Tim Dower: Farmers will be key to NZ's economic revival

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 29 May 2020, 11:30AM
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Tim Dower: Farmers will be key to NZ's economic revival

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 29 May 2020, 11:30AM

Farmers have been stressing about the Government's plans to clean up rivers, streams and lakes for a long time now.

And it's pretty obvious why they'd be concerned, all this talk of capping fertiliser use, laws about fencing off waterways, creating new wetland areas and the like.

It's stuff a lot of farmers are actually already doing, but it all costs, and there's a sense some politicians don't know that, or just don't care.

The outgoing President of Federated Farmers, Katie Milne, said this..."instead of trying to help the farming sector, it feels at times the Wellington bureaucrats are trying to strangle it."

And she goes on to say there's a lack of knowledge and understanding of farming by policymakers in Wellington.

Some officials do get it she says, but there are still bad decisions and these come as result of fewer New Zealanders having connections to farms.

But now we've actually got the Government's water policy, there are signs her efforts have not been in vain.

Signs the officials are perhaps taking heed.

David Parker, the Environment Minister, has earmarked 700 million dollars to help with this big plan.

And it turns out it's not all about whacking the farmers for the sake of it, he talks about urban waterways, which, let's face it, are where the real filth is to be found.

He talks about money to help with the business of riparian planting and the prospect of new jobs getting this work done.

Maybe, for farmers, the pandemic has helped soften what's been coming.

For now, I'll add one more comment from Katie Milne...at a time we need all of NZ’s economic champions to be firing, why nobble them – especially agriculture.