• The primary sector will be one of the first four sectors to undergo a red tape review by the new Minister and Ministry of Regulation.
  • Scrapping the Zero Carbon Act and tying any emissions price to that of our five main trading partners with the caveat that if farmers in countries who are our biggest trading partners are not paying a price for their methane emissions, neither should New Zealand farmers.
  • A genuine split gas approach, acknowledging the fundamental difference between methane from livestock (a short-lived greenhouse gas) and carbon dioxide (a near permanent greenhouse gas).
  • Shifting responsibility for farm plans from Wellington bureaucrats to regional councils, while ensuring a consistent template is used and existing plans remain valid.
  • Making sure people with practical animal handling and farming experience are appointed to the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC).
  • Removing barriers stalling the uptake of new technologies by liberalising GE laws.
  • Addressing workforce shortages by removing the cap on the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, abolishing labour market tests and wage rules, removing the ‘work to residence’ divide for occupations on the Green List, and bringing back 90-day trials.
  • Getting rid of Three Waters and bring back a local approach to water resources by having local communities develop acceptable standards and rules for nitrates, sedimentation run off, and freshwater quality.
  • Liberalising water storage requirements to increase farmer resilience to climate and seasonal pressures whilst maintaining aquifer health. And allowing councils to opt into a system in which water resource consents would be converted into time-based tradable water permits so farmers could trade water allocations according to a sensible pricing system.
  • Bringing back live animal exports, under a world-leading animal welfare standard.

“ACT has already identified the first six regulations that will be scrapped:

  • He Waka Eke Noa, which threatens to make Kiwi farmers the first in the world to pay an emissions tax.
  • The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) and subsequent median wage rule, replacing it with demand-based pricing, to let employers decide if their need is worth the price instead of clunky bureaucracy.
  • The Natural Built and Environments Act, Labour’s replacement for the RMA which doesn’t take away the compliance burden and adds co-governance.
  • Significant Natural Areas that infringe on property rights.
  • The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, which creates huge compliance issues and is based on a spiritual concept in Te Mana o Te Wai. ACT will return to the 2017 NPS.
  • The Ute Tax, which punishes farmers just for needing a work vehicle.

“There has been an avalanche of red tape and regulation on farmers. These are just the big-ticket items, every farmer we’ve spoken to seems to have a fresh example of a new compliance course or form of paperwork they’re having to complete to keep the Government happy.

“ACT would task the Ministry of Regulation with working with the rural sector and understanding the burden of red tape farmers face. Many of the regulations that farmers need to comply with are designed to achieve similar objectives and should be simplified to avoid wasted effort. Other regulations were obviously written by Wellington bureaucrats who have probably never worn gumboots in their life.

“The impacts of over-regulating the industry reach further than just farmers. Food inflation is a major worry for Kiwi households, the harder it is for people to produce food, the more expensive it is going to be to purchase.

“Farmers need real change. ACT has led the way standing up for them in Parliament. ACT was the only party to vote against the Zero Carbon Act. We were the only party willing to oppose He Waka Eke Noa from the beginning. We alone stood up for licensed firearms owners. We’ve consistently opposed the Government’s freshwater rules, Significant Natural Areas, fertiliser tax, the live animal export ban, the ute tax, and more.

“Farmers in countries who are our biggest trading partners are not paying a price for their methane emissions. Under ACT, New Zealand farmers wouldn’t either. If we set more aggressive targets than other countries, it will not only harm the economy but also force activity to less efficient jurisdictions, increasing global emissions. That is why it is such a high priority for ACT to ensure New Zealand farmers aren’t sacrificed to the climate gods as Labour wants them to be.

“A Party Vote for ACT is a vote to end the endless red tape and regulation, to give farmers certainty they won’t be sacrificed to the climate gods, to ensure they can get staff when they need them, and to give them – not central planners in Wellington – control over how they do things.

“ACT wants to see the rural sector given the respect it deserves. That means letting farmers get on with what they do best.”

Policy document is here.

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