National promises to shell out an extra $13m for ‘future of farming’

Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy says if National is re-elected, it will “turbo-charge” the Sustainable Farming Fund

The government has taken a jab at Labour and the Greens’ tax-heavy approach to improving New Zealand’s environment – and has promised an extra $13 million for “the future of farming” to its farmer and rural sector supporters.

It has also set a target of doubling the value of the agritech industry to $6 billion by 2025.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says if National is re-elected, it will “turbocharge” the Sustainable Farming Fund by more than doubling its funding from $7 million to $20 million a year.

It would also be renamed the Future of Farming Fund.

Mr Guy says the money will help take emerging technologies and techniques, such as precision farming, and roll it out across the country using the Rural Broadband Initiatives.

“A cross-sector Future of Farming Panel will oversee the fund’s direction and drive the innovation and investment. The panel will include representatives from industry, science and environmental groups and other stakeholders.”

He says this will help produce high-quality food more efficiently and would help farmers strive to do that with as little environmental impact as possible. 

“Our opponents might think punitively taxing farmers is the right approach but you won’t get better environmental outcomes by making farmers and regional New Zealand poorer.”

Last week Labour promised to set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 if it is elected to government, with leader Jacinda Ardern saying all sectors, including farmers, would have to pay for their emissions within Labour’s first term.

Ms Ardern said the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) would remain at the core of Labour's plan to hit its emissions targets.

But, just days later, the Greens were promising to scrap the ETS altogether and replace it with the “Kiwi Climate Fund.”

The Greens plan to tax carbon dioxide emissions at $40 a tonne with a $6 per tonne for nitrous oxide from agricultural sources and $3 s tonne of methane emissions from agriculture.

That tax would help pay for planting 1.2 billion trees and the remainder would be divided up for every New Zealander over the age of 18 in the form of a yearly $250 dividend.

‘Loggerheads’
Mr Guy says working together is a much better way to achieve change than being “at loggerheads with the farming sector and regional New Zealand.”

“As we are showing already, we can achieve far greater things in new farming practices by working with farmers and not against them.

“There is a clear divide in this election between those who want to work with the farming sector and those who want to punish it, with four new taxes at last count,” Mr Guy says.

The new funding of $13 million a year will come from Budget 2018’s operating allowance.

The Green Party has accused National of stealing its policy but says the extra $13 million Mr Bridge has pledged won’t be enough.

Leader James Shaw says his party would invest $136 million in initiatives to “move to better farming.”

“Revenue for those ventures will come from a nitrate pollution levy charged on dairy farmers who continue to pollute our soils and water.”

But Federated Famers have backed National's move, saying it is a far more effective and useful approach than the tax and punish policies of some other parties.


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20 Comments & Questions

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Nathan Guy is the Nick Smith of the rural sector.
Constantly confused and never delivers. There is no correlation between this Grant and fixing the environment
Farmers should be more concerned with the country's bio security that has deteriorated under Nathan Guy's watch.
What a mostly free poor Bill English has to rely on: Paula Bennett, Gerry Brownlee, Steven Joyce, Nathan Guy, Jonathan Coleman, and Simon O'Connor Etc etc.
All have embarrassed Bill and the country in recent weeks

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One of these days you will say something useful. Until that day ,better to keep quiet and say nothing.Remember everyone is entitled to be stupid,but you abuse the privilege.

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Agree entirely. The Scribe's self-righteous pronouncements are becoming tiresome.

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And yet you don't apply the same judgement to Steve Smith, Ivan etc. Very strange. Maybe it's just because ideologically you agree with them and condemn everyone else.

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Time for people in government to get real. If this guy thinks you turbo charge a $20 billion + sector with $20m (additional $13m) then he is totally out to lunch.

It is a waste of $20m - either fund things properly or stop wasting time.

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In 1929 the United States and Russia decided to abandon Agriculture as a major component of their economy and society as a rural society was hardly intelligent or fair to women. Both nations decided to concentrate the intelligent population in major metropolis and university towns. In both nations the change was conducted with great ruthlessness as among other reasons it accompanied a severe economic depression. In both Russia and the United States the result that millions were driven off the land and living a transient existence until saved by World War Two. Twelve million were effectively homeless and transient in the United States until 1941 a nation were only war ended the depression and were traditional farm live was preserved in the six farm states considered too small and slow for change and post war the ideal site for the Minuteman strategic missiles, the only real so called US deterrent,
as few cared if they were blown away.
Nathan's Guy line is the same backward National nonsense the party is being running since the 1960s. In reality NZ is not the worlds foodbasket our own productive capability is only enough to feed a population of 7 million. Argentina was the real food basket of Britain in WW2 and being far closer it provided a defendable supply source. The known evidence is that both Nazi Germany and Russia saw the way to pressure the UK was to cut off its food supply from Argentina in the plate and from Australia off Sydney and in the Bass and the commanders of the 6 U cruiser squadron despatched to Singapore in December 1944 rapidly concluded merchant shipping out of major NZ ports was too sparse to justify placing submarines offshore.
Old farmer Bill English seems to suffer from some sort of Mother Teressa complex of the need to prioritise jobs for those far beyond the educational and social standards to ever be productive in a modern western society. More than that Bill is a traditonal leftie and belives in social and medical school research and the views and good intentions of your average southland and south canterbury farmer. The actual truth is that they were just after the white gold and capital profit from the land. The idea of the alturistic intent of most of the current generaion of farmers, would only be believable to people as naive as the English family and their social circle. Bill say science conquers all and electric cars are now the answer. Already the urban landscape of Wellington, Kapiti and Horwhenua is being destroyed by the car parks and criss cross motorways. Having all these geriatrics racing around in Electric cars and carts just seems to clutter everything out and hardly features as an aspiring thing for tourists.

