Why this is not the time for govt to be heaping regulatory costs on farmers and requiring a culling of the dairy herd

On-farm inflation is at its highest level in almost 40 years, according to Beef + Lamb NZ’s Economic Service, and costs are expected to increase.  Meanwhile Federated  Farmers  says farmers’ satisfaction with their banks is relatively stable but more are feeling under pressure and the costs of finance are rising.

“Inflation is putting many New Zealanders and businesses under pressure, and our food producers are no different,” Feds President and economic spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says.

While Consumer Price Index (CPI) data has the annual inflation rate at 6.9%, the latest on-farm inflation rate has hit 10.2%  – the highest it’s been since 1985-86 (13.2%).

B+LNZ is concerned increasing regulatory requirements from the Government, such as freshwater and biodiversity rules, will stretch farmers even further.

“There’s a lot of costly regulation coming at farmers at present,” says B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor.

“Given the importance of agriculture in driving our economy’s recovery, it’s critical that the Government gets its policy settings right.

“Many of the increased costs due to inflation are outside of the Government’s control, but they can help by ensuring any policy changes are needed, workable and cost-effective for our farmers. 

“Farmers are absolutely committed to the protection of the environment, including biodiversity. They actively manage 1.4 million hectares of native vegetation on thousands of farms across the country, so it’s critical that policies are enabling and supportive, rather than simply putting costly barriers in the way.”

The case for keeping on-farm  costs as low  as  possible is fortified  by reports  of  the  looming  international food  catastrophe.  As The Economist puts it:

“War is  tipping  a  fragile world  towards  mass  hunger. Fixing  that is  everyone’s  business”.

The  authoritative  journal says that  the  widely  accepted idea of  a  cost-of-living crisis does not even begin to capture the  gravity of  what  may lie  ahead.

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-general, warned that the  coming  months threaten “the spectre of  a world food  shortage” that  could  last  for  years.

The  high  cost of staple foods has already raised the number of people  who cannot be sure of  getting  enough to eat by 440m  to 1.6bn. Nearly 250m are on the brink of famine.

”If, as is  likely, the  war  drags on  and supplies from Russia  and Ukraine are  limited, hundreds of  millions  more people could fall into poverty.Political unrest  will  spread, children will be stunted, and  people  will starve”.

As  Point  of  Order  sees it, as  one of the  most efficient food producers in the  world, NZ  should be  bending every  effort  to  expand  the  output of  every  foodstuff it produces. This  means keeping  costs  as  low  as  possible.

It’s  certainly  not the time  for the government to  be  loading costs  on  to farmers.

And its certainly not the time to be culling our dairy herds.

6 thoughts on “Why this is not the time for govt to be heaping regulatory costs on farmers and requiring a culling of the dairy herd

  1. The consequences of collapsing the rural economy are not a concern for Labour and Greens. They would claim those affected don’t vote for them anyway. As most of them have no knowledge of where food come from and what is involved in bringing them to a supermarket, why would they be concerned. If all dairy farms shut and we had to import milk, their only response would be to praise the drop in carbon emissions.
    Unfortunately, there rarely is a short time between action and effect, like what happened in Sri Lanka. Because of that, politicians can weasel out of being confronted by their stupidity. Look at how everything is blamed on the war in Ukraine..

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    1. You’re only partly correct. A major reason for the current Government having been awarded an absolute minority is the number of rural seats that changed colour at the 2020 election. Rural folk, whether it was to keep the Greens out or to “reward” the Labour Party for its COVID efforts, overwhelmingly switched their allegiances to Team Jacinda. I bet that they are feeling more than a bit sheepish (pun intended) now.
      Where you are correct is that Labour/Greens have probably divined that they are unlikely to pull this rabbit out of the hat again. So, full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes. Let them eat…

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      1. Those seats might have been provincial but the big change was in the towns, not the farming communities. And in many towns even those surrounded by farmland, a lot of the voters there aren’t directly affected by the rural economy. .

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      2. According to Google, there are about 11,000 dairy farms in NZ and 33000 sheep and beef farms. Including farm workers, that is maybe 100k votes. The way the farms are spread out, they wouldn’t form anywhere near a majority block in any electorate,

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