Strong farmer support for sheepmeat and beef levies to continue

Farmers have given their organisation Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) a strong mandate to work on their behalf for the next six year sheepmeat and beef levy cycle with over 84 percent support.

The Declaration of Result provided by the independent Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp, of Electionz.com said 84.56 percent of farmers on a one farmer, one vote basis had voted in favour of the sheepmeat levy with support of 86.04 per cent on a weighted stock unit basis. There was over 84.66 percent support for the beef levy on a one farmer, one vote and 84.60 per cent on a weighted stock unit basis.

The result declaration for B+LNZ Ltd’s Commodity Levies Act Referendum provided by Electionz.com is:

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The voting return percentage was 38.03 percent (6,448 participants), representing the following:

• % of national sheep numbers – 58 percent
• % of national beef cattle numbers – 47 percent
• % of national dairy cattle numbers – 15 percent

James ParsonsB+LNZ chairman James Parsons said the referendum was a great endorsement for the organisation and its work over the last six years.

The participation rate was similar to the last referendum in 2009, Parsons said. However, the result is in stark contrast to the 2009 referendum where the sheepmeat levy and the beef levy were narrowly passed.

“Since 2009 the board and staff have worked incredibly hard to reconnect with farmers. Consequently B+LNZ has become much more farmer-facing, partnered far better with like-minded organisations and been a stronger voice for farmers in key areas.

“Naturally we are delighted with the strong endorsement from farmers, however the challenges the sector faces are as great as ever. Feedback from farmers who attended the 53 referendum meetings around the country was, they want and need a farmer organisation now as much as ever. Consequently, we need to work just as hard for the next six years, but we will do so with the knowledge farmers firmly support and value their farmer organisation. In essence B+LNZ is just an extension of farmers.

“The result is a strong indication that our work over the past six years has been on the right track and that we should continue to evolve and improve it over time. Without question B+LNZ in another six years’ time will be vastly different to what we see today. Farmers can expect a lot more initiatives already in the pipeline to surface in the next couple of years.”

Parsons said he had informed the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Nathan Guy of the result and the organisation will be applying to the Minister’s office for new levy orders that would run through to 2022.

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