As we head into the beginning of May, I am sure many of you are either preparing for duck-shooting or living with someone who is. I have heard about Waiwera South School’s amazing wheat fundraiser for those who have been putting wheat out on their ponds.
I was fortunate to be invited to attend the Anzac Day service and war memorial unveiling in Tapanui. It was great to be there with RSA representatives and the Tapanui community when Sadie Lietze officially unveiled the stones.
Many of those within the Clutha community are working within the agriculture industry or supporting it in various ways throughout the community. A good number of our farmers have felt their contribution to the country has been dismissed and minimised.
Farming is the backbone of the South and New Zealand’s economy, and I am proud that our farmers are the best in the world. When farmers succeed, New Zealand succeeds. Last year New Zealand agriculture exports totalled $41 billion, and 63% of our goods exports.
I am committed to helping our farmers meet environmental challenges while also allowing farmers to get on with farming by reining in the bureaucracy. We can do this by using clear, well-targeted rules instead. That’s what National’s ‘‘Getting back to Farming’’ package will do.
Our farmers don’t need more rules being set by Wellington. National will get Wellington out of farming and ensure farming regulations are fit for purpose so they protect our environment, as domestic and overseas consumers expect.
National supports practical environmentalism. We are committed to a carefully-balanced approach, integrating both environmental and economic goals. National will deliver a professional, competent regulatory system that targets environmental outcomes without telling farmers how to run their businesses, and while imposing minimum compliance.
The concerns around whether farmers will be able to continue farming under proposed regulations from the Labour Government have seen serious impacts on rural mental health. Unfortunately, even when those affected have asked for help, they often find the mental health system is too hard to access.
National has committed to creating a Mental Health Innovation Fund to support existing community providers in mental health needs. This will enable them to scale up support and make sure they can reach more of our people who need them.