Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a new report showing a major improvement in bobby calf welfare last year.
“The Ministry for Primary Industries has vets at nearly every processing facility and in the 2016 season the mortality rate for bobby calves between farm and processing has more than halved, from 0.25 per cent to 0.12 percent.
“This is a major drop of just over 50 per cent and shows that new regulations and education campaigns have made a real difference. As well as the big drop in mortality, calves are also arriving in much better health and condition.
“This is also a significant drop from 2008 when the mortality rate was 0.68 per cent.
“The wider industry and MPI have put a lot of work into improving practices over recent years and they deserve recognition for this.
“While there are still a few in the industry who need to improve their behaviour, this provides strong evidence that things are improving.
“This is the first season with tighter new rules and regulations for handling bobby calves. From 1 August this year it will also be a requirement to have loading and unloading facilities when young calves are transported for sale and slaughter and appropriate shelter.
“I want to acknowledge the industry groups who formed a Bobby Calf Action Group at the end of 2015 including DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, the New Zealand Veterinary Association, the Road Transport Forum, Meat Industry Association, Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, the New Zealand Petfood Manufacturers Association and MPI.
“As a Government we have strengthened the animal welfare system with $10 million in new funding in 2015 and passed the Animal Welfare Amendment Act to improve compliance and enforcement.”
A full copy of the report is available at www.mpi.govt.nz/calves
A new report launched tonight confirms the dairy industry makes a major contribution to New Zealand’s economy, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
“According to the report dairy contributes $7.8 billion to New Zealand’s GDP, and is our largest good exporter. This is a timely reminder of just how important the dairy industry is,” says Mr Guy.
The report ‘Dairy trade’s economic contribution to New Zealand’ was commissioned from NZIER by the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) and released today.
“While the dairy sector has had a tough few seasons, in the year to March 2016 they still earned over $13 billion in exports for New Zealand.
“According to the report the dairy sector employs over 40,000 workers and employment in this sector has grown more than twice as fast as total employment, at an average of 3.7% per year since 2000.
“The dairy industry is especially important in regional areas. It accounts for 14.8% of Southland’s economy, 11.5% of the West Coast economy, and 10.9% of the Waikato economy.
“As a Government we are investing $89 million, matched by the dairy industry, through the Primary Growth Partnership to help create new products, reduce environmental impacts, increase on-farm productivity, and improve agricultural education.”
DairyNZ estimates that farmers have spent over $1 billion over the past five years on environmental management systems such as effluent systems, riparian plating and retiring sensitive land, which equates to around $90,000 per dairy farm.
“The report also highlights the potential of further trade liberalisation. NZIER’s modelling suggests that if all global dairy tariffs were eliminated, this would result in a $1 billion boost to GDP. This is why opening up market access and tackling non-tariff barriers as well remains a priority.”
A full copy of the report is available at www.dcanz.com/news/
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced a renewal of the emergency closure prohibiting the take of shellfish and seaweed (excluding scampi and rock lobster) along the earthquake-affected area of the east coast of the South Island for a further nine months.
“This decision follows advice received from the Ministry for Primary Industries based on the latest scientific assessments of the area, and consultation with the public, local iwi and the paua industry,” says Mr Guy.
“Unfortunately the latest science information tells us that shellfish in the Kaikōura area have been badly impacted.
“Over 20% of adult paua habitat covering 94 hectares in the closed portion of the Paua 3 fishery has been lost due to uplift. The area where juvenile paua live has been impacted to an even greater degree.
“While some may be disappointed, I believe people understand the need to rebuild this fishery for the long term. We need to give the remaining adult paua and shellfish beds time to spawn, and the juveniles a chance to settle.
“MPI is working to develop a robust science package to estimate the impacts and provide sound advice for future management decisions. The science will examine not just the direct impacts on fisheries and other iconic marine species, but also on the habitats that support them.
“I will be using this latest scientific information and consulting with the local community before the end of closure to decide a way forward.
“As part of this, MPI will be assessing the feasibility of a paua reseeding programme.”
