Federated Farmers is ready to engage with the new coalition government and it was time to "cast aside" the divisions that arose during the election campaign, said president Katie Milne.

New Zealand First last night chose to go into partnership with Labour and the Greens to form a Government, instead of the outgoing National Party, with which the farmers' lobby and support group has strong traditional and historic links.

"We congratulate new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the coalition partners on finding a consensus to lead the country," Milne said in a statement.

"Federated Farmers is looking forward to getting around the table and talking about the issues which affect our members and farmers. The primary sector is the backbone of the New Zealand economy so we anticipate the new Government will be mindful of that when formulating policy."


Milne said it was time to "cast aside the division which fuelled the election campaign and remember that the country's future prosperity and economic health depended on all New Zealanders sharing a common ground".

"Whether you're a townie or cockie when it comes down to it, we all have the same hopes and aspirations for our families and communities.

"Let's give the new Government a chance and let's hope they can make decisions based on unity and mutual trust," Milne said in the statement.

The federation was willing to share its industry influence, expertise and insight with the new Government and was encouraging members and farmers to look ahead with a positive outlook, she said.

"There's undoubtedly challenges ahead for those tasked with governing the country. One thing the new Government can be sure of is: Federated Farmers is ready to play its part as a primary sector leader and voice of New Zealand farming," she said.

A key part of the Greens' election platform was improving the water quality of New Zealand's rivers and lakes, while both Labour and New Zealand First campaigned on curtailing immigration - both hot topics for farmers.

According to the farmer-funded DairyNZ, the $12 billion a year dairy sector provides 35,000 on-farm jobs, including contractors and staff, and 3774 of these jobs are currently filled by foreigners.

In press release titled "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Policy on Offer," issued last month, Federated Farmers said immigration had become a "hot potato" issue.


"None of the parties have policies which take immigration seriously enough," Milne said then.

"This issue is a political hot potato, and because of that, we are not dealing with our industry's desperate need for good staff," she said.

Both Labour and NZ First talked about rejuvenating the plantation forest sector, which the Forest Owners Association said would present "enormous challenge" for the new Government and for the industry.

Forest Owners President Peter Clark said issues such as diminishing log supply in Northland and road infrastructure stress in Poverty Bay and elsewhere need to be addressed by government and industry working together.

"We need to find solutions which will benefit all parts of the forest and processing chain, as well as local communities," he said in a statement.

"We've lost valuable years when there should have been more trees planted out to provide another income option for pastoral agriculture on marginal land and to increase wood supply for sawmillers," he said.

"We've also had plenty of notice that trees are the only immediate lever the Government has available to significantly offset industry and agriculture carbon emissions."
Clark said both Māori land owners and farmers would play a key role in meeting afforestation targets.

Outside farming issues, NZ First has been a strident critic of the of the Reserve Bank Act, which focuses the central bank's mandate on keeping annual inflation within a 1 to 3 per cent range.

Inflation targeting has been a cornerstone of the New Zealand financial market since its introduction in 1989, but in speech in July, Peters said the act, with its focus on inflation, was handicapping the economy.