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‘Good regulatory settings crucial for farming sector’

BEEF and Lamb New Zealand has welcomed the funding announced in the Budget for the primary sector and the organisation looks forward to working with the Government on how the initiatives announced get developed and delivered.

Beef and Lamb NZ chairman Andrew Morrison said most importantly, Beef and Lamb NZ was focused on ensuring the climate change legislation and water regulations, which many of these initiatives would underpin, would be fit for purpose and not create unintended consequences for rural communities.

“Although the funding is important, what really matters is the regulatory settings are right for the sector.

“Farmers want policy settings that are sound, based on evidence and allow them to work with their communities and the Government to deliver the improved environmental, social and economic outcomes we’re all after,” Mr Morrison said.

“If these policies aren’t designed correctly from the outset, the unintended negative consequences they could cause will ultimately undermine and outweigh any benefit that may have been gained from money invested during Budget 2019.”

Some of the Budget initiatives of interest to sheep and beef farmers include:

• $229 million for a Productive and Sustainable Land Use package to drive change and help land users reduce the environmental impacts of their activities, such as investing in projects to protect and restore waterways and wetlands, and providing support for farmers and growers to use their land more sustainably. $122 million of this is specifically targeted at agriculture.

• $183.8m for the One Billion Trees programme to help lower planting barriers for landowners and improving incentives to support planting.

• $197m to implement the Government’s reform of vocational education.

• $57m to increase WorkSafe New Zealand’s capacity to improve health and safety outcomes for New Zealand workers.

• $49.4m for Te Uru Rakau — New Zealand Forestry — to promote the growth and ongoing sustainability of the forestry sector.

• $39.3m for improving compliance and enforcement capability for food safety, animal welfare and fisheries.

• $8.5m invested in the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases to reduce and mitigate agricultural emissions.

• $3.2m for the Agricultural Climate Change Research Platform to support research that helps agriculture deal with the effects of climate change.

• $12.3m to improve risk management and resilience in the biosecurity system and $50.6m for Customs to maintain its management of risks at the border.

• $3.1m towards management of Crown Pastoral Land.

“At the end of the day, we’d encourage the Government to focus on working closely with farmers to get the policy settings right on issues like climate change, water quality and biodiversity,” Mr Morrison said.

“If we get the regulatory framework right, we can ensure that rural communities will thrive into the future while also addressing these important areas that need improving.”