The renewed emergency closure is implemented under section 16(3) of the Fisheries Act 1996 and will take effect from 5pm 20 February and expire at 5pm 20 November 2017.
Details of the closure can be found at www.mpi.govt.nz
A new study released today on the use of reticulated stock water systems shows major environmental and economic gains for farmers, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
“This is the first study that has ever been done to quantify the benefits of installing an on-farm stock water system on hill country, and it shows excellent results,” says Mr Guy.
The study involved investment analysis of 11 hill country sheep and beef farms across New Zealand who had invested in stock water systems on their properties.
“The analysis showed a significant return on investment for all of the properties. The average Internal Rate of Return was 45 per cent and on some farms was as high as 85 per cent. On average the time it took to repay the initial investment was just 3 years.
“Without fail, every single farmer who took part in the study said their investment was a good decision. They found it helped cope with drought conditions and enabled them to better graze hill country areas. This has meant improved pasture utilisation and production, as well as improved stock numbers and stock performance.
“Providing stock with alternative drinking sources reduced pressure on waterways and allowed environmental improvements that couldn’t otherwise be made. Waterways, wetlands and dams were able to be fenced off while riparian strips were planted and regeneration programmes instated.
“One of the unquantified benefits was the greater peace of mind as they didn’t have to worry about animals getting stuck in dams during dry periods.
“Thanks to all the farmers involved who so generously shared their experiences and knowledge to help other farmers.”
The report was jointly funded as a Regional Economic Development initiative by MPI, MBIE and Beef+Lamb NZ.
The full report is available at http://www.mpi.govt.nz/growing-and-producing/stock-water/
The next round of applications for the Racing Safety Development Fund opens tomorrow, Racing Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.
“There is $313,055 available for allocation in this round which opens on 15 February and closes on 31 March 2017,” says Mr Guy.
“The fund supports projects around the country for improving racecourse health and safety. In the past this has included improvements for safety running rails, irrigation and drainage and grandstand repairs.
“The health and safety of the racing animals, riders, spectators, officials, and others involved in racing is very important.
“Many of these facilities are public places and widely used by the community, outside of racing events as well as at race days.”
All racing clubs and code bodies may apply for funding. New Zealand has about 150 active racing clubs and 70 racecourses.
On-line applications must be submitted by 31 March 2017. Further information is available from: www.communitymatters.govt.nz
Applications for funding from the primary industries Earthquake Relief Fund have been extended for an extra month, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.
“A number of locals have told me they need more time to gather information, so this extension to 31 March will make sure that everyone eligible has the opportunity to apply for a grant,” says Mr Guy.
The $4 million Earthquake Relief Fund is for uninsurable infrastructure repairs in the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough districts affecting farmers and others in the primary sector.
“In any normal year farmers and growers have a really busy time on the farm over summer. With the earthquake that has been compounded by assessing and repairing damage to family homes and buildings.
“Combined with EQC and home insurance claims which have a deadline of the 14th of this month, some people were feeling the time pressure. This will give more time to estimate the work needed to repair uninsurable infrastructure such as access tracks and pasture.”
Local earthquake recovery coordinators, working with the Rural Support Trusts, have held well-received small workshops to guide farmers on their applications and these will also be extended.
Any grants will be a contribution towards repairs, covering a maximum of 50% of costs. There will be an excess of $5,000 and capped at $50,000 per applicant.
Farmers who need an extra hand on the farm as a result of November’s earthquake and aftershocks can also call 0800 FARMING (327 646) and have their needs matched with skilled workers and volunteers. A further $600,000 has been allocated to run this programme for the next four months.
