Primary Industries Policy
The health of New Zealand’s economy is dependent on the rural farming community. As a nation, we have a strong rural backbone and government policy must encourage its growth, continual improvement, and innovation.
Conservation of the environment and sustainable practices are necessary for long-term profitability. New Zealand farmers are world leaders in the use of technology in farming, and encouraging forward-thinking farming practices will help build more prosperous rural communities.
New Conservative recognises the importance of horticulture, viticulture, forestry, fishery, and mining as industries vital to our economic prosperity.
New Conservative believes that developing agriculture and aquaculture intellectual property in New Zealand and protecting it well, is the key to improving outcomes in these key primary sectors.
New Conservative will repeal the Emissions Trading Scheme that drains billions out of our economy for no environmental gain.
New Conservative will protect productive farmland from urbanisation and reform the Resource Management Act to make infrastructure investment easier, while green spaces are maintained. Compliance costs and overheads for freshwater and waterway management will be reduced. Further changes to the Resource Management Act should include moving away from criminal charges, unless systemic reoffending occurs, and ensuring fines for environmental breaches are directed straight toward repairing and preventing further damage.
New Conservative opposes the ongoing policy of converting productive farmland to pine forests.
New Conservative would introduce larger fines for biosecurity breaches to more adequately reflect the risks posed to our primary sector. These funds would be committed to resourcing border security teams.
Fresh Water Management
The new Fresh Water Management legislation became law on the 5th August 2020 and parts of the policy are impractical, with changes already being undertaken to try and improve it. It is clumsy, heavy-handed and will require most farmers to get a consent for winter grazing which could well be a waste of time as it appears that farmers will still need to meet the same criteria that requires them to get a consent in the first place.
Resource consents are expensive, time-consuming and require both farmers and regional councils to have considerable resources to get through the process. Being a legal document, consents also have no flexibility once in place and cannot be easily changed. Consents are the wrong tool for managing winter grazing.
Instead, New Conservative will revamp and simplify the Resource Management Act (RMA) to make it easier for farmers and businesses to operate, and we can do this with Fresh Water Management. The process should be based on farmers doing the right thing, with the support and monitoring of their regional councils and a revamped RMA as a backup for those that are not prepared to do their bit.
The criteria should be: Will this farm activity adversely impact on the environment, and in particular our waterways and soil for winter grazing, and what good farm management practice can I use to ensure that it doesn’t? If it does impact adversely on the environment it will be an illegal activity under the RMA and the farmer cannot proceed.
It is that simple and does away with the need for a lot of clumsy legislation like slope, buffer strips, margins, hoofprints and when the farmer should replant. This gives the farmer the flexibility and responsibility he needs to work out how to carry out his farm activities and make the appropriate decisions. Much of the current legislation should be turned into helpful and practical guidelines that farmers and councils can use.
New Conservative does not support large-scale exporting of livestock or the export of animals for slaughter.
We do support both the importing and exporting of livestock for genetic improvement and for helping countries to produce food. We also believe in protecting our intellectual property and genetics which are the result of many people, companies and organisations in the country making a contribution to the advances we have made in agriculture over a very long period of time.
Whatever importing and exporting we do has to be in New Zealand’s best interest and has to be protected. The welfare of livestock and the health and safety of animals and people have to be a consideration of every shipment.
Emissions Trading Scheme & Zero Carbon Bill
New Conservative rejects the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and Zero Carbon Bill, which impose significant taxes and costs on everyday New Zealanders whilst not achieving or improving environmental outcomes.
We believe that a better way to reduce emissions is to set achievable targets and then supply funds to research institutes and universities to find emission solutions that help industries meet their targets whilst still remaining in business. Examples can be regenerative farming and soil health vs increased nitrate application.
Our focus should be on the real issues in our own environment, being concerned for, and driven by our own desire for a clean green New Zealand, knowing that by doing that we are already contributing to a cleaner world. We do not need convoluted international agreements to achieve this.
We would pull out of the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris 2015 Agreement which is costing us billions of dollars in carbon taxes.
While we wholeheartedly agree that the world needs to work together to preserve our environment in the best possible way, we do not believe that paying billions of dollars to third-world countries will achieve those results. We will support R&D and the innovative strengths in our nation. Creating and exporting pollution solutions will have a much greater positive effect on the environment. Targeting funding to the areas where New Zealand faces its greatest challenges gives us more hope of exceeding our targets than simply buying carbon credits.
Billion Trees Programme
New Conservative supports the forestry industry based on the value of the timber produced. It is not good governance to subsidise and incentivise forestry for the value of future carbon credits. We do not support the conversion of productive farmland into pine forests.