After sitting on its hands for two years, the Government has finally decided to consider one of National’s key election policies, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs) give Police more powers to search and take firearms off gang members. They apply to the most dangerous offenders who have convictions for firearms offences or serious violence.
“National campaigned on introducing FPOs in 2017, and we had a Members’ Bill before Parliament last year that the Government voted down. We’ve also included FPOs in our proposed 13 changes to the Government’s gun law reforms, but again it wasn’t picked up.
“It’s a shame the Government voted down our Bill when it was before Parliament and wouldn’t allow us to introduce it when we tried to again last month. Now it’s taking even more time to consult on this – it should just get on and do it.
“We’re pleased that the Government is now focussed on improving the safety of New Zealanders, even though it wants to spend another two months consulting on this. It’s also good to see that the Government is now starting to focus on dangerous criminals and not just law abiding firearms users.
“The Government is bereft of its own ideas. Housing First, Mobile Rural Health Clinics, the Container Deposit Scheme and fog cannons in dairies were all National Party policies. It’s great to see National Party policy being used to make New Zealand a better place.”
National has supported the Zero Carbon Bill through its final reading, but is committing to improving the Bill further should we earn the right to govern in 2020, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“National proposed a series of changes that would have ensured the Bill is in line with National’s climate change principles of taking a pragmatic and science-based approach, but unfortunately the coalition Government voted down all of our amendments.
The changes we proposed were:
- That the target for biological methane reduction be recommended by the independent Climate Change Commission.
- That the Bill makes clear the stated aim of the Paris Agreement is for greenhouse gas reduction to occur in a manner that does not threaten food production.
- To strengthen provisions that consider the level of action being taken by other countries and allow targets to be adjusted to ensure we remain in step with the international community.
- To strengthen provisions for the Commission to consider economic impacts when providing advice on targets and emissions reductions.
- That the Bill ensures the Commission considers the appropriate use of forestry offsets, and has regard for the carbon sink represented by crops, riparian planting, and other farm biomass.
- That emissions budgets be split between biogenic methane and carbon dioxide as recommended by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.
- That the Bill includes a greater commitment to investment in innovation and research and development to find new solutions for reducing emissions.
“We have taken a bipartisan approach to climate change but we will continue to fight for the changes we think will make the law better.
“Should National earn the right to govern in 2020 we will make these changes in our first 100 days in office. We will ensure the Bill drives the right long-term changes and factors in the wider impacts on New Zealand’s economy, jobs and incomes.”
Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges has today thanked Maggie Barry for her nine years of service to Parliament and the National Party.
“Maggie has been a great representative for the people of North Shore and a valuable member of our caucus. She was a passionate Minister of Conservation who was instrumental in introducing Predator Free 2050 and she led the charge on other major conservation projects.
“Maggie has been a staunch advocate for seniors - both as Minister and as Opposition spokesperson.
“She has been a valued colleague and friend. We know Maggie will continue to support us throughout the campaign.
“National is the strongest and most popularly supported party in Parliament. We are brimming with talent and I have no doubt that we will see a vigorous contest for the North Shore seat.
“I wish Maggie and her husband Grant all the best for their future.”
The number of food hardship grants paid out since the election has doubled as everyday Kiwis are getting hammered by the rising cost of living, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“In the year to September, $26.5 million was paid out in food hardship grants. That’s up from $13 million in National’s last year in Government.
“The Government has tried to explain away hardship grants as people getting what they’re entitled to. That’s nonsense, I have travelled the country and people have told me they are doing it harder under Labour.
“Rents are up an average of $50 a week because of the Government’s poor policy making decisions and petrol taxes have been piled on. The Government is completely out of touch with how its decisions are affecting people’s lives.
“The food hardship grants are on top of a 46 per cent increase in electricity and gas hardship payments this winter.
“Families are doing it tougher under Labour. National will revive the economy. We will restore business confidence, we will ensure Kiwis get to keep more of what they earn and we will make sensible policy decisions which won’t mean more costs on families.
“New Zealanders can’t afford this Government.”
Hardships payments for electricity and gas went up 46 per cent this winter as the Kiwis feel the effects of a higher cost of living, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“There were almost 5000 more hardship payments for electricity and gas this winter compared with the same period last year. A total of 15,594 payments were made in the September 2019 quarter to help people pay their electricity bills.
“This Government promised to be kind and caring and to eliminate child poverty. It’s not kind or caring to pile on petrol taxes or to make being a landlord so difficult that rents go up an average of $50 a week. More Kiwis are struggling to put food on the table, pay the bills and put a roof over their head.
