“The incoming Government is promoting a new direction for the country at a time when our dairy sector also faces a new and exciting future,” says Dr Mackle.
“The decade ahead will be transformational for the dairy sector. We have a strong mandate to concentrate on productivity – to produce more from less – and to do so sustainably.
“New Zealand dairy farmers are among the most productive in the world, so we have a good story to tell. But we know there is more work to be done.
“We support initiatives that incentivise farmers to use the best environmental practices, we’ve been openly welcoming of the discussions around water, and we know agriculture has a role to play in ensuring New Zealand meets its climate change targets.
“In fact, last week we openly called for the new Government to put in place an economy-wide plan outlining what the emission reduction expectations are for each sector over the longer term. Having this in place will allow New Zealand to transition to a low-carbon economy.”
Dr Mackle says Government and dairy need to work together to identify what an emissions reduction pathway looks like before identifying what the right policy is to implement the change.
“We started this work under the National-led Government, and we hope we can do likewise under the Labour-led Government – and that all options are on the table.”
Under the Paris Agreement New Zealand commits to reduce emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
“This is just 12 years away, and for New Zealand to meet this target significant change in the climate change space is required,” says Dr Mackle. “This is why we, with the support of the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Primary Industries, collaborated with Fonterra to launch the Dairy Action for Climate Change plan in June.
“These are all issues we look forward to discussing with the incoming Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, and the new Government over the coming months.”
Dr Mackle also notes the splitting of the primary industries portfolios, and that Damien O’Connor will be a key Minister for the dairy sector, holding the agriculture, biosecurity, and food safety portfolios.
“We are confident that with Mr O’Connor’s thorough understanding of the issues facing the dairy sector we will continue the good work already underway with Government to ensure a productive and sustainable primary sector.
“Our focus is to ensure dairy continues to have a balance between being competitive and profitable, while also meeting the expectations of our consumers and communities.
“I look forward to working with the new Government to ensure dairy is a sector that makes all New Zealanders proud.”