ACT Party Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron has sent a letter to new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, asking him to consider the impact Labour’s reforms are having on farmers and to stop imposing additional costs upon farmers.

“The new Prime Minister has an opportunity to reset the Government’s approach to agriculture. It’s important he makes the most of it or there will be dire consequences for New Zealand’s status as the world’s best food producer,” says Mr Cameron.

“Freshwater reforms, winter grazing rules, Zero Carbon Act, limiting migrant workers, other ideological climate policies, Significant Natural Areas, taxes on utes… The list goes on. Farmers have taken a hammering from this government.

“Everyone is struggling with rising prices at the moment, farmers in particular have been hit hard. Prices for fuel, fertiliser, and vehicular repairs and maintenance increased by 54.3 per cent, 23 per cent, and 10.4 per cent respectively in the last financial year.

“These price increases, coupled with more compliance costs and regulations to adhere to, is creating an enormous financial and mental burden for farmers. Farmer confidence has never been lower.

“For the Government to place an additional regulatory and financial burden upon growers and producers now is nonsensical. If agricultural emissions pricing is implemented many may be forced out of the industry, rural communities will suffer, and mental health may be further impacted.

“I’ve asked the Prime Minister to adopt ACT’s policy of tying agricultural emissions pricing to that of New Zealand’s five major trading partners, ensuring a level playing field for growers and producers in New Zealand.

“ACT believes New Zealand must play its part on climate change. But any response must be simple to administer, politically durable, and effective. New Zealand will only prosper if we match our goals with actions which actually benefit the environment.

“The impacts of over-regulating the industry reach further than just farmers. We are currently seeing the impact of regulations on the poultry industry. A nationwide shortage of eggs and rising prices for families trying to buy one of the most affordable and healthy sources of protein. How would you like to see an impact like that imposed upon the entire agricultural sector?

“ACT is the loudest voice in Parliament when it comes to standing up for the rights of rural New Zealand. As a dairy farmer myself, I know that farmers are the best environmentalists around.

“ACT hopes that Chris Hipkins can move on from Labour’s illogical policies that have made life harder for farmers. If they can’t, Kiwis can rest assured that in 248 days they can vote for real change and get the government they deserve.”

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Mark Cameron