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Today’s Ministry for the Environment meeting in Gore proves just how out of touch this current Government is with the primary sector, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.

“Today, Ministry officials admitted and apologised for underestimating the interest in the freshwater policy meetings,” Mr Walker says.

“On top of this, the Agriculture Minister told the room to get over it when it was raised that this Government was damaging farmers’ equity.”

“Yet again this Government is not listening to farmers and talking down to them”

“Officials admitted again no economic analysis has been done, that they haven’t looked at the social or mental impacts of these proposals and that rules shouldn’t be written in Wellington but on the farm.”

“This Government has its sights firmly set on farmers are the primary sector which was evident in the timeline being dictated by the Minister.”

“Officials also acknowledged how busy this time of year is for farmers, but farmers were still talked down to, as the consultation period was only extended by two weeks.”

“While admitting all of the above, it was again disappointing that yet again officials couldn’t answer basic questions raised from the floor and farmers who are trying to seek clarity were still left with giant question marks.”

“We all understand water is both a critical strategic asset and a source of recreation in New Zealand, and we all know how important it is to have clean and healthy waterways - it was evident in today’s meeting.”

“However, this Government talking down to farmers and attempting to regulate them out of business is further increasing pressure on an industry whose confidence is already extremely low.”

“The primary sector accounts for about 60% of New Zealand’s and is the back bone of this country and I find it astonishing they are just not being listened to.”

“National established a comprehensive National Policy Statement while in Government and worked alongside our primary sector to clean our waterways, which have been steadily improving, as shown by the Government’s own data from Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA).”

“Farmers should hold their heads up high for what they have achieved in the water quality space in such a short period and know that I and many other New Zealander’s fully support them even if this Government does not.”


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