Primary Industries

Labour is investing in the future of New Zealand’s primary industries and growing our trading opportunities. We’re committed to supporting farmers and growers to boost exports, reduce emissions, and maintain our country’s competition edge internationally.

Here are just some of the ways we’re supporting our primary industries:

Securing high quality trade agreements 

Our strong record on trade, including unlocking access to some of the world’s biggest and most lucrative markets, will see New Zealand’s farmers and growers get greater returns for their hard work. We’ve already concluded four free trade agreements, including with the United Kingdom and the European Union, and we’ve upgraded three existing free trade agreements. This has resulted in increased access into 20 markets with a combined population of 2.8 billion customers.  

Positioning New Zealand globally 

Consumers around the world are increasingly demanding higher levels of sustainability in the products they buy. To stay ahead of the international curve, we’re working alongside farmers and growers to position New Zealand’s food and fibre sector as the best in the world, and the best for the world.

Through our Fit for a Better World roadmap, we’re making investments to accelerate the productivity and sustainability of the food and fibre sector. We’re partnering with industry to integrate farm planning to streamline compliance, reduce costs and demonstrate our green credentials to overseas markets. All of this work will help to secure New Zealand’s international brand and add $44 billion in export earnings over the next decade through a focus on creating value.

Growing the workforce 

Working alongside industry, we’re making sure New Zealand’s primary sector has the skilled workforce it needs to grow and thrive. By making trades training free for critical industries, we’re seeing more Kiwis upskill for a career in agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, fisheries or forestry. The Opportunities Grow Here campaign has already attracted more than 14,000 people to roles within the food and fibre sector, and in the face of global skills shortages, we’ve lifted the annual cap on the RSE scheme.

Helping farmers and growers meet consumer demands 

Through the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund, we’re investing significantly in innovation to help diversify our exports, capture value and progress our sustainability credentials. We’ve also increased funding for the horticulture sector to seize new opportunities for growth and stay ahead of international competitors, and we’re supporting a new programme to lead New Zealand’s plant protein sector development.

Strengthening our biosecurity system

To protect our economy, and the livelihoods of farmers and growers, we’ve taken a range of actions to strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system. We’re on track to eradicate M.Bovis, which will be a world first. We’ve made significant investments in our biosecurity system, including bolstering the country’s readiness against foot-and-mouth disease. We’ve also ramped up wilding pines control, treating over a million hectares which will save New Zealand billions of dollars in the long term.

Getting communities through emergencies

When a flood, drought, or severe storms hits, our farmers and growers are among the hardest hit. We rolled out the funding needed to support communities affected by severe weather events, investing in practical support like animal feed coordination services, as well as mental health and wellbeing support through rural networks, so our farmers and growers can weather whatever storms come their way.

Treating animals humanely

We’re working to ensure New Zealand upholds its international reputation for high standards of animal welfare – this isn’t just the right thing to do, it also helps Kiwi exporters stay ahead of the curve. We’ve introduced new regulations to strengthen our animal welfare system and we’re phasing out the export of livestock by sea.

Labour will support farmers and growers to get greater returns for their hard work by committing an initial $50 million to support integrated farm planning. Read more here.

Labour’s plan

Labour is already rolling out our plan to back our primary sector to generate an additional $44 billion in export earnings, create and maintain jobs, and improve environmental standards to support New Zealand’s brand for a clean, healthy and productive future. That’s why we are:

  • Creating 11,000 Jobs for Nature in regional New Zealand, including boosting weed and pest control programmes, which will protect farmers against costly pests like wilding pines and wallabies, and clean up our waterways
  • Making apprenticeships and trades training in targeted areas free, giving primary sector employers a new stream of new workers to upskill and employ
  • Investing significantly to help rural communities and fishing communities recover from COVID-19, including funding to increase access to support, financial and continuity planning advice and wellbeing services
  • Backing the horticulture sector to seize new opportunities for growth and stay ahead of international competitors, including funding to enable the introduction of imported plant material for the sector to develop new high-value crops and cultivars
  • Supporting farmer-led solutions through our Productive and Sustainable Land Use package, with a focus on promoting farm land-use practices that deliver more value and improve environmental outcomes.

Of all employee jobs (excluding sole traders) in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry: 34% (42,000 jobs) were supported by the Original Wage Subsidy; 9% of them were supported by the Wage Subsidy Extension (10,000); 2% of them were supported by the Resurgence Wage subsidy (3,000 jobs); 1% of them (1,000 jobs) were supported by the March 2021 Wage Subsidy.