A report on the economic impact of Horizon Council’s One Plan says it is the biggest threat facing farming.
. . . The 44-page report, just released, is the last in a series on key economic sectors commissioned by Palmerston North City and Manawatu District councils to highlight their importance to the local region.
The report, prepared by Massey University economics student Carla Muller, highlights the importance of agriculture to the rural community and to Palmerston North. It says in 2011 agriculture directly contributed $268 million to the region and indirectly $80 million. The report estimates agriculture accounts for 25% of Manawatu district’s GDP and 1.5% of Palmerston North’s GDP. On average, every dairy herd in the region has a return (before tax) of $139,519; sheep and beef farms return, before tax, $213,841.
But the report singles out One Plan as the biggest threat to farming in the region, saying it will have a potentially large impact on “farming practices and the farming landscape”. It goes on to say that it’s hard to quantify the exact impact until the court issues are resolved.
Palmerston North mayor Jono Naylor (pictured) told Rural News his greatest concern about One Plan is the lack of resolution of the issues involved. With agriculture such a big part of the region’s economy it’s important concerns over viability and productivity are quickly resolved, he says.
“I think agriculture is taken for granted by a lot of New Zealanders. I don’t think a lot of people realise that the lifestyle we live today in the cities is on the back of the work done on farms. It’s a huge part of our economy and the rest of us re-circulate the money [farmers] generate.”
Naylor says the multiplier effect in Manawatu region from agriculture is big. “There is the direct impact from the farmers and the money they spend, which then generates jobs in the industries servicing the agricultural sector – education in agriculture, research institutions, and a lot of our manufacturing.” . . .
The challenge to councils and farmers is to come up with a plan and farming practices which ensure water quality is at an acceptable standard without compromising the viability of businesses which make such an important economic contribution to the region, and the country.