Monday, February 26, 2024

Feds hails ‘good result for agriculture’ as new govt formed

Neal Wallace
Incoming government has committed to our policy wish list, Langford says.
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The incoming government has committed to implement 11 of the 12 Federated Farmers pre-election policy wishes.

And Federated Farmers president Wayne Langford is confident that the 12th request, allowing KiwiSaver savings to be used for farm ownership, is buried in the agreement.

“It’s a good result for agriculture and Federated Farmers and will help restore farmer confidence,” he said.

National Party MP Todd McClay has been appointed minister of agriculture and trade in the new cabinet and he will have three associate ministers: Mark Patterson (NZ First), Andrew Hoggard (ACT) and Nicola Grigg (National).

Others with responsibility that bears on agriculture include Shane Jones (NZ First), minister of  regional development; Nicole McKee (ACT), associate justice minister with responsibility for firearms; and National Party ministers outside cabinet Simon Watts, climate change; Penny Simmonds, environment; and Chris Penk, land information.

Langford said the senior appointments of Hoggard, a former national president of the federation, and Patterson, a former provincial president, are a bonus, but having rural people sitting in and outside the cabinet will aid decision making on multiple rural affairs.

“The good thing about having this number is that it is not just about agricultural policies but we will get a rural lens from rural people on education, health and other key areas.”

Langford said there is an opportunity for some early gains for the sector from the new government by changing freshwater management policy, which farmers label unworkable.

The federation has written to Otago, Horizons and Northland regional councils, which are advanced in developing policies, saying the government has promised to change to the policy, which would make their work redundant.

Other early gains could come from changing immigration rules that require paying the median wage and by removing the ute tax.

He also welcomed policies to encourage water storage, cuts to red tape and a review of methane reduction targets in the Zero Carbon Act to ensure New Zealand is taking a warming approach.

Langford said the new government has set out a clear and credible plan to get farming back on track and restore farmer confidence.

“The last six years have been incredibly challenging for farmers and rural communities with a lot of impractical and expensive regulation. Farmer confidence is at record lows,” Langford said.

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