Government progressing commitment to reinstate livestock exports by sea

The coalition Government is progressing its commitment to reinstate livestock exports by sea, with public consultation set to start before September, Associate Minister of Agriculture Hon Andrew Hoggard says.

Reinstating livestock exports by sea will require an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and strengthened welfare standards will be developed before the trade returns.

“I acknowledge there is significant interest in this work, and I want to give stakeholders, and the public, a clear timeline for change.

“Live exports will only commence once strengthened welfare standards are developed and in effect to protect New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible exporter and international trade obligations.

“My officials are preparing a discussion document that will be released publicly before September.”

Public consultation will seek feedback on what changes are necessary to the Animal Welfare Act, how to achieve high animal welfare standards throughout the export process, and how to protect New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible exporter and international trade obligations.

“I understand animal welfare is a top priority for all Kiwis. It’s vital, and in fact non-negotiable, that the new standards are in place before the trade is restarted. Hearing a range of voices will help us to understand how we can best achieve this.”

“After consultation, I intend to seek Cabinet decisions before the end of the year and introduce legislation to the house in early 2025, followed by updated regulatory standards.”

The value of livestock exports by sea was over $300 million in 2022. “This is not insignificant. I believe there is an opportunity to expand our live export potential and support the growth of our primary industries, and rural communities.”

New Zealand livestock is sought after for breeding and the trade supports other countries to reach their food security goals. “It is valued by our trading partners and gives farmers another revenue source during difficult financial periods, or when weather conditions mean grass production is lower.”

“I encourage people to make submissions to make sure all views are taken into account during the policy development process.”