Na­tional Party

NZ Grower - - Election 2017 -

PRI­MARY PRO­DUC­TION POL­ICY Biose­cu­rity has been a ma­jor fo­cus for the Na­tional Gov­ern­ment, and will con­tinue to be a top pri­or­ity. The Na­tional Gov­ern­ment has launched the Biose­cu­rity 2025 Strat­egy, which is a ma­jor re­set of the way we ap­proach biose­cu­rity by bring­ing in­dus­try and com­mu­ni­ties to­gether with MPI (Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries) to man­age biose­cu­rity risks.

The Biose­cu­rity 2025 strat­egy is pos­si­ble with the in­tro­duc­tion of Gov­ern­ment In­dus­try Agree­ments (GIA) that bring in­dus­try around the ta­ble with MPI to share the de­ci­sion­mak­ing, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and costs of pre­par­ing for, and re­spond­ing to, biose­cu­rity in­cur­sions.

There are 13 in­dus­try sig­na­to­ries now sit­ting around the ta­ble with MPI through the GIA, in­clud­ing Veg­eta­bles NZ Inc., Toma­toes NZ Inc., Ki­wifruit Vine Health, Pipfruit New Zealand, Onions New Zealand, New Zealand Av­o­cado Grow­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, New Zealand Citrus Grow­ers In­cor­po­rated, and Pota­toes New Zealand.

Fund­ing for biose­cu­rity has in­creased strongly un­der Na­tional with the to­tal spend for Vote Biose­cu­rity now $248 mil­lion – the high­est level ever.

This fund­ing is sup­ported by the Border Clear­ance Levy (BCL) on in­com­ing pas­sen­gers. This levy means that fund­ing for biose­cu­rity ser­vices at the border will now al­ways match de­mand, and the costs for these ser­vices will be met by those who are ex­ac­er­bat­ing the biose­cu­rity risk. The leg­is­la­tion for this levy was not sup­ported by Labour or NZ First.

As part of Bud­get 2017, spe­cific fund­ing has also been al­lo­cated to fo­cus on strength­en­ing Im­port Health Stan­dards, pri­or­ity will be given to those stan­dards that cover the ar­eas of high­est risk.

FOOD SE­CU­RITY

We are sup­port­ive of do­ing more work with the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try on an over­all food se­cu­rity pol­icy first be­fore mak­ing any com­mit­ment to an NES (Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Stan­dard).

Over the past few years, of­fi­cials have been pro­gress­ing work with in­dus­try on elite soils and whether land is go­ing to its high­est value use. This in­cludes look­ing at if there are any bar­ri­ers to land use change. This cov­ers plan­ning rules, but also bio­phys­i­cal fac­tors such as wa­ter avail­abil­ity, cli­mate, and other is­sues such as labour sup­ply and trans­port links. So far this work has shown there aren’t many ma­jor Gov­ern­ment bar­ri­ers through the plan­ning sys­tem.

We ac­knowl­edge that there is a chal­lenge for elite soils through ur­ban ex­pan­sion, which is in­ten­si­fied by rel­a­tive land prices per hectare for housing ver­sus for hor­ti­cul­ture. How­ever, there is also ev­i­dence which sug­gests that only half of New Zealand’s elite soils are cur­rently used for hor­ti­cul­ture. We there­fore sup­port fur­ther work be­ing com­mis­sioned to in­ves­ti­gate the ex­plo­ration of suit­able land through­out New Zealand for hor­ti­cul­ture use.

WORK­FORCE CA­PA­BIL­ITY

We are con­stantly re­view­ing our im­mi­gra­tion set­tings and are work­ing to en­sure that the qual­ity of in­ward mi­gra­tion best sup­ports the econ­omy and labour mar­ket. More Ki­wis are stay­ing in New Zealand or re­turn­ing home to live, work and raise fam­i­lies – and that’s a good thing.

We have an unashamed Ki­wis-first pol­icy, but we back our em­ploy­ers and will make sure that ac­cess to the in­ter­na­tional labour mar­ket is avail­able when there is a gen­uine need. Re­cent changes to Tem­po­rary Work Visa set­tings have been made to re­in­force the tem­po­rary na­ture of tem­po­rary work visas for lower-skilled/lower-paid mi­grants, but ac­cess to in­ter­na­tional labour has not been restricted.

Since com­ing into Gov­ern­ment we have raised the Recog­nised Sea­sonal Em­ployer (RSE) cap from 5,000 in 2007 to 10,500 in 2017. The re­gions are in­cen­tivised to mi­grants wish­ing to work and live in New Zealand through the of­fer­ing of 30 bonus points un­der the Skilled Mi­grant Cat­e­gory for mi­grants with a job or job of­fer out­side of Auck­land. >

Ar­bi­trar­ily slash­ing im­mi­gra­tion by “tens of thou­sands” could dec­i­mate some re­gions, de­stroy­ing some in­dus­tries and grind­ing oth­ers to a halt. Na­tional won’t just cut im­mi­gra­tion for the sake of pol­i­tics, es­pe­cially when it is against New Zealand’s best in­ter­ests. Pro­posed cuts from other par­ties would re­sult in job losses and a slowed econ­omy.

