Sunday 11th February
National's Primary Industries spokesperson Nathan Guy says Labour's first 100 days in Government has earnt it a dismal report card. Mr Guy says all the coalition have to show is the announcement of a series of reviews and rebrands, while staying silent on the big issues currently facing the sector. According to Guy, the minister Damien O'Connor appears to have shelved the funding and development of irrigation projects, as much of the country is gripped in drought, while there is no good news on the horizon for farmers facing the spread of the cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis. Nathan Guy is warning any slow down in the rural economy will be felt across the entire country, and the Government will only have itself to blame.
Meanwhile Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor says putting on hold changes to Fonterra's enabling legislation will allow a broader review of the countrys dairy sector, and whether it is adding enough value to the nation's biggest export commodity. The previous National government had legislation ready to ammend the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act, that would have retained easy entry and exits for Fonterra's supplier shareholders. Mr O'Connor says terms of reference for the review, which need to be agreed by the cabinet, will be released soon, and he hopes the review will be completed within 12 months.
A major milestone has been reached, with the first airfreighted consignment of Fresh New Zealand avocados has arriving safely into China. It follows an agreement and the signing of a protocol on phytosanitary requirements between New Zealand and China last November, and a technical audit of New Zealand's regulatory system for exporting avocados by Chiniese officials last month. MPI Director-General Martyn Dunne says securing export access for our avocados into China, has been the countrys top horticultural priority. In recent years, New Zealand's avocado exports have boomed, and in 2016-17, we exported $155.5 million worth into markets including, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Korea and Thailand, up $64 from the previous season. China is expected to be a significant market for Kiwi growers.
Saturday 10th February
A big step forward for New Zealand's dairy sheep industry, after the official opening of a genetic improvement and farm system development at Waikino Station on the shores of Lake Taupo. Dozens of potential investors, and overseas distributors turned out for the ribbon cutting ceremony, and a farmer open day attracted 300 people, including rural bankers and accountants. The joint ventures General Manager Peter Gatley, says there is plenty of interest in the concept, and they want to capitalise on New zealand expertise in both sheep farming, and pastoral systems for milk production.
Rural Women New Zealand are renewing calls for more road signage and flashing lights on school buses. Rural children are amongst the thousand's who have returned to school this week, after the summer holidays, and RWNZ want to see safety measures improved, especially in rural areas. National president Fiona Gower, says rural children, in particluar, are at risk of speeding drivers, and a number of children have been involved in a number of serious and fatal accidents. RWNZ are also asking drivers to mindful of children cycling and walking to school, particularly along highways and main roads.
The Hawkes Bay Regional Council have approved consultation for it's 20 year Proposed Regional Pest Management Plan. Key changes open for submissions include the addition of wallabies as an exclusion pest, which are found in neighbouring regions, and a reduction of the catch trap rate in Possum Control Areas from 5% to 4%, with the aim to have only 4 traps in 100 or fewer catching a possum. The major changes in the proposed plan include the addition of a marine pest management plan, and the inclusion of 6 more plant species to it's existing exclusion programme, to prevent them from establishing in the region. The Proposed Regional Pest Management Plan is open for public consultation until Friday the 16th of March.
Rural News on REX thanks to our partners at Farm Source.