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14 October 2019

Hearing farmers' concerns around the Government’s proposed Freshwater policy changes will be the focus of meetings in the district this week, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

"I'll be hosting National's Agriculture spokesman Todd Muller at meetings in Fairlie, Papakaio and Waimate on Wednesday 16th October.

“There's a lot of apprehension and disbelief amongst local farmers about the new policies which many say will potentially change the face of agriculture in New Zealand forever.

"The draconian proposals could see nitrate uses lowered to a point where businesses will be no longer viable, while new tougher grazing and fencing regulations will be enforced.

“While the quality and protection of our freshwater is of the utmost importance, I believe the Government has given little consideration to the massive progress already made, and billions of dollars spent by the agricultural sector, to create sustainable practices moving forward.

“Rural communities were only given 8 weeks to submit on a policy which has some of the most far-reaching regulations to hit NZ farmers. There is also a distinct lack of clarity throughout the document, with very little or no viable economic modelling to be found, making it impossible for businesses to clarify the full impact on their operations.

“I welcome urban people to also attend these meetings, as their way of life will also be drastically effected with rate rises and a downturn in spending from the agriculture sector.

“I agree with Mr Muller when he says to regulate our most productive industry into oblivion, simply due to political ideology, is reckless economic sabotage.

"The Governments 'consultation' meetings over the past month have been a farce, with many describing them as a box-ticking exercise.

"This week's meetings will be a good chance to generate proper informed discussion ahead of submissions closing on the 31st October."

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