Rural News - DairyNZ’s top three election issues

Water quality

Looking after the land and waterways is a fundamental part of any farm practice.

Dairy farmers know this and they are committed to environmental responsibility and farming within environmental limits. Much has already been done voluntarily by dairy farmers under the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord which covers 11,400 dairy farms, and farmers are committed to meeting Water Accord targets.

To support farmers in playing their part in improving water quality, DairyNZ asks that the government, councils and agriculture sector groups together assess, at a catchment level, what mix of land use and initiatives will maintain community vitality and farming in the long term.

Climate Change

While dairy farmers can be proud of being amongst the most emissions-efficient producers in the world, we know dairy has an integral part to play in helping New Zealand achieve its greenhouse gas reduction 2030 target.

Rather than focus on the ETS, however, we want to see a shift to what our farmers can do over the longer term to address biological emissions. We want to see a government that:

• Will develop an economy-wide plan in consultation with the dairy sector, and other industries, outlining the emission reduction expectations of each sector over the longer term to transition NZ to a low-carbon economy. This is a complex challenge which requires a well-thought-out approach.

• Will set in place carbon budgets, as proposed by the outgoing Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, to act as stepping stones towards NZ meeting its greenhouse gas targets. This would provide certainty for dairy and other sectors.

• Will introduce a risk management framework to incorporate all the greenhouse gas, water, animal welfare and biodiversity objectives the dairy sector is striving to achieve.

DairyNZ launched the Dairy Action for Climate Change in June. The plan is in partnership with Fonterra and has the support of Government (MPI and MfE). It aims to lay the foundation for dairy to lower emissions, and begins with increasing education and awareness of the available emission reduction options for farmers. As well as this initiative, the biological emissions reference group is ensuring the right science is in place to achieve reductions.

Workforce

DairyNZ wants working conditions in the dairy sector to be attractive to good quality candidates.

We are committed to working with the government towards upskilling Kiwi candidates wanting careers in farming. To help achieve this, we want to see:

• Government partner with dairy to explore innovative training models for developing skills for those already in work

• Sufficient funding to deliver training in geographically dispersed locations

• Better alignment of government spending in formal training with the significant spending by dairy on formal training and extension

• A cost-effective means of assessing and recognising prior learning to strengthen the pathway for skills development

• Greater awareness among talented youth and career changers of the job opportunities in the primary sectors

• Farmers committed to lifting the quality of the work environment, as expressed in the Sustainable Dairying: Workplace Action Plan. Balanced and productive working hours, fair remuneration, wellness, well-being and health and safety are paramount in achieving effective team cultures and rewarding careers

• Less stringent work visa conditions for people from overseas when there have been long-term difficulties in attracting Kiwis to dairy jobs.