Tough economy not the time for more red tape, Feds survey finds

Farmer confidence in general economic conditions has hit a record low, according to a Federated Farmers January survey.

Of just over 1,100 responses from farm businesses around the country, a net 65.2 percent considered current economic conditions to be bad. That’s 17.4 points worse than the survey in July last year and the lowest level of confidence expressed in the 27 biannual Farm Confidence surveys Feds has conducted since 2009.

A net 81.8 percent of farmer respondents expected economic conditions to deteriorate over the next 12 months, 0.9 points down on the survey six months ago.

"It’s not just inflation and rising farm input costs," Federated Farmers President and economic spokesman Andrew Hoggard says.

Asked to list their top three concerns, those who took part in the survey put climate change policy and the Emissions Trade Scheme at No 1. Debt, interest costs and bank pressure leapt to second place and at No 3 is regulation and compliance costs - a catch-all for the wave of reform, regulation, red tape and costs swamping the sector.

"Just one example - proposed replacement resource management legislation. It took 30 years for the existing RMA and amendments to swell to a bloated and tortuous 800-plus pages. The call was for something simpler, less cumbersome and costly but the proposed new legislation is just as lengthy," Andrew says.

"The National and Built Environment and Spatial Planning Bills undermine local democracy, fail to reduce compliance complexity and will be a feast for lawyers for years ahead, with farmers, businesses and ratepayers shouldering delays and cost."

The Feds survey found the four highest priorities farmers want the Government to address were Fiscal Policy; Economy & Business Environment; Regulation & Compliance Costs; and Supporting Agriculture & Exporters.

Faltering confidence means less investment in farm improvements and production, and lower spending in the provinces. The January survey registered a steep decline in profitability, with a net 28.4 percent of respondents reported making a profit currently, down 26.7 points on July 2022.

Looking ahead, 5.4 percent of respondents expect their production to decline over the year (4.9 percent down on six months ago) and a net 24.1 percent thought their spending would increase over the next 12 months, down 30.5 points on the July finding.

Click here to view the report.


For more information contact:
Andrew Hoggard, President Federated Farmers of NZ and economic spokesperson, 027 230 7363
Simon Edwards | Senior Communications Advisor, Federated Farmers
Email: [email protected], Mobile: +64 (0)27 484 8892