Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the latest progress report of the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord project, showing dairy farmers have now fenced off over 97 per cent of waterways.
“The Water Accord is a voluntary project led by the industry to improve farming practices and water quality. This Year Three update shows a range of targets have been achieved, including stock exclusion from 26,197 km of measured waterways which is the equivalent of Auckland to Chicago and back again,” says Mr Guy.
“99.4 per cent of regular stock crossing points on dairy farms now have bridges or culverts to protect local water quality, and over 10 million dollars has been spent on environmental stewardship and farmer support programmes.
“9,517 nutrient budgets were processed and nitrogen information provided to farmers, representing 83% of the industry.
“Dairy farmers deserve credit for the leadership they have shown in recent years. There has been a major reduction in pollution entering our lakes and rivers from dairy sheds, factories and town effluent systems.
“From the Government side, a huge amount of work has generated new rules, standards and monitoring which simply didn’t exist 10 years ago. This includes new regulations to keep livestock out of waterways to reduce E.coli and improve water quality.
“Achieving our goal of 90% swimmability by 2040 will be a long-term project. It will take decades because water quality issues have built up over decades and there is no quick fix.
“There are still challenges ahead but we are going to achieve it in a practical, realistic and sustainable way that doesn’t ruin our economy at the same time. This is a long term issue and we’re all in it together.”
The Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord was launched in July 2013 setting out the dairy industry’s commitment to New Zealand and improving water quality.
It includes a set of national good management practice benchmarks aimed at lifting environmental performance on dairy farms, along with commitments to targeted riparian planting plans, effluent management, comprehensive standards for new dairy farms and measures to improve the efficiency of water and nutrient use on farms.
It has been developed with the input of farmers, dairy companies, central Government, regional councils and the Federation of Māori Authorities.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the first export shipment of meat to Iran, scheduled for processing and export later this month by Wellington company Taylor Preston.
“This is great news for Taylor Preston and the wider meat industry,” says Mr Guy.
“It is only the start of what we are hoping will grow to become an important new market for our exporters.
“In the 1980s Iran took around one in every four sheep we exported, so it has great potential. It is the second largest economy in the Middle East and North Africa region.
“Iran has a growing economy and is heavily reliant on imported food. At the same time New Zealand has a strong reputation as a producer of safe, high-quality and nutritious red meat.
"Over time this could become a significant market for particularly lamb, but in the future it could be beef as well.
“This new opportunity follows my visit to Iran in February where I witnessed an agreement between the Iranian Veterinary Organisation (IVO) and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries providing the conditions for chilled and frozen sheep and beef exports to resume.
“It’s more positive news for the red meat industry with 10 establishments about to start a six-month trial sending chilled meat to China. It’s been a tough year for sheep farmers so these significant market access opportunities will be warmly received on farm.
“Opening up new markets for our exporters is a major priority for the Government. This year we updated our trade strategy Trade Agenda 2030 with the ambitious goal of having free trade agreements cover 90 per cent of New Zealand’s goods exports by 2030, up from 53 per cent today. An extra $91.3 million over four years through Budget 2017 is going to help achieve this.”
Recovery activity is progressing well after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on 14 November, six months ago this Sunday, says Minister of Civil Defence Nathan Guy.
“The complex series of earthquakes ruptured 21 fault lines and rocked the top of the South Island and bottom of the North. Geonet reported that land movements and shaking were amongst the strongest in New Zealand ever and there was damage to homes, infrastructure, roads, rail and land,” says Mr Guy.
“In the six months since there has been a massive whole-of-government approach to supporting communities in their recovery with new funding of around $860 million. As part of this a National Recovery Manager is tasked with coordinating and supporting recovery activities across government.
“We are committed to reinstating the coastal road and rail route to the north and south of Kaikōura, the cost for which will be between $1.1 and $1.33 billion.
“More than $17.5 million from the Earthquake Support Subsidy was provided to 862 businesses in Kaikōura, Wellington, and Marlborough and Hurunui districts. This has helped businesses retain and pay staff while they transition back to business as usual.
