Thank you for the invitation to speak at today's forum in the great city of Brussels. What a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas on the role agriculture plays in global sustainability.
It was a pleasure to hear from the previous speaker, Kofi Annan, given the wealth his experience brings to the conversation. I also look forward to hearing from my fellow speakers in the panel discussion on this vital issue.
The Sustainable Development Goals have placed agriculture at the forefront of the global development agenda, and have helped bring an important focus on issues of food security and sustainable agriculture.
The scale and speed of our rising global population is well-understood, however the ability of agricultural production and distribution to meet this demand is a challenge that we must all address.
For example, global population is forecast to grow by 2.3 billion by 2050. Global agriculture demand will need to increase by 60 to 70 per cent to meet this demand.
Farmers worldwide are realising they will need to produce more safe and nutritious food while operating within increasingly tight environmental constraints.
Of course, the Sustainable Development Goals are all interrelated and cover a number of areas of importance to food production, however I want to draw on a specific few of these goals, and elaborate on how they relate to what we have experienced in New Zealand.
New Zealand has a population of around four and a half million people, and we can currently feed around 40 million people. We won’t be able to produce much more food, yet we’ve set a target to double the value of our primary sector exports by 2025.
The defining moment in this ambition actually started in the 1980’s. Prior to then, New Zealand was very much the UK’s farm. The majority of our agricultural production was basic in nature, and predominately exported to one market.
After the UK joined the European Market we were forced to adapt. Almost overnight we moved from an inefficient Government-subsidised production system to the subsidy-free system we still have today, and are proud of.
At the time, many thought this would be the end of farming in New Zealand. But farmers are innovative people. When required to, they can follow market signals.
These days, the signals farmers respond to come directly from consumers. In response, farmers have adapted, making higher quality products that people want to buy, responding to changing tastes and demand, while ensuring the safety and sustainability of their products.
In order to find the most efficient way of improving on-farm performance, farmers need to be at the centre of innovation, and listening carefully to these desires of the consumer.
The Primary Growth Partnership in New Zealand is designed to help find new technologies and production systems that fix problems facing the industry. Farming groups put up their own money which is supported by Government to make them happen – and the challenges we’ve set ourselves demonstrate how much environmental and economic drivers are united:We’re working for a 50% increase in the efficiency of nitrogen fertiliser, and a 20% increase in the efficiency of phosphates, reducing nutrient losses and preventing harm to waterways We’re using advanced monitoring and breeding techniques to produce sheep with a higher level of naturally present omega-3 fatty acids – meaning healthier sheep meat. We’re developing and promoting technologies that help farmers digitise information about their farming practise, track a number of indicators and ultimately share their best on farm techniques with others in a way that improves productivity.
We know all of these projects can help empower farmers to do what they do better, and in the process create more sustainable farming businesses.
Today we live in an age where consumers are increasingly more aware of the products they consume. However, at the same time, they are also more detached from the processes that occur inside the farm gate.
We all have a role to narrow this urban/rural disconnect. Consumers need to know we are good stewards of our land and sea, and we need to understand that we require a social licence to operate.
In my opinion, farmers and growers are naturally environmentalists. They want to leave the land in a better state than they found it – for their children and their grandchildren.
Similar to the aspiration of SDG 6, the New Zealand Government has recently set a target to improve the quality of our waterways. New Zealand is blessed with beautiful natural resources, however agriculture and urbanisation have had an impact.
Currently 72 percent of New Zealand rivers meet a ‘swimmable’ standard – meaning that you can swim without getting sick from bugs in the water. The Government has set a target of having 90 percent of rivers swimmable by 2040.
This will involve farmers fencing off 56,000 kilometers of our waterways to exclude livestock and reduce levels of eColi. This distance is from New Zealand to Europe - not once but three times! This follows the great work dairy farmers have already voluntarily done over the last decade to exclude nearly all dairy cows from waterways.
As outlined in SDG 13, we also must take urgent action to tackle climate change. New Zealand is also keen to be a part of setting the global economy on a pathway to a low-emission future under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We realise our emissions profile is different to many other countries, with 50% of our emissions coming from animals, although we are only 0.15% of worldwide emissions.