“Labour promised there would be nobody sleeping in their car this winter, it failed to deliver on that promise. It promised to end child poverty in New Zealand and yet seven of nine child poverty indicators have got worse under their watch.
“Even the Winter Energy Payment to ‘help seniors and families who need extra help pay for heating’ hasn’t helped because of all the extra costs that are being piled on.
“What makes it worse is that a significant number of these hardship payments were loans, which means that our most vulnerable are now in debt because they wanted to keep their families warm.
“Labour is failing to deliver on its promises. National will revive the economy. We will restore business confidence, we will ensure Kiwis get to keep more of what they earn and we will make sensible policy decisions which won’t mean more costs on families.
“New Zealanders can’t afford this Government.”
National has today released its fifth Discussion Document which focusses on social services and outlines a range of policies that will help to enable more Kiwis to gain economic independence and lead better lives, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“We want to build a strong safety net for New Zealanders, using evidence to pinpoint how we can best help vulnerable Kiwis out of cycles of poverty.
“People should be in the driver’s seat of their own lives, keeping more of what they earn because we know families know their own needs best.
“National’s plan for social services will focus on our transformative Social Investment approach, providing tailored, targeted solutions to the social and economic challenges Kiwis face.
“We understand that sometimes people need help to get back on their feet. We also know that help is paid for through the taxes paid by all New Zealanders – so there needs to be accountability and obligations met in return.
“The current Government lacks ambition for New Zealanders. There are over 22,000 more people on the dole than when it came into office and the social housing wait list has more than doubled, while seven of the nine child poverty indicators are worse. And all this in a time of high employment. It will be worse when the economic slowdown bites.
“Led by Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston, we’re proposing a range of positive measures to ensure our social services are well managed and provide the best opportunities for Kiwis to reach their potential.
Some of our commitments include:
- Reintroducing the Social Investment approach;
- Setting targets to ensure the number of children in benefit-dependent homes is reduced;
- Ensuring gang members and associates can’t access welfare if they’ve got illegal income;
- Partnering with Community Housing Providers to ensure local solutions to local housing challenges;
- Supporting Housing First to move people off the street and into stable housing;
- Increasing postnatal care to three days of fully-funded care in a facility of the mother’s choosing;
- Ensuring paid parental leave can be split between parents and taken together;
- Keeping superannuation at no less than 66 per cent of the average wage; and
- Developing a nationwide action plan to help communities with parenting support and resources.
We’re also proposing or asking for New Zealanders’ feedback on:
- How the welfare system can be simplified;
- Whether there should be a time limit on the dole for those under the age of 25;
- Extending the use of money management to all beneficiaries under age 20, and those up to age 25 who don’t fulfil their obligations;
- Providing intensive wraparound services for parents under 20 to ensure they achieve NCEA Level 2;
- Improving antenatal and postnatal education for parents;
- Investigating better ways to support people with dementia; and
- Improving support for foster parents and grandparents raising grandchildren.
“National believes social services should be a hand-up, not a hand-out. We’re proposing measures that respond to the diverse needs of New Zealanders, whether they’re new parents, looking for work, vulnerable children or struggling to find a place to live.
“This document is part of the biggest policy development process by an Opposition ever. The current Government has no plan to grow the economy and is failing to deliver for New Zealanders. We’re doing the work now in Opposition so we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2020.”
I’d like to welcome you all here for the launch of our Social Services Discussion Document.
I’d especially like to thank The Loft for hosting us today and more importantly for the work you do supporting children, families and the community in Christchurch.
It’s particularly appropriate to be hosted at the Loft because a belief in the need to support children, families and communities underpins National’s commitment to high quality social services. National’s Social Services Discussion Document sets out how we will support all New Zealanders to achieve their full potential and lead better lives.
Backing New Zealanders
National wants all New Zealanders to have a fair go.
We believe that as much as possible New Zealanders should be in the driver’s seat of their own lives. We believe they should keep more of what they earn and make their own life decisions, because Kiwi families know their own needs best.
But while we believe in a fair go, we do not believe in a free ride.
We understand that sometimes people need help to get back on their feet. We believe in a strong safety net that helps vulnerable Kiwis out of the cycle of poverty, by delivering what they actually need to make the most of their lives.
At the same time, we believe in mutual obligations and accountability. Our social welfare and social services are paid for through the taxes from the hard work of all New Zealanders, and that effort needs to be respected.
