Let’s see how the milk flows – and to whom – after DIRA changes are included in a deluge of new laws

Latest from the Beehive

While the news media have been preoccupied with matters such as the resignation of a National MP and sacking of a Labour minister in recent days, Parliament has been getting on with legislating.  It has passed a tanker-load of bills, since we last posted a Beehive Bulletin, including legislation that government the economically vital dairy industry and Fonterra’s role in it.

The Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill amends legislation passed almost 20 years ago to enable the creation of Fonterra and promote the efficient operation of dairy markets in New Zealand.

But the dairy sector has changed considerably since 2001 and the amendments made to “this very aged legislation” ensure this regulatory regime puts the sector in the best possible position in a post-COVID world, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.

The Primary Production Select Committee had recommended removing the requirement on Fonterra to accept all applications from dairy farmers wanting to become shareholders and supply milk to Fonterra, or re-enter Fonterra after leaving the co-operative.  O’Connor agreed on this point.

“This Government is determined to ensure we move milk up the value chain. This change will enable Fonterra to invest in that higher-value end.

“The new and improved DIRA Bill will serve our dairy sector, and New Zealand, well for many years to come.”

The Bill:

  • Removes the requirement for Fonterra to accept applications to become shareholders, and provides guidance on what it should consider when assessing applications.
  • Provides for a regular review of the DIRA on a 4 – 6 yearly basis, to provide regulatory certainty.
  • Limits Fonterra’s discretion in regard to setting a key assumption in calculating the base milk price (the ‘asset beta’).
  • Requires Fonterra to appoint one member of its Milk Price Panel on the nomination of the Minister of Agriculture.
  • Removes the requirement for Fonterra to supply regulated milk to independent processors with their own supply of 30 million litres or more in a single season.
  • Updates the terms on which Fonterra supplies regulated milk to Goodman Fielder for the benefit of domestic consumers.

But our legislators have been frenetically busy on several other fronts.-

The passing of the Public Service Legislation Bill will repeal and replace the State Sector Act 1988.   The new Act:

  • provides a more flexible set of options for how the Public Service can organise itself to better respond to specific priorities
  • allows public servants to move between agencies more easily
  • clearly establishes the purpose, principles, and values of an apolitical Public Service, as well as its role in government formation
  • supports the Crown in its commitment to and its relationship with Māori
  • strengthens leadership across the Public Service and, in particular, provides for system and future focused leadership, and
  • shifts the focus from state services to public services, changing the name of the State Services Commission to the Public Service Commission.

Parliament has passed the Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill, intended to provide better information on log supply and build investor confidence in the forestry sector. The Bill was introduced as part of Budget 2020 and supports the predictable and long-term supply of timber. Forestry Minister Shane Jones says it will help build stronger linkages between forest growers, domestic processors and exporters, improved professional standards, and greater confidence in business transactions both domestically and internationally.

The Equal Pay Amendment Bill was passed, aimed at giving people working in female-dominated professions a clearer pathway for pay equity by ensuring that businesses, workers, and unions can bargain more effectively and fairly. It aligns with the bargaining process in the Employment Relations Act 2000.

The Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act – described as a breakthrough for housing developments in high-growth areas – has been passed into law.  It establishes the Infrastructure Levy Model, which the Government has developed in partnership with high-growth councils. A key feature of the model is the establishment of an entity called a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a financing tool that enables debt finance to be raised from the private sector and ring-fenced from a council’s balance sheet, not affecting their debt levels or credit rating.

The just-passed Rates Rebate (Statutory Declarations) Amendment Act makes it easier for eligible ratepayers to access the Rates Rebate Scheme. This is expected to make it easier for low income ratepayers to get rates support from the Government. In the 2019 rating year, 103,000 people successfully applied for a rates rebate.

The passage of the Urban Development Bill aims to give Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to build homes at scale and pace by bringing together councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers .  It will lead projects that will transform communities all around New Zealand, and provide much-needed housing and infrastructure.

