As predicted by Rural News, New Zealand and the EU have concluded an historic and long awaited free trade agreement – a deal which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says will save us $100 million in tariffs in the first year the deal takes effect and a further $10 million in the future.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says Budget 2022 demonstrates the Government’s commitment to New Zealand’s food and fibre sector.
A total of $190 million was announced within the budget, including the following:
- $118.4 million for advisory services
- $40 million to help the transformation of the forestry, wood processing, food and beverage and fisheries sectors
- $31.6 million to help maintain and lift animal welfare practices across New Zealand
O’Connor says the funding announced today will help the sector adapt practices and drive value growth as they respond to changes in the international market.
“Consumers across the world are demanding higher requirements in areas like sustainability and animal welfare practices. New Zealand’s food and fibre sector products are known for their quality the world over, but we must continue to adapt,” he says.
More than $118 million over the next four years will go towards boosting advisory services for farmers, foresters, growers and whenua Māori owners.
“Many of our farmers and growers are already undertaking positive practices, like wetland restoration, setback fencing from waterways, riparian planting and low-till cultivation,” says O’Connor.
“People on the land need confidence they can access excellent information and sound advice that complements existing industry efforts. The vast majority acknowledge it’s a changing world and are adapting. What is important is that all farmers and growers are supported in their business decisions as they necessarily focus on sustainability.”
Forestry Minister Stuart Nash says a $40 million investment over four years will also accelerate transformation in the forestry, fisheries, food and beverage, and wood processing sectors.
“Industry Transformation Plans are being developed in partnership with industry and Māori to identify high-impact actions that strengthen the performance of our primary sector.
“Our primary sector is leading New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19, guided by the Government and sector 10-year roadmap Fit for a Better World, and the Budget will help those efforts,” Nash says.
Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri says Māori agribusinesses continue to diversify and grow and it is important to provide on-the-ground support to them.
“We need to focus on solutions that encompass Māori tikanga but also offer opportunities to lift sustainability and productivity for our people.
“Through Budget 2022, we are also committing almost $32 million over four years to protect New Zealand’s animal health and welfare system and reputation. This includes increasing compliance and enforcement, for example, through more on-farm inspectors and providing more help on the ground when responding to adverse events,” Whaitiri says.
The announcement follows a pre-Budget announcement on Monday of $710 million to tackle agricultural emissions, including through the Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions and accelerating carbon sequestration through forestry.
A further $110 million was also announced last week to boost the biosecurity system and continue the M. bovis eradication programme.