Tuesday, 18 June 2019 08:55

PM concedes agri sector uncertainty

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
PM Jacinda Ardern. PM Jacinda Ardern.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledges uncertainty about climate change is making life difficult for farmers.

Ardern told agribusiness leaders at National Fieldays last week that the message is coming through to her.

“I absolutely hear that, how difficult uncertainty is for the industry,” she told about 100 people at the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda launch.

While the Government and industry agree on the challenges caused by climate change, water and biosecurity, uncertainty remains on how to tackle those problems.

“The issue for us, the Government, is that we could remove that uncertainty by coming out quickly with solutions engineered in Wellington,” she says.

“However they may not be the best solutions we could design and collaborate on, so there is uncertainty while we work collectively to find solutions. That’s potentially in the climate area. The challenge and opportunity is to keep looking together.”

 Ardern pointed to the Government’s $229 million Sustainable Land Use Package in the Budget, and said the Government and industry must find and design solutions that will drive genuine change.

Ardern paid tribute to farmers for their work so far on the environment, saying this helped start negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU.

“On two of my recent trips to France it became clear that New Zealand got the mandate to negotiate the EU FTA because France saw we could lift the environmental proposition of the group.

“They saw that as a benefit and less of a threat to them.”

Ardern says farmers shouldn’t underestimate the influence of their environmental credentials on the EU FTA.

The KPMG Agribusiness Agenda 2019, based on interviews with agribusiness leaders, reports that the zero carbon legislation recently proposed by the Government is a popular topic.

 Report author Ian Proudfoot says contributors reflected on the legislation as being the most confronting change to face the sector since subsidies were removed in the 1980s.

“Leaders recognise the industry has a key role to play in transitioning to a zero carbon future but it is fair to say everybody is starting their journey from a different place in respect of personal beliefs and actions already taken,” Proudfoot said.

“There was recognition that land use and farming systems will in some cases have to change. 

“Rapid change will be best achieved through a mechanism that incentivises progress rather than delivering retribution for past actions.”

More like this

Petition aims to spark support for farming

Te Kuiti-based electrician Terry Waite wants to spark support for rural NZ by demanding that the Government apologise to farmers for the way it has treated them – especially over the last couple of years.

Agility and innovation

OPINION: Like her or not, Ardern has gained much reputational capital for NZ and she is now regarded as one of the most highly respected leaders in world politics.

National supports COVID-19 response

The opposition is throwing its support behind the Government’s decision to move the country towards Level 4 of the Covid-19 alert system over the next 48 hours.


$700m for freshwater clean up

The Government has announced a $700 million fund to support the primary sector and other groups in meeting new clean water standards.

Synlait's milk price drop

Canterbury milk processor Synlait has reduced its 2019-20 forecast base milk price by 20c to $7.05/kgMS.


Overstayers irk farmers

A new law preventing the eviction of tenants from rental properties is causing a headache for some dairy farmers.

Katie’s parting shot

Outgoing Federated Farmers president Katie Milne has hit out at Wellington-based government officials for their lack of understanding about farming.

Feed shortage looming large

Parts of the Waikato are starting to recover from the drought, but the availability of feed remains a concern, says DairyNZ’s Sharon Morrell.

Southland on the brink

Southland is teetering on the edge of a bad situation, according to DairyNZ’s lead consulting officer in the South Island, Tony Finch.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Dirty water

The Hound understands that Federated Farmers has been cut out of the information loop, for the past year, on the…

Who’s paying?

Your canine crusader noticed a full-page ad recently run in a farming paper calling on meat companies SFF and Alliance…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Popular Reads

Drop in payout looms

Dairy farmers are being told to brace for a big drop in milk payout next season.