That’s why we helped support the establishment of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse gases which has seen 47 member countries join – including 15 from Europe. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach with the work programme, including focuses on rice paddies, pastoral livestock and cropping.
As a niche producer that makes its living in global markets, New Zealand experiences every day the obstacles in place for agricultural producers seeking to make a sustainable income from trading internationally. Developing countries face the same issues.
We need to move away from jealously guarding domestic markets, and consider how we can best work together to seize the far greater opportunities and challenges being generated by spiralling global demand.
As mentioned in SDG 17, a sustainable global agricultural sector requires stable trade flows between countries, and the increased involvement of farmers, harvesters and processors in the global value chain.
Populations are growing, and food production must grow too – but this won’t necessarily happen in the same places. Food has to cross borders to get to growing population centres, and at the same time we need efficient global food markets to cushion the impacts of local environmental and climactic events like famines, floods, and other issues that lead to avoidable food price volatility, hunger and deprivation.
At the centre of the global food security equation is the multilateral trading system, underwritten by the World Trade Organisation. That institution still sets the rules that govern the flow of food around the world, as it has done for the last 23 years.
Increasingly though, regional and bilateral trade agreements are forming – coalitions of countries who realise the importance of upgrading the rules of global commerce.
New Zealand and Europe are key players in many of those coalitions, just as we are partners in helping to improve the WTO framework.
For example, many New Zealand companies are now cooperating throughout European countries with other producers.
This involves complimenting one another on seasonality differences and different access to markets to benefit farmers in each country.
These partnerships need to provide a firm basis for the enormous investments needed to sustainably lift agricultural production to meet demand in the coming decades.
There is a multitude of areas we should be focusing on to address the Sustainable Development Goals. However, one thing is certain, for anything to be successful, the farmer must be at the centre.
New Zealand Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Lithuanian Agriculture Minister Bronius Markauskas met on Monday in Vilnius, Lithuania to discuss a range of agricultural issues in each country.
"Clearly, there are many similarities between our countries, including the role of dairy in our respective economies," says Mr Guy.
“New Zealand is an example for Lithuania,” says Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture B. Markauskas
“We are quite similar – in both countries the dairy industry and agriculture in general play a huge role. I was in New Zealand previously and I was impressed by the great atmosphere and the relationship between the government and farmers, as well as the country's agricultural potential.
During the meeting the Ministers discussed trends in the agricultural sector, Brexit, the implications of elections in the major EU countries, bilateral cooperation, and good partnership practices.
Ministers noted that recent global dairy prices have had an impact on dairy farmers in both countries, and this has emphasised the importance of continuing to add value to dairy products.
"There are plenty of opportunities for collaboration between our respective dairy sectors, such as that already occurring between Fonterra and Rokiškio Sūris as well as collaboration prospects with Lithuanian dairy cooperative Pienas LT,” the Ministers said.
"There is more potential for our dairy and other sectors to collaborate. We have complimentary production seasons and different market advantages in different regions. Our roles in global value chains will benefit farmers in both countries,” says Mr Guy.
"It's pleasing to see support from Lithuania towards an NZ-EU FTA. This agreement would greatly benefit further collaboration between our agricultural sectors.”
"An NZ-EU FTA would be the first practical step towards greater agricultural cooperation between our countries,” says Mr Markauskas.
He noted further potential opportunities to work together in the dairy sector, especially in the context of expanding global demand. Another potential opportunity to collaborate is in sheep breeding.
“New Zealand and Lithuania produce similar products and we can learn from each other in areas such as animal welfare, water quality and greenhouse gases from the agriculture sector. There are concrete areas where government, farmers and agricultural processors can work together."
Minister Guy invited Minister Markauskas to visit New Zealand and in return Minister Markauskas invited Minister Guy to attend the next AgroBalt exhibition in Lithuania 2018.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Trade Minister Todd McClay have welcomed a Memorandum of Cooperation that allows for the export of chilled meat into China, calling it a big win for exporters.
“This is a fantastic step forward for New Zealand’s red meat sector, and a sign of the great relationship we share with China,” Mr Guy says.
The six month trial marks very positive progress for New Zealand’s work programme to expand market access to China for a range of our meat products.
