Feds’ request to Hipkins: slow down, prioritise

Slow down the legislative programme, get it right and concentrate on those things that will help families and businesses prosper.

That’s the request from Federated Farmers to Chris Hipkins as he is sworn in as New Zealand’s 41st Prime Minister today, and then gets to work on the policy "re-set" he has talked about.

"Farmers have many times in the last three years expressed concern about rushed, poorly-consulted-on legislation that has proved to be flawed and impractical," Feds president Andrew Hoggard says.

"The proposed replacement legislation for the Resource Management Act has those same hallmarks.

"While Federated Farmers does not fault the aim of finding less cumbersome and costly regulations governing the environment and development, the government should rein in, listen to the criticisms of the Natural and Built Environment Bill coming from many quarters, and go back to the drawing board."

With galloping inflation and low unemployment, bringing in a compulsory income insurance scheme that will hit workers and employers with extra costs is totally unnecessary, Andrew says. The same can be said about Fair Pay Agreements.

"If Mr Hipkins is looking for something that will give a lift to businesses and productive industries smacked about by inflation, COVID and international conditions then he should relax migrant worker restrictions.

"The world is in a fight for skilled staff, from hospitality staff, bus and truck drivers to doctors and engineers or just any staff to be frank. The Government’s recent changes to a policy regime that starved our employers of workers from overseas, when our own unemployment figures are at historical lows, is beginning to take the pressure off - including in agriculture."

But access to overseas workers will continue to be important as more and more New Zealanders are likely to go overseas now international borders are fully open, Andrew says.

"An acknowledgement and thanks to new Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni who as social welfare minister got alongside Feds with the Get Kiwis on Farm programme, which has to date placed more than 650 new recruits and career changers into vital jobs in agriculture."

On the climate change front, and specific to farmers and growers, Federated Farmers urges Mr Hipkins and his government to listen to science, re-set the methane targets and stop looking to blanket planting of pines as a solution when in reality it is a dangerous stopgap that will devastate rural New Zealand.

"The primary industries did the heavy lifting to get our economy through the pandemic and will continue to do so as inbound tourism will take time to recover. Let our farmers get on with doing what they do best - growing quality, low environmental footprint food and fibre for Kiwis and dozens of other nationalities," Andrew says.


For more information contact:
Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers of NZ President, 027 230 7363
Simon Edwards | Senior Communications Advisor, Federated Farmers
Email: [email protected], Mobile: +64 (0)27 484 8892