The current Government is failing vulnerable Kiwis. Despite all its big talk, and there has been a lot of it, the number of people on benefits is up, the social housing wait list has more than doubled, and child poverty indicators are worse. Sadly things will only get worse still as the economy slows, unless we get back on track.
National has a plan to turn the lives of vulnerable New Zealanders around.
We are not the types to just throw money at problems in the vague hope they will just go away.
We want to tackle the causes of disadvantage, not just the symptoms. Today I’m going to tell you more about that plan.
Each year, approximately $70 billion is spent on social services programmes in this country, from supporting new mums and babies as they start their first thousand days, to helping seniors in their later years, to those who depend upon the state when they are unwell or not able to work. We are committed to helping people to improve their lives.
National believes in what we call ‘The Social Investment approach’. It was designed by Bill English and Paula Bennett. It is proven to focus on better outcomes for those who need help the most and we continue to believe in it – because it works.
It means we’re investing in programmes with proven results because we know that more money doesn’t necessarily mean better outcomes.
Put simply, prevention is better than a cure. If we can use the knowledge we already have to help people help themselves before they’re in crisis, we can transform the lives of individuals and their families.
Our commitment to Social Investment is about ensuring spending is focussed on targeted interventions that strike at the heart of the issues affecting people’s lives and that tackle the root causes of disadvantage, not just the symptoms.
National took this approach in government, and it was working. For instance, we know that 70 per cent of the children known to the care and protection system will be on a benefit by age 21 and this cohort is nine times more likely than others to go to prison in their lifetime. We know that focussing on those children will end in them having a better chance at succeeding.
It’s about taking an evidence-based approach, using data and analytics to direct specific help to those who are most in need.
Targets are a big part of this. Setting targets works. It focusses the minds of the public service and gives government the tools to better measure intervention and outcome.
We set targets for vaccinations and the rate of vaccination increased.
We set targets for the numbers of kids achieving NCEA level 2 and the numbers increased.
We set targets for mothers registering with a lead maternity carer and the numbers increased.
We set targets for reducing the numbers of children living in benefit dependent homes and the numbers reduced.
It meant better results for taxpayers. But more importantly, it meant better results for families and vulnerable people.
Targets were dropped by the current Government and they haven’t been replaced. Not surprisingly all these measures have got worse. That means vulnerable New Zealanders are worse off – the vulnerable are again falling between the cracks. I find that as avoidable as it is sad.
In Government National was ambitious – because we knew we had to be. I remain ambitious for every single New Zealander.
We will be open to new solutions. For example, through our Social Innovation Fund, we will ensure local communities can tackle local challenges. We want to utilise the knowledge of those who know their needs best – and that’s parents and families and local communities.
I’m a big believer that families are the best form of welfare.
For those of you who don’t know my story, my beautiful wife Natalie and I have been married for 14 years. She’s phenomenal. She runs her own business and is a wonderful mother to our three children Emlyn, Harry and Jemima.
I’m away from home a lot and I’m constantly in awe of how she juggles everything. They say Leader of the Opposition is the toughest job in politics, it’s nothing compared with everything she does.
Our eldest child Emlyn is seven now. He was born with two clubbed feet. All the parents here will remember what a daunting time it is having your first child, let alone one who has higher needs.
Emlyn underwent surgery, without which he may never have been able to walk. There were surgeries, home visits, casts and going through something called the ‘Ponseti method’.
We were so lucky for the support we received. I’m happy to report that there’s no stopping him these days – running, cycling and dancing.
His story makes me acutely aware of the support that new parents need.
Natalie and I will always be grateful for the support we had for all three of our babies. I want to make sure all parents feel as supported as we were, especially early on.
We want new mums and dads equipped with the right skills, relationships and access to support services that will see their child grow up in a healthy, secure and nurturing family environment.
The first few days after giving birth are some of the most important, but they can also be the most challenging for new mums.
That’s why Louise Upston has been a relentless champion of the ‘three day stay’. We are committing to all new mums being entitled to three days of care after giving birth. We want that support to be available after each child. We’ve heard stories of women who’ve been rushed out the hospital door. That’s why we’ll ring-fence the funding. That means if one mum only wants to stay for one day, another mother who needs to stay longer will be able to stay for five. DHBs will have to use the funding for this purpose. This will help new mothers with breastfeeding, bonding and overcoming the baby blues.
