Monday, 16 March 2020 11:11

Time for the Government to defer policies – Feds

Written by  Staff Reporters
Federated Farmers President Katie Milne. Federated Farmers President Katie Milne.

Federated Farmers is calling for the government to defer a wide range of policy and regulatory impositions to protect workers and businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The farmer lobby has congratulated the Reserve Bank on its decision to cut the OCR from 1% to 0.25% to stimulate the economy. 

One bank, Westpac, has already agreed to immediately pass on the lower OCR rate to borrowers. Federated Farmers calls on other banks to follow suit.

Federated Farmers President Katie Milne says the Government needs to follow the Reserve Bank’s lead by deferring a wide range of policy and regulatory impositions coming down the pipeline that will harm the economy at the worst possible time.

This includes policies on freshwater management, climate change, biodiversity, RMA reform, minimum wage, immigration and others.

"What’s needed is policy certainty, to give the primary sector and the business community generally a much-needed boost in confidence to keep operating, keep staff employed, and keep investing."

Also unhelpful would be the potential doubling of emission prices to $50/tonne envisaged under the current ETS Amendment Bill.

"When businesses and consumers are doing it tough, the last thing we need is extra impost," says Milne.

Another early and vital action Federated Farmers proposes is a temporary waiver on the requirement for migrant agricultural workers to return home for 12 months before their expired visa can be renewed. 

Federated Farmers says this will reduce the infection risk of new and returning migrant workers and make sure we have the experienced workers we need in our key export industry.

"The primary sector is still our export powerhouse and it will become even more important for our economy and wellbeing as the tourism industry goes through an extended downturn."

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