Labour announces new policy to reduce costs for farmers and growers, if elected

Labour is promising it will support farmers and growers grappling with compliance requirements, if it is allowed by voters to return to power.

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Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern and Labour's agriculture spokesperson Damien O’Connor outlined the $50 million agriculture plan. Source: 1 NEWS

Today, party leader Jacinda Ardern announced an initial investment of $50 million to support integrated farm planning and streamline compliance. 

"By partnering with the industry we will create a single planning framework that will reduce costs for every farmer and grower, reduce the burden of compliance and help our agrisector get greater economic returns for their products," Ardern said.

"A single farm plan will help them to capture all of their compliance requirements in one place, achieve their economic goals and support the transition to a clean, green carbon neutral New Zealand."

Labour said the aim of integrated farm planning is to provide a single framework for farmers and growers to use for key parts of their operation, including environmental management such as freshwater and climate mitigation, labour, biosecurity, animal welfare, and health and safety. 

Labour expects to have planning, data sharing and industry cost-sharing agreements drafted by mid-next year, with initial templates then implemented by the end of the year, if voters return the party to power.

However, party officials said it said it would be guided by the sector around timing to ensure it works best in terms of implementation. 

In a statement today, Ardern praised New Zealand farmers and growers as "creative, innovative and always look to improve their practices".

"Our primary sector is world-renowned for its trusted, healthy and safe food and fibre and has proved resilient through Covid-19. The sector is already in recovery with record export prices, helping us to grow our way out of the economic crisis of the global pandemic.

"We will support this recovery by making it easier, cheaper and less time consuming to meet various regulatory and reporting requirements and gather the data that ensures our farmers and growers have the opportunity to add value to their products and market them at a premium to the world."

Labour's agriculture spokesperson Damien O’Connor said an integrated farm plan would cost farmers and growers between $5000 and $10,000 to develop.

However, the policy would create a cost-sharing agreement with industry to ensure they pay less for compliance, he said.

"Our primary sector is a huge part of our economy and our brand, and will be vital in our economic recovery from Covid-19, which is why we need to work with them and support the industry," O’Connor said.

"Cohesive national farm plans that adopt a whole of farm approach will ensure that we stay ahead of the curve internationally when it comes to good farming practice."