Wednesday, 08 November 2023 07:55

Ag's wish list keeps growing

Written by  David Anderson
RCNZ chief executive Andrew Olsen. RCNZ chief executive Andrew Olsen.

When the new National-led government is finally formed there will be a long list waiting for it to action from the primary industries sector.

Farmer lobby Federated Farmers says if the new government is serious about restoring farmer confidence it will need to hit the ground running.

Feds says the new government needs to look at things like unworkable wetland rules, fertiliser caps, freshwater farm plans and the need for winter grazing resource consents.

"All these issues could be resolved quickly through simple amendments with immediate effects."

Rural Contractors NZ, the lobby group for the agricultural contracting sector, says it has already written to Prime Minister-elect Christopher Luxon asking that his incoming Government urgently remove job check requirements, which are causing delays on some visas.

RCNZ chief executive Andrew Olsen says his organisation wants changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) as part of any pre-Christmas legislative or regulatory changes.

"I spoke to Christopher Luxon on the campaign trail when he was in Wairarapa. I raised with him the concerns of rural contractors across the country about the unfair difficulties posed by the new AEWV," Olsen says.

"In short, it requires employers to show no New Zealander wants to fill a job. This drags out the process of recruiting an overseas resident for months, causing unnecessary stress and cost to our $2b industry supporting farmers."

Olsen says by contrast, anyone here on a Working Holiday Visitor visa can be turned around to gain Immigration clearance in a couple of days, without the job check pre-requisite. He is hopeful that dropping the job check requirement could be done in time for the maize season, which kicks off in February.

Meanwhile, Apples & Pears New Zealand is asking the new government to urgently review the Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) scheme.

Apples and Pears chief executive Karen Morrish wants changes to the scheme that she claims "would deliver phenomenal benefits". She believes these could be implemented in the first 100 days of National forming government.

Morrish is preparing a briefing paper for the incoming minister setting out some of the key issues in her sector that could benefit from government input.

She says the industry should be proud of the RSE scheme and while it works well after 15 years it's time to make improvements.

Morrish believes that a government review of the scheme is needed and would be welcomed by the industry.

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