“Trade in chilled meat to China will initially involve ten meat establishments agreed in conjunction with industry. I'm excited that New Zealand’s premium chilled cuts will be enjoyed in high-end restaurants and retailers in China very soon.”
“This agreement has the potential to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars for our farmers, exporters and the wider economy,” Mr McClay says.
“Part of the Trade Agenda 2030 strategy, launched last week is to maximise the benefits of our existing trade agreements. This memorandum is an important step towards meeting our joint target of $30 billion dollars of two-way with China by 2030.”
China is New Zealand’s second largest market for beef and sheep exports. New Zealand exported about NZ $1 billion worth of frozen sheep and beef meat in the year to December 2016, a trade that has grown five-fold since 2011.
“With great air links to China, exporters have the opportunity to fill returning planes with chilled meat as demand grows,” Mr Guy says
An agreement that will allow China to export retail-ready fresh unpeeled onions to New Zealand has also been signed.
“This follows a new Import Health Standard (IHS) which was consulted with local industry to manage any biosecurity risks.”
Mr Guy also welcomed the signing of an agreement with China aimed at strengthening cooperation in fisheries, and an agreed list of projects to commence as part of the Agricultural Growth Partnership which was signed last year.
“Premier Li Keqiang’s visit is testament to the strong relationship China shares with New Zealand,” Mr Guy says.
“I’d like to thank officials from China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and acknowledge the hard work and close collaboration between AQSIQ and the Ministry for Primary Industries.”
Primary Industries Minister departs for Europe tonight for a series of meetings with his European and United Kingdom counterparts and to address the Forum for the Future of Agriculture in Brussels, Belgium.
“New Zealand has close ties with Europe and the UK and this trip will build on this,” says Mr Guy.
“These relationships are increasingly important to us as we work towards a free trade agreement with the European Union and, longer term, forge a new agreement for our trade with the UK following its departure from the EU.”
Mr Guy will be visiting Lithuania, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Ireland for a wide range of meetings with government and industry representatives. He will also deliver a keynote address to the Forum for the Future of Agriculture which brings together key agricultural interests from across Europe to discuss challenges facing the agriculture sector.
While in Ireland Mr Guy will be highlighting the recent announcement that New Zealand will be opening an embassy in Dublin to help build our long term relationship between the two countries. This is part of the Government’s Trade Agenda 2030 announced yesterday.
Over the course of a week Mr Guy will meet with government counterparts in each capital as well as various Members of the European Parliament in Brussels to advocate New Zealand as an important agricultural partner to the UK and EU. He will also meet with a range of farming groups including the National Farmers Union and Farmers Club in the UK.
“This is an opportunity to build understanding of New Zealand’s role in international agricultural trade and investment, and to highlight the benefits free markets can deliver for sectors like agri-businesses in the EU, UK and New Zealand.”
Mr Guy returns to New Zealand on 2 April.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Trade Minister Todd McClay have welcomed new funding of $35.3 million to help support our primary sector exporters succeed in overseas markets.
The funding, announced as part of the launch of Trade Agenda 2030 today, will be made available to the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) over the next four years as part of Budget 2017.
“The primary sector is vitally important to the New Zealand economy, earning around $36 billion a year, supporting thousands of jobs and exporting to around 130 countries. It’s important the Government continues to support the sector through creating new and improved trade links,” Mr Guy says.
“Barriers to trade cost our exporters billions, and entering new markets can be complex so Trade Agenda 2030 brings a renewed focus on helping our exporters address these issues and making them more competitive.
“This funding will help them overcome such barriers, navigate international regulatory requirements and further resource efforts to improve trade access issues.”
The new funding will:Increase MPI presence in Europe and South East Asia. Establish an Export Regulatory Advice Service to help exporters navigate complex regulatory environments. This will include guidance, case studies and proactive support. Accelerate work on priority non-tariff barriers, which are a major issue for primary sector exporters. This will include gathering information and making it easier for exporters to seek government advice and assistance. Expand MPI’s Economic Intelligence Unit to provide market insights and economic information to support exporters and Government agencies. This will help identify market opportunities and develop export strategies. Support work on market access, systems audit, and assurance and monitoring.
