7 June 2022
An independent report commissioned by the Government shows consumers would need to pay at least 18.8 per cent more for their New Zealand born and raised pork to cover pig farmers’ costs if proposed changes to the pigs code of welfare go-ahead.
Australasian consultancy group Sapere, which was asked by the Government to analyse the financial impacts of the proposed draft code on the pork industry and consumers, warns competition from offshore pork would make it difficult to sustain such a price increase as imports would undercut New Zealand prices - reducing sales of New Zealand pork.
Sapere also predicts pig farmers would struggle to obtain or pay back loans needed to re-build their farms under the controversial draft code plans released by the Government.
The draft code, which goes well beyond the welfare requirements in other countries, includes colossal changes to the minimum space allowance required for grower pigs, a ban or significant limitation on the traditional use of farrowing systems (farrowing crates), an effective ban on mating stalls and sets a minimum weaning age of 28 days for piglets.
In basing its modelling on a 350-sow farm, Sapere also concluded that a pig farm would need to save existing cash earnings for 19 years to cover the investment required to meet the proposed changes.
Brent Kleiss, chief executive of NZPork, says the report paints a damning picture of the impact of the Government’s proposed reforms.
“The report is clear and unequivocal. It says it would be nigh-on impossible for farmers to pay back what they would have to borrow to implement the proposed code changes and leave consumers no choice but to buy imported pork produced under practices that are already illegal in New Zealand.
“To leave this 350-sow farm with the same expected earnings as today, prices paid to the farmer for their pork would have to rise by 18.8 per cent from today and be maintained at that level in real terms for the next 20 years.
“The New Zealand pork sector has been clear from the outset that we welcome and encourage change where there are proven and well-researched positive animal welfare outcomes for all pigs, however this report represents another nail in the coffin.
“If the Government proceeds with these changes, it needs to be prepared to accept it will destroy a local industry, and in the same breath, leave New Zealanders reliant on even greater volumes of imported pork.”
The report can be found at: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/50920/direct