“The Government is providing $5.7m funding to restore the Kaikōura harbour to full functionality. It’s great operators Whale Watch Kaikōura and Encounter Kaikōura are putting an extra $900,000 into this. That means the harbour can be made better than it was before and allow for future expansion of the harbour for larger boats.
“The harbour deepening work is nearly complete and it should be fully operational by October, ready for the tourist season.
“The earthquake hit Kaikōura’s tourism business hard - half of its hotels, motels, backpackers and holiday parks were closed in December 2016.
“The Government is helping here with a $870,000 support package to support tourism in Kaikōura and the other upper South Island districts. Much of the funding will go towards starting a strong overseas marketing push so Kaikōura is included in visitor itineraries for next summer. This is in addition to the $350,000 tourism relief package the Government provided Hurunui and Hanmer Springs in late 2016.
“$4.26 million has gone towards a health services package for North Canterbury and Marlborough providing for free visits, mental health services, additional health practitioners, support for Marlborough schools and rural health and support trusts, and paying the balance of Kaikōura’s Health Te Ha o Te Ora health centre.
“People needing housing while their homes are being repaired or replaced after the earthquake have been helped by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Temporary Accommodation Service.
“EQC received around 38,000 residential claims for damage caused by the November earthquake, mostly for building damage in Christchurch, Wellington, North Canterbury and Marlborough. The good news is that EQC and insurers are working towards making the majority of building and contents settlement offers by the end of 2017.
“The earthquake thrust a substantial part of Kaikōura’s rocky reef above the low tide level, destroying over 20% of the pāua habitat. The ban on collecting shellfish and seaweed (excluding crayfish) until 20 November 2017 will allow the pāua to regenerate. A $2 million package is helping investigate the impact of the earthquakes on these fisheries.
“The Earthquake Relief Fund is providing $4 million for uninsurable infrastructure repairs in the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough districts affecting farmers and others in the primary sector.
“A new $5 million fund announced today will also provide further support for the primary sector.
“So many people have worked incredibly hard to support their neighbours and communities over the last six months and I want to acknowledge these efforts.”
The total cost to government of the Kaikoura earthquakes continues to evolve but currently is still expected to be in the order of $2 to $3 billion.
Other Government support following the Kaikōura earthquakeA Government grant of $2.6 million for the Hurunui and Kaikōura districts to repair waste facilities, recycle earthquake debris and manage hazardous waste. $2.5 million in funding over three years to help local councils shoulder the increased workload from building consents, planning and hazard management. $3 million towards the Government’s new requirement for owners of around 300 unreinforced masonry buildings on busy routes to secure their street-facing parapets and facades. Funding of $3 million to enhance New Zealand’s natural hazards monitoring capability and response service. Funding for a pilot of a free and independent advisory service to help North Canterbury residents with insurance claims. $500,000 for three rural recovery coordinators on the ground and another $500,000 additional funding for the North Canterbury Rural Support Trust. An additional $1 million business grant programme for the Business Recovery Grant Programme for quake-affected businesses in Kaikōura, Hurunui and Marlborough. The Canterbury and Nelson Marlborough District Health Boards have reprioritised their budgets to provide extra services for people in affected areas.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced $5 million in new funding support for quake-struck farmers and growers.
The new Earthquake Recovery Fund will support projects that investigate long-term land use options and will also fund professional advisory services for future land use planning.
“The November earthquake has caused significant erosion and damage to land in the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough regions. Farmers, growers and foresters are now faced with the challenge of determining what to do with their land going forward and this fund is designed to help with those decisions,” says Mr Guy.
The fund is designed to provide support to farmers and growers in two different ways, depending on their needs.
“Funding will be available for farmer and grower led, community-driven projects which are focused on long-term land use diversification, research or restoration. Projects will need to be related to and within the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough regions or primarily for the benefit of the region.
“We are also offering funding for farmers, growers and foresters who want individual professional advice on their land recovery and long term land use as a result of the earthquake.
