I believe we can meet our environmental and animal welfare obligations without sacrificing our rural lifeblood. And I’ve got another update on how ACT is making this happen.

Today, Animal Welfare Minister (and ACT MP, and fellow farmer) Andrew Hoggard confirmed the reinstatement of livestock export by sea, with strengthened animal welfare standards. Public consultation begins before September and I hope farmers will have their say.

Labour flushed live animal export down the drain against official advice, in a knee-jerk political stunt that destined prime breeding stock for the slaughterhouse. What a waste.

Livestock export at its best is akin to a Royal Caribbean cruise, with cattle arriving at their destination fatter than when they got on the boat. I know Andrew will work to ensure animals are cared for while farmers enjoy the return of a $300+ million earner.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Minister announced that an independent panel reviewing methane science and targets will report back to the Government by the end of the year, a key step in ACT’s coalition commitment that ensures farmers aren’t unfairly taxed for their emissions based on dodgy science.

This comes after a fantastic week at Fieldays with no less than eight announcements to empower rural New Zealand from ACT Ministers.

One of those announcements was to disband He Waka Eke Noa and pass legislation to keep agriculture out of the Emissions Trading Scheme. Last night, that legislation passed its first reading.

Lumping costs onto efficient Kiwi farmers and forcing food production offshore never made environmental or economic sense. I enjoyed catching up with Leah Panapa on The Platform last week to discuss how this legislation delivers for farmers.

Finally, the latest GDP figures have revealed that it’s farmers and miners who are doing the economic heavy lifting right now, practically single-handedly keeping us out of recession.

So it’s a bloody good thing that people who work the land are finally being given the respect they’ve earned for their efforts.

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