PREAMBLE:

The health of New Zealand’s economy is dependent on the rural farming community. As a nation, we need a strong rural backbone and government policy must encourage growth, continual improvement and innovation. Sustainability of farming practices are also paramount to any regulation. New Zealand Farmers are world leaders in the use of technology in farming and encouraging forward thinking farming practices will help build more resilient rural communities.

 SHORT POLICY SUMMARY

POLICIES

The Conservative Party is committed to:

* Ensuring that New Zealanders are able to get a foot on the ladder in farming in New Zealand. We want to see New Zealanders being able to start their own farms and make a life for themselves and their families. We propose to require Landcorp to make available economic family sized farms each year, which will be contested by ballot;

* Tightening up regulations around overseas investment and encouraging foreign investors to take-up joint business ventures in partnership with New Zealanders;

*No sales of rural land to those who aren’t New Zealand citizens;

* Strengthening border protection services, with a greater emphasis on cooperation between MAF and Customs to improve bio-security in New Zealand. We also seek to investigate the ways we can mitigate the cost to the Crown. Anyone bringing in banned products to New Zealand will be liable to instant deportation;

* Investigating the implementation of new schemes for workers in seasonal primary industry jobs, meeting labour market requirements and also providing near full-time work for eligible people. We would also investigate labour law reform to assist those seeking employment into seasonal work;

* Continue to clean up pollution in New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and aquifers by working towards the aim of having fences and/or riparian border put in place where waterways are adjacent to agricultural and horticultural land. We recognise all the work that has already gone into reducing runoff and nitrogen filtration. We also would seek to improve the control of the spread of destructive weeds and pests on farms, forestry and conservation land, to protect the environment and the New Zealand economy;

* Identification of all irrigation and mining resources enabling creation of a best practice model for the utilisation of these resources, while protecting private property rights and care of the environment;

* Improving New Zealand’s rural transport and technology infrastructure in the form of better telecommunications, the completion of the rural broadband initiative roll-out, and the improvement of transport links between our regional economies, cities and ports ensuring that New Zealand products can be moved more efficiently around the country and overseas; This will also enable more businesses to operate outside of main centres..

* Amendment of the Resource Management Act (RMA) so that where a court decides that a local government body has caused loss to landowners/license holder because of incorrect application of the RMA, compensation is available to the landowner;

* Recognition of property owner’s rights as a factor to be considered when interpreting the RMA;

* Amending the RMA to enable a more streamlined and cost-effective approach to processing small-scale consents and a stronger independent auditing of council processes and performance in the processing of resource consents;

* Re-introduction of Farm Ownership Accounts to encourage young New Zealanders to progress into and remain within the farming sector, including agriculture, horticulture, and viticulture in trades training.

* Encouraging and eventually requiring Aquaculture practitioners to comply with global Best Practice standards

* Promoting the continuing monitoring of mental health among the farming sector