Budget breakdown: What's in it for the regions, farmers, and the primary sector?

Although funding for the primary industries was welcomed by many, there are concerns about a lack of details in some areas and the extraordinary level of debt the country is committing to in order to recover from COVID-19.

Here's a look at what was in this year's Budget for farmers and those in the primary industries.

Primary industries

Almost $500 million was allocated for primary industries in Budget 2020.

Of that, $193.5 million is set to go to continuing to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis in cows.

This initiative provides funding to support operational activities, including surveillance, tracking, movement controls and culling infected animals and contributes to compensation costs for farmers.

A further $126.1 million will go to support existing activities by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

This initiative provides funding to address price pressures to ensure that MPI is able to deliver its activities across agriculture, biosecurity, forestry, fisheries and food safety.

The forestry sector will get a boost of $43.4 million in operating costs and a $36.2 million capital investment to enable the implementation of new business processes for the Forestry Emissions Trading Scheme administration and to implement reforms set out in the Climate Change Response Bill.

Environmental jobs in the regions

The Government is set to invest $1.1 billion with the aim of creating 11,000 new jobs in the regions.

This includes:

  • $433 million for new jobs in regional environmental projects
  • $315 million biosecurity, including weed and pest control 
  • $200 million for DoC's Jobs for Nature Fund
  • $154 million for new jobs enhancing biodiversity on public and private land

Initiative to place thousands into primacy sector jobs

An investment of $19.3 million is set to place 10,000 people into primary sector jobs.

This initiative is aimed at helping those who have lost their jobs in other industries move to the primary sector, which has a growing demand for labour.


The Government will invest $38.5 million into horticulture over the next four years to ensure the sector can "grow and stay ahead of its competitors with access to safe plant and breeding material and a focus on reaching new markets", Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said.

A further $6.8 million will be allocated to provide secure greenhouse units for new imported plant varieties and breeding materials.

Budget breakdown: What's in it for the regions, farmers, and the primary sector?

Reducing food waste

A total of $14.9 million over two years has been set aside to redirect food from the primary sector that would otherwise be wasted to go to those in need. 

Support for rural communities to recover from COVID-19

Rural and fishing communities affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 will be assisted through a fund of $20.2 million to boost access to rural support services and community hubs.

Animal welfare

The Government is investing $5.4 million over four years to boost regional support for animal welfare across the country. 

This funding will give more resources for farmers to help identify and manage animal welfare.

"The combined effects of the COVID-19 response and the large-scale drought have placed significant pressure on farmers and rural communities. This pressure extends to their responsibilities around the welfare of animals in their care," O'Connor said.

The funding is aimed at helping farmers recover from current crises and will also offer support for future adverse events.


A further $3 billion has been earmarked for infrastructure projects.

Exactly where this money will be spent, however, has yet to be decided.

Both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ have said they will be talking to the Government to push for more water storage, rural broadband and enhanced mobile coverage in the regions.