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Lawchange Costs Farmers $100 million

Lawchange Costs Farmers $100 million

A study on behalf of arable and pastoral farmers shows that new, unnecessary rules for managing hazardous substances will cost the farming sector in excess of $100 million in compliance costs.

The study, which calculated set-up costs imposed on farming from agrichemicals being transferred into the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act, estimates that arable farmers will be $3000 out of pocket and pastoral farmers $2000 poorer in the year the regulations take full effect.

"The clear lesson is that the government must do a proper cost/benefit analysis before changing the law. It must be made to understand how much money is sucked out of people's pockets by legislation that doesn't warrant the expense," said Hugh Ritchie, a National Board member of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

The HSNO changes require every farmer in New Zealand to become qualified “approved handlers” to continue using common agricultural products such as Answer, Buster, Cougar, Karate, MCPA, and Scrubcutter (there are around 500 other products that trigger this control).

The report also examines costs linked to onerous requirements for improved and approved storage, signage, safety equipment and record keeping.

"With other common agricultural products still to be transferred, costs are likely to increase further. This is particularly true for animal remedies including commonly-used drenches, pour-ons and dips," Mr Ritchie said.

In addition to the one-off costs, the report has identified significant ongoing costs linked to recertification every five years and maintenance of storage and safety systems.

The report was funded by Meat and Wool New Zealand, Dairy Insight, Deer Industry New Zealand, the Foundation for Arable Research, and Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

"The results of this report show how much the HSNO Act has cost taxpayers to date, compared to the tangible benefits as a result of it being introduced.

The Federation has always opposed controls above and beyond the requirements of previous legislation, which managed the risks well.

"Farmers are being crushed by constantly increasing red-tape. With no evidence of a problem it is difficult to justify imposing extra costs on their business, and certainly not any which run to thousands of dollars."

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