The passing of Te Ture Whenua Māori (Succession, Dispute Resolution, and Related Matters) Amendment Bill ensures the legislation works better for Māori land owners and fixes some of the barriers to succeeding Māori land.  The legislation changes the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act to give Māori land owners better support to resolve disputes and build papakāinga housing on their whenua .

The passing of the Taumata Arowai – the Water Services Regulator Bill creates a new regulatory body to oversee, administer and enforce a new and strengthened drinking water regulatory system. It will also have a national oversight role to improve the environmental performance of storm water and wastewater networks.

Law changes to end tenure review and provide for better management of Crown pastoral lands in the South Island high country were considered by Parliament with the first reading of the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill.  Publicly owned Crown pastoral lands comprise 1.2 million hectares of land in the South Island and represent about 5% of New Zealand’s land area. The Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill ends tenure review. It aims to ensure the ecological, landscape, cultural, heritage and scientific values of Crown owned pastoral land are maintained or improved, while at the same time providing for ongoing pastoral farming.

While those bills were being considered, some ministers nevertheless had time to dole out million of dollars of our money.

  • A $50 million investment is being made from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to address the backlog of cases across the court system following the COVID-19 lockdown period. It will provide for five District Court judges, four acting High Court judges, one acting Associate judge and around 40 fulltime support staff. The funding also provides for extra Police prosecution staff to support more criminal events in court; two extra Corrections prison officers to support those held on remand and for transport to-and-from court or AVL appearances; further resource for Oranga Tamariki for the increase in care and protection of children applications; and a small investment in Crown Law for increased Crown prosecution work.
  • The Government is putting $8.5 million towards the restoration and strengthening of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Wellington. The funding comes from the $3 billion tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure.  Almost 300 construction jobs will be created.
  • The Government is investing $53.3 million in a variety of projects in the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions. The projects are being funded by a combination of loans and investments from the Provincial Growth Fund and the Infrastructure Reference Group’s shovel ready projects.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the Government has invested $48 million in seven infrastructure projects in Taranaki to support jobs and the regional economy. The grandstands at Yarrow Stadium get the lion’s share, a $20 million investment, with co-funding from the regional council, to bring the stadium back to full operational use (and create 150 jobs).

Then there were matters we can sum up as “other business“.

  • New rules to help our fastest growing cities make room for their rising populations have been released. The National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) will direct councils – particularly in the five high growth centres of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, and Christchurch – to free up their planning rules while focusing on well-functioning neighbourhoods and communities.  Later this month an announcement will be made on the timeline for the companion National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL), which will ensure highly productive land for food and fibre production is not permanently lost to developments without considering other options.
  • The report back of the Royal Commission into the Attacks on Christchurch Mosques on 15 March 2019 has been further extended due to delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Commission will now report back on November 26.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Energy Minister Megan Woods launched “Ara Ake” in New Plymouth.  That’s the name they have given the National New Energy Development Centre funded (to the tune of $27m) by the Government and established by Venture Taranaki. Are Ake will lead the development of new clean energy technologies and work with businesses to commercialise their innovations creating high-paying local jobs.
  • Australian Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham and New Zealand Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker met virtually yesterday to conduct annual Closer Economic Relations discussions between two of the world’s most integrated economies.

Release

24 JULY 2020

Government ensures greater safety for our drinking water

The passing today of the Taumata Arowai – the Water Services Regulator Bill draws a further line under the Havelock North tragedy and will lead to safer and sustainable drinking water for all New Zealanders.

Hon Nanaia Mahuta

Local Government

Release

24 JULY 2020

Whenua law changes help whānau

Māori land owners will be better supported to resolve disputes and build papakāinga housing on their whenua with targeted changes to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act now becoming law.

Release

24 JULY 2020

Better access to rates support

Minister of Local Government Hon Nanaia Mahuta welcomes legislation that makes it easier for low income ratepayers to access rates support from the Government.

