Exploring communication and engagement between New Zealand farmers and government relating to sustainable agriculture. (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsAnderson, Sidney Arthur Allanshow all
This thesis investigates communication and engagement between New Zealand farmers and government bodies, with a focus on sustainable agriculture. This thesis focusses on how communication and engagement is carried out between these two groups, and how it can be improved in order to achieve sustainability goals within the agricultural industry. Issues of sustainable agricultural policy, practices, and behaviours, alongside political communication within the New Zealand agriculture context have been investigated, expanding on existing literature. Academic literature relating to sustainability is relatively abundant, with an increased focus and awareness of sustainability issues, including sustainability marketing and sustainable development in modern society (Bridges & Wilhelm, 2008). However, there have been no studies examining the impact of political marketing on sustainable agricultural practices within the New Zealand context, causing a gap in current literature. The key concepts present throughout this thesis include sustainability, sustainable development, and sustainability marketing. This research aims to increase the level of knowledge, and therefore decrease the current gap in existing literature, regarding how New Zealand farmers and government communicate and engage with each other. This research focusses on the issues of sustainable agriculture, and how the uptake of sustainable farming practices and behaviours can be encouraged by local and central government. Through the exploration of views and opinions of a range of farmers and local government representatives relating to communication styles and strategies, insight into any disconnect between the groups will be provided, as well as opportunities for improving communication and engagement between the groups in future. The investigation was carried out using a qualitative exploratory research approach. A series of semi-structured interviews were undertaken with farmers and local government representatives from Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay. Findings from these interviews were thematically analysed to form theoretical and practical implications. Ultimately, this research reveals an alignment of environmental goals between New Zealand farmers and government bodies, and a disconnect between these groups influenced by issues of timing, accountability, trust, and differences in communication styles. The final chapter of this thesis presents the theoretical and practical implications provided by the key findings, limitations and areas that require further investigation.