“The Government’s $4 million Earthquake Relief Fund announced in December was designed for the initial phase of recovery where farmers and growers needed support for repairs. As they move to the next phase of recovery, the new $5 million Earthquake Recovery Fund will support farmers and growers with the long-term issues they are now facing.”
The Earthquake Recovery Fund will be administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries and is in addition to other financial and support services available.
Funding for projects can be up to $600,000 over three years for projects starting from September 2017. Funding for advisory services can be up to $5,000 per property and will be available from late July/early August 2017.
More details - www.mpi.govt.nz/Kaikoura-earthquake
An innovative new Civil Defence campaign will help to improve the emergency preparedness of people under the age of 30, says Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy.
“The new public education campaign targets people aged 18-30 who have a lower rate of preparedness for emergencies than the average New Zealander,” says Mr Guy.
The campaign forms part of the Never Happens? Happens public education programme by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, which was launched last July with a multi-phase rollout that included videos from Hunt for the Wilderpeople actress Rachel House.
“We know that young people are great at getting prepared when they’re properly motivated, and this campaign taps into that by reinforcing that preparing for an emergency is easier than you think.
“A big barrier to getting prepared is the false perception that it’s too hard or costly. The truth is, the most important thing to do is sit down with flatmates, friends or family and come up with a plan about what to do if an emergency happens.”
The innovative, low-budget ($160,000) campaign emphasises that it’s no harder than getting ready for something like a festival, a road trip, or a Netflix binge session.
‘If you’re going to a festival with friends, you’d have a plan about what to do or where to meet if you got separated and you lost contact. Planning for an emergency isn’t hugely different.”
Mr Guy says Ministry research shows a different approach is needed for younger people who are likely to have a more independent lifestyle and different priorities when it comes to time and money.
“We know that young people have a great capacity to self-organise and look after others – we saw that with the Student Volunteer Army in Canterbury. This campaign encourages them to make sure they are also looking after themselves and their mates.”
The campaign will involve posters, digital advertising, social media, and working through Civil Defence Emergency Management groups to target residents, employers and tertiary institutions.
For more tips on getting prepared, and to make a plan in just a few minutes, visit www.happens.nz
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has welcomed the election of a national body to represent all 14 Rural Support Trusts across the country.
“Rural Support Trusts do fantastic work supporting our rural communities in tough times, and this new central body will make them more efficient and effective,” says Mr Guy.
“It will provide single point of contact for other national organisations and the Government, and help the different regions share resources and experience.
“Rural Support Trusts operate independently in their areas, staffed by local people who really know their local communities.
“All Trusts have trained facilitators who can assist rural people with a range of issues. The facilitators are all local people who know the area and the farming or growing industries, and much of their work is helping sometimes isolated rural communities keep connected and build morale when the going is tough.
“The value of the Rural Support Trusts in times of adversity has been made very clear in the recent months with droughts across the country, the earthquake in Kaikoura, Marlborough and the Hurunui, and floods in the Bay of Plenty.
“The Trusts and National Council work closely with MPI, which provides partial funding along with their own fundraising work.”
In the last two years the Government has provided extra funding to Rural Support Trusts to improve access to mental health support in the rural community. Coordinators have been trained to recognise and manage signs of depression or extreme stress, and are connected to rural health professionals.
In its first meeting the National Council elected its first Chairperson, Waikato RST chair Neil Bateup, and Gavan Herlihy from Otago was appointed Vice Chairperson. The Rural Support National Council will be structured as a charitable trust responsible to the Trusts around the country.
About Rural Support TrustsRural Support Trusts provide free and confidential assistance to farmers and growers facing challenges; climate, financial or personal. They are well-placed to point people in the right direction for further advice and help. Some Rural Support Trusts have been around since the 1980s to provide support on hardship or assistance in adverse events, such as the Otago RST. Others, like Taranaki, have been set up out of Federated Farmers. A number of Trusts, such as Northland, were formed or strengthened with (then) MAF’s assistance after the On-Farm Adverse Events Recovery Framework came into effect in 2007. For further information on the Trusts visit: http://www.rural-support.org.nz/. Call 0800 RURAL HELP - for a confidential chat about you, your business, the weather, your finances; or a neighbour, partner, friend, family member, or worker.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry say wilding pines control work has nearly reached its first year target of a million hectares.