Our seniors have spent their lives investing in New Zealand – they deserve our respect – so we will continue to invest in them. It’s important we give all Kiwis a chance to be happy and healthy in their later years, where they feel valued and supported to live independently for as long as they can.
That’s why we’re giving a cast-iron guarantee that we’ll work hard to keep their costs down and to keep Superannuation at two thirds of the average wage.
At every age, we know it’s important Kiwis have a place to call home. We know strong homes build strong families and strong families build strong communities.
For some, help is needed to put a roof over their heads. I’m proud that during our last term in government we built over 3,000 new state houses. Many of the newest state houses announced this term are from projects started by the previous National Government.
We want to continue the work we started, using the expertise and experience of Community Housing Providers to ensure state housing’s the right size, in the right place and of the right quality for New Zealanders to live in. The current Government is single-mindedly obsessed with KiwiBuild. That hasn’t resolved the issues so many Kiwis face, and it has been a complete failure.
We can’t ignore the fact that, right now, many Kiwis don’t have a place to call home. We will ensure vulnerable New Zealanders are housed more quickly. We’ll expand the successful Housing First policy we established in government, and we’ll set a target for reducing the time it takes to house priority cases in social housing. Under this Government, the wait time has increased, and that’s not good enough. A home is more than just a roof over your head, it’s a place to raise a family and be a valued and productive part of your local community.
People also deserve to be safe in their homes. New Zealand has one of the worst rates of child abuse in the developed world. Police respond to one incidence of family violence every seven minutes.
But some programmes have made progress. For instance, National introduced Integrated Safety Response pilots in Christchurch and the Waikato in 2016. These are led by the Police and provide a rapid collaborative response to family violence from health providers, NGOs and social agencies. I’d like to pay tribute to my colleague Amy Adams, who’s here today, for the integral role she played in establishing the ISR initiatives. Agencies working together is a key part of our Social Investment approach.
Today I am pleased to announce we will invest further to extend the ISR initiative to more communities, to further reduce family violence.
National takes a hard-line approach when it comes to welfare and I make no apology for this. We want to support people to support themselves and this is only possible because hardworking Kiwis pay their tax. We have obligations to these hardworking Kiwis too.
In the past two years, under this Government, we’ve seen the number of people on the dole rise dramatically, it’s increased by over 22,000. We’ve seen more hardship grants being paid out and the social housing wait list more than double as over 13,000 desperate Kiwis struggle to find a home. All of this at a time when businesses are crying out for workers.
The best way to lift someone out of poverty, is to get them back to work. Children in benefit dependent homes do worse in education and are more likely to end up on benefits themselves than those whose parents are in work.
The Importance of Work
I believe it’s profoundly irresponsible of any Government to abandon families to welfare dependency. We have real opportunities to break the cycle of dependency and improve the lives of the poorest New Zealanders, and it’s important we take them. It’s what responsible governments do. We can’t let Kiwis languish on the dole.
National will set clear targets for reducing the number of benefit dependent households and we’ll be renewing our commitment to a fair but firm sanctions regime.
For those who do take steps back to work – we’ll support you. We’ll increase abatement rates and ensure those who move off benefits and into work can keep more of what they earn. We’ll make sure work pays, both in its financial benefits and in the opportunities that employment brings with it. We’ll also look at ways to keep people in work when times are tough.
I hope you’ll take the time to read through our document, and please give us your feedback.
The document we’re releasing today is part of the biggest policy development process by an Opposition ever.
The current Government has failed the most vulnerable and is failing to deliver for New Zealanders.
We’re doing the work now in Opposition so we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2020.
We want all New Zealanders to live happy, healthy, prosperous lives. Our bottom line is you.
An additional $132 million of dole payments have been dished out to people who are able to work in the past year, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“New Zealanders deserve a fair go but not a free ride. Since Labour came into Government an additional 22,000 people have gone on the Jobseeker Benefit.
“Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni doesn’t seem to care how many people go on the dole and she doesn’t believe there should be sanctions if people show no willingness to get into employment.
“Being in work lifts people out of poverty and improves the lives of families. There’s no excuse for taxpayers having to pick up an additional $132 million, a figure that doesn’t include inflation. This figure is just for people on the Jobseeker Benefit - people who are fit to work and doesn’t include other benefits.
“Employers are crying out for workers so there shouldn’t be people who are able to work lining up for the benefit.
“This week National will release our Social Services Discussion Document. We’ll release our positive plans to get more people into work and improve the lives of individuals, families and communities.
