This weekend’s announcement the Government plans to cap dairy herds is ill thought-out political grandstanding, National Party leader Simon Bridges says.
“David’s Parker’s announcement that the Ardern-Peters Government plans to regulate to reduce the number of cattle that farmers are allowed per hectare of farmland is yet another example of their unchecked assault on the regions.
“We saw them blindside the oil and gas industry the other day, now they’ve done the same to the dairy industry.
“In both examples, there’s been no analysis, no consultation - and they have no plan.
“We all agree water and environmental improvements need to be made but they need to be achieved through implementing a considered plan that all parties can work through over time.
“The National Government set very specific national limits on nitrates, phosphorous, E.coli, algae and ammonia through the National Policy Statement we put in place in 2014 and 2017. This put limits on diary conversions in sensitive catchments and is 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 in December 2017 - which this new Government has not progressed.
“Solving water quality issues is a team effort – for urban and rural communities and is not something to be imposed solely on farmers – who’ve actually played a massive part in investing and working up solutions to help improve the way they operate.
“What we’re seeing from this Government is pretty cavalier. They’re coming out with some bold statements driven by values, and not actually by hard evidence.
“It’s been clear for some time now this Ardern-Peters Government is out to get farmers – that can’t be made any clearer than the Minister for Agriculture himself saying they’d be ‘no friend to the farmer’
“And that’s just the start. He also made an off-the-cuff announcement farmers will be pulled into the ETS scheme before the interim climate change committee has even begun its work, he’s heavying of cattle industries to pay for the containment of the disease Mycoplasma Bovis over and above the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) framework, and they’ve announced they’ve axed $100 million of funding for regional irrigation projects.
“There seems to be a lack of any sort of comprehension that when the farmers sneeze, we all catch a cold. Whether we’re in rural or urban areas, we’re all in this together,” Mr Bridges says.