DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel said working in partnership with the next government, whoever that is, is a priority and it is pleasing to see parties putting a largely positive vision forward for New Zealand agriculture.
“We welcome the discussion around farming, as dairy farmers are keen to see practical policies on the table. As a food-producing nation, we are at the forefront of free-range farm systems, safe nutritious food, sustainability and economic value. It’s vital we get policies right,” said Mr van der Poel.
“It’s good to see the parties discussing key policies to help, and work with, the food and fibre sector and farmers. What will be most helpful to NZ Inc. is for any incoming government to sit down after being elected and work through the issues and plans together with the sector and farmers.
“DairyNZ is keen to see pragmatic, enduring solutions that will deliver for rural communities, the environment, farm systems and the economy.”
Mr van der Poel said some aspects of policy proposals appear particularly valuable – including Labour’s support for farm plans and committing funding to help their implementation; and National’s proposal to revisit some regulations, investment in broadband and RMA changes.
An investment in farm plans is valued, as DairyNZ has advocated for Farm Environment Plans and has a target in place.
“Through the sector’s Dairy Tomorrow strategy, we have a commitment to have all farms with an environment plan by 2025. This underpins our sector’s efforts to improve the health of rivers and streams, protect biodiversity and reduce emissions.
“Increased support to implement farm plans will go some way to helping farmers deliver on this commitment.”
Likewise, farmers are being impacted by significant regulation and compliance changes, and a revisit proposed by National to water quality and climate change targets has merit to ensure they are grounded in science, fair and achievable, he said.
“Many of the concerns we have raised in our recent View from the Cow Shed farmer survey have come through this election, which is encouraging – particularly investing in rural connectivity and reforming the RMA.”
Read DairyNZ’s View from the Cow Shed report here.
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