COUN­TRY OF ORI­GIN LA­BELLING (COOL)

Na­tional has sup­ported a Mem­bers Bill to Se­lect Com­mit­tee to let New Zealan­ders have their say on this mat­ter. We are wait­ing to for the Se­lect Com­mit­tee to re­port back with their as­sess­ment of the Bill be­fore in­di­cat­ing any fur­ther sup­port.

HEALTHY EAT­ING ED­U­CA­TION Na­tional has been sup­port­ive of get­ting fruit and veg­eta­bles in schools, and is open to work­ing with the sec­tor on how we sup­port greater up­take of kids eat­ing healthy foods.

The Na­tional Gov­ern­ment has in­vested about $8 mil­lion into the Fruit in Schools pro­gramme each year, and around 104,000 stu­dents will ben­e­fit from the pro­gramme. This year 543 schools took part in Fruit in Schools, which saw high qual­ity sea­sonal fruit and veg­eta­bles de­liv­ered each week.

Up to 24 dif­fer­ent types of fruits and veg­eta­bles are on the menu through­out the coun­try and more than 20 mil­lion serv­ings of pro­duce were dished up over the year. Both staff and stu­dents can sam­ple the pro­duce, with adults tak­ing a lead in show­ing kids how to en­joy tastes they might not have ex­pe­ri­enced pre­vi­ously.

TRADE

If there’s one thing our pri­mary in­dus­tries rely on a Gov­ern­ment to sup­port them with, it’s open­ing up bet­ter mar­ket ac­cess through trade. Na­tional knows that in­ter­na­tional trade is vi­tal to our eco­nomic suc­cess. It un­der­pins our busi­nesses, it cre­ates jobs and it lifts wages.

A re-elected Na­tional Gov­ern­ment will pur­sue an am­bi­tious, out­ward-look­ing trade pol­icy to un­lock mar­kets with 2.5 bil­lion new con­sumers. This new trade ac­cess will cre­ate shiploads of jobs for Ki­wis and be worth bil­lions of dol­lars to our econ­omy and busi­nesses across the coun­try.

In Trade Agenda 2030 we set a bold tar­get of hav­ing 90% of our goods ex­ports cov­ered by free-trade agree­ments (FTA) by 2030. Our pol­icy out­lines the coun­tries we will launch new FTA ne­go­ti­a­tions with, as well as those we will aim to con­clude and im­prove agree­ments with, over the next three years.

Our plan would see high-qual­ity, com­pre­hen­sive FTAs launched with:

• Euro­pean Union

• United King­dom

• Sri Lanka

• Brazil, Ar­gentina, Paraguay & Uruguay (MERCOSUR)

We are com­mit­ting to com­plete ne­go­ti­a­tions with:

• TPP11

• Mex­ico, Chile, Colombia & Peru FTA (The Pa­cific Al­liance)

• Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship (RCEP)

And up­grade FTAs with:

• China

• Sin­ga­pore

• As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Nations (ASEAN) Na­tional will also con­tinue to push for greater ac­cess for Kiwi busi­nesses to In­dia, Rus­sia and the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil coun­tries of the Mid­dle East.

YOUR PARTY SUP­PORTS A TAX BE­ING MADE ON WA­TER USED FOR IR­RI­GA­TION IN RU­RAL AR­EAS?

No, Na­tional does not sup­port a tax on wa­ter. Not only is the cost of this pol­icy likely to im­pact the vi­a­bil­ity of many small busi­nesses and the price of food, it’s also based on flimsy prin­ci­ples.

Pro­po­nents of pro­posed wa­ter tax poli­cies say it is a form of compensation for the im­pact of farm­ing on the en­vi­ron­ment, yet there is no cor­re­la­tion be­tween wa­ter use and nu­tri­ent out­put. The im­pact of farm­ing on the en­vi­ron­ment isn’t re­lated to the amount of wa­ter used, it varies ac­cord­ing to dif­fer­ent farm­ing sys­tems. For ex­am­ple, hor­ti­cul­ture uses rel­a­tively high amounts of wa­ter per unit of pro­duc­tion but has one of the smaller en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­prints. In­dus­tries like hor­ti­cul­ture are there­fore dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fected by a wa­ter tax, which could then cre­ate per­verse in­cen­tives for con­ver­sion of this land to less en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly farm­ing sys­tems not as af­fected by a wa­ter tax.

Wa­ter is an abun­dant nat­u­ral re­source in New Zealand and one of our best com­pet­i­tive strengths when ex­port­ing our pro­duce around the world. Na­tional will not tax wa­ter for the sake of anti-farm­ing votes, and will con­tinue to ad­vo­cate for farm­ing to be reg­u­lated on ac­tual en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts, and on a catch­ment-by­catch­ment ba­sis.

YOUR PARTY SUP­PORTS A CAP­I­TAL GAINS TAX ON RU­RAL PROP­ERTY?

No, Na­tional does not sup­port a cap­i­tal gains tax on ru­ral prop­erty.

q Min­is­ter for Pri­mary In­dus­tries, Nathan Guy.

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