Govt ban is cancellation over collaboration

A future National Government will review today’s law change banning live cattle exports, National’s Animal Welfare spokesperson Nicola Grigg says.

“Despite National’s opposition, Parliament has today passed the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill into law, banning the export of live animals by sea from April next year.

“As New Zealanders grapple with a cost of living crisis made worse by the Labour Government, today’s decision signals more economic pain for farmers and consumers.

“An Infometrics Economic Impact Report says this ban will reduce New Zealand’s gross domestic product by $472 million and cost export cattle breeders between $49,000 and $116,000 per farm, every year.

“The Government failed to carry out its own robust economic analysis, nor did it consider any of the proposed amendments the National Party put forward.

“This ban follows the tragic sinking of the stock ship Gulf Livestock 1 in 2019, in which two New Zealanders died. National acknowledges the lives lost in this accident and expresses its deepest sympathies to the families impacted. However, it was a tragic maritime disaster, and this response is as disproportionate as it is ideological.

“Rather than an outright ban on live exports, the Government should legislate for a ‘gold standard’ programme that would set world-leading compliance standards like built-for-purpose ships, maximum stocking densities, vet and stock handler training, more robust reporting, exporter licensing and an importer quality assurance programme. 

“The National Party has consistently proposed amendments for the Government to consider. We suggested empowering the Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries to review whether standards could be applied that would ensure the animals' physical and behavioural needs are met on board vessels.

“Instead of looking for constructive and collaborative solutions, the Government has opted for an outright ban, at the expense of Kiwi livelihoods.

“National would work with the industry and our trading partners to ensure our exporters set the standard for other countries to follow."