Over the fence

Over the fence

Restructuring of the dairy industry

When Fonterra was established in 2001 under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA), the legislation required a review of the state of competition in the industry in 2015-16. For various reasons, the recommendations in that review were not implemented. In 2017, however, the government announced a comprehensive review of the DIRA by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). Earlier this year, the MPI review was completed with recommendations for changes to the DIRA. The resultant Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill (no 3) is currently with the Select Committee.

Overall, MPI believes that changes are needed to ensure better management of on-farm performance and planning for processing capacity. It expects these changes will increase certainty around milk price calculation, remove unnecessary regulation and protect consumer interests. In order to achieve the above objectives, several changes have been proposed, including:

  • Allowing Fonterra to refuse the supply of milk from farmers in circumstances where milk does not or is not likely to comply with Fonterra’s terms and standards of supply, or in circumstances where milk is supplied from newly-converted dairy farms
  • Clarifying Fonterra’s terms of supply can relate to various on-farm performance matters, such as environmental, animal welfare, climate change and other sustainability standards and that price can be adjusted accordingly
  • Limiting Fonterra’s discretion in calculating the base price of milk and clarifying that Fonterra can pay a different farm gate milk price to the base milk price
  • For Fonterra to be no longer required to supply regulated milk to independent processors with their own supply of 30 million litres or more in a single season, and
  • Proposing that MPI updates the terms on which Fonterra supplies regulated milk to Hong Kong/Singapore-owned manufacturer Goodman Fielder in order to benefit domestic consumers.

The Select Committee’s report is due on 20 March 2020. We will have some commentary on this report in the Autumn 2020 edition of Rural eSpeaking.

In the meantime, to read more about the Bill, please click here. If you would like to know more about how this proposed legislation may affect your farm, please get in touch with us.

Immigration: changes to employer processes and visas

Immigration New Zealand has introduced changes that affect some employers and migrant workers. These will be introduced in various stages over the next 18 months to 2021. Changes include:

  • A new three-stage employer-led visa application process (the employer check, the job check and the worker check)
  • A new temporary work visa (replacing six temporary work visas)
  • Classifying jobs as low or high-paid based on whether they are paid above or below the average New Zealand wage
  • Strengthening the labour market test for low-paid jobs and open access for high-paid jobs in rural regions
  • Sector agreements for some industries that regularly employ migrant workers, and
  • Reinstating the ability for lower-paid workers to bring their families to New Zealand.

There are, however, changes for Talent Accredited Employers; these took effect from 7 October 2019. They include:

  • An increase the salary employers must offer their employees before they can apply for a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa (from $55,000 to $79,560), and
  • A reduction in the period of accreditation of employers to 24 months.

Some visa requirements and processes will remain the same. People holding visas based on lower-skilled work must still leave New Zealand for a one-year period after they have been working for three years, and Immigration New Zealand must still be satisfied that there are no New Zealanders available for that job before approving a visa.

Animal welfare regulations reminder: dogs

With the summer season now in full swing, we remind you of a number of changes in the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018. These were mostly minor changes to existing regulations, although some entirely new regulations have also been introduced.

We list the new regulations regarding the treatment of dogs, as well as the penalties for breaches:

  • Muzzles must not cause cuts, skin abrasions or swelling. Muzzles must not prevent your dog from breathing normally, panting, drinking, or vomiting
  • Dogs must have dry, ventilated and shaded shelter where they are protected from extreme temperatures and have room
    to stand, turn, sit and lie down. Dogs must have separate areas in which to relieve themselves and waste must not be allowed to accumulate in any areas in which they are kept
  • Dogs must not be left in a vehicle such that they drool/pant excessively, hyperventilate or compulsively seek to place themselves in the shadiest spot in the car, and
  • Dogs on the backs of utes on public roads must be secured by a cage or tethers that help prevent your dog falling or hanging off the ute’s tray. If tethers are used, they must be short enough to prevent your dog’s legs from reaching over the sides, but long enough to allow your dog to stand or lie down in a natural position. The only exception to this rule is if farm dogs are actively helping to drive or manage livestock – in which case they can jump on and off the vehicle.

A breach of any of the above can result in an infringement fine of $300, with the possibility of a further fine of up to $900 for failing to comply.

Further new regulations include, but are not limited to, fines for allowing horns to become ingrown on cattle, goats or rams; regulations on the use of collars, tethers and electric prods; restrictions on castrating pigs, sheep, cattle and horses without anaesthetic; bans on mulesing sheep; fireworks at rodeos; and docking the tails of dogs and cattle. Pigs’ tails may still be docked but this is subject to new restrictions. Some of these new regulations carry fines of up to $25,000 if breached.

To know more, click here.

DISCLAIMER: All the information published in Rural eSpeaking is true and accurate to the best of the authors’ knowledge. It should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by the authors or publisher for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on this article. Views expressed are those of individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the view of this firm. Articles appearing in Rural eSpeaking may be reproduced with prior approval from the editor and credit given to the source.  Copyright, NZ LAW Limited, 2019. Editor: Adrienne Olsen. E-mail: adrienne@adroite.co.nz. Ph: 029 286 3650 or 04 496 5513.