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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: Federated Farmers

Federated Farmers found plenty of highlights in today’s Budget, but is wary about the long term plan for the primary industry’s contribution to New Zealand’s economy recovery.
“Farmers will be pleased with announcements of a $1.1 billion environmental jobs spend and specific mention of control of pests such as wallabies and wilding pines. Also positive is the increased support for biodiversity on private land through agencies like QEII and Landcare Trust.
“But as with so many aspects of the Budget announcements, the devil will be in the detail,” Federated Farmers Vice-President and economics spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says.
The Budget includes $500 million in initiatives that will ensure our primary industries are supported.
“We look forward to seeing more detail on that. We appreciate it appears we’ve been listened to on many of the areas for potential work we’ve raised with government.”
The Budget’s investment of another $3 billion in infrastructure is also a big spend but the decisions on where the money will go are yet to be made.
“We would hope enhanced rural connectivity, money for water storage and road maintenance are prime candidates for that investment as both will help drive primary sector production and competitiveness.”
The Budget’s provision for re-training and other support for those New Zealanders who will be among the forecast 10% unemployment queue by next month is also the right step.
Federated Farmers set up its own apprenticeship scheme to find more workers for the dairy industry, and is looking forward to seeing more government support now for this and other similar schemes to get people into primary sector jobs.
“Keeping as many Kiwis in work as possible is obviously a priority. We appreciate the acknowledgement of how important the primary sector will be to economic recovery; of $1.6 billion for training and apprenticeships, $19.3 million is earmarked to place 10,000 people into primary sector jobs. That’s a start.”
Lack of specifics on spending and the raft of ‘shovel ready’ projects the government has had suggested to it in the last six weeks is perhaps a good thing given that the entire Budget has been done so quickly, and therefore very few of these proposed shovel ready projects will have been subject to any cost-benefit analysis at all.
“It is important for us all to remember what an extraordinary level of debt we are committing our nation to, to recover from this crisis.
“Given the enormity of the expenditure, and the pressure that will go on us all to grow the economy as fast as we can, Federated Farmers will continue to remind the government what we need to make sure the primary sector continues to contribute its increasingly significant contribution to the economy,” Andrew says.