Posts Tagged ‘Nathan Guy’

Future farming fund investment will optimise primary sector, farm leaders say

Federated Farmers has welcomed the Government’s announcement that it will lift investment in the Sustainable Farming Fund from $7 million to $20 million.

Science spokesman Guy Wigley said working with the sector was a much more effective and useful approach than the tax and punish policies of some other parties.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced a cross-sector panel will oversee what will be renamed The Future Farming Fund, driving advances in farming technology and practices while further reducing farming’s environmental footprint.

Since its launch 17 years ago, the Sustainable Farming Fund and leveraged sector support has helped more than 1000 projects to lift the performance and sustainability of primary producers.

“This kind of research is what keeps us at the forefront of farming technology and ensures we remain among the most efficient producers of food on the planet,” Mr Guy said.

Federated Farmers is a lead organisation in projects such as the smart irrigation study in Canterbury. This is about quantifying the relationship between irrigation over time, the accumulation of soil carbon and changes in soil water holding capacity, with spin-offs for knowledge on groundwater recharge and nutrient leaching.

“The project is typical of environmental gains we can make when we improve our knowledge of technology and natural systems,” Mr Guy said.

Federated Farmers said the payback from the Sustainable Farming Fund for food production, export earnings and the environment from turbo-charging a fund for farming technology and practice will be many times the investment.

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Ministers welcome Mt Albert Grammar School AgriFood centre

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy and Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston have welcomed the beginning of construction on a new centre to showcase the best of the primary sector in the heart of Auckland.

Mount Albert Grammar School’s farm, established in 1932, will be transformed into a centre of primary sector excellence showing urban Kiwis the best technology, innovation, practices and research in New Zealand and the world.

The AgriFood Experience Centre will highlight the wide range of careers in the primary sector and create new connections in our biggest city, Mr Guy says.

Ms Upston says this will help raise awareness of the wide range of different and exciting careers in the primary sector “and encourage students to consider a career in this crucial industry”.

New environmental focus is set for irrigation funding

A change to the constitution of Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL) will allow it to fund water storage projects with direct environmental and economic benefits, rather than on the basis of purely economic grounds, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced.

This was an important change to CIIL’s mandate which recognised and reinforced the environmental importance of water storage and distribution projects, Guy said.

The current rules limit CIIL’s purpose to considering the long-term economic benefits from projects that it invests in.

But Guy said it made sense to broaden the scope given the wider benefits of these projects.

“It will now be able to provide concessionary loans to local authorities for projects that directly lead to environmental benefits.”

The change was requested by CIIL and has been formally approved by Cabinet.

Guy said this was good news for potential projects like the Waimea Community Dam near Nelson. The project captures Lee River flows and allows for the controlled release of stored water into the river system during periods of high water demand and/or low natural flows.

“Reliability of water provided by this project would allow pasture to be converted to higher value crops like apples. It would also recharge aquifers, provide water for municipal supply and improve water quality for recreational use.

“Likewise, projects like Central Plains Water is replacing 75-80% of groundwater take consents in the area, helping improve water flows into Lake Ellesmere.

“This change makes it even more disappointing that Labour and the Greens want to scrap all irrigation funding and tax water. This would be disastrous for growers, farmers and the regions. Industries like horticulture and viticulture need a reliable source of water to meet international demand and deal with droughts.”

CIIL is a Crown Entity Company established in 2013. Its purpose is to co-invest in schemes, provide grants for schemes in development, and apply commercial expertise and leadership to irrigation schemes.

With CIIL’s proposed change now approved, it can also provide concessionary loans to local authorities.

Dairy industry body joins GIA biosecurity partnership

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has become the 15th and largest industry sector to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) biosecurity partnership.

DCANZ is the national organisation representing the dairy processor and exporters sector, comprised of 11 members responsible for 99% of the milk processed in New Zealand.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the dairy industry is a crucial part of New Zealand’s economy, making up over a third of all New Zealand total exports.

“It is vital we work together to prepare and respond to biosecurity threats.

