Red meat sector warns prices will rise unless Government meets demands in new manifesto

New Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has been given some "compulsory reading" from the country's red meat sector. 

Beef and Lamb NZ has released a manifesto that covers five key areas of concern for the sector including climate and environment policy, workforce and industrial relations, trade, biosecurity, and innovation, research and development.

They say confidence in the future of farming is at a record low and they want to see some policies shelved. Labour settings and immigration settings alone, they say, are costing the industry $600 million in lost value.

Beef and Lamb NZ chairman Andrew Morrison told AM on Thursday the new Prime Minister should take the time to hear the industry's concerns. 

Morrison warned the extra costs being put on the sector will filter through and mean higher costs in the supermarket - when the country is already grappling with a cost of living crisis and stubbornly high inflation.

"When we're asking for this stuff, effectively we are asking this for New Zealanders," Morrison told AM co-host Ryan Bridge on Thursday. 

"Our rural communities and food production and the jobs created - we are New Zealand's largest manufacturing sector, the jobs in the regions are crucial and so that's why we always come to the table with solutions as opposed to just complaining."

Morrison said farmers "want to play their part" in improving the environment but there are "poorly crafted" and conflicting rules that need to go. 

The sector is calling for the Government to urgently curb the sale of sheep and beef farms into carbon farming, he said. 

Beef and Lamb NZ is also calling for the methane targets to be amended "in line with the latest science". 

When asked whether the new Prime Minister had acknowledged the sector's manifesto, Morrison said he is yet to hear from him but is hoping he will take it onboard. 

"It's been a busy few days for the new Prime Minister, so no, we haven't managed to connect as yet."

But he said the sector is hopeful Hipkins appears to be listening so far. 

"I'm heartened by Prime Minister Hipkins comments he's acknowledging [there has been] too much, too fast. And he said, look, 'We're going to have to put the lens of this on the impact on the inflationary pressures on New Zealand'. 

"And we think the food production and the costs imposed on the sector fairly and squarely fall into that conversation."

It comes after Hipkins signalled the cost of living will be top of mind for his Government - although he's yet to announce how he will tackle it. 

In his first AM interview as Prime Minister Hipkins said he's committed to focusing on the "bread and butter" issues New Zealanders are facing such as inflation and increasing costs. 

"I understand what the issues are that are driving New Zealanders, and I want to make sure that my Government is absolutely focussed on those core bread and butter issues that are important to New Zealanders."