With the media coverage on the Budget 2019 in full flight, I have taken a look at some of the announcements and initiatives that are of interest to plant producers.
The EMA and Business NZ have provided a useful analysis of what the budget means for businesses in their budget special which you can read here. There is some good news in terms of investment in innovation, to the tune of $157m, while reform in industry training & apprenticeships got a welcome boost of $197m. On the other hand, there is a lack of investment in infrastructure and solutions to escalating compliance costs for businesses.
There is widespread support for the Government’s focus on mental health and wellbeing. This is of relevance to our sector, and all primary sectors, as statistics show a deepening issue with mental health in regional NZ. There is an increasing awareness about how this issue is impacting people and businesses across the wider primary industries.
Some of the initiatives that have received additional funding over the coming 3 years and are of interest to NZPPI’s members are:
This is essentially the existing funding for the 1 billion trees programme to increase the rate of tree planning.
Funding $53m (2019) – $84m (2020) dropping to $45m in 2021.
This initiative is to scale up Te Uru Raku (Forestry NZ) to develop a much-needed long term national strategy for forestry and to encourage landowners to invest in forestry and plantings.
Funding increase $2m (2019) to $13m (2023)
On-the-ground information, tools and advice to assist making changes in land use and to more environmentally sustainable and higher value production.
We welcome the significant increase in expenditure in this area and hope it encourages a transition of land use towards more forests, more horticulture, native plantings, and more plants in general.
Funding increase $33m(2019) to $64m (2023)
Funding new research into Kauri dieback. This funding was announced earlier in the year.
Funding increase: $3.5m to $7.5m
Note that myrtle rust has no funding allocated in the budget. This means that other than some research work that is already funded, MPI’s work on myrtle rust may largely stop.
Managing risks at the border; clearing goods for entry into New Zealand; and keep pace with the forecasted 23 per cent growth in imported goods in the next 3 years. All of the primary industry sectors welcome this increase in funding to protect the borders from biosecurity incursions.
Funding increase $9.2m to $14.6m
Read the full budget speech: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/minister-finance-wellbeing-budget-speech
Matt Dolan, Chief Executive NZPPI