Damian O’Conner has badly let down rural New Zealand by not requesting economic and social analysis on his Government’s freshwater proposals, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.
“Ministry for Primary Industries officials revealed today in Select Committee that they did not conduct any economic or social modelling prior to the release of the proposals, nor did the Agriculture Minister ask them to.
“It is Damien O’Connor’s responsibility to look out for rural communities and make sure the facts are laid out before hammering them with the most significant policy proposal farmers have faced in years.
“His ministry printed in its 2019 Annual Review that ‘prosperity’ is its number one value, yet officials don’t appear to have thought of the prosperity of rural communities in this instance.
“Organisations such as Dairy NZ, Local Government New Zealand, AgFirst and others have been forced to pick up the slack and provide their own analysis, which paints a picture of huge costs and enormous land use change.
“Tens of thousands of farmers have provided detailed submissions to the Government because they’re concerned about the impact these proposals will have on their businesses.
“The Minister has failed them by not asking for detailed analysis from his ministry and making the data available for consideration. No wonder farmers’ confidence is at all-time lows.”