Ru­ral sec­tor key to strong growth

Matamata Chronicle - - Opinion - By LIND­SAY TISCH

Last week was Fiel­d­ays, the largest agri­cul­tural show­case in the South­ern Hemi­sphere.

It pro­vides a great op­por­tu­nity to look at the con­tri­bu­tion of New Zealand’s ru­ral sec­tor.

We know farm­ing is the back­bone of our econ­omy.

The ru­ral sec­tor is a key part of Na­tional’s plan to build a stronger econ­omy, cre­ate more jobs and raise in­comes.

We are work­ing hard to sup­port our pri­mary sec­tor and ru­ral fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.

We have more vets, doc­tors and mid­wives in our ru­ral ar­eas through our vol­un­tary bond­ing scheme.

Our ru­ral broad­band ini­tia­tive will de­liver much faster broad­band to ru­ral New Zealand.

Na­tional is en­cour­ag­ing re­search and in­no­va­tion in agri­cul­ture through the Pri­mary Growth Part­ner­ship.

This gov­ern­mentin­dus­try ini­tia­tive is show­ing great re­sults so far, with projects un­der way across a range of sec­tors.

We have al­lo­cated $35 mil­lion to the Ir­ri­ga­tion Ac­cel­er­a­tion Fund to help get ir­ri­ga­tion projects un­der way and pro­posed fu­ture in­vest­ment of up to $400 mil­lion of eq­uity in re­gional ir­ri­ga­tion projects.

We’ve also in­vested in ru­ral in­fras­truc­ture and road­ing to im­prove con­nec­tions and ser­vices for our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

And to en­able our Kiwi ex­porters to suc­cess­fully com­pete in the global mar­ket­place we are build­ing a more com­pet­i­tive and pro­duc­tive econ­omy and pur­su­ing an ag­gres­sive trade agenda.

Th­ese ini­tia­tives are be­ing sup­ported by moves to break down bar­ri­ers to growth. We’ve cut the com­pany tax rate to 28 per cent, im­ple­mented across­the-board per­sonal tax cuts and re­duced ACC levies for farm­ers.

We’ve also been mak­ing changes to the Re­source Man­age­ment Act to make it eas­ier to do busi­ness.

To en­sure we have the most ef­fi­cient dairy in­dus­try in New Zealand, we are in­tro­duc­ing changes to the Dairy In­dus­try Re­struc­tur­ing Act.

Our bill en­ables Fon­terra to set up the Trad­ing Among Farm­ers (TAF) scheme and cre­ates trans­parency around the set­ting of farm-gate milk prices.

This will pro­mote a com­pet­i­tive and in­no­va­tive dairy in­dus­try.

This bill is cru­cial to en­sure the con­tin­u­ing growth of an ef­fi­cient and in­no­va­tive New Zealand dairy sec­tor.

Na­tional and ru­ral New Zealand share a proud his­tory. We will con­tinue to sup­port and in­vest in our ru­ral sec­tor, to grow our econ­omy, cre­ate jobs and de­liver a brighter fu­ture for all New Zealan­ders.

Lind­say Tisch

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