“20 per cent of New Zealand will be covered in unwanted wilding conifers within 20 years if their spread isn't stopped. They already cover more than 1.8 million hectares of New Zealand and until now have been spreading at about 5 per cent a year,” Mr Guy says.
“The National Wilding Conifer Control Programme was put in place in 2016 to prevent their spread and systematically remove them from much of the land already taken over.”
Ms Barry says wildings compete with native plants and animals for sunlight and water and can severely alter natural landscapes.
“The control programme is to protect our conservation land, iconic landscapes, tourist routes, high country farming heritage and sensitive water catchments from these invaders,” Ms Barry says.
“Last year the Government committed an additional $16 million to wilding control over the next four years and that’s on top of an $11 million already spent each year.”
“Control work has involved targeted aerial spraying of individual trees in remote areas where there is light wilding infestation, and ground control in more heavily infested areas. The programme this year covers 14 initial priority areas, including extensive areas of conservation land and farmland in Central North Island, Marlborough, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.”
Minister Guy says wilding conifer are incredibly hard to get rid of once they become established.
“Prevention is the best form of management. Removing young seedlings before they start producing seeds costs less than $10 per hectare, but removing mature trees can cost over $10,000 per hectare.”
Minister Barry says wildings are public enemy number one in the War on Weeds and top the Dirty Dozen 2017 list.
“The Department of Conservation’s Community Fund has financed a number of community groups, trusts and organisations to carry out wilding conifer control ion work in 2016/17, complementing the work of the national control programme by reducing wilding conifer spread in low density areas.”
The Wilding Conifer Control Programme has already started preliminary planning for 2017/18 control operations.
The Programme is being implemented by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation, and Land Information New Zealand in partnership with other central government agencies, iwi groups, local government, forestry and farming industries, landowners, researchers and community trusts and organisations.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed $388,000 in new development grant funding for the Kurow Duntroon Irrigation Company (KDIC) from Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd.
“This grant is an important step forward for this project which could have major benefits for the North Otago region,” says Mr Guy.
The funding is required to complete the remaining work to reach construction commencement and confirm the commercial viability of the proposed scheme.
“The current scheme is aging and needs updating. This project will mean water is used much more efficiently and effectively, using the latest design and technology.
“Importantly it will deliver real environmental benefits by reducing the irrigation take from small tributaries and help improve minimum flows.
“Irrigation schemes in other parts of the country have brought economic and environmental gains. A reliable source of water gives certainty to farmers and growers, helps them plan ahead and deal with droughts and dry spells.”
All decisions by Crown Irrigation Investments are made by an experienced, independent board and management team.. Strict conditions have to be met including sound governance and matched funding.
A biosecurity response is underway after the detection of myrtle rust on mainland New Zealand for the first time, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry have announced today.
Myrtle rust is a fungal disease which can seriously damage various species of native and introduced plants in the myrtle family, including pohutukawa, rata, manuka, gum, bottlebrush and feijoa.
“The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) was notified on Tuesday evening by a nursery in Kerikeri that five pohutakawa seedlings had suspected myrtle rust, and laboratory testing has now confirmed this,” says Mr Guy.
“MPI has moved quickly and initiated a Restricted Place notice to restrict the movement of any plants and people at the site, and is treating nursery stock with fungicide spray as a precaution. Work is also underway to trace any stock that has left the nursery and all other nurseries in Kerikeri are being inspected today.
“The disease is prevalent in eastern Australia and Tasmania, and was discovered on Raoul Island in late March this year.
“Myrtle rust spores are microscopic and can easily spread across large distances by wind. Officials believe that wind was the likely pathway of incursion into Raoul Island, and it’s likely that wind has carried spores to mainland New Zealand from Australia.”
