A National Government will partner with farmers and growers to develop new farming technology and practices that lift productivity and further reduce farming’s environmental footprint.
“National will turbo-charge the Sustainable Farming Fund, which will be renamed the Future of Farming Fund, by boosting its funding from $7 million to $20 million per year for investment in agricultural science and innovation,” Primary Industries spokesperson Nathan Guy says.
“We know we have some great emerging technologies and techniques like precision farming. We also increasingly have the latest communications networks as a result of our Rural Broadband Initiative. This fund will take that technology and roll it out around our farming sector.
“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.
“Food production is hugely important to this country. We are the world’s largest dairy exporter and we account for three quarters of the world’s trade in sheep meat. We produce high quality food more efficiently than anyone else and our farmers strive to do that with as little environmental impact as possible.
“This Fund will take us to the next level of sophistication in world-leading farming practices.”
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. We can improve our environmental footprint while at the same time growing the value of our exports, growing jobs and growing the strength of regional New Zealand,” Mr Guy says.
“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.
“To help focus the Future of Farming Panel and industry, we will set a target of doubling the value of our agritech industry to $6 billion by 2025,” Mr Guy says.
“We want the latest soil sensors, farm management software and diagnostic tools all developed and used here, and exported to the world.
“Through the Future of Farming Fund we can achieve more productivity and sustainability, and create more jobs by exporting our agricultural technologies and expertise around the world.
“There is a clear divide in this election between those that want to work with the farming sector and those that want to punish it, with four new taxes at last count.
“National understands regional New Zealand and will work with our primary industries to improve our environmental footprint and stay at the cutting edge of farm technologies worldwide.”
The new funding of $13 million per annum will come from Budget 2018’s operating allowance.
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy and Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston have welcomed the beginning of construction on a new centre to showcase the best of the primary sector in the heart of Auckland.
Mount Albert Grammar School’s farm, established in 1932, will be transformed into a centre of primary sector excellence showing urban Kiwis the best technology, innovation, practices and research in New Zealand and the world.
“The AgriFood Experience Centre will highlight the wide range of careers in the primary sector and create new connections in our biggest city,” says Mr Guy.
“The primary industries play an incredibly important role in our economy. This centre will play a big part in telling this story to younger, urban audiences.”
Ms Upston says the centre will give students a taste of careers in agrifood with a hands-on learning approach.
“The centre will help raise awareness of the wide range of different and exciting careers in the primary sector, and encourage students to consider a career in this crucial industry.”
A change to the constitution of Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL) will allow it to fund water storage projects with direct environmental and economic benefits, rather than on the basis of purely economic grounds, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.
“This is an important change to CIIL’s mandate which recognises and reinforces how important water storage and distribution projects are to the environment,” says Mr Guy.
“The current rules limit CIIL’s purpose to considering the long-term economic benefits from projects that it invests in, but it makes sense to broaden the scope given the wider benefits of these projects. It will now be able to provide concessionary loans to local authorities for projects that directly lead to environmental benefits.”
The change was originally requested by CIIL and has now been formally approved by Cabinet.
“This is good news for potential projects like the Waimea Community Dam near Nelson. The project captures Lee River flows and allows for the controlled release of stored water into the river system during periods of high water demand and/or low natural flows.
“Reliability of water provided by this project would allow pasture to be converted to higher value crops like apples. It would also recharge aquifers, provide water for municipal supply and improve water quality for recreational use.
“Likewise, projects like Central Plains Water is replacing 75-80% of groundwater take consents in the area, helping improve water flows into Lake Ellesmere.
“This change makes it even more disappointing that Labour and the Greens want to scrap all irrigation funding and tax water. This would be disastrous for growers, farmers and the regions. Industries like horticulture and viticulture need a reliable source of water to meet international demand and deal with droughts.”
CIIL is a Crown Entity Company established in 2013. Its purpose is to co-invest in schemes, provide grants for schemes in development, and apply commercial expertise and leadership to irrigation schemes. With CIIL’s proposed change now approved, it can now also provide concessionary loans to local authorities.
