Rural Communities

Rural communities (rural people and rural businesses) are at the heart of the primary sector and are an important part of the New Zealand community and economy.

Rural communities are diverse and dynamic, with varying prosperity and demography. Distances from services and markets, infrastructure, and low population density affect the way different rural communities live and work.

The Ministry for Primary Industries takes a lead role across government in working alongside rural communities to address some of the issues specific to the rural population.

Primary Sector Recovery Policy

The Primary Sector Recovery Policy was announced in June 2012 and is used to guide Government decisions on recovery assistance following adverse climatic events and natural disasters and biosecurity incursions impacting on-farm. It covers production businesses within the agriculture, horticulture, forestry and aquaculture sectors. This policy is guided by 12 principles which guide the intent of when support should or should not be provided to farmers following an adverse climatic event or natural disaster or biosecurity incursion impacting on-farm.

Two frameworks sit within the Primary Sector Recovery Policy: the On-farm Adverse Events Recovery Framework and a Biosecurity Recovery Framework.

Adverse events (natural disaster recovery)

Disruptive weather is a normal part of primary production. Managing adverse weather and climatic risks is part of primary production, as well as building a resilient business and rural community.

There are times, however, when an event is beyond the community's capacity to cope, and central government assistance may be required to help people respond and recover.

The Adverse events page has information on the government’s on-farm adverse events recovery framework, the assistance available and specific information relating to droughts, floods, storms, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

Biosecurity Recovery

In June 2012 the government announced a Biosecurity Recovery Framework to guide decisions on when and what government assistance may be made available to aid recovery from a significant biosecurity incursion.

The Biosecurity recovery page has information on the Biosecurity Recovery Framework, including the criteria for assistance and what assistance may be available.

Regional Growth Studies — Partners in growth

Primary industries are the bread and butter of many regional economies. So what growth opportunities do they offer, and how can regions and government work together to help realise this potential?

No one person or organisation holds the key, as different parts of the picture are held or understood by different players – local businesses, industry players, iwi authorities and property owners. On top of this, local and central government have their own perspectives and interests in economic development – on behalf of ratepayers and taxpayers.

A new project underway will draw all these strands together into Regional Growth Studies, commissioned for each region by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Click here to read more about Regional Growth Studies.

Rural Support Trusts

Rural Support Trusts help rural people during and after extreme weather events. As well as this, many of the trusts also provide their services in times of general hardship.

MPI provides financial assistance to the Rural Support Trusts following a medium or large scale adverse weather or natural disaster event.

A number of other government agencies also provide help after an adverse weather event.

Vet Bonding Scheme

To address shortages of veterinarians working with production animals, the Government has committed to a Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians.

Keeping Farmers Informed

E-newsletter Smart Farming Bulletin gives farmers information and news about sustainable, resilient and productive agriculture.  It covers information about managing natural resources, adapting to climate change and weather extremes, and the Emissions Trading Scheme. It also answers some of the questions MPI receives most often.

To subscribe, please send your expression of interest to Smart Farming

Coexistence and GM

Producers in New Zealand currently use different types of non-GM systems, such as conventional or organic production. Coexistence between these systems has been happening in New Zealand (and overseas) for many years. For example, New Zealand's organics industry coexists alongside conventional production, which uses products and methods not allowed in organic production. Another example is where high-purity seed producers cooperate about where and when they sow their crops, to help maintain the purity of their seeds by minimising cross-pollination. Read more about Coexistence…

Reports and analysis

MPI runs an annual farm monitoring process to examine the production and financial status of farms in terms of the cash income and expenditure. Trends, issues and sector concerns are also monitored and reported annually.

MPI's Situation and Outlook for New Zealand Agriculture & Forestry (SONZAF) report and the more recent Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) report provides an annual overview of issues faced by the rural sector.

In April 2011, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry released Maori Agribusiness in New Zealand: A Study of the Maori Freehold Land Resource

Rural Proofing

Rural Proofing is a process designed to assist central government agencies to identify, consider and take into account the needs and circumstances of the rural community when developing and implementing policy and when undertaking consultation.


Last Updated: 29 September 2014

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