Farmers say live animal export ban will cost them millions of dollars

Farmers say the Government’s decision to phase out live exports by sea will cost them millions of dollars.

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The Government is bringing in a ban on livestock exports, taking effect in 2023. Source: 1 NEWS

Those in the sector say 5000 farmers will miss out on this multi-million-dollar industry, and some warn the ban will mean thousands of surplus cows will be slaughtered.

ACT MP and dairy farmer Mark Cameron says a cow can fetch up to $2000 overseas - hundreds more than he can get in New Zealand.

“For me personally it was an injection of $25,000 to be quite candid with you, and it's a wonderful tool in the tool box,” he says.

Golden Bay Federated Farmers president Wayne Langford says the organisation’s members have “very mixed” opinions about the ban.

“It’s probably a 50/50 split to be fair, so while it’s disappointing for some it’s a relief for others,” he says.

Federated Farmers says it had been working with the Government on the issue of live exports.

“We know it's a contentious issue but we’re quite surprised that they've gone to a complete ban and not worked with industry further,” Langford says.

The biggest buyer of New Zealand live exports is China. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has dismissed concerns the move will upset China.

“It's not about China, it’s about animal welfare. We have a mature relationship with them,” he said.

The ban will begin in 2023 following a two-year phase out period.

“We appreciate that there’s is an existing trade; there is a system in New Zealand that has been built around the export and it’s only fair we allow them time to transition out,” O’Connor said.

Green MP Chloe Swarbrick, whose party has been campaigning for change for years, says the decision is “awesome”.

“It’s demonstrative of just how much work has gone in over the past decade, from animal rights campaigners,” she said.