Manifesto launch says the future is farming
“All New Zealanders, city and rural, have to work together if we are to make progress as a nation and remain a first world country. We need to earn our way in the world if we are to enjoy the social services and standard of living most New Zealanders expect,” Federated Farmers president, Don Nicolson, said today at the Federation’s Manifesto launch.
The Federation’s Manifesto is its blueprint to enable farmers, businesses and the economy to hit its full potential. The launch is in the presence of Progressive Party leader and Minister of Agriculture, the Hon Jim Anderton, the Minister of Rural Affairs, the Hon. Damien O’Connor, the National Party’s Finance spokesperson, the Hon. Bill English and its Agricultural spokesperson, the Hon David Carter.
“During this election campaign politicians have repeatedly said New Zealand needs to get back on the road to growth through increased exports.
“New Zealand’s comparative advantage is growing grass and converting it into protein more efficiently than anyone else on the planet. Our primary sector earns 65% of all our foreign exchange, which not only provides jobs across the country but helps pay New Zealand’s bills.
“The economic climate is challenging to say the least. We are in recession with ongoing fiscal, trade and balance of payments deficits forecast and the world is anything but certain. With the dairy payout forecast to be $1.2 billion lower next year and our sheep numbers down by nine million, this impacts not just our rural communities, but our urban ones too.
Federated Farmers said farmers didn’t need anymore unnecessary head winds. What farmers need is outlined in the Federation’s A to W manifesto.
· Agriculture is the backbone of the New Zealand economy and important to all New Zealanders: this manifesto is about economic transformation that will benefit all New Zealanders and their standard of living. New Zealand’s farmers are striving to make New Zealand an A+ economy and need our policy makers to do better.
· Environmental and economic sustainability: economic sustainability and environmental sustainability go hand in hand. Farmers naturally care for the environment as they work the land everyday. Financially unviable farmers is not going to help anyone, let alone the environment. New Zealand has a great story to tell on a world scale but myopic policy setting threatens sustainability of not just farmers, but of all New Zealanders. If we really want to change the world we need increased trade access, good market returns, and competitive input and compliance costs.
· Farming for generations: Farmers are in this for the long haul. As custodians of the land, the food and fibre they harvest benefits the entire community. Farming needs policy frameworks to ensure we all benefit for generations to come. We need sensible policies around infrastructure, skills, research and development, property rights and water, among others.
Mr Nicolson said the three key priorities right now are: to ensure the next government controlled its expenditure; getting water storage on the list of infrastructure projects; and getting an exemption for farm animals from the New Zealand Emission Trading Scheme.
“Farming is New Zealand’s best bet to lift New Zealand’s economic performance and the well-being of all New Zealanders.
“The future of New Zealand is the future of farming, which is why we are launching this manifesto at Wellington’s railway station. The station is the hub of Wellington’s transport network and farming is the hub of the nation’s economy, “Mr Nicolson concluded.