
“No guessing required.” answered the farmer. “You showed up here uninvited; you wanted to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don’t know a thing about sheep.
“Now, give me back my dog.”
Stressing that I understand that town and country need each other and it ill behoves any of us to claim we’re superior to anyone else, I put my tongue in my cheek and quote Vincent McNabb:
“There are those who wrest a living from the land and that’s work; there are those who wrest a living from those who wrest a living from the land and that’s trade*; and there are those who wrest a living from those who wrest a living from those who wrest a living from the land and that’s finance”.
(*trade in this context refers to wholesale and retail not trades).
It doesn’t really matter what paper they shuffle and where they shuffle it, the people shuffling it make a living from the ones who do the work.