National Party leader Simon Bridges is heading a large delegation of National Party MPs in a show of support for rural communities at this year’s Central District’s Field Days event in Feilding.
Mr Bridges will be joined by local MP Ian McKelvie and Primary Industries spokesperson Nathan Guy today. MPs Barbara Kuriger, Alastair Scott, Harete Hipango, Matt Doocey, Tim Van de Molen, Lawrence Yule and incoming MP Nicola Willis will all be on hand over the coming days to celebrate the event’s 25th year.
“With over 550 exhibitors and over 25,000 visitors this is one of New Zealand's largest regional agricultural events and is an important showcase for the primary productions sector.
“We recognise that farmers and growers are feeling the pressure of all the uncertainty the new Government is heaping on the sector.
“The Government is holding back regional New Zealand through its opposition to irrigation and water storage projects – all of which help grow jobs, boost exports and provide environmental sustainability.
“The Primary Growth Partnership has not only been frozen, but has been raided to the tune of $17 million to fund an unnecessary rebrand of MPI, at the expense of vitally important research and development funding.
“And for those farmers dealing with the spread of the cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis, MPI has been forced to go cap-in-hand to industry to fund its containment – with no commitment to actually eradicate it.
“The Manawatu-Whanganui region is one of the regions the National Government backed through its 2016 Economic Action Plan.
“The Plan aimed to build on the region’s strengths in primary production and food innovation, and benefit modelling carried out by NZIER estimated the primary sector opportunities alone would have the potential to increase regional GDP by around $580 million by 2025.
“With the new Government largely ignoring the sector, National intends to continue to support an area so vital to New Zealand’s ongoing economic success,” Mr Bridges says.