Primary Industries

New Zealand’s primary sector is a huge part of our economy and our identity. Prior to COVID, our primary sector was already on a path to transformation off the back of a world-leading agreement between government and industry.

Following COVID, it will be at the forefront of our export-led recovery and can lead the way to a more sustainable economy.

Labour’s 2020 campaign policies

  • 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.

Labour’s achievements to date

During the COVID crisis

Right across New Zealand, we started redeploying workers affected by COVID into jobs in biosecurity and pest control projects. We worked at pace to grow our primary industries workforce, identifying initiatives to support at least 10,000 people into rural jobs, including training people out of work due to COVID. We also took action to minimise the impact of trade disruptions on seafood exporters and the forestry sector.

The combined effects of COVID and the large drought have placed significant pressure on rural communities, so we relieved some of this pressure by investing significantly in rural support services and community hubs.

Before the COVID crisis

We protected the productivity of our vital beef and dairy sectors with our response to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis, including through farmer compensation and through strengthening the national animal tracing system to ensure it keeps our primary sector and economy safe.

We supported drought stricken regions through a range of investments, including for immediate water needs, setting up temporary water supplies, rural assistance payments, and increased funding for Rural Support Trusts.

Through our One Billion Trees Programme, we’re reversing the trend of deforestation in New Zealand. Our focus is on getting the right tree in the right place, and we’ve already got 150 million in the ground.

We’ve invested significantly in sustainable fisheries, for example, through funding to implement improved monitoring of the fishing catch on commercial vessels, including for monitoring of on-board cameras and support for new protections for Hector’s and Māui dolphins.

Since we came into Government, we’ve also:

  • Invested in increasing water storage infrastructure
  • Introduced a farm debt mediation scheme, to help farmers in financial distress deal with their lenders
  • Passed the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act to ensure our dairy regulatory regime puts the sector in the best possible position in a post-COVID world