Work has begun on the improvements to New Zealand’s geological hazards monitoring as announced in Budget 2017, Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith have announced today.
The start of work was marked on a visit to a geotechnical drilling site at St Gerard’s Monastery in Wellington this morning.
“The investment of $19.5 million over four years will enhance New Zealand’s earthquake, tsunami, landslip and volcano monitoring capability,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“Cabinet has approved plans to implement an upgraded 24/7 monitoring system that will significantly improve our ability to detect and communicate geological hazards – particularly tsunami – quickly and accurately.
“As part of a package of measures, GeoNet will increase the number of specialists monitoring information as it comes in and will coordinate with Civil Defence as necessary. There will also be improvements to GeoNet’s network of monitoring instruments, operations centre, hazard modelling, and monitoring tools.
“These enhancements build on the existing GeoNet infrastructure, developed between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science over the past 16 years, which has become a trusted source of advice for Civil Defence and New Zealanders through the app and website,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“These changes will mean New Zealanders are better equipped with both long-term and real-time information about natural hazards,” says Mr Guy.
“We can better protect lives and property, increase preparedness and build our infrastructure, businesses and communities in ways that are more resilient to disruption.
“It’s an important shift away from simply managing the after effects of disasters. There is so much we can do when we are equipped with both long-term and real-time information about natural hazards.
“However, people who live in coastal areas and experience an earthquake that is long or strong, should move immediately to higher ground or as far inland as possible. There may not be time to warn people before the first tsunami waves arrive, in the case of local-source tsunami, even with these improvements.”
“Following the Kaikoura earthquake, the Government made $3 million available in December 2016 for GeoNet to make interim improvements to capability, equipment, procedures and systems, and lay the groundwork for longer term upgrades. This work is well underway and I expect to see a full shift to the new system by the end of next year,” Mr Goldsmith says.
More information can be found HERE.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have announced government funding of up to $800,000 for 3-D aerial mapping of Northland to provide the region with highly accurate geographical data to make better business decisions.
LiDAR is a remote sensing tool which uses laser pulses to generate large amounts of highly accurate geographical terrain data.
“This will be the most comprehensive LIDAR exercise ever undertaken in New Zealand and the high quality mapping data produced will provide a blueprint of the whole region,” says Mr Bridges.
“It will produce data that is ten times more accurate than what is currently used, and can have a wide range of uses from forest inventory, floodplain mapping, urban planning and coastal engineering to its use for the design of powerlines, roads, railways, mines, farms and land developments.
“This is part of Northland’s joint Economic Action Plan with Government and the region which contains projects identified as being key to supporting economic growth,” Mr Bridges says.
Mr Guy said the data will provide authorities with more confidence to progress infrastructure projects and deliver better, more cost-effective planning and a better understanding and ability to plan for sustainable land management.
“The data can be used by forestry companies to help plan their logging operations, horticulture companies for sustainable land management and by public and private operators to plan pest control.
“On the farm it can be used for creating topographic maps of fields and for crop mapping in vineyards and orchards. It will be a valuable tool for decision-makers to use in working out how to get the best use of their land.
“LiDAR also helps with detailed hazard planning and preparation by identifying any changes to land formations, water courses and physical structures after a natural event. After the Kaikoura earthquake it was used to show how far the impact extended out to sea.”
Funding for the Northland LiDAR project comes from the government’s Regional Growth Programme, co-led by the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment. Land Information New Zealand has also contributed funds.
The government’s funding has been collectively matched by the four Northland councils.
LiDAR surveying is expected to start within the coming months and be completed in 2018. A Cessna twin engine aeroplane, modified for LiDAR surveying, will be used. The plane can be flown safely at low altitudes over urban areas.
A new $400,000 scholarship programme to build global expertise on climate change, agriculture and food security will boost New Zealand’s contribution to agricultural greenhouse gas research say Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
The scholarship, announced today at the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) Council meeting in Tsukuba, Japan, is a joint initiative of the GRA and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.
