Federated Farmers is backing an ACT Party Member’s Bill that would repeal the ban on live exports.
ACT’s primary industries spokesperson, Mark Cameron, put the bill into the ballot last week, asking if New Zealand was wealthy enough to flush away a half-a-billion-dollar industry.
“The government was advised not to proceed with the ban because it would hammer rural New Zealand, but they forged ahead anyway,” Cameron said.
He highlighted recent surveys showing farmer confidence at historic lows and the rising cost of fuel and fertiliser as reasons that the industry cannot afford to turn its back on live exports.
Federated Farmers backs the bill.
“With industry-initiated Live Export NZ ‘Gold Standard’ animal welfare precautions, and enforcement of the recommendations on sea voyages from the independent review, New Zealand can be a global exemplar in this trade,” Federated Farmers national board member and dairy chair Richard McIntyre said.
“The cyclones have put a massive hit on our infrastructure and productive sector; it may be years before our pipfruit industry recovers, for example. Can New Zealand afford to turn its back on annual export income worth $400m-$500m?”
The government-instituted live export ban comes into full effect on April 30 this year after a transition/wind-down period.
“The global live cattle trade will continue, but from countries and by exporters with lower animal standards filling the gap enforced on us. If we were still involved, our high standards would push others into lifting their game,” McIntyre said.
“We’ve also lost the opportunity to have influence, via commercial relationships, over the welfare of exported animals after they’ve arrived in countries such as China,” McIntyre said.
Federated Farmers and the many businesses that have been involved in this trade want discussions re-opened.
“But the debate should be based on facts rather than politics and ideology,” McIntyre said.
“It’s an election year, and rural New Zealand looks forward to hearing the policies of the various parties on this topic and others that are so important to provincial economies.”
Cameron urged the Labour government not to wait for his bill and repeal the ban immediately.