Wednesday, 28 April 2021 10:55

Editorial: Our Land 2021 - a wake-up call

Written by  Staff Reporters
Encroachment of residential living onto productive farmland will mean the farmers who remain will face higher land values and higher rates. Encroachment of residential living onto productive farmland will mean the farmers who remain will face higher land values and higher rates.

OPINION: The recent Our Land 2021 report released by the Government is a wake-up call.

In our quest to build houses for a burgeoning population, productive agricultural land is being swallowed up by housing developments.

With Auckland’s population set to hit 2 million in the next decade, pressure for both housing and food will rise.

New Zealand will have 6.8 million consumers by 2073, the Ministry for Environment (MfE) report says, and food growers will also be responding to overseas demand for New Zealand food exports.

While most dairy farms are not affected by the urban sprawl, if productive land was is not available for agriculture, it forces less suitable areas to be used.

The report goes on to say that the land used for agriculture has been decreasing since 2002. It says between 2017 and 2019 it fell by 2%. In terms of dairying, the report notes the increase in cow numbers and the greater use of irrigation, especially for dairy farming.

Any encroachment of residential living onto productive farmland not only means a loss of that farming land, it also has consequences for those farmers who remain.

They face higher land values and consequently higher rates, along with increased council rules and restrictions that fall upon them due to increased amenity expectations of those new urban residents.

Export earnings from NZ land-based primary industries shot up 91% - from $23 billion in 2010 to $44 billion in 2019. The MfE report notes the Government wants those earnings to grow by another $44 billion in the next decade to support post-covid economic recovery.

Federated Farmers describes this as “a hairy and audacious goal” when you consider that since 2002 nearly 1.9 million hectares has gone out of agriculture and horticulture production.

They point out that, even more tellingly, of our most highly productive land (flat, best soils), the amount lost to urban sprawl and lifestyle blocks jumped 54% from 69,920 hectares in 2002 to 107,444 hectares in 2019.

NZ farmers are just getting on with driving up production from less land and from management and genetic improvements. But there comes a time when they run up against the limits of nature and efficiency.

The time has come for NZ to better manage where we are building houses and stop building on land best suited to growing healthy food for people.

More like this

Housing eats into NZ's veggie patch

Much of New Zealand’s best vegetable growing soils are being eaten away by housing and lifestyle blocks, which will increase people’s food bills, a new report warns.

Ag biggest contributor to GHG emissions - report

The Ministry for the Environment’s (MfE) 2021 Greenhouse Gas Inventory revealed that for the year 2019, agriculture was among the two largest contributors to New Zealand’s gross Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

MFE moves to mitigate conflicts of interest

Concerns raised about the serious conflict of interest of a key Ministry for the Environment (MfE) staffer involved in the controversial freshwater reforms has led the ministry to implement a new system to mitigate future issues.

State funding for recycling

Having declared in July that all farm plastics sold in New Zealand will have to be recycled or reused, the Ministry for the Environment has made two major grants to help this policy become a reality.

National

a2 Milk seals Mataura deal

The a2 Milk Company (a2Mc) has been given the regulatory approval to buy 75% of Mataura Valley Milk, Southland.

Machinery & Products

Giving calves the best

Waikato farmer Ed Grayling milks 430 cows on mostly peat soil that is low on trace elements.

Feed system helping grow top heifers

Feeding livestock can bring with it several challenges including labour shortages, wasted feed, higher prices for smaller quantities, intake monitoring…

Hard hat or hard head

A recently released coroner's report into the death of a South Canterbury farmworker in 2019 raised the question of the…

Made in NZ: Trimax

Made in New Zealand looks at the wealth of design and manufacturing ability we have in New Zealand, creating productive…

Vendro badged tedders

Masterton based Tulloch Farm Machines has introduced a new series of Krone tedders badged Vendro, to replace the existing KW…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Microbe power

OPINION: Microbes fished from the stomachs of cows can gobble up certain kinds of plastic, including the polythylene terephthalate (PET)…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter