Beef + Lamb New Zealand has released the results of voting on nine remits undertaken by levy payers as part of the just-concluded annual meeting process.
The results have been released ahead of the B+LNZ Board meeting this week to discuss its responses and next steps. B+LNZ Chair Kate Acland says that while the results are non-binding, they are an indication of farmer sentiment and the Board must consider the results and show how it will respond.
“The remits received and the mood at last week’s annual meeting show there are some farmers who are unhappy out there and we need to listen to their concerns and respond appropriately. There is concern among farmers about the cumulative impact of layers of legislation and the relentless scale and pace of proposed regulatory change.
“The Board has already said it agrees with many of the remits or is already doing work towards what has been proposed but there are clearly areas where we need to do more. Farmers have raised some legitimate concerns – we are listening and acknowledge there’s always more B+LNZ could do to improve.”
Acland says the remits received and the outcomes of voting show two clear themes.
“As a result of this process, the Board has recognised that we need to have deeper conversations with our farmers about some of the key issues we’re advocating on and why B+LNZ has taken the positions it has, making sure we have good processes in place to ensure our positions reflect our farmers’ views and that farmers are involved in the process.
“We need to spend time face to face with farmers, listening to concerns and we need to ask how they want to have these conversations in the future.”
The other big theme is around agricultural emissions pricing and He Waka Eke Noa.
Two of the nine remits were specifically about He Waka Eke Noa, while a further two covered related areas of best-practice consultation and advocacy.
“Sentiment was fairly obvious on some of the remits, such as those relating to Director contact details on the B+LNZ website, where 83.1 percent of farmers voted in favour. This remit has already been actioned by B+LNZ.
“However, there was no clear consensus on the issue of remaining within He Waka Eke Noa. That’s understandable, as this issue is hugely complex and has significant ramifications for farmers. I think it also reflects the fact that we still don’t have all the information in terms of what the Government is proposing. But it’s something we will be talking to farmers about.”
Farmer proposal 7, from Jason Barrier, was for B+LNZ to exit the He Waka Eke Noa partnership immediately. A total of 48.85 percent of farmers who voted were in favour of the remit, with 44.29 percent against, while 6.86 percent abstained.
Acland says the Board has a lot to work through, particularly on emissions pricing and best-practice consultation and advocacy. It aims to provide an update on its next steps in the next couple of weeks.
About 22 percent of farmers engaged in the remit process. As the Board considers how it will respond to the remits and what changes will be made, it wants to engage with farmers around the country to ensure it reflects the views of farmers and gets any resets right.
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