Saturday, December 2, 2023

Keep regs real, arable farmers advise new govt

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They also want useful tools – including GM – to be put in growers’ hands.
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A change of pace and properly designed regulation are top of the wish list for arable farmers from the new incoming government.

“We just need rules and regulations to slow down and to be correctly designed with the appropriate tools for farmers to have the ability to fulfil them,” Federated Farmers arable industry chair David Birkett said.  

“We need to look at all the tools and GM is one of those tools, particularly plant-based in the seed sector.

“We need to make sure regulations to operate in New Zealand are robust with good technology that is not at the expense of farmers – not being controlled by the likes of chemical companies.”

CRISPR is becoming an indispensable tool in biological research with this technology key to where a lot of the solutions will come from,  Birkett said.

Reform of the Resource Management Act is concerning for farmers.

“The new Act has been passed but we believe it is not the right approach so we will be looking for improvement there.”

Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) approvals in new crop treatments with the impending more stringent regulation under the European Green Deal is high on the radar for the cropping sector.

“Agricultural chemicals for arable are very important, we need a system that is robust and efficient. 

“We are about to put a letter to the EPA and the new incoming minister outlining this.”

As for He Waka Eke Noa, he said: “Well that’s a dying case. There are a lot of other rules and regulations that will take its place over time.”      

Birkett said farmers are in no way denying the need to keep improving.

“We are well aware we have to keep improving but in doing so we have to remain profitable with correctly designed regulation and tools so all that is going on in this space is practical and sustainable and that’s the key message for the incoming government.”

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