The National Party will cut red tape on New Zealand’s farming sector if it’s elected to Government at this year’s general election.
And it’s vowed to restart the controversial practice of live exports of cattle by sea.
The party’s leader and the MP for Botany Christopher Luxon made the announcement at a farm in Whitford on April 19.
He says National’s ‘Getting back to Farming’ policy will reverse the regulation Labour has placed on the farming sector since 2017.
“Labour has used regulation to declare war on farmers,” Luxon says.
“National will end that war by cutting red tape. New Zealand has the worst current account deficit in the developed world.
“If we don’t earn more from overseas, there will be consequences, like lower wages and less money to spend on the public services we all want and need.”
Luxon says National will restart the live exports of cattle “with gold standard rules set in regulation to protect animal welfare and safety”.
He says the party will require purpose-built ships and introduce a certification regime for the importers of destination countries to ensure animals live in conditions at the same standards required in New Zealand.
The Labour Government is set to end the controversial practice of live exports by sea on April 30 this year.
Luxon says farming is the “backbone” of New Zealand’s economy with agriculture exports worth $41 billion, or 63 per cent of all of the goods it exported.
“When farmers succeed, New Zealand succeeds.
“But since it was elected, Labour has introduced or changed more than 20 laws and regulations for farmers, adding extra costs on them often without any environmental gain.
“For example, wetlands are so poorly defined that farmers have to go to court to determine whether land is a paddock that can be farmed, or a protected wetland that can’t.
“National’s ‘Getting back to Farming’ package will make regulation fit for purpose.
“I want world-class regulation for our world-class farmers.
“Regulation has a role to play, but rules should avoid prescription, target outcomes, minimise compliance, and be clear to provide certainty.”
Among the 19 changes National intends to introduce are introducing a ‘two-for-one’ so for every new agriculture regulation two must be removed, establish a Rural Regulation Review Panel to consider all regulations affecting farmers, and require new rules to be assessed for their costs to farmers with findings published.
It will also double the Recognised Seasonal Employer worker cap to 38,000 and create a path to residency through the Accredited Employer Work Visa, ban foreign farm-to-forest conversions for carbon farming, allow normal rural activities on Highly Productive Land, replace one-size-fits-all rules with local decision making, focus environmental protected on areas of high environmental value, and improve stock exclusion rules.
“This is only the start,” Luxon says. “This country does not need more rules. It needs better regulation.
“New Zealand is an agricultural nation. National will boost our economy while protecting our environment.
“National is proud to back New Zealand’s world-leading farmers.”