Farmers angry at proposed health and safety regulations video

Stuff.co.nz

Consultant surprised at the mood of farmers during Fieldays.

Proposed new health and safety regulations are putting some farmers off farming, according to a Taranaki exhibitor at Fieldays

Some farmers are so angry about what they see as the harsh provisions of the Health and Safety Reform Bill now before Parliament they're considering giving up farming, says Govett Quilliam rural consultant Margaret Steiner-Joyce.

One of the few legal practices exhibiting at the national agricultural expo, the New Plymouth firm has had a stand at Fieldays for the last four years.

Farming consultant Margaret Steiner-Joyce, left, and associate Troy Wano of Govett Quilliam lawyers were surprised by ...
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Farming consultant Margaret Steiner-Joyce, left, and associate Troy Wano of Govett Quilliam lawyers were surprised by the upbeat mood of farmers during the 2015 Fieldays near Hamilton.

Steiner-Joyce said farmers were particularly worried about managing contractors working on their farms and hoped the Government would adopt a softer approach in a review now under way.

She was advising them to talk to companies that helped farmers prepare health and safety plans and she noted WorkSafe was adopting a pro-active approach to helping farmers.

"Older farmers are finding it hard, but younger ones are taking it on board," she said.

Both she and fellow Taranaki exhibitor, Carac Couplings owner, John Burling, of Eltham, said the mood of farmers at Fieldays was optimistic.

Dairy farmers did not seem "overly worried" about this season's projected low payout because they were expecting it to come right in the 2016-17 dairy season, Steiner-Rice said.

They were feeling positive about low interest rates and the support they were receiving from banks which were allowing clients to make interest-only repayments on loans.

An exhibitor at Fieldays for the last eight years and a visitor to the event since he was a child, Burling said farmers were in a good mood. "Sheep and beef farmers are in the most positive mood ever," he said.

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At the first day of Fieldays on Wednesday, he unveiled a new safety product that stops rubber-tracked  diggers sliding in the wet. He is a previous winner of a Fieldays innovation award for his Trackgrip product for steel-tracked machinery.

Visiting the Fieldays for the first time for a couple of years with wife Helen and staying nearby on his "rest home on wheels",  Tarata sheep and beef farmer Bryan Hocken said the event was magic and had allowed him to network with a lot of people in a short space of time.

He said dairy farmers were subdued, beef farmers were optimistic and sheep farmers were disappointed they hadn't received the $100 a lamb they expected last season

Visitors to the Hamilton event enjoyed afternoon sunshine after putting up with showers on Thursday morning.

About 30,000 people visited Fieldays on Wednesday and similar numbers were expected on Thursday.     

 - Stuff

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