Drought-stricken Hawke's Bay farmers praying for rain will have found little help in the second Government's second Wellbeing Budget – if they had time to look for it.
The situation was highlighted by Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay president Jim Galloway who was on the farm trying to get an irrigator going as the Budget was being revealed in Parliament.
Unlike during many budgets of the past, most farmers would have been too busy to watch or listen, and might not even get the chance in the evening, Galloway reckoned.
"It's been three months of hard work…feeding out every day," he said. "It never stops. Farmers are starting to get absolutely knackered."
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What farmers wanted was something to at least minimise the impact of drought in the future. "Water storage, certainly," he said.
Galloway did, however, welcome the boost for jobs in the primary sector, with Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor confirming the dedication of $19.3m for initiatives to train and provide primary sector work for the recently unemployed.
It would need about 50,000 more people in a post-Covid-19 world, he said. As a first step it aims to place about 10,000 people, with rapid retraining for the absorbing of workers displaced from other sectors.
O'Connor said there's no shortage of demand for New Zealand food and fibre abroad, and farmers, growers, and producers would play a critical role in the economic recovery.
Among the plan will be familiarising new workers with what to expect from life on a farm.