Dairy legislation review next steps

Our biggest and most important export sector must be fit for the future, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said today as the inclusive and comprehensive review of dairy industry legislation moved to public consultation.

“It’s timely to take a strategic view of the challenges and opportunities facing the nearly $17 billion dairy sector,’’ Damien O’Connor said.

“A productive and sustainable dairy sector that grows value and protects the natural resources it depends upon is vital to our economic prosperity and the wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

“In May the Government began a review of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA), which regulates Fonterra’s dominance in the market to protect the long-term interests of all farmers, consumers and the wider economy.

“The dairy industry was built on the back of the DIRA legislation and it is a significant driver of the industry’s performance.

“The review is looking at open entry and exit obligations, the farm gate milk price settings, contestability for farmers’ milk, the risks and costs for the sector, and the incentives or disincentives for dairy to move to sustainable, higher-value production and processing.

“It’s important to look at whether the DIRA has achieved its objectives, created unintended consequences, and whether it is still needed in its current form.

“We need everyone with an interest in the success of the dairy sector to take part in a frank appraisal of the issues,” Mr O’Connor said.

Mr O’Connor launched the discussion document at an Outram dairy farm today. The consultation runs until 8 February 2019.

Further information is at www.mpi.govt.nz/dira-review.