“The Government should consider pausing new freshwater regulations