WELLINGTON, June 6 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand will back New Zealand's vital primary sectors by boosting funding for biosecurity, research, food safety and animal welfare compliance, New Zealand Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor on Thursday.
Speaking to a group of top-performing farmers at the NZ Farm Environment Trust in Hamilton, O'Connor said the government was committed to working alongside farmers and that recent biosecurity outbreaks had shown the need to strengthen New Zealand's protections against pests and disease.
The Budget committed an extra 12.3 million New Zealand dollars to boost our biosecurity systems. An extra 21 million New Zealand dollars to boost has been committed to stop the spread of wilding conifers, which is a significant increase in the government's annual investment.
"As we face threats from more visitors and a changing climate we must adapt. We want to protect the value farmers and growers get for their work." O'Connor said, "New Zealand's food and fibre products have an excellent reputation overseas, but we need to protect and build that up."
"Overseas consumers want greater assurances that the food and fibre they buy is produced safely from well-looked after animals. The Budget commits an extra 40.7 million New Zealand dollars to strengthen our food safety, fisheries and animal welfare compliance systems," said O'Connor.
O'Connor said 9.8 million New Zealand dollars in new funding was committed to protect the primary sector's high-value export products and update the official assurances system that supports these.
The Government has also committed 8.5 million New Zealand dollars to the Global Research Alliance's work on greenhouse gases and 229 million New Zealand dollars to help farmers make the changes required to get more value for what they do and help protect the environment.
"The Budget initiatives are about boosting extensions services, getting information to farmers, upskilling advisers and ensuring everyone can get more value for what they do on farm," said O'Connor. (1 New Zealand dollar equals 0.66 US dollar)