New Zealand's horticulture industry has set out its wishes for the upcoming election campaign, covering water, climate change, country of origin labelling and labour issues.
Here are excerpts from the report…
Invest in R&D for our primary sector to unlock more value and volume.
For the dairy sector to maintain its international competitiveness and make a greater contribution to New Zealand’s economy and environment requires a more strategic approach to research and development. This isn’t necessarily about investing more money but investing the existing pool of money more wisely through long-term strategic partnerships between government and the sector.
Set a clear strategy for science funding that is appropriately resourced to support farmers to reduce their environmental footprint while increasing profit.
The current research system isn’t working. It’s costly, cumbersome, and doesn’t direct funding to the areas that will really make a difference. Misplaced incentives prioritise piecemeal projects at the expense of long-term vision and co-ordinated effort.
Work with the sector to meet workforce needs through training and recruitment of Kiwis as well as skilled migrant workers.
Our primary sector faces both short-term and long-term workforce challenges that need to be addressed. Twenty six per cent of farmers surveyed said that they were rarely or never able to find staff with the skills and experience they needed.
Invest in rural broadband and improved mobile coverage to better connect our rural communities with New Zealand and the world.
Covid-19 is a timely reminder of the importance of digital connectivity in the modern world. But many of our rural communities still don’t have access to the services they need to stay connected and run their businesses.
Develop a national water storage strategy and invest in water storage to increase water supply in times of drought, enable land-use flexibility and unlock economic potential.
As a country there are huge opportunities for water storage to help increase reliability of water supply in times of drought, to enable land-use flexibility and farming within environmental limits, and to help regions unlock their full economic potential.
Develop and enforce a world-leading biosecurity system that is properly resourced, learns from our M.bovis experience and ensures everyone plays their part.
Biosecurity is of huge importance to our food and primary sector’s future – and for the future of our country. An incursion of foot-and-mouth disease would be devastating for our farmers, rural communities, and our economy.
Reform the RMA to reduce compliance costs for farmers, increase efficiency and drive better environmental outcomes.
A comprehensive reform of the Resource Management Act is long overdue and would be a positive step not only for farmers but all New Zealanders. The system has become unpredictable and inefficient for applicants.
Partner with farmers and support them to play their part to meet new environmental standards.
New Zealand farmers have a strategic opportunity to improve local environmental outcomes and meet the expectations of our global consumers – but success will require partnership and government investment.
Ensure targets for water quality improvements are fair and equitable, clear, scientifically robust and have pragmatic timeframes for implementation.
Healthy waterways are important to dairy farmers. We share the country’s aspirations to protect our streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands and are working as a sector to deliver on environmental goals.
Review the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Act to ensure they are firmly grounded in science and align our international and domestic targets by applying a split gas approach to our Paris commitment and carbon budgets.
Last year, New Zealand took a world leading approach by legislating a split gas target in the Zero Carbon Act but failed to give farmers certainty by setting a broad range of 24 – 47% for methane reductions.