Sunday, December 3, 2023

BLNZ pledges to engage with farmers on ‘resets’

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New chair of industry body says ‘we need to listen’ to concerns.
New Beef and Lamb NZ chair Kate Acland says farmers have raised some legitimate concerns and the board is listening.
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Engaging with farmers will be key priority as Beef + Lamb New Zealand considers its response plan to the industry organisation’s annual meeting remits, new board chair Kate Acland says.

“As the board considers what changes will be made, it wants to engage with farmers around the country to ensure it reflects the views of farmers and gets any resets right,” she said.   

BLNZ has released the results of voting on the nine remits undertaken by levy payers as part of the annual meeting process. 

Acland said while the results are non-binding, they are an indication of farmer sentiment and the board must consider the results and show how it will respond.  

“The remits received and the mood at last week’s annual meeting show there are some farmers who are unhappy out there and we need to listen to their concerns and respond appropriately. 

“There is concern among farmers about the cumulative impact of layers of legislation and the relentless scale and pace of proposed regulatory change.” 

The board is already doing work towards what has been proposed but Acland acknowledged there are areas where more work is needed. 

“Farmers have raised some legitimate concerns; we are listening and acknowledge there’s always more BLNZ could do to improve.” 

The remits show two clear themes. 

“The board has recognised that we need to have deeper conversations with our farmers about some of the key issues we’re advocating on and why BLNZ has taken the positions it has, making sure we have good processes in place to ensure our positions reflect our farmers’ views and that farmers are involved in the process.  

“We need to spend time face to face with farmers, listening to concerns and we need to ask how they want to have these conversations in the future.” 

Two of the nine remits were specifically about He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN), and a further two covered related areas of best-practice consultation and advocacy.  

Sentiment was fairly obvious on some of the remits, but there was no clear consensus on the issue of remaining within HWEN. 

“That’s understandable, as this issue is hugely complex and has significant ramifications for farmers. 

“I think it also reflects the fact that we still don’t have all the information in terms of what the government is proposing. But it’s something we will be talking to farmers about.” 

The board expects to provide an update on its next steps in the next couple of weeks.

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