16 May 2014

Budget impresses farm lobbyist

7:13 am on 16 May 2014

Federated Farmers has given the Government's 2014 Budget the big tick.

The federation said another $40 million for irrigation investment , increased funding for research and science, and $8.5 million more for agriculture tuition subsidies were positive, as was the $20 million in funding for freshwater and environmental initiatives.

Centre pivot irrigation in Central Otago.

Centre pivot irrigation in Central Otago. Photo: PHOTO NZ

But the president, Bruce Wills said what really impressed the federation was the return to a surplus signalled in the Budget.

"I read this as a sensible, prudent, pragmatic budget for our times, so, particularly nice to see a return to budget surplus,'' he said. "I think that's the critical one."

"The big ones for agriculture are interest rates and exchange rates. What we see in this budget is a commitment to continued restraint around spending.

"With the combination of those two, that's less pressure on monetary policy, less pressure on exchange rates, less pressure on driving that kiwi dollar north."

The $40 million in irrigation funding in the budget came on top of the $80 million put into the new Crown irrigation company in last year's budget.

It would be used to invest in regional irrigation schemes.

The company made its first investment last month - $6.5 million for the Central Plains Water Scheme in Canterbury.