DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle has welcomed funding announced in 2019’s Budget for the Sustainable Land Use Package but will be watching closely to ensure announcements translate to real and tangible support for farmers and the wider rural sector to help meet ambitious Government targets.
“It’s great to see funds focus on water quality improvements, emissions reduction and land use decisions. I look forward to seeing more detail about how this funding will be managed and distributed,” says Dr Mackle.
“The aspirations set upon the rural sector are hugely challenging and without the right support wrapped around us Government targets simply won’t be met, and the sector will suffer.
“At first glance there seems to be a lot of funding to support systems in government, but this doesn’t directly support our farming communities who are working hard on-farm to transition.
“While we support an increased focus on moving to a low emissions economy, we question how much resource will be spent on Government bureaucracy. Advice and administration are one thing, but action on-farm is going to be what helps drive emissions down.
“A key part of a Just and Fair transition to a low emissions economy, which is what the Government has promised, is appropriate funding and support for farmers to make positive and successful changes to on-farm practices.
“The first focus must be training and upskilling our farmers and the rural professionals that support farmers. There simply aren’t enough people trained yet in the areas needed to advise farmers to develop these plans and make good decisions.
“In order to achieve the targets proposed by the Zero Carbon Bill, even at the lower end, significant individual support is required for all farmers as they look at what changes they can make to their businesses.
“We want to see more detail on how the Sustainable Land Use Package and climate change-related funding will be applied to be relevant, accessible and practical for our farming sector.
“The $25 million set aside for research and development is welcomed. It is vital this work continues to ensure we have a solution available to support the sector’s transition to a low emissions economy. Our sector is already investing in research and development in these key areas and we look forward to working with government to deliver solutions, and this challenge can’t be taken lightly.
“We are committed to maintaining New Zealand’s reputation as a sustainable, high-quality producer of food that meets global demand.”