Federated Farmers Submission on the Environment Canterbury Annual Plan 2016-17

The economic importance of the agricultural sector to New Zealand’s economy is well recognised. Its direct and indirect contribution to New Zealand’s economy is about 15%. Land-based primary sector exports comprise about 70% of New Zealand’s total exports. Any council activity which affects farm businesses has the potential to also impact, positively or negatively, on district, regional and national economies.

Rates and other local government charges and costs make up a significant portion of farm business expenses. As a result, Federated Farmers is very concerned with the transparency of rate setting and the overall cost of local government to agriculture.

Federated Farmers supports councils that are making progress towards achieving fairness and equity in their rating polices. We support Environment Canterbury’s objectives that rates are collected from properties that are the direct beneficiaries of services where these can be identified and to spread the incidence of rates as fairly as possible to be consistent in charging rates. Federated Farmers appreciates the extensive use of targeted rates by the Council for a range of activities which benefit some particular groups more than others.

This submission was developed in consultation with the members and policy staff of Federated Farmers. It is important that this submission is not viewed as a single submission, but as a collective one, that represents the opinions and views of our members.