What will be the big issues of 2014? Water will again be Federated Farmers biggest issue and no doubt will also be part of the election debate. We remain a grass-fed economy and to grow this grass we need water. We have got plenty of water, we just need to store it to use in times of shortage to ensure our water quality is maintained or improved.
None of this is easy and that is why Federated Farmers has a large team of water experts to help influence policy that both grows the farming economy as well as ensuring that our footprint is responsible and sustainable. We are making excellent progress in all these areas.
The upcoming national election looks like offering a stark choice to rural voters. We work with all parties to influence sensible outcomes for farming and have appreciated largely supportive policies from the current government.
They have been keen to grow the economy and jobs and recognise that agriculture has a very important role in helping New Zealand achieve this. Although policies are yet to be finalised we are hearing about a concerning number of new taxes from opposition parties; a tax on ruminant stomachs (ETS), a tax on water (resource rentals) and a tax on property (capital gains tax) to name a few.
I have yet to work out how these proposed new taxes will give us better weather or help grow our economy but be assured Federated Farmers will be working closely with the proponents of any scheme we see as not good for farming. This is what we do.
Interest rates will rise in 2014, this will make New Zealand more attractive to overseas investors and all things being equal will mean a higher currency also. Neither is good for farming. We need government, both national and local to live within their means and run efficient and productive businesses.
What we don't need is election lolly scrambles. We look forward to a return to budget surpluses so that this country can begin to repay its enormous borrowings over recent years. Federated Farmers gives detailed scrutiny to every single council in the country as well as all Government decisions that impact farming. Regularly this scrutiny results in significant benefits for our members.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
There are scores of other issues that the team here at Federated Farmers will be working on for the benefit of the farming community. We exist to help our members manage their considerable risks beyond the farm gate. Collectively this strong voice has real influence but the more farmers lend their support, the stronger that voice and the greater the influence. If you are not already a member then a good New Year's resolution might just be picking up the phone and ringing 0800 farming to see how you can help!