“Finding new ways to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions is crucial to meeting our ambitious 2030 Paris Agreement targets. This scholarship builds on the $20 million a year we already invest in agricultural emissions,” says Mrs Bennett.
“Our farmers care deeply about our environment and we have some of the best environmental farming practices in the world,” says Mr Guy.
“Given a growing global population, it’s in everybody’s interest that we are successful in producing food more efficiently and sustainably. We need all major food producers and the international scientific community to be fully involved.
“Using science and research is a far more sensible approach for tackling agricultural emissions than that of Labour and Greens who would punish farmers and growers by including them in the ETS. This would add a cost that no other country imposes, and ironically mean that consumers buy more products from overseas farmers who are not as environmentally efficient as us.”
New Zealand funding support will enable up to 40 recipients to be hosted in research centres of GRA partners and member countries over the next three years. New Zealand has been a long standing donor of the CGIAR, most recently committing a further $11 million over two years to its network of research institutes around the world.
For more information see www.globalresearchalliance.org.
A new pledge by farming leaders to improve the swimmability of New Zealand’s rivers has been welcomed by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith.
“This pledge from farming leaders shows the real commitment farmers have to tackling these long term issues,” says Mr Guy.
“Farmers are closer to the land to the land than nearly anyone else, and they care deeply about leaving a good legacy for their children.
“Most of New Zealand’s rivers are in a good state but there are a number that need work, and this will take concerted effort by all New Zealanders – including farmers, urban areas, and local and central Government.
“We need to recognise the massive environmental improvements that farmers have made in recent times. In the last five years it’s estimated that farmers have spent over $1 billion of their own money towards environmental measures on farm, with around 98% of dairy waterways fenced off.”
“I welcome this high level commitment from farming leaders,” says Dr Smith.
“It builds on the goodwill and work of the Land and Water Forum and provides the leadership to help implement the ambitious new regulations passed this month on improving water quality for swimming.”
The new National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management was announced on 9 August and introduces a new requirement for rivers to be suitable for swimming. It sets a timetable of 90% of rivers and lakes to be swimmable by 2040, establishing a system for monitoring and reporting and requires each of the 16 Regional Councils to set regional targets by 2018.
“The Government has put in place a robust plan for improving swimmability of our rivers and funding to assist in the cost of achieving it. This pledge will help drive the next steps of finalising national stock exclusion rules and the work towards delivering Good Management Practices for the different farming sectors.
“The challenge New Zealand has on improving freshwater quality is not just for farmers. Urban New Zealand will also need to commit to improving stormwater and wastewater systems to achieve the Government’s goals.”
The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has become the fifteenth and largest industry sector to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) biosecurity partnership, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.
DCANZ is the national organisation representing the dairy processor and exporters sector, comprised of 11 members responsible for 99% of the milk processed in New Zealand.
“It’s very pleasing to have DCANZ working with the Ministry for Primary Industries and other industry partners on biosecurity,” says Mr Guy.
“The dairy industry is a crucial part of New Zealand’s economy, making up over a third of all New Zealand total exports. It is vital we work together to prepare and respond to biosecurity threats.
“The discovery of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis near Waimate is a real reminder of how important biosecurity is to the dairy sector. It’s good practice for all farmers to have an on-farm biosecurity plan.
“As the recent Biosecurity 2025 Direction Statement outlines, biosecurity is a shared responsibility. We need everyone working together sharing their expertise and experience.
“Earlier this year I was proud to announce an $18 million boost to biosecurity in Budget 2017, meaning the total biosecurity budget is now just under a quarter of a billion – the highest ever.”
