Health, wellbeing focus

It’s an honour to be elected Federated Farmers Southland president.

Chris Dillon has done a fantastic job over the last three years and I will do my very best to continue in the same vein. I am passionate about the health and wellbeing of farmers and the rural sector generally. In this role I will work hard to be a positive voice and advocate strongly for our members.

On that note, another winter grazing season is upon us. I encourage everyone to carry on with the good practice shown in recent years. Now is not the time to sit back and take a relaxed approach on this issue. As a farming community we have shown great strength and innovation, showing why the regulations introduced over the past three years were unnecessary and divisive.

Activists will be out in force to try and prove that the new government has done the wrong thing withdrawing national winter grazing regulations.

Let’s just ignore them and get on with doing a great job, just the way we have done in recent years.

Moving forward and continuing to show improvements will allow us to bring a realistic and pragmatic approach to how regional plans are set up into the future.

The best way is for the rural community to work together, and be accountable to ourselves and each other, and to report anything of concern to the industry-led winter grazing response line at Feds (0800FARMING/0800327-646). We alongside DairyNZ and Beef & Lamb want to lead the way in addressing situations of concern to get positive outcomes for all involved (including the animals and environment).

We have a large amount of work still in front of us, and our focus right now is on local government. Many councils seem keen to continue with expensive projects that don’t make sense in the current economic or political situation. Just like their ratepayers are having to, councils need to cut their cloth to operate within their means rather than expecting more money and we’re pushing that message hard.