“National is aspirational for New Zealanders, we want people to have a safety net when they need it but we recognise that this is paid for through taxes and there needs to be accountability and obligations with that.
“The Minister needs to explain to taxpayers why they’re funding an additional $132 million in welfare and what her plan is to get people back into work.”
Over the past two years National has held this Government to account while working on our positive plans to continue the nine of years of progress we made in Government, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“National is the most popularly supported party in Parliament. We have a track record of effectively governing and delivering on what we promise.
“Over the past two years in Opposition we’ve released four discussion documents on the economy, primary sector, environment and international affairs. We have four more discussion documents on the way.”
In these discussion documents we have made a range of commitments including;
- Requiring all government departments and agencies to pay their contractors within 30 days
- Overhauling the Resource Management Act
- Repealing 100 regulations in our first six months in Government
- Eliminating two old regulations for every new one we introduce
- Introducing a Primary Sector Visa which will address workforce shortages
- Increasing penalties for biosecurity offences
- Modernising the rules around biotechnology
- Introducing Mobile Rural Health Clinics.
National has also committed to;
- Indexing tax thresholds to the cost of living
- Not introducing new taxes
- A $200 million cancer fund
- An Independent Cancer Agency
- Smaller class sizes
- Bringing back partnership schools
- Reinstating maternity services in Lumsden and committing to maternity care in Wanaka
- Introducing roadside drug driving tests.
“We’ve taken a constructive and bipartisan approach to the Child Poverty Reduction Bill. We improved this with a number of amendments. We supported the introduction of a Climate Change Commission and we supported the first tranch of the firearms legislation following the terrorist attacks in Christchurch.
“We’ve outlined constructive changes that should be made to legalisation including the second tranche of the Firearms Bill, the Terrorism Suppression Act and the Zero Carbon Bill.
“I’m proud to lead the largest and most effective Opposition this country has ever seen. Our 55 MPs will continue to hold this Government to account and we’ll be ready to hit the ground running should be have the privilege to Govern in 2020.”
Good afternoon, it’s great to be back here again in Hawke’s Bay. I’d like to acknowledge Tukituki MP Lawrence Yule and MPs Scott Simpson, Ian McKelvie, Barbara Kuriger, Alastair Scott, Parmjeet Parmar and Hamish Walker who are also here with me today.
National holds every rural seat in New Zealand with the exception of one, but I can assure we’re planning to have the West Coast Tasman seat by the end of next year. Labour MP Damien O’Connor, the man who has been telling farmers to ‘get over it’ and ‘suck it up’ when they ask about increasing costs at public meetings over the last couple months should look out.
When I came here and spoke to farmers last year I got a sense of growing concern within the primary sector. This year I can see that this feeling has swelled, and it’s because of this Government’s policies.
Farmers have put up with a lot since this Government came to power, whether it be the Tax Working Group report and the uncertainty of the Capital Gains Tax campaign which included proposals for a water tax, nitrogen tax and fertiliser tax, good pastoral farm land being converted to forestry due to what is effectively subsidisation, onerous methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill that aren’t even in line with science, and now the Freshwater proposals and cynical consultation process surrounding them.
National has and is continuing to stand up to the Government on these issues, unlike NZ First who pretend to walk the walk but have sidled up with the Greens and Labour to produce the most anti-farmer sentiment we have seen since Helen Clark said it was a ‘sunset industry’.
Quite frankly, this Government just doesn’t understand rural communities, and it’s been tremendously short-sighted in its approach. While a lot of these have been thrown to the scrapheap once the Government has realised the implications of its proposals, it still amounts to months and months of waiting and indecision for those of you who have to mitigate costs and are unsure about what your bottom line is going to be by the end of the year, all because there might be a new tax waiting for you soon.
We are concerned about the Government’s so-called consultation process around Fresh Water reforms. We are particularly concerned about the pace of change and the lack of flexibility of land use and the significant costs that it will impose on farmers. I know it has left with you with questions about your future and whether the banks will stand by you through all of this.
All of this is why confidence is at record lows. Just look at the anxiety and uncertainty the Government is causing.
Given that, I’d like to also take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the Rural Support Trust for the work that they do. We know the struggles faced by some in rural New Zealand with mental health. I know what a great job the rural support trust does working with you and supporting you.
If there’s one saving grace of this Government, it’s that it is so incompetent that it very rarely gets to implement these dangerous policies. But make no mistake - David Parker, Damien O’Connor and James Shaw have you in their sights.
