Over the fence

Tougher firearms legislation now in force

The Arms Legislation Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 24 June 2020 and came into force immediately. The legislation imposes tighter controls on the use and possession of firearms. A key change is the introduction of a firearms registry, which will track how many firearms are in legal circulation, who holds them, who is selling them and who is buying them. People holding a firearms licence will be required to update the registry as they buy or sell guns.

Further changes include:

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National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020

Water was the hot topic in the 2017 election campaign. This year, with an election coming up shortly, there seems to have been little talk of water (or much policy at all, so far) with Covid still taking up most of the news space, closely followed by scandals of various sorts.

The National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020 (the Freshwater NES), however, are due to be published later this year. Some parts of it will take effect 28 days after it is published while other parts won’t come into effect until the winter of 2021. This year is more than half over, and with the first half of the year being severely disrupted by the Covid lockdown and because the election is looming, there can be no certainty that the new Freshwater NES will be published this year. There is no certainty as to what form it will take, given we may not know which parties will form the government – perhaps sometime in October.

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Covid-19

Agriculture continues to be the mainstay of our economy

The Covid-19 virus that is sweeping the world has impacted upon us all. The repercussions will differ depending on where you live, what age you are and what you do, but it will be there nonetheless.

The economic impact of the virus remains uncertain but it will be significant. In New Zealand, the immediate effect was on the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors.

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Action Plan for Healthy Waterways

Government’s proposal to clean up waterways

Water quality is no new issue in Aotearoa New Zealand, but it is a growing one. On 31 October 2019, the government closed submissions on the Action Plan for Healthy Waterways. The Plan has since been referred to an independent advisory panel that will consider the public’s submissions and report back to the government. The panel consists of five members with expertise in a range of areas including dairy farming, environmental law, hydrology and water management.

Introducing the Plan, Environment Minister, David Parker spoke of the loss of New Zealand’s once-swimmable rivers and lakes. Damien O’Connor, Minister of Agriculture and for Rural Communities, commended the effort made by farmers to date:

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Over the fence

Cattle rustling now a crime

As noted in the Autumn edition of Rural eSpeaking, the newly minted Crimes Amendment Act has introduced two new offences aimed at addressing cattle rustling. The legislation came into force on 12 March 2019.

rustling

Federated Farmers has estimated that livestock thefts cost the farming community more than $120 million every year. Cattle rustling also causes biosecurity concerns associated with the movement of stock as well as the safety of farmers as firearms and other weapons are often involved with this kind of offending.

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Resource management system review

Complex task ahead

In contrast to the review of the NAIT system that we discussed in our previous post, it will be challenging for the government to get a consensus on the recently announced review of the resource management system. The four leading political parties have differing views on how to manage resource management issues. In particular, the Coalition government has three partners – all of which have somewhat contrasting policy positions.

The review will be undertaken by a resource management review panel made up of people with skills in relevant areas. The panel is chaired by Tony Randerson QC, a retired Judge of the Court of Appeal. Additional members will be appointed in the coming months.

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NAIT review

Significant changes post-M.bovis

The NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing) system was first introduced in 2012 and came into effect progressively until it was fully implemented on 29 February 2016.

NAIT

Any completely new system is likely to need a review after being in operation for a period of time. Within 18 months of NAIT’s final implementation date, the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis in this country gave the regime a real test and, not surprisingly, the system was found wanting in some respects.

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Over the fence

Minimum wage review 2019

The government reviews the minimum wage each year.

On 1 April 2019 the adult minimum wage will increase from $16.50/hour to $17.70/hour. The starting out and training minimum wage will increase from $13.20/hour to $14.16/hour. The government has also set indicative rates of $18.90/hour from 1 April 2020 and to $20.00/hour from 1 April 2021. These rates will be subject to each year’s annual review.

minimum

We recommend you review all wage and salary structures to ensure your employees are paid at least the minimum wage at all times for hours worked.

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Tenure review of Crown pastoral land to end

What is the government proposing?

The Minister for Land Information, the Hon Eugenie Sage, announced on 17 February this year that the ‘tenure review’ of Crown pastoral land under the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998 (CPLA) would end. She introduced a discussion document entitled ‘Enduring Stewardship of Crown Pastoral Land’ that sets out a number of proposals in relation to Crown pastoral land. Public feedback is sought on:

  • The implications of ending the tenure review
  • The outcomes the Crown is seeking for Crown pastoral land, and
  • What changes should be made to the Crown Pastoral Land regulatory system to achieve those outcomes.

Submissions should be made by 5pm on Friday 12 April 2019.

Background

There are 171 remaining Crown pastoral lease properties covering approximately 1.2 million hectares of Crown pastoral land.

Crown Pastoral Land

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Over the fence

Mycoplasma bovis and land transactions

Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) continues to be a real concern for the farming industry in New Zealand.

mycoplasma

If you are thinking of entering into legal arrangements for the sale and purchase of rural land, it’s important that you consider including specific provisions that address M. bovis. There will be the possibility that livestock on the subject property may test positive for M. bovis between the date of the signed agreement for sale and purchase and the date for settlement.

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