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Today’s freshwater announcement is a gut punch to rural New Zealand from a Government that continues to heap pressure onto our most productive sector, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“These proposals will put the shackles on our farmers’ ability to innovate and will heap costs on to a sector that is already facing historically low confidence.

“What’s appalling is that there is little-to-no economic analysis to be found in the document, with no mention of the severe costs that will be inflicted on to farmers and the wider economy.

“Farmers have put their shoulders to the wheel and put in the hard yards for our water quality, with dairy farmers fencing off over 98 per cent of waterways and spending over $1 billion in environmental investment over the last five years. National applauds these efforts but the Government continues to ignore the sector’s hard work.

“We all want improved fresh water outcomes but we have to back farmers to farm their way to better outcomes as they have been doing. Farmers must see a pathway to improve while being profitable, our rural communities and economic wealth as a country depends on it. 

“The primary sector accounts for 60 per cent of our exports and is the backbone of our economy. If we want first world healthcare, transport and education, we have to sell something to the world to afford to buy our first world affluence. 

“These new proposals will be a hammer blow to what is a highly vulnerable sector and will damage our competitive advantage as a country.”

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