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Thanks for that Sir , I always enjoy reading your views.

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National could help by putting the stop on the over the top, draconian health and safety. Put the brakes on stupidity and systems that probably cause problems rather than solving any.

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Planting trees is nuts. One dry spell and they are all dead.
It is the native birds that spread the seeds, notably the Kereru Wood Pidgeon.
Creating predator free breeding sanctuaries, even in the middle of nowhere, will ensure the future of forest regeneration. Humans like James Shaw are not fit for purpose.

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I am just wondering on whose land the Greens will be planting the trees?!

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On my land.

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And on mine and I'll be delighted for them to do so.

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I would love a few free trees to put in my shelterbelt. Where do I put my hand out to get them?

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Minister Guy has thrown truckloads of money at the rural sector through Primary Growth Partnerships and the like. From where I sit most of it has gone to corporates, some foreign owned such as Anzco or to mates of the National party. none of these pennies from heaven has yet to trickledown to grassroots profitability but a lot of rubbers tampers for National party policy seem to just fine. They are dodgy and especially in the Red Meat sector have let us down big time

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You sound like the so called "Scribe" correspondent. dIdn't think that both of you could talk so much rubbish. In case you missed the advice to the" Scribe"
Everyone is entitled to be stupid,but you like him abuse the privilege.

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I don't know the scribe you refer to but given the nature of your critique I am pleased to be associated.
Before you ramp up your sycophantic defense of the indefensible consider the following. Jericho station, landcorp farm sold to foreign interests despite a basically equivalent bid from a reputable and long established new Zealand family. Silver Fern farms our biggest meat company now in foreign control despite there being an alternative banker backed nz focused alternative.
Please if you want to throw your slavish mud do so on the basis of fact, sycophantic emotional diatribe does not make it right in fact that type of head in the sand, blind faith is the reason your party is getting the bums rush

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I'm a farmer - not dairy. :-) I plant a few trees on my land. I still earn a reasonable income from my land; I'm not waiting for the capital gain and retirement.

I don't want a subsidy from this or any gummint. All of MPIE's farm subsidy programs are just more corporate welfare. Future of Farming Fund? What a joke. Nathan Guy has no idea. In my experience, none of these MBIE programs are necessary or deliver any financial benefits to farmers or the economy.

I certainly don't want a bunch of bureaucrats telling me about precision farming or any other new technology. I, and many good farmers, already know about this. Some are already adopting, where it makes financial sense.

I don't understand this or any government. Would the government develop a program that tells Graeme Hart about the technology he should use in his packaging busineses? Or advise Fisher & Paykel about the technology they should use in their manufacturing plants?

The only thing farmers need from MBIE is to control the phytosanitary standards on incoming goods/products. The rest of MBIE should just be retired. Then the government can take the reduction in expenditures and lower our taxes.

As for the rest of government - yes, by all means tell farmers the environmental standard that society wants for our rivers, preferably in clear outcome terms. Farmers will do their part to meet that standard. We'll put in set-backs from streams, control run-off into streams and/or control stock numbers, etc..; we'll do all that particularly if we can participate in a tradeable permit system, where the permits will control river pollution to meet a clear standard. And if we don't meet the clear standard, we'll pay the penalty.

But do not regulate farmers by prescriptively controlling our inputs and processes. Bureaucrats have no idea about the most efficient and effective way for farms to meet river quality standards.

(Last time I checked, Auckland streams and rivers were at least as polluted as rivers in rural areas. Should be one water quality standard for all rivers. And city rivers should also have a tradeable permit system to control the pollution from the city industries into the rivers.)

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I totally agree. My worry is our representative farming bodies have mostly become a rubber stamping facility for National party policy. The liberals from grey Lynn who will be the next government have no understanding or rapport. The rural sector may need Winston to act as an honest broker in what is likely to be a taxing time for NZ AG.

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Until Mr Peters clears up his superannuation over payment by laying the offending document on the table for all to see BEFORE the election, then there is no show in hell he is getting my vote.

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The "Standing on your own two feet" party rocks out subsidies again.

Whatever happened to National? Is Act the only centre-right party left? (Notwithstanding charter school handouts.)

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