Mr McClay says that while Trade Agenda 2030 looks to expand New Zealand’s good and services exports into new and diverse markets, we must also focus on getting the best out of the high-quality trade deals New Zealand already has in place.
“MFAT and MPI work closely together both domestically and internationally to resolve non-tariff barriers as they arise.
“These barriers cost our economy hundreds of millions of dollars every year, so improving the resources available to fight these impediments to trade is an excellent way of increasing the value of existing trade deals.”
More information can be found at www.mfat.govt.nz/tradeagenda2030.
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has welcomed the launch of a new tool to monitor drought in New Zealand’s regions.
Developed by NIWA with the support of the Ministry for Primary Industries, the New Zealand Drought Index uses the best scientific information available to determine the status of drought across the country. It is a tool to acknowledge the onset, duration and intensity of drought conditions.
“Until now there hasn’t been one definitive definition of a drought,” says Mr Guy.
“Applying the latest scientific knowledge and technology like this index does, helps us to know exactly what is happening and can better inform producers, agri-businesses, councils and the Government to make the right decisions at the right time.”
The New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) combines four commonly-used drought indicators: The Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI); Soil Moisture Deficit (SMD); Soil Moisture Deficit Anomaly (SMDA); and Potential Evapotranspiration Deficit (PED) to show levels of dryness and when that turns into drought conditions.
A map of New Zealand and time series plots for each region are updated daily and freely available on the New Zealand Drought Monitor webpage.
“Droughts are not uncommon in parts of New Zealand, but when they extend for many months or affect wide regions they can have a major impact on rural communities.
“It doesn’t all finish the first time it rains either, because the on-farm effects of drought often linger due to the impact on forage quality, animal health, breeding stock numbers and farm cash-flow.
“This is another good example of smart agriculture, using technology to help farmers make early decisions.”
MPI works with local stakeholders to monitor adverse weather events such as storms, floods and droughts. The focus is on the impact of the event on the rural community, and how well they can cope and manage their primary industry businesses under the circumstances.
“When a region has been in drought for a period of time, the Drought Index will be one extremely useful factor to confirm the duration, scale and intensity of the dryness. It will be one of the important factors used in deciding when a medium or large scale adverse event should be classified, which defines when the impact of the event requires additional recovery measures for the affected communities,” says Mr Guy.
The index is available at http://www.niwa.co.nz/drought-index
When does MPI declare drought?
This is a common misconception. Just as MPI wouldn’t declare a storm or a flood, it doesn’t declare drought. As with any other adverse climatic or weather event, MPI classifies drought as either localised, medium scale or large scale.
MPI uses several criteria to help classify droughts as medium or large scale adverse events, including the geographic extent and level of impacts of the drought, and whether farmers are coping and still have options to manage through it, such as access to supplementary feed.
Localised droughts are acknowledged and managed by local stakeholders without Government stepping in with a higher level of assistance than that always available to New Zealanders.
What help is available in localised events?
During localised events the type of support available to farming communities includes:access to New Zealand's network of charitable Rural Support Trusts that are set up throughout the country to co-ordinate drought recovery activities assistance around flexibility with tax payments through Inland Revenue standard hardship assistance provided by Work and Income.
More information is on the websites of Rural Support Trusts, the Inland Revenue and Work and Income.
What recovery assistance is triggered by classifying an event as medium- or large-scale?
Medium-scale and large-scale events acknowledged by the government can attract recovery measures such as additional funding for Rural Support Trusts to assist their communities with co-ordination of drought recovery activities.
During medium-scale and large-scale events, affected farmers may have access to:rural assistance payments income equalisation technology transfer community pastoral care through their local Rural Support Trust.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced changes to commercial fishing limits for rock lobster (crayfish) and southern blue whiting in five areas as part of the annual fisheries sustainability review.
The changes are:Rock lobster fishery in the Gisborne region (called CRA3) will see a reduction in commercial catch limit of 23 tonnes. In the Wellington and Hawkes Bay region (called CRA4) there will be a reduction in commercial catch limit of 108 tonnes. The CRA7 (Otago) rock lobster fishery will see a rise in the commercial catch limit by 15 tonnes.