More information and the application form is on http://www.marlborough.govt.nz/Services/Emergency-Management/Emergency-Events/EQ2016/PIERF.aspx
More on the Earthquake Relief Fund
The funding may only be allocated in the form of a grant to help pay for costs associated with:Restoring uninsurable primary sector infrastructure Re-establishing uninsurable pasture (on cultivatable land only), crops, and forestry Initial clean-up of silt and debris (where uninsurable) This could include: some on-farm access roads, tracks, races, bridges without sides, dams and reservoirs, as these are generally uninsurable. Priority will be given to essential repairs to continue farming, such as roadside boundary fencing; boundary fencing; access tracks and stock water supplies. Any grant will be a contribution towards repairs, up to a maximum of 50% of the cost. The damage must exceed $12,000 in total for you to be considered for assistance. An excess of $5000 will be deducted from the 50% that is eligible for funding. The amount awarded may be adjusted if eligible funding requests exceed the $4 million available. The maximum any one entity could receive from the Fund is $50,000. Funding may be available where the cost of repairs (e.g. to fences, water reticulation) exceeds the limited cover provided by insurance. Applicants will need to deduct any insured amount that can be claimed from insurers. Funding is not available for repairs that can be insured, but were not. For more information on your options talk to your local Rural Support Trust.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today officially classified the drought conditions in Northland as being a medium-scale adverse event.
“This is recognition of the extreme dry conditions farmers and growers are facing, and triggers additional Government support,” says Mr Guy.
“Extra funding will now be available if required to coordinate support through local organisations like the Rural Support Trusts. In extreme cases there will also be Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) available to farmers in severe hardship.”
The announcement follows a request from local groups including the Northland Rural Support Trust and advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries who have been closely monitoring conditions.
“Farmers have been working hard and preparing for these conditions, but things are getting tough and there is little rain forecast for the next couple of weeks.
“There is significant soil moisture deficits, low pasture covers, low supplementary feed, and maize crops have struggled.
“Inland Revenue will also be exercising its income equalisation discretion to help provide flexibility and relief for drought-affected farmers.
“Many rural people can be reluctant to ask for help, but it is important for them to know that support is available.
“Once again this reinforces the importance of irrigation and water storage. Last year Crown Irrigation Investments announced $165,000 to scope irrigation scheme options in Northland, and in 2015 MPI contributed $75,000 towards a report examining the potential of irrigation here.”
“The Government is also keeping a very close eye on many parts of the East Coast of the North Island and supporting North Canterbury in their recovery.”
Mr Guy made the announcement today while visiting a dairy farm near Kerikeri.
Criteria for classifying a medium scale adverse eventThere are three levels of ‘adverse events’ – localised, medium and national. These can cover events like drought, floods, fire, earthquakes and other natural disasters. The criteria for assessing the scale of an adverse event are: Options available for the community to prepare for and recover from the event; Magnitude of the event (likelihood and scale of physical impact), and; Capacity of the community to cope economically and socially impact.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have praised the progress of the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan, one year on from its launch.
The action plan has been developed and led by the Northland Regional Governance Group and is part of the Government’s Regional Growth Programme. It identifies over 50 actions to support and enable growth in Northland.
“Significant work has been undertaken in the past year and we are starting to see the economic and social benefits of this across the region,” Mr Bridges says.
“The plan is moving forward in several key areas such as digital technology with more than $33 million being invested Northland’s ultra-fast broadband roll-out and the region’s digital enablement plan complete.
“It has also been successful in supporting young people. The Kaikohe Growth Industries Pathway program has a number of Northland youth on a pathway to employment, and the Tai Tokerau Resort College helping ensure there are skilled people to support the booming local tourism industry.”
Mr Guy says several initiatives that enable Northlanders involved in the primary sector to make the most of their businesses are making headway.
“Extension 350 is well underway. This new initiative sees clusters of dairy farms working together and receiving expert business direction advice.
“The Māori Forestry Collective for Tai Tokerau is now formed and the lessons from a completed prototype planting of 505 hectares will support the next phase of the group’s work.”
Mr Bridges says these are just a few examples of the work being done in the region.
“Now is a good time to take stock and reflect on the achievements made so far and to refresh the plan to ensure it still reflects Northland’s aspirations.”
For more information on the Regional Growth Programme, visit http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/regions-cities/regional-growth-programme.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is seeking public comment on a proposal to relocate up to six salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds to locations with better environmental and economic outcomes.
