“Labour’s live export ban was purely an emotive and ideological decision, instead of one based on sound advice,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson and Ruawai Dairy Farmer Mark Cameron.
“ACT has obtained the Regulatory Impact Statement from MPI which shows the ban would hurt our rural communities economically, damage New Zealand’s reputation internationally, be yet another slap in the face for rural communities following a raft of new regulations and that it should have been allowed to continue with careful management.
“The advice from MPI says the direct value of New Zealand's livestock exports was $261.5 million for the year ending December 2020.
“The advice from MPI against banning live exports was overwhelming, but Labour loves to ban things and it banned live exports without thinking about the consequences, it was an entirely ideological decision.
“The advice from MPI says “Live animal exports provide a boost to New Zealand's economy, rural communities...Any move to prohibit the export of livestock would cause an economic loss to these groups and make recovery from COVID-19 more difficult in the rural communities where livestock exports provide an additional source of income. For some individual businesses that impact is likely to be significant.”
It goes on to say “MPI's view is that reputational impacts are real, but difficult to quantify...These risks should be taken seriously but can be managed through enhancing the regulatory framework.”
“MPI also noted that New Zealand's reputation is unlikely to be affected by very occasional incidents surrounding animal welfare.
“It also points out the Government’s sustained attack on rural New Zealand. “The farming sector is New Zealand’s largest export earner...In addition to the impacts of external events, government requirements will also impact sector performance, including changes related to freshwater and climate change management, and new animal welfare standards and regulations. With increasing pressure on the rural sector, retaining the option of exporting livestock may become more valued by rural communities.”
“Despite the overwhelming evidence that the ban was a bad idea, Damien O’Connor pushed ahead anyway, unable to put the needs of our rural communities first. Farmers kept the economy going through COVID. All it gets in return from Labour are policies that punish them.”