“The ongoing problems with freshwater farm plans are testament to politics blurring the lines of practicality and will be unworkable unless the Minister grants an extension,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.

“With the November 1st cut off date approaching fast it’s estimated more than 40 per cent of farmers have been unable to get a plan formulated. In the absence of farm environment plans it’ll be up to overworked councils to grant consents for next year’s winter grazing crops.

“Councils are overworked and under resourced, the prospect of them working through piles of on-farm consents in a timely manner is a pipe dream. Especially for farmers in Otago and Southland who need to prepare for next year’s winter grazing crops.

“ACT is calling on the Minister to give farmers a break and extend the deadline.

“Farm environment plans are an integral part of farming operations, but the resources available to farmers to get them done and the tight timeframes simply don’t make sense.

“When asked about extending timeframes in Parliament recently, Minister for the Environment David Parker said, “I'm not yet convinced that that is necessary, but I will consider it.”

“ACT says the Minister should swallow his pride and do it. Farmers increasingly need operational certainty amongst a regulatory landscape that is making it harder and harder for them to plan with confidence.

“Federated Farmers’ recent farmer confidence survey recorded the lowest confidence amongst farmers since its inception in 2009, an excess of shoddy rules and regulations that make it harder for farmers to plan ahead and produce the food that grows our economy and feeds our families.

“ACT is the loudest voice in Parliament when it comes to standing up for the rights of rural New Zealand. As a dairy farmer myself, I know that farmers are best environmentalists around. We kept the economy going through COVID. It’s time the Government gave us a break.”

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