Hon Nanaia Mahuta

Local Government

Release

24 JULY 2020

Mosque Attack Royal Commission to report back in November

There has been a further extension to the report back of the Royal Commission into the Attacks on Christchurch Mosques on 15 March 2019, Minister for Internal Affairs Tracey Martin has confirmed.

Hon Tracey Martin

Internal Affairs

Release

24 JULY 2020

Law to help infrastructure financing passes

The Government has passed legislation establishing a new tool to enable infrastructure for housing and urban development.

Hon Phil Twyford

Economic Development

Release

24 JULY 2020

DIRA Bill will serve the dairy sector well for years to come

Legislation to deliver ongoing benefits for New Zealand farmers was passed today, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

Hon Damien O’Connor

Agriculture

Release

24 JULY 2020

Over $53m for Top of the South projects

The Government is investing $53.3 million in a variety of projects that will provide a huge boost to the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions.

Fletcher Tabuteau

Regional Economic Development

Release

24 JULY 2020

Sacred Heart Cathedral to be restored and strengthened

Almost 300 construction jobs will be created with work getting underway on the restoration and strengthening of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Wellington.

Hon Grant Robertson

Arts, Culture and Heritage

 

Finance

Release

24 JULY 2020

Support to clear COVID-19 affected court cases

The Government is taking action to address the backlog of cases across the court system following the COVID-19 lockdown period, Minister of Justice Andrew Little announced today.

Hon Andrew Little

Justice

Release

23 JULY 2020

Equal Pay Amendment Bill Passes with Unanimous Support

New Zealanders working in female-dominated professions will have a clearer pathway for pay equity with the passing of the Equal Pay Amendment Bill at 11:59pm this evening, say Minister for Workplace Relations, Andrew Little, and Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter.

Hon Andrew Little Hon Julie Anne Genter

Women

Workplace Relations and Safety

Release

23 JULY 2020

New legislation to end tenure review and improve management of Crown pastoral lands

Law changes to end tenure review and provide for better management of Crown pastoral lands in the South Island high country were considered by Parliament today with the first reading of the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill says Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage.

Hon Eugenie Sage

Land Information

Release

23 JULY 2020

Log Traders & Forestry Advisers Registration Bill passed by Parliament

Parliament has today passed the Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill that will provide better information on log supply and build investor confidence in the forestry sector, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.

Hon Shane Jones

Forestr

Release

23 JULY 2020

Joint Ministerial Statement: New Zealand-Australia trade talks

Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Hon David Parker MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, met virtually on Thursday 23 July to conduct annual Closer Economic Relations discussions between two of the world’s most integrated economies.

Hon David Parker

Trade and Export Growth

Release

23 JULY 2020

Kāinga Ora gets tooled up to build more homes

Legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities was passed today, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said.

Hon Phil Twyford

Urban Development

Release

23 JULY 2020

New rules to help our cities grow up and out

New rules to help our fastest growing cities make room for their rising populations has today been released by Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford and Environment Minister David Parker.

Hon Phil Twyford Hon David Parker

Environment

Urban Development

Release

23 JULY 2020

Parliament passes Bill to reform public service

Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today’s passing of the Public Service Legislation Bill will deliver the most significant change in the public service in 30 years.

Hon Chris Hipkins

State Services

Release

23 JULY 2020

Grand plans funded for Yarrow Stadium as Govt invests in Taranaki infrastructure

Repairs and redevelopment of Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth will bring it back to full use while creating economic stimulus and jobs, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced while visiting the region and the stadium today.

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister

Release

23 JULY 2020

Clean energy boost as Ara Ake launched

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Energy Minister Megan Woods launched Ara Ake in New Plymouth today – the National New Energy Development Centre funded by the Government and established by Venture Taranaki.

 

One thought on “Let’s see how the milk flows – and to whom – after DIRA changes are included in a deluge of new laws

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