All recreational and customary allowances in these fisheries will remain the same.
“The changes in rock lobster limits comes after feedback from tangata whenua and other fishery interests, and final advice from the National Rock Lobster Management Group (NRLMG) on a range of options for these important shared fisheries,” says Mr Guy.
“For CRA3, the latest scientific research shows that biomass has decreased but remains above the agreed sustainability level. To ensure this remains the case a reduction in commercial catch will ensure that the fishery remains sustainable in the long term for the benefit of all fishers.
“In CRA4 a recent scientific study identified that the fishery was below the agreed target level and so proposals were consulted on to reduce commercial catch to an appropriate level.
“For CRA7 the latest information indicated no sustainability concerns and so I’m confident an increase in commercial catch of 15 tonnes can easily be sustained.
“These decisions are based on the best possible scientific information and show the effectiveness of the Quota Management System (QMS). It is flexible and responsive to change, and where a stock such as CRA4 is below expected levels then MPI acts to protect it.
“Regular monitoring and amendments to catch limits are key parts of our fisheries management system. They are informed by science and ensure we have a flexible and responsive system.”
For southern blue whiting around New Zealand (SBW 1) the commercial catch limit will be increased by 90 tonnes and for SBW 6B – known as the Bounty Platform – the commercial catch limit will be reduced by 563 tonnes (from 2940 to 2377 tonnes).
As these are both deepwater fisheries there are no allowances for customary or recreational fishing.
“SBW1 has had a nominal catch limit in place since it was introduced into the QMS in 1999. This increase announced today is based on current scientific information which better reflects available abundance. For SBW 6B, a key area of southern blue whiting catch, this change is in response to natural variations in the stock and will ensure the fishery remains sustainable.”
These decisions come into effect on 1 April 2017. More detailed information can be found at http://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/consultations/review-of-rock-lobster-sustainability-measures-for-1-april-2017/ and http://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/consultations/review-of-southern-blue-whiting-sustainability-measures-for-1-april-2017/
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed six new biosecurity and pest management projects that have received funding in the latest Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund round.
The six projects have been approved for total funding of just under $1.7 million and include a focus on vespula wasps and guava moth, giant buttercup weeds, and investigating the long term effects of herbicides used to control wilding conifers.
“Biosecurity is my number one priority and these projects will help us deal with these destructive pests,” says Mr Guy.
“Vespula wasps are estimated to cost the primary industries around $130m per year. This $459,000 project will investigate the use of two parasitic flies as a biological control, including testing their safety and seeking approval for release.
“The giant buttercup project will develop tools and plans for farmers to use in tackling this toxic weed, building on the work of a current SFF project which ends soon.
“Another project will investigate the long-term effects of herbicides used to control wilding conifers, including their impact on vegetation succession and soil and water quality.”
Mr Guy made the announcement while visiting the farm of Richard and Dianne Kidd near Helensville today, the 2016 Supreme winners of the inaugural Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards
For more information about the Sustainable Farming Fund visit mpi.govt.nz/sff
About the projects
Vespula waspsThis project will continue to investigate possible biological control agents for vespula wasps, a serious invasive pest present through New Zealand. These wasps are estimated to cost the primary industries in the region of $130m per annum. This work will build on a recently completed Sustainable Farming Fund project, which identified two parasitic flies as potential enemies for the wasps. As these flies are not currently in NZ, this project will import the flies, test their safety, and seek approval for release through the Environmental Protection Agency. The three year project will receive $459,000 of MPI funding and will begin in July 2017. The previous project received $433,000.
Giant buttercup weedGiant buttercup is an inedible and toxic weed which is estimated to cost the dairy industry around $156 million annually. This project will develop knowledge and tools to enable dairy farmers to design and implement long-term, cost-effective management programmes. It will determine optimum control methods through on farm trials and develop a giant buttercup management decision support system. This system will include a tool for farmers to measure the cover of the weed in a dairy pasture and a model for determining if the proposed method of control is cost-effective. The project will receive $327,000 of MPI funding. It builds on a current SFF project, due to end in June 2017, which received $396,000.