“This proposal is about making better use of existing aquaculture space. There is no proposed increase in the total surface structure area used for salmon farming in the Marlborough Sounds,” says Mr Guy.
“Last year a working group of community, iwi, officials, and industry representatives was established to look at options for salmon farming under new environmental guidelines.
“The working group considered nine potential sites for relocation of the farms, and the Government has decided to progress six of these for public consultation.
“The proposed sites are further from residential properties, and are positioned in areas with stronger water currents, which would reduce the environmental effects on the seabed,” says Mr Guy.
Five of the six proposed relocation sites put forward for consideration are in Pelorus Sound and one is in Tory Channel. The Marlborough District Council has been involved in developing the proposal.
An independent panel of three resource management experts will review expert research reports, analyse all written comments and hold public hearings during April 2017.
The panel will be chaired by former Environment Court judge Professor Peter Skelton, and also includes Ron Crosby and Alan Dormer, all highly experienced resource management experts.
“The independent advisory panel has the appropriate expertise and experience to evaluate the detailed technical information, as well as all the comments received, and provide me a report and recommendations to consider,” says Mr Guy.
“I expect that people will hold a variety of views about how best to achieve long-term sustainability of salmon farming in the Marlborough Sounds, and I am interested in all feedback we receive on the relocation proposal,” says Mr Guy.
The six farms proposed to be relocated are operated by New Zealand King Salmon.
“Moving these farms would allow the company to implement the environmental guidelines it has agreed with the Government, the Marlborough District Council, scientists and the community,” says Mr Guy.
Consultation on the relocation proposal starts today and will close on Monday, 27 March. Following consultation and hearings process, the independent panel will prepare advice for the Minister to consider later in the year. Government agencies will also provide advice to the Minister.
If relocation proceeds, the Minister for Primary Industries would make regulations under section 360A of the Resource Management Act 1991 to change the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan to enable relocation.
The consultation document, and further information including the timings of drop-in sessions and public hearings can be found at: http://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/consultations/marlborough-salmon-relocation/
Farmers who need an extra hand on the farm as a result of November’s earthquake and aftershocks can call 0800 FARMING (327 646) and have their needs matched with skilled workers and volunteers.
“As we move from the response to recovery phase, some farmers and growers will need skilled hands to get back to pre-quake operational levels,” says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
“For example, many farmers have suffered damage to key infrastructure such as fences and water reticulation systems. This kind of infrastructure requires experienced labour to get back up and running,” says Mr Guy.
The initiative uses the Federated Farmers 0800 FARMING line as a single point of contact. The line has been open to members and non-members since the earthquake and has a comprehensive database of both farmers’ needs and offers of help.
“It’s fantastic to see some volunteer workers and networks have started some of their own initiatives. Officials will be extending a hand to these groups to encourage them to work with this centralised resource if possible,” says Mr Guy.
“All skilled workers deployed will be appropriately remunerated and volunteers can have some costs reimbursed. The initiative will also help ensure that issues such as like health and safety are managed in what is still a challenging situation,” says Mr Guy.
MPI has contracted Agriculture Employment Services Ltd (AgStaff) and Federated Farmers to manage the initiative over the next four months. This includes worker contracts, health and safety induction and training, coordinating travel and logistics, and the reimbursement of fair and reasonable costs for volunteer workers.
All calls for assistance will be managed to either AgStaff (for labour assistance) or other support organisations who are involved. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Resources available for earthquake recovery assistance:Contact Federated Farmers on 0800 FARMING (327 646) to lodge requests for, or offers of, help on the farm. All requests and offers are being managed through this central system. Calls are answered 24 hours a day. Contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP (0800 787 254) for a free, private and confidential chat. A Trust person can come to see you and, if needed, point you in the right direction for further help. The Government Helpline is open for calls about all government support available, on 0800 77 99 97 from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. If your circumstances have changed as a result of the earthquake, talk to your accountant, bank, and Work and Income to see what other help you may be eligible for. Industry groups like Beef + Lamb NZ and dairy organisations are also available to assist with technical advice, such as farm management and land remediation in earthquake-damaged areas.