The manifesto, which was launched last week, spans five key areas – climate and environment policy, workforce and industrial relations, trade, biosecurity and innovation, and research and development.
Our media release on the proposed policy changes received considerable coverage in both mainstream and rural media.
“The high level of mainstream media coverage provides us with the platform to reach a much wider audience,” says B+LNZ Chief Executive Sam McIvor.
“It’s critical that the general public understand the raft of changes proposed by the Government will negatively impact every New Zealander through reduced export revenue, increased food costs, and lower farmer spending, which underpins rural communities.”
McIvor and Chairman Andrew Morrison voiced the sector’s concerns on the AM Show, Newstalk ZB, RNZ Morning Report.
They also spoke to NZ Farmers Weekly, Rural Round Up’s Andy Thompson, Dominic George on Rural Exchange, Jamie Mackay on The Country and Angus Kebbell’s podcast, Factum-Agri.
Meanwhile, B+LNZ’s manifesto social media posts generated significant interest (more than 10,000 impressions).
The manifesto has been sent to every Member of Parliament and all relevant officials as farmers face an overwhelming wave of environment-related policy proposals and regulatory changes.
“Our message is clear – farmers are committed to playing their part, but the Government has tried to do too much too quickly,” says McIvor.
“The speed, scale, impracticality, and disconnectedness of these rules has been unreasonable, and understandably overwhelmed many farmers. No other sector is facing the level of change that we are.”
B+LNZ and the Meat Industry Association are urgently calling on the Government to curb the sale of sheep and beef farms into carbon farming and for methane targets to be amended in line with the latest science.
“We’re also strongly urging the Government to pause the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity and narrow the definition of Significant Natural Areas (SNA). The current NPS and definition actually disincentivises biodiversity protection,” he says.
McIvor says it is important to New Zealand that the red meat sector performs well as it generates more than $12 billion in income annually and supports 92,000 jobs (4.7 percent of total national employment).
Farmers also support their communities with approximately $100m of farm-related expenditure every week.
“Our sector has a proud and proven record of lifting our productivity and profitability while at the same time improving our environmental footprint, but pragmatic policy and regulatory settings are critical and we’ll keep pushing the Government on this,” he says.