This sort of kneejerk politics is detrimental to our country as a whole, just look at the oil and gas ban that was implemented despite the Government’s own advice telling it that emissions and fossil fuel usage would actually rise, and lo and behold, we’re now burning the most coal that we have in years.
The irony of this is that the more taxes and limitations that are placed on farmers, the less there is for farmers to spend on on-farm improvements that improve their sustainability. New Zealand farmers have shown time and time again their ability to farm their ways to improved outcomes, and increased taxation and regulation for little gain only limits this.
While it’s good to see ag leaders working with the Government on lowering emissions through their climate change commitment, it’s concerning to see the Government has given themselves a backstop to bring agriculture into the ETS as early as 2022. National has been very clear that we’re not comfortable with agriculture entering the ETS unless farmers have the tools to lower emissions in a way that doesn’t lead to herd culling and decreased food production. Anything less and we put ourselves at a disadvantage to our international competitors and risk losing our valuable market share.
National is doing the hard work in Opposition to ensure we’re prepared with well thought out policies if we have the privilege to Govern next year. Earlier this year we released a discussion document with a series of policy proposals such as a primary sector visa and improved vocational education to strengthen our workforce, stricter biosecurity laws to deter shortcuts, and a mobile rural health clinic to ensure our isolated communities are experiencing the healthcare they deserve. We’re currently going through the feedback to this document and it will help inform our policy for next year.
The Primary Sector Visa would act as an avenue for skilled and experienced migrants to help get residence and build their futures here. Our primary sector is diversifying so we can try and feed an increasing global population, which is why it’s important we have the workforce to manage, develop and maintain New Zealand’s agricultural and horticultural businesses. It would work alongside other National initiatives such as supporting vocational education and agricultural training, extending the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme and promoting the sector as an attractive career prospect for young people.
National hasn’t changed its position on water storage. When we were in Government we put around $280m into irrigation and water storage projects. We only collect 2 per cent of the rainfall in New Zealand – the rest flows out to sea. More water security means farmers and growers have more certainty about the amount and kinds of food they can grow. Not only do these projects help the sector grow, they also have environmental benefits such as better summer river flows and flushing out algae. Irrigation and water storage could return $2.2b a year to our economy.
I know that farmers are working hard to protect their natural environment. An environmentally sustainable farming operation is not just a source of pride within the community, it’s an asset to pass down to future generations.
We produce enough food to feed around 40 million people worldwide, and it’s our reputation as a safe producer of food underpinned by sustainable farming practises that is paramount to international consumers and to our reputation.
We’re the most sustainable farmers in the world, and should be telling the world this. New Zealand farmers have made enormous sustainability gains over recent decades and continue to stay ahead of the pack in terms of efficiency and sustainability. In the past 30 years we’ve managed to produce more sheep meat from a third fewer sheep due to improvements with enhanced breeding mixes and enhanced lambing percentages.
I’m not saying we should rest on our laurels here either. I’m simply saying that we should be proud of what we’ve achieved so far, while striving to continue improving in a similar manner – through practical, science-based advances in technology and practice.
There is plenty to be excited about on the horizon as well. Research being led by animal scientists in Palmerston North is proving that boluses and vaccines will be a breakthrough for biological emissions. AgResearch is conducting Biotechnology research on a type of Ryegrass that would lower animal emissions 23 per cent, while also being more drought resistant.
We should be showing the world just how innovative and world-leading our agriculture sector is, and as we further develop these technologies then we can export them and show the rest of the world how they can lower their emissions. This is what I think leadership around emissions looks like - not endless speeches and meaningless rhetoric.
The Primary Sector is facing significant challenges with emissions, environment, water use, and water quality. Thankfully there are great advances being made and lots of work being done to continue improving. I’m confident that thanks to our farmers we will continue to be the most sustainable producer of food in the world. And it’s important that we keep pushing the stories that show just how important the primary sector is.
Should National win the election and form the Government next year our policy in regards to the Primary Sector will be very different to the current Government’s.
Instead of forcing more taxes, more regulations, and less support like this Government. We will focus on what matters for rural New Zealand;
- Stronger workforce
- More rural health services
- Better biosecurity
And pragmatic, sensible initiatives and investment that allows farmers to farm your way to the better outcomes that you have consistently shown you’re capable of.
Thank you for having me here today and thank you for everything you do. We appreciate you and what you’re doing for New Zealand and we want you to have certainty so you can keep being world leaders.