Lockwood Smith to Visit Clutha-Southland Tomorrow

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

New structures for a deregulated agriculture industry must have the support of farmers, Agriculture Minister Lockwood Smith said today.

"Special statutory powers are going to go. But, through our progressive change management process, the Government will ensure that whatever new structures are put in place have the support of farmers," he said.

Dr Smith was commenting on the eve of his visit to the Clutha-Southland electorate to discuss producer board reform and other agriculture issues with local farmers.

In the Budget, the Government asked each producer board to develop initial plans for a future without special statutory powers. These are to be presented to the Government by 15 November. However, no change will be implemented on that date. Change will be implemented progressively on the advice of the industries concerned.

Dr Smith says the Government's progressive change management process is designed to be industry-driven and involve the highest possible degree of farmer consultation.

"I expect boards to fully consult farmers and orchardists as they develop their plans.

"The boards must be able to demonstrate that they have done so and that their proposed new structures are seen by farmers as the best possible for a deregulated environment.

"Should some issues still be undecided by 15 November, the boards will be expected to outline how they will settle those issues to the satisfaction of farmers.

"Not all farmers are happy about the removal of producer boards' special statutory powers, but I am determined they be satisfied with the new structures that will be put in place."

Dr Smith will attend three farmers' meeting while in Clutha-Southland tomorrow:

11.30 am
Boyles Garden Bar
327 Great North Rd

2.45 pm
Riversdale Hotel
Main Street

4.45 pm
Oak Tree Inn
Main Street

While in the electorate, Dr Smith will visit Topoclimate, 59 Main Street, Mataura, at 1.30 pm. Topoclimate, which has been endorsed by the Royal Society, analyses local climatic conditions and soil-types in order to advise farmers on the type of farming which is best suited to their land.

At 2.00 pm, Dr Smith will be available at Topoclimate to brief the media on any issues of interest.