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the incursion could have serious consequences for some native species.
“Myrtle rust generally attacks soft new leaf growth, and severe infestations can kill affected plants. This could include native species like the pohutakawa and the rata,” says Ms Barry.
In Australia, the fungus has had different levels of impact on myrtle species, with some more seriously affected than others.
“Myrtle rust has long been expected to arrive in New Zealand, and since the Australian outbreak began in 2010, the Government has worked on a range of measures to help manage and adapt to the fungus in the long term if necessary,” says Ms Barry.
“This includes accelerating work already underway to collect and store germplasm from affected species, searching for signs of resistant myrtle strains which could be incorporated into a breeding programme and monitoring at 800 locations across the country.”
“DOC will also be conducting inspections of our myrtle species on public conservation land in Northland for any early signs of the fungus.”
There is no known method of controlling the disease in the wild, apart from application of fungicide in very small areas as a last resort. Even if eradication is achieved, there is an ongoing risk of reinfection from Australia.
“It’s very disappointing that this fungal disease has appeared in New Zealand. However, I want to thank the staff and owner of Kerikeri Plant Production nursery for making such a prompt notification to MPI,” says Mr Guy.
Anyone believing they have seen myrtle rust on plants in New Zealand should call MPI on 0800 80 99 66. It is very important not to touch the plants or attempt to collect samples as this will spread the disease.
In particular, anyone who has purchased any plants from the myrtle family in the last month should check for physical signs and contact MPI if any are seen.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the official start of construction on Stage 2 of Central Plains Water, which could have economic benefits of up to $374 million.
Mr Guy accompanied Prime Minister Bill English in Darfield today to cut the ribbon signalling the start of construction on the project which will have the capacity to irrigate an additional 20,000 hectares.
“This will be a real boost to the Canterbury regional economy with around 1130 new jobs expected as a result. A reliable source of water gives farmers certainty and options to invest in mixed farming operations including arable, sheep and beef finishing, dairy farming and horticulture,” says Mr Guy.
“Importantly, it also has many environmental benefits. Using alpine sourced water rather than ground water is environmentally beneficial for Canterbury as it reduces pressure on aquifers which are needed to replenish flows in lowland streams.
“Replacing groundwater with river and stored alpine river water has the potential to improve water flows into Lake Ellesmere - Te Waihora, helping the long-term process of improving its water quality.
“For any farm to qualify for scheme water it has to prepare a plan with a nutrient budget and meet high standards.”
Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL) has committed to providing a $65 million secured loan to CPW to part-fund Stage 2 of the CPW Scheme. Crown Irrigation’s partial funding of Stage 2 means that the project can be future-proofed for long term demand.
CIIL invested $6.5 million into CPW Stage 1 which has since been fully repaid, and full repayment is expected for the Stage 2 investment as well.
A new Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) project “SMART Tools and Tips for Irrigators” is aimed at improving management practices for irrigators to deliver better environmental and economic outcomes. The funding is for $294,400 and will be led by Irrigation New Zealand.
Another new SFF project led by Federated Farmers will be looking at the impacts of irrigation on soil water holding properties. This project worth $295,950 will help both farmers and regional councils by enabling more effective and efficient use of irrigation water, reduced drainage and reduced loss of soluble nutrients.
While in the region Mr Guy also visited the Hinds/Hekeao Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) project site near Ashburton.
The pilot project, which began in February 2016, is testing the feasibility of adding alpine sourced water to shallow groundwater to help recharge lowland streams during dry periods and reduce nitrate levels in the groundwater.
“I was pleased to hear that in the first year of this project, the bores monitoring groundwater conditions downstream have shown positive improvements in both water quantity with rising levels and in water quality with decreasing concentrations of nitrates.”
A recent report by NZIER found that irrigation contributes $2.2 billion to the national economy and this has the potential to increase further.
More information on Central Plains Water is available at: http://www.cpwl.co.nz/