A report says the Government's freshwater proposals will have a limited impact on the economy.
Forest & Bird, Greenpeace, and Fish and Game commissioned the NZIER report, looking at the effect of water quality proposals.
Principal economist Peter Wilson says they found the dairy industry is about three per cent of GDP.
"Which is important but it's not the bedrock of the New Zealand economy. So that led us to conclude, at the national level, the effects would likely be minor."
However, economist Cameron Bagrie told The Country that the report was "quite ridiculous", describing the dairy industry as one of the country's biggest export earners.
"If you look at the numbers for dairy exports, it’s grown on average about 8 per cent per year, volumes have grown around 6 per cent and that’s about double the rate of GDP," he says.
"If the dairy sector is not going to be on that historical growth trend – and it’s not going to be – there’s a 15 to 20 billion dollar export hole that is more money we need to make by 2030."