Heather du Plessis-Allan: Government needs to help farmers

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 18 Mar 2020, 4:13PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Government needs to help farmers

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 18 Mar 2020, 4:13PM

Here’s a challenge to this government: help farmers.

If this government is serious about doing everything to get us through this economic crisis in the best shape possible, it has to push pause on all the extra rules it is planning for farming.  Farmers are the ones who are going to get us through this

Look at Fonterra today. It’s holding its forecast farm-gate milk price of between $7 and $7.60. That is good economic news, and we’re getting precious little of that at the moment.

The world can and will stop buying thing - cruises, steel, logs, computers, any number of things – but it can’t stop eating. It needs to keep buying food, which is why farmers are crucial right now, and why the government needs to make it as easy as possible for them to do their jobs.

Forget about climate change: international flights are grounded anyway, so the climate’s copping a break as it is. Anything climate change-related, pause it.

Essential freshwater regulations, pause them. They were projected to cost one percent of GDP and we can’t spare that right now.

Anything farmers consider a burden right now, from biodiversity regulations to new immigration rules for farm rules to the minimum wage, needs to be backed off. 

It’s not to say that we don’t need some of these regulations at some stage, but now is not the time to be lumping farmers with this.

Some of these regulations are so tough they will put some farmers out of business, and that’s in good times. We are not in good times now.

We are looking at a recession, people are going to lose their jobs, half of our businesses are going to need to tap into that government help announced this week. The last thing we need is farmers also going out of business.