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Dismal economic outlook must see NZ get farming

18 December 2008

Dismal economic outlook must see New Zealand get farming

"State-led economic tinkering has almost led New Zealand into an economic abyss. If New Zealand needs an economic miracle we have one. It's called agriculture," said Federated Farmers economics spokesperson, Philip York.

"The numbers released by Treasury today are more than ugly. Labour's economic legacy is fast turning to dust in our mouths. 2009 will be brutal yet I don't think Wellington gets just how serious it really is," Mr York said.

The Federation is angry that cash deficits are predicted to dip into the red by over $11 billion within four years. The Crown's debt is predicted to almost double by 2013 and if that was not bad enough, GDP growth is forecast to be just 0.3 percent this financial year, 'growing' to 0.5 percent in the 2009/2010 year. This recession has a long way to run. With global commodities still in a negative cycle, consumers and businesses need to prepare for this recession to get a lot worse next year, before it gets better.

"These numbers are so bleak that the new government needs to act ruthlessly to cull programmes and redirect those funds into hard infrastructure. It is time for wasteful programmes like the National Animal Identification and Tracing scheme (NAIT) to be cut adrift.

"We would also like to see government look at itself by either abolishing or merging quangos and Ministries.

"The Federation knows how New Zealand will pull out of this recession. That is by growing grass, turning that into protein and selling something the world needs. It's called food.

"Farmers have had their fill of doomsayers like Rod Oram who have no solutions except nay saying. We need to export our way out of recession and that means agriculture.

"To do that means doing things that will grow the New Zealand economy and not retard it. New Zealand needs major reform of the RMA combined with water storage and other infrastructure. There must also be a philosophical shift in central and local government to improve the quality of spending.

"In the meantime these numbers and the global outlook, demands we have a public debate about what we can and cannot afford. ACC is like a runaway train and the only way to slow it is by throwing the levers of competition. We must also seriously ask if New Zealand can actually afford Kyoto as it is currently structured. You can't save the planet if you can't afford to eat.

"Federated Farmers is positive about the future. Thank God we didn't become the industrial power Muldoon wanted in the 1970s or the banking capital Douglas sought in the 1980s.

"If people want to embrace the sunrise, it is farming. New Zealand doesn't need more bureaucrats, we just need more farmers," Mr York concluded.

ENDS

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