National’s agriculture policy aims to restore farmers’ confidence and pride:
A National Government will reduce regulatory burden and give farmers confidence for the future.
Leader of the National Party Judith Collins and Agriculture spokesperson David Bennett announced National’s Agriculture policy in Gisborne today.
“Agriculture is responsible for 60 per cent of New Zealand’s goods exports and is the backbone of our economy,” Ms Collins says.
“Farmers have enough on their plate with weather, interest rates, and international markets, they shouldn’t have to contend with a Government who doesn’t understand their sector and restricts their growth.
“New Zealand’s reputation as a producer of quality and sustainable agricultural products is well known around the world. When we form the next Government, our pledge is to ensure that our agricultural policy focuses on allowing farmers the opportunity to farm their way to better outcomes, rather than being regulated into oblivion.”
- Repeal the Resource Management Act (RMA) and replace it with an Environmental Standards Act and Planning and Development Act.
- Allow skilled workers and Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers to enter New Zealand.
- Create a fast-tracked Primary Sector Visa.
- Repeal or review the nine new water regulations Labour introduced in August.
- Promote water storage options.
- Review the treatment of forestry in the Emissions Trading Scheme.
- Remove the exemption that streamlines the process for forestry applications in the Overseas Investment Office test.
- Remove the review process around introducing agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme in 2022.
- Pass seven changes to the Zero Carbon Bill, including a review of the methane target.
- Pursue an active free trade agenda to open up new markets for New Zealand’s food and fibre products.
- Enforce stronger penalties for biosecurity offences.
- Build the infrastructure to ensure better connectivity for rural communities
“Labour took farmers for granted. Now as we face an economic crisis we are seeing just how foolish Labour’s treatment of farmers was,” Mr Bennett says.
“National’s approach to agriculture is simple – allow the sector to thrive by investing in and encouraging innovation, not constraining the sector with excessive regulations.
“There will be a demand for more sustainability in our farming practices. Farmers are up for this challenge and this desire for improvement is clear in farmers’ efforts over recent years.
“We’ll address the issues around workforce shortages and ensure that primary sector businesses have every opportunity continue growing and supporting New Zealand’s economy.
“National is proud of New Zealand’s history as the world’s best producer of food and fibre, and we are committed to it being New Zealand’s future as well.”
This has been seized on by Nationals’ opponents as anti-environment.
It isn’t. It has the goals of environmental sustainability but unlike Labour and the Greens, National aims to do it by working with farmers in a way that is economically and socially sustainable.
The details are good and more than that, as Dennis Denuto said in The Castle, it’s the vibe
The policy shows National values farmers and understands the importance of primary production and, unlike the parties on the left, will not attempt to kill off one of the few bright spots in the pandemic’s economic gloom.