Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has welcomed the funding announced in the 2019 Budget for the primary sector and is looking forward to working with the government on how the initiatives announced are developed and delivered.
Most importantly, however, B+LNZ is focused on ensuring that the climate change legislation and water regulations that many of these initiatives will underpin are fit for purpose and don’t create unintended consequences for rural communities.
B+LNZ chairman Andrew Morrison says that 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.
“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,” he says.
Some of the initiatives in Budget 2019 that are 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 provides support for farmers and growers to use their land more sustainably. $122 million of this is specifically targeted at agriculture.
- $183.8 million for the One Billion Trees programme to help lower planting barriers for landowners and improving incentives to support planting.
- $197 million to implement the government’s reform of vocational education.
- $57 million to increase WorkSafe New Zealand’s capacity to improve health and safety outcomes for New Zealand workers.
- $49.4m for Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forestry – to promote the growth and ongoing sustainability of the forestry sector.
- $39.3 million for improving compliance and enforcement capability for food safety, animal welfare, and fisheries.
- $8.5 million invested in the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases to reduce and mitigate agricultural emissions.
- $3.2 million for the Agricultural Climate Change Research Platform to support research that helps agriculture deal with the effects of climate change.
- $12.3 million to improve risk management and resilience in the biosecurity system and $50.6 million for Customs to maintain its management of risks at the border.
“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. 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,” says Morrison.