The creation of non-jobs and anything which hints at protectionism are to be avoided at all costs, Don Nicolson says in Federated Farmers ‘ submission to the job summit.
New Zealand is the poster country for being an open dynamic economy. If any company or organisation proposes protectionist measures, we farmers will tell them to go and read some history books.
“We are still selling goods overseas and are now seeing some price stabilisation. We’re actually pretty upbeat about New Zealand’s economic prospects as there’s no direct protein in a silicon chip. Everyone needs food.
“Some gentle steps rather than a series of knockout schemes must be the starting point. This is an argument for treading gently and not thinking big.
If there is one good thing about the deficits we’re facing as a country it’s that we can’t afford to think big.
Feds’ submission made four main points:
1. Don’t trip up the economy and cost more jobs by including agriculture in the Emisisons Trading Scheme.
Agriculture should never have been included in our Kyoto commitment and including it in our ETS would cripple the economy while doing nothing for the environment.
2. Include water storeage in the infrastructure package.
For each 1000ha irrigated, the Ministry of Economic Development’s study of the Opuha Dam near Fairlie in South Canterbury, confirmed that some $7.7 million is injected into the local community, 30 jobs were created and household incomes boosted by $1.2 million.
We have seen similar gains from irrigation in North Otago with economic, social and environmental gains.
Feds includes tree planting on marginal land and rural broadband under infrastructure.
3. Improving skills and getting people into agriculture.
One of the eye openers about dairying is the poor literacy and numeracy of so many job applicants.
4. Concentrate R&D funding on agriculture.
When money is scarce it should be directed at areas of natural advantage and our biggest one is agriculture.
If nothing more than these points are acted on as a result of today’s job summit it will have been very worthwhile.