The signing of the agreement was attended by Mr Guy, Trade Minister Todd McClay and representatives of all major dairy companies
Other signatories to the GIA include:Vegetables NZ TomatoesNZ Kiwifruit Vine Health Pipfruit New Zealand New Zealand Pork New Zealand Equine Health Association Onions New Zealand Forestry Owners Association New Zealand Avocado Growers’ Association New Zealand Citrus Growers Incorporated Potatoes New Zealand New Zealand Winegrowers Ministry for Primary Industries
New Zealanders have never been better prepared for disasters according to the latest annual disaster preparedness survey, but it’s important to stay prepared.
Minister of Civil Defence Nathan Guy says levels of household preparedness for disasters have risen sharply since the Kaikoura earthquake last year, followed by a string of other emergencies such as the Port Hills fires and the Edgecumbe flooding.
“Current levels of preparedness are on par with the previous highest on record, which was following the Canterbury earthquakes,” says Mr Guy.
The results are the findings of the Colmar Brunton disaster preparedness survey for 2017, which has been released by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. The annual survey of 1000 New Zealanders assesses disaster preparedness and the effectiveness of our public education programme.
“We’ve seen measures of preparedness rise significantly, which means households have never been better prepared for disasters than they are now.”
While the results are encouraging, Mr Guy says making sure you’re prepared needs to be an everyday part of life.
“We don’t want people to wait until it’s too late before they take action. After the Canterbury earthquakes, we saw a sharp boost in preparedness, only to see it slide when complacency crept in.”
Mr Guy says the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management revitalised its public education programme last year to make preparation real, relevant and easy. The Never Happens? Happens campaign involves videos starring Hunt for the Wilderpeople actress Rachel House, and has sub-campaigns targeting everyday families and 18-30 year olds.
The survey also suggests the Ministry’s recent tsunami and earthquake safety campaign – which emphasises the messages “Long or Strong, Get Gone” and “Drop Cover Hold” - has been effective in reinforcing the right actions to take in the event of an earthquake.
The survey shows that 83% of respondents know that they needed to evacuate when a long or strong earthquake happens near the coast.
“One of the biggest risks from a natural event is a local source tsunami, and this campaign has the potential to save lives.”
“Getting prepared is easier than you might think. The single most important thing is to make a plan, which only takes a few minutes for you and your household.”
The survey report is available at http://www.civildefence.govt.nz/cdem-sector/public-education/research-and-evaluation/get-ready-get-thru-campaign-evaluation/.
To make a plan and find out more about getting prepared, visit www.happens.nz.
Flood-hit farmers in the Bay of Plenty region will have a further opportunity to apply for a grant to help with clean up and recovery, say Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy.
The $100,000 Primary Industries Flood Recovery Fund is part of a package of additional support totalling $295,000 for farms and orchards who suffered damage following the floods.
“The Government is committed to ensuring communities in the Bay of Plenty have the support they need to recover from the April floods,” says Mrs Tolley.
“The first Bay of Plenty Primary Industries Flood Recovery Fund was on a first-come first-served basis and all grants were allocated after just a couple of weeks. Farmers who missed out on the first round of funding can now apply for grants of $2000, $5000, or $10,000.
“This support is in addition to the $1 million funding provided to enable Enhanced Taskforce Green teams to clear debris from towns, rural properties, and parks and reserves.”
“The Bay of Plenty Rural Support Trust and agencies on the ground have been taking stock as clean up continues. They have told me there are still a number of affected primary producers who could really use a grant to help them with re-establishment of pastures and crops, and the clean-up of silt and debris,” says Mr Guy.
“I’m also further bolstering the Rural Support Trust who have been working tirelessly with local agri-business and agencies to assist in recovery. Funding will also help the rural recovery coordinator continue, and helping farm relief workers to be continue to be available through the Trust.
“Priorities for rural recovery in the region include ongoing psychosocial support, restoration of farm productivity, and building resilience to future events, particularly on flood-prone land.
“Looking to the future is fundamental and the funding also covers extension services to farmers.
“I appreciate the work of the Whakatane District Council who have provided support to administer both rounds of the grants on behalf of the region.”
Applications for this further round of grants can be made via the Whakatane District Council until 29 September, and will be assessed on need.