Farmers play a key role in our economy and in our communities, and will be at the forefront of our COVID recovery. Labour has worked in partnership with Kiwi farmers over the past three years and together we’ve tackled Mycoplasma bovis, worked through droughts and flooding, started cleaning up our waterways, and taken steps towards a more sustainable economy.
As part of our rebuild and recovery plan, we’re committed to backing our farmers so we can keep moving forward together. Here’s a look at what we’ve achieved together over the past three years.
We reached an historic agreement on climate change
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world right now, and we all need to work in partnership to reduce emissions and transition to a low-carbon economy.
Many farmers are already making changes to adapt to the climate challenge, but it will take all of us joining forces to reduce New Zealand’s emissions and do our bit for the climate.
That’s why last year, our Government and farming leaders agreed to a world-first action plan to reduce primary sector emissions. This includes an historic commitment from the industry to measure and price farm emissions for the first time by 2025, and a commitment from Government to invest in research and support to help farmers.
It’s just one way we’re working with our farming industry to build a better future.
Stepping up our partnership
Over the past three years we have made great progress in partnering with farmers and growers, and we have recently announced we will invest an initial $50 million to partner with the industry to develop Integrated Farm Planning that works.
By partnering with the industry, we will create a single planning framework that will reduce costs for every farmer and grower, reduce the burden of compliance, help farmers and growers achieve their economic goals, and support the transition to a clean, green carbon-neutral economy.
We’ve made progress on eradicating Mycoplasma bovis
Together with the primary sector, we made the bold decision to go hard and commit to eradicating the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis to protect our farmers and the economy.
This was a tough call, but it has proven to be the right one: three years since the disease was first detected in New Zealand, almost all infected farms are clear of the disease, and we’ve avoided the severe economic impacts predicted if we’d left the disease unchecked.
It’s taken discipline and hard work, but we’re now on track to do what no other country in the world has done and eradicate this disease. There is still a way to go, but we will not let up on our efforts, and will continue to work closely with the industry to achieve our goal.
We’re working together to get through COVID
Farmers have played a vital role throughout the pandemic, from keeping supermarkets stocked through lockdown to keeping our economy moving with exports. We’re supporting farmers so they can continue this essential work.
Nearly one in every seven jobs are in our primary sector, but more Kiwi workers are needed to support the industry’s growth. We’re making sure farms have the workers they need to get the job done by supporting at least 10,000 people into primary sector jobs. This includes training and other support so new workers are prepared for life on the farm.
We’re also rolling out a massive pest control programme to tackle wilding pines and wallabies, to protect farmers from costly pests that hurt their bottom line, and we’re boosting funding for mental wellbeing support in rural communities to ensure everyone can get the help they need to make it through, no matter where they live.
These are just some of the ways we’re partnering with our farmers and growers as we rebuild and recover together.
Kiwi farmers are creative and innovative, and are working hard to help us transition to a cleaner, greener future. They’re a huge part of our economy and our brand, and will be vital in our economic recovery from COVID-19. Labour will keep working with farmers as together, we keep New Zealand moving.