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The Environment Minister’s two week extension for submissions to his freshwater plan is lame and will do nothing to assist farmers struggling to meet the deadline, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

“Announced late on Friday, a flimsy two-week submission extension is an insult to farmers’ concerns, making very little difference to their ability to meet the Minister’s deadline.

“Let’s not forget that these freshwater proposals took almost 12 months to put together – so it’s blatantly unfair that farmers are only being given a few short weeks to have their say.

“Farmers have told me that they will not be fobbed off like this – they contribute significantly to the country’s economy and expect their voices to be given a robust hearing by the Minister.

“When I suggested that David Parker extend the consultation period, I had hoped he would see reason and give farmers extra months, not a couple of extra weeks, to be involved in this process.

“This consultation period falls right in the middle of calving and lambing, the busiest time of year on the farming calendar, so extending the consultation period by two weeks will achieve nothing.

“One can only assume that the Environment Minister is not interested in listening to the real concerns of farmers, as he effectively shuts them out of the consultation process.”

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