Predictable delays for meat processing

Meat works around the country are struggling to meet demand due to the Government’s failure to keep pace with a vital cog in the supply chain, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Barbara Kuriger says.

“Farmers are being forced to hold onto livestock longer as meat works across the country have wait times stretching up to six weeks. This adds even more pressure to our farmers, with some having to dip into their winter baleage supply early or buy in costly feed supplement alternatives.

“The Agriculture Minister and the Government made assurances that they would take steps to limit any disruption for our essential farming industry, but as predicted, they have failed to do this.

“Labour failed to deliver to bring in the necessary workers due to stringent immigration rules, and they failed to supply the meat works industry with rapid antigen test in a timely manner, causing disruptions to staff.

“Now plants are either closed or running at a reduced capacity and our farmers are the ones paying for it.

“New Zealanders are all feeling the effects of this cost of living crisis with everyday basics like food and petrol costs going through the roof. On top of this, our farmers are facing an overwhelming amount of new farming regulations and an enforced ute tax, while having no viable electric alternative.

“To make matters worse, some farmers have had a long dry summer with little to no grass, while others have endured their farms going underwater due to flooding.

“The primary sector underpins our economy and its trade exports have effectively kept our economy afloat when other industries have been forced to shut down due to the pandemic. It is time for Labour to realise how important agriculture is to New Zealand and start supporting our farmers.”