In allowing spiraling costs and rampant inflation to hit New Zealand’s most productive sector, the Labour Government is biting the hand that literally feeds it, National’s Rural Communities spokesperson Nicola Grigg says.

“New Zealand’s agricultural sector is seeing a dramatic rise in input costs as farmers and growers grapple with the same cost of living crisis that is impacting us all.

“The increase in costs is being felt particularly badly by our farmers. In the last year, the cost of fuel has risen more than 44 per cent, fertiliser more than 28 per cent, stock feed and grazing more than six per cent, seeds six percent and power 21 per cent.

“If you want to go out and buy a new Toyota Hilux you’ll now be paying an extra $5175 in ‘ute tax’ when registering it – and Labour will soon be introducing legislation requiring employers pay a 1.4 per cent levy on employees’ salaries into a new ‘income insurance scheme’.

“Labour tries to blame rampant domestic inflation entirely on global forces like the war in Ukraine, but that simply isn’t true because inflation here hit a 30-year-high of 5.9 per cent in December, before the outbreak of war.

“What the Government can control is the regulation and compliance costs it passes on to our farmers which continue to whittle away at profitability. National would support our farmers by reducing these regulations and compliance costs.

“That reduced profitability is felt in rural service towns across the country as people tighten their personal and business expenditure.

“While impressive commodity prices meet some of these rising costs, they don’t equate to impressive margins – they instead contribute to an increased government tax-take.

“A New Zealand government should be powering up, not squeezing down, on our primary sector right when we need it the most.”