Herbicides used to control wilding conifersThis project will investigate the long-term effects of herbicides used to control wilding conifers, including their impact on vegetation succession and soil and water quality. Best practice procedures will be shared through the NZ Wilding Conifer Management Group and associated practitioner networks to enable improved decision-making and outcomes for herbicide control of wilding conifers. The three year project will receive $232,000 of MPI funding and will begin in July 2017. Under the Sustainable Farming Fund, $691,000 has previously been invested in projects relating to wilding conifers. This project will complement the National Wilding Conifer Management Strategy and the recently MBIE funded ‘Winning with Wildings’ programme.
Biosecurity – the farm borderThis project will provide a Farm Biosecurity plan with modules that can be adapted to suit individual farms. Funding is $90,600 for the Seed and Grain Readiness and Response Group.
Biocontrol to tackle horehoundThe unpalatable shrub horehound is becoming a serious weed, especially in dryland lucerne pastures. Chemical control is not economic as the problem worsens following treatment. The chemicals also kill the lucerne, leaving erosion-prone bare soil, and their prolonged residual effect is advantageous to horehound since it is the first plant to come back. Using the successful horehound biocontrol programme developed in Australia in the 1990s, we will explore the feasibility of horehound biocontrol in New Zealand. Funding of $285,450 for the Horehound Biocontrol Group.
Guava mothGuava moth seriously affects feijoa and macadamia production and can impact backyard citrus, stonefruit and pipfruit. This funding of $289,615 will help the New Zealand Feijoa Association develop grower-based practices to manage populations in commercial orchards and private gardens.
Racing Minister Nathan Guy has today announced plans to amend the Racing Act 2003 and enable the introduction of charges for offshore betting operators.
“These changes will help create a more level playing field for the TAB in the face of offshore competition, and ensure that offshore operators pay their fair share back to our communities,” says Mr Guy.
“By law, the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) is the only New Zealand-based provider of racing and sports betting via the TAB.
“This system ensures any proceeds from gambling go back to the local sporting and racing activities that make that gambling possible in the first place, and that punters operate within a regulatory framework that minimises gambling harm.
“However, a growing number of New Zealanders are now gambling through offshore betting agencies who make no contribution back to our communities.
“These offshore operators use New Zealand race information for their bets without paying a royalty back to our industry for their use. Also, by not contributing any profits back to our communities, these operators are able at work at an unfair advantage to the TAB.
“A Working Group found that in 2015, about 40,000 New Zealanders turned over $518 million offshore with $58 million in losses – this represents potential lost revenue of up to $45 million for local racing and sports organisations. The Working Group also found that these figures are likely to grow.
“Having consulted with the public, the Government is now preparing a Bill to amend the Racing Act 2003 to help keep the TAB competitive and retain New Zealand customers, and ensure that offshore operators pay their fair share back to our communities.”
The proposed changes include:Enabling the introduction of an information charge for offshore gambling operators using New Zealand race data. This is akin to a royalty fee for the use of racing products. Enabling the introduction of a consumption charge for offshore gambling operators accepting bets from New Zealand. This charge reflects New Zealand’s position that proceeds from betting should be returned to the community. The removal of the prohibition on the TAB taking bets during a race. Currently bets can only be placed on other sports in-game.
The removal of the restriction that requires the TAB to offer bets only on sports represented by National Sporting Organisations.
The rate of the fees will be set in subsequent regulation and will be subject to consultation. However the Government expects each of the charges to be in line with two per cent of turnover, as recommended by the Working Group.
The Government has referred the Working Group’s proposal of permitting betting on novelty prediction events to a wider review of gambling being undertaken by the Minister for Internal Affairs.
“These changes are not designed to get more people gambling - it’s about recognising the value of New Zealand events to offshore operators, and attracting New Zealand money currently gambled overseas back within our framework. This will help support local racing and sports.”
Changes are also being proposed to the formula in the Act that determines how the proceeds of betting are allocated to the racing and sports sectors.
“The NZRB and Sport New Zealand have negotiated a new formula, which is based on net betting revenue (NBR). Payments to sport would be calculated after GST, gambling duty and the problem gambling levy are deducted.
