Feds pleased to see Minister make a start on fixing new water regs 

August 25, 2020

The government is finally acknowledging it has released freshwater regulations which will not work on farms. 

The unworkable regulations which have become law, but have not yet even come into force, have already seen Southland farmers threaten to ignore the new requirement to get resource consents for using an animal feeding technique called winter grazing.

“This was going to be entirely unworkable for Southland farmers, and many others around the country during cold, wet winters,” Feds’ water spokesperson Chris Allen says.

“This should be the start of many more changes to these regulations.”

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor told The Country radio show today changes will be made on this issue and “there will be others [rules] that will need to be adjusted as we move forward”.

He implied the changes had been discussed and agreed to in Cabinet yesterday.

“The statement that we all want to leave the land and water better than when we found it is not lost on Federated Farmers and its members. It’s the mantra we all live by,” Chris says.

“Our concerns are not just over one single aspect of the direction or trajectory of the new regulations, but the fact that the new direction is complicated, not clear, and poorly defined.”

“As drafted many farmers will end up being unable to comply, an outcome we are sure is not the government’s intent.”

Just four days ago, Environment Minister David Parker lambasted Federated Farmers Southland leaders as ‘irresponsible’ for daring to point out the impracticality of the winter grazing rules and calling for a boycott of resource consent requirements.

“The government at last seems to be more willing to listen to farmers who know how things actually work in terms of production, the seasons, topography and animal welfare.

“As Damien O’Connor has now acknowledged, other changes to the regulations will be needed if we’re to arrive at a set of policies that are practical, sensible and affordable.”