Work with farmers
by Amy Adams
While we need to continue to strive to improve our freshwater quality, the recent government announcement on capping dairy herds is political grandstanding.
We have already seen them blindside the oil and gas industry by drastically cutting exploration and now they’re doing the same to the dairy industry. There is no analysis, no consultation — they have no plan.
Environmental improvements are only achieved by governments working together with industry to improve how things are done.
The National Government set very specific national limits on nitrates, phosphorous, E coli, algae and ammonia through the national policy statements we put in place in 2014 and 2017. National’s actions put limits on dairy conversions in sensitive catchments, and these are progressively being rolled out by regional councils. In 2017 we agreed with farmers a plan for 56,000km of fencing along waterways over 12 years to come into effect from December 2017 — which this new Government has failed to act on.
Farmers play a massive part in creating and investing in solutions to improve the way they operate.
Unfortunately, it’s now clear this current Government is out to punish them — in fact, the Minister for Agriculture himself said this government is “no friend to the farmer”.
The government is seemingly failing to realise how important food production is to our economy and all of our communities, whether rural or urban.
Ahead of the budget, Labour will continue their political attacks against the previous government. Yet the reality is we made big investments every year into both health and education — last year alone we increased health spending by $880 million a year — the highest increase in 11 years.
Labour’s real problem is they promised too much. Now, these huge spending promises to both voters and their coalition parties are coming home to roost.
This government is very fortunate we left the books in such great shape. Nevertheless, with their current raid on the regions, I am not confident that by 2020 the books will be looking as strong. That means less money for your family, as well as the health and education services we all need.