“The new formula will account for the growth in sports betting. It will provide a greater return to sports organisations, while still benefitting racing as sports betting continues to grow in popularity.”
A Bill is now being prepared for introduction to House as soon as practicable.
The New Zealand racing industry is a major contributor to the economy, generating $1.6 billion in gross domestic product and providing for 17,000 full-time jobs.
Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have congratulated this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy competition sheep and beef farming finalists, celebrating excellence in Māori farming.
Announced today at a Parliamentary event, the three finalists are Omapere Rangihamama Trust (Kaikohe), RA & JG King Partnership, Puketawa Station (Eketahuna) and Pukepoto Farm Trust (Ongarue).
"These beef and sheep farming stations are shining examples of the commitment Māori farmers have to sustainably developing their land for future generations. I’m proud to acknowledge and celebrate the key role Māori play in New Zealand’s primary industries,” says Mr Guy.
“The asset base of the Māori economy is worth over $42 billion, most of which is strongly focussed on the primary industries. Māori collectively own 40% of forestry land, 38% of fishing quota, and 30% of lamb production, to name just a few examples.
“Right across the economy as a whole, Māori are successful players and many of their companies and entities are amongst the top performing commercial operations in New Zealand.”
“All three finalists are inspiring models of Māori farming innovation”, says Mr Flavell.
“They have all demonstrated a commitment to sustainability and a striking balance between people, planet and profit.
“Our progress and achievements in the farming, forestry, fishing and tourism sectors alone deserve illumination as an inspiration to Māori everywhere and are a demonstration of our valuable contribution to the nation’s growth.”
The Ahuwhenua Trophy competition is now in its 84th year and celebrates the pursuit of innovation and new approaches by Māori farmers. The competition alternates each year between sheep and beef farming and dairy.
“All finalists embrace a Māori world view that requires a balance between the social, cultural, environmental and economic factors which are key to unlocking their power,” says Mr Flavell.
“They are part of a continuous creed of Māori farms modelling the belief that the immense potential of our country’s primary sector can be harnessed and contribute more substantially to the increased prosperity of all New Zealanders.”
Mr Flavell encouraged people to get out to the farms field days in April and May, cautioning that they should be prepared to be impressed.
A perennial on the Māori calendar, he also encouraged people to join the Ahuwhenua Trophy celebration evening in Whangārei on 26 May 2017 to share in the success of the Trophy winner.
The Government’s Regional Economic Development programme operating in many regions has a strong focus on lifting the capability of Māori-owned land.
For more information visit www.ahuwhenuatrophy.maori.nz
Phil Rennie (Minister Guy) 021 405 443
Greg Taipari (Minister Flavell) 021 943 070
Editor’s notes:Puketawa Station is a sheep and beef breeding unit located at Tīraumea about 45 minutes east of Pahiatua in the northern Wairarapa. The property consists of 1108ha (900 effective) and is mainly medium to steep hill country with some rolling contours. Breeding stock on the farm comprise 3177 Romney breeding ewes plus 850 ewe replacements and 148 stud ewes. The cattle side comprises 144 mixed mainly Hereford cows plus replacements. Ōmāpere Rangihāmama Trust is situated just 2km northwest of the Far North township of Kaikohe and is regarded by its shareholders as a taonga tuku iho, gifted to them over time by their ancestors. Of the Trust’s 1,997ha total land area, 1,253ha is devoted to the sheep and beef operation, of which 902ha is effective. In the past the farm ran a combination of sheep and beef. The move away from sheep to beef has largely been driven by better returns for bull beef and poorer returns for wool, sheep and lamb. Pukepoto Farm Trust is a small farm trust, with just over a thousand owners, is situated at the tiny settlement of Ōngarue about 20 minutes north of the central North Island town of Taumarunui. The property consists of 1400ha of which just over 1000ha are farmed. About 100ha are covenanted under the Ngā Whenua Rāhui scheme. There is 62ha in plantation pine and the remainder of the unfarmed land is scrub; much of which is being retired to prevent erosion. The Trust has worked closely with Horizons Regional Council in this regard. Currently the property winters a flock of 6000 Romney ewes and a herd of 300 mainly Angus cattle.