“The discovery of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis near Waimate is a real reminder of how important biosecurity is to the dairy sector. It’s good practice for all farmers to have an on-farm biosecurity plan.

“As the recent Biosecurity 2025 Direction Statement outlines, biosecurity is a shared responsibility. We need everyone working together sharing their expertise and experience.”

The signing of the agreement was attended by Mr Guy, Trade Minister Todd McClay and representatives of all major dairy companies

Other signatories to the GIA include:

  • Vegetables NZ
  • TomatoesNZ
  • Kiwifruit Vine Health
  • New Zealand Pork
  • Pipfruit New Zealand
  • New Zealand Equine Health Association
  • Onions New Zealand
  • Forestry Owners Association
  • New Zealand Avocado Growers’ Association
  • New Zealand Citrus Growers Incorporated
  • Potatoes New Zealand
  • New Zealand Winegrowers
  • Ministry for Primary Industries

Primary sector science roadmap to boost exports is launched

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith tonight launched the Primary Sector Science Roadmap at the National Fieldays.

Mr Guy says science will be a key driver in lifting overall primary sector exports to the target of $64 billion by 2025.

“From climate change, to changing consumer preferences, to a greater emphasis on issues like traceability and provenance, science and technology have an important role to play in ensuring our primary industries remain globally competitive,” says Mr Guy.

“This Roadmap will inform research conducted by New Zealand science and technology teams and organisations, along with their international partners.

“It provides a shared view across the primary sector on the science and technology needs for the sector – and where science investment needs to be focused. This document will guide the primary sector’s science direction for the next 10 to 20 years.

“I’d like to thank the many industry leaders, research organisations and individual scientists for all their valuable input into this document,” says Mr Guy.

Goldsmith said the creation of the Primary Sector Science Roadmap supports the Government’s overall strategy for the science system.

“The National Statement of Science Investment 2015-2025 sets out a vision for a highly dynamic science system that enriches New Zealand through excellent research that creates impact. The Government invested an estimated $428 million in primary sector research in 2016, while the industry carried out R&D worth $266 million.

“The Roadmap recognises the important role that the primary sector plays in our economy, and ensures the government, industry, and researchers are working collaboratively to achieve the best results for New Zealand through high quality science,” says Mr Goldsmith.

The Roadmap is aligned with the Conservation and Environment Science Roadmap and will be a guiding document for the strategic directions of the National Science Challenges.

You can link to the Roadmap HERE.

Manuka honey exports under threat after myrtle rust is identified in Kerikeri nursery

Biosecurity teams are scouring Kerikeri nurseries after the detection of myrtle rust, a significant disease which threatens plant varieties important to the honey industry, such as manuka and kanuka, and $300 million of annual honey exports.

Feijoa, gum and bottlebrush trees are also threatened along with some treasured indigenous species such as pohutakawa and rata.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said authorities were notified on Tuesday evening of a nursery in Kerikeri where pohutakawa seedlings had suspected myrtle rust.

Laboratory testing has since confirmed the disease.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has initiated a Restricted Place notice to restrict the movement of any plants and people at the site, and is treating nursery stock with fungicide spray as a precaution, Guy said.

Work was also under way to trace any stock that had left the nursery and all other nurseries in Kerikeri were being inspected today.

According to the Northern Advocate (HERE), the disease is prevalent in eastern Australia and Tasmania, and was discovered on Raoul Island in late March this year.

Officials believe wind is the likely pathway of incursion into Raoul Island, and it is likely that wind has carried spores to mainland New Zealand from Australia.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry acknowledged the incursion could have serious consequences for some native species.

“Myrtle rust generally attacks soft new leaf growth, and severe infestations can kill affected plants,” Barry said.

“This could include native species like the pohutakawa and the rata.”

In Australia, the fungus has caused the extinction of several treasured plant species of significance to Aboriginal Australians.

“Myrtle rust has long been expected to arrive in New Zealand, and since the Australian outbreak began in 2010, the Government has worked on a range of measures to help manage and adapt to the fungus in the long term if necessary,” Barry said.

“This includes accelerating work already underway to collect and store germplasm from affected species, searching for signs of resistant myrtle strains which could be incorporated into a breeding programme and monitoring at 800 locations across the country.”

The Department of Conservation would also be conducting inspections of myrtle species on public conservation land in Northland for any early signs of the fungus.

There is no known method of controlling the disease in the wild, apart from applications of fungicide in very small areas as a last resort.

Even if eradication is achieved, there was an ongoing risk of reinfection from Australia.

Anyone believing they have seen myrtle rust on plants in New Zealand were asked to call MPI on 0800 80 99 66.

Govt sets freshwater target: 90% of rivers and lakes to be swimmable by 2040

The Government has announced a target of 90 per cent of New Zealand’s lakes and rivers meeting swimmable water quality standards by 2040.

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith said the plan is backed by national regulations requiring stock to be fenced out of waterways, new national policy requirements on regional councils to strengthen their plan rules on issues such as sewage discharges and planting riparian margins, a new Freshwater Improvement Fund and new maps that clearly identify where improvements are needed.

Meeting the goal is estimated to cost the Government, farmers and councils $2 billion over the next 23 years.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy (HERE) said the Ministry for Primary Industries continues to work with the primary sectors to invest in good ideas which promote environmental best practice. One example is the Farm Systems Change program, which identifies high preforming farms and uses farmers’ networks to spread their knowledge.

Another is a major programme under the Primary Growth Partnership, called Transforming the Dairy Value Chain. Under this programme effluent management systems have been improved, and every region now has a riparian planting guideline developed in conjunction with regional councils, Guy said.

“We also know that science will play a major role in improving our freshwater. The ‘Our Land and Water’ National Science Challenge is investing $96.9 million over 10 years into this, hosted by AgResearch and involving six other Crown research institutes.

In his announcement (HERE) Dr Smith said the target recognised that our frequent major rainfalls mean a 100 per cent standard is not realistic.

The target covers the length of rivers over 0.4m deep and the perimeters of lakes greater than 1.5km, which total 54,000km.

The plan is about improving the frequency that we can swim in our lakes and rivers, noting that even our cleanest rivers breach swimming water quality standards during storms.

The swimmable target is based on meeting the water quality standard at least 80 per cent of the time, in line with European and US definitions. Currently 72 per cent by length meet this definition, and the target is to increase that to 90 per cent by 2040. This means an additional 10,000km of swimmable rivers and lakes by 2040, or 400km per year.

The maps provide comprehensive and consistent information on water quality for swimming of New Zealand’s rivers and lakes. They are intended to help focus councils and communities on improving their local water quality, as well as helping people make decisions about where they can safely swim.

The maps are connected to the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa website that provides real-time information on water quality, which is particularly relevant for the fair and intermittent categories.

The target not only requires an improvement in areas that are swimmable, ie into the fair category, but also rivers and lakes being moved from fair to good, and good to excellent. Regional targets to achieve the national goals are to be worked through with regional councils by March 2018.

Some regional targets will need to be greater than the 90 per cent and others, where it is more difficult to achieve, will be less, Smith said.  .

The National Policy Statement (NPS) for Freshwater Management is being strengthened to support the new 90 per cent by 2040 swimmability target, as well as changes to address the issues of ecological health and nutrients.

New regulations on excluding stock from waterways are an important part of this plan to improve water quality. The rules progressively apply to dairy, pig, dairy support, beef and deer farms from this year to 2030 relative to the steepness of the country, at an expected cost of $367 million.

Bids have been opened for the new $100m Freshwater Improvement Fund and announcing the eligibility and assessment criteria, which closes on 13 April. This comes on top of the $350m already committed by the government, of which more than $140m has been spent on specific river and lake clean-ups.

The detail of the NPS and Stock Exclusion Regulations are open for consultation until 28 April 2017.

The press statement was accompanied by a Q& A paper and a paper titled Clean Water. 

To read the proposals, and find out how to have your say, visit www.mfe.govt.nz