The Government is backing New Zealand’s vital primary sectors by boosting funding for biosecurity, research, food safety and animal welfare compliance, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
Speaking to a group of top-performing farmers at the NZ Farm Environment Trust in Hamilton, he said the Government was committed to working alongside farmers and that recent biosecurity outbreaks had shown the need to strengthen New Zealand’s protections against pests and disease.
“The Budget committed an extra $12.3 million to boost our biosecurity systems. An extra $21 million has been committed to stop the spread of wilding conifers, which is a significant increase in the government’s annual investment,” he said.
“As we face threats from more visitors and a changing climate we must adapt. We want to protect the value farmers and growers get for their work.
“New Zealand’s food and fibre products have an excellent reputation overseas, but we need to protect and build that up.
“Overseas consumers want greater assurances that the food and fibre they buy is produced safely from well-looked after animals. The Budget commits an extra $40.7 million to strengthen our food safety, fisheries and animal welfare compliance systems.
“A good animal welfare system is vital to protect the wellbeing of animals and New Zealand’s reputation in overseas markets. The money will allow more resource to provide greater enforcement against offending.”
O’Connor said $9.8 million in new funding was committed to protect the primary sector’s high-value export products and update the official assurances system that supports these.
“The Government has also committed $8.5 million to the Global Research Alliance’s work on greenhouse gases and $229 million to help farmers make the changes required to get more value for what they do and help protect the environment,” he said.
“The Budget initiatives are about boosting extensions services, getting information to farmers, upskilling advisers and ensuring everyone can get more value for what they do on farm.
“In the coming months we’ll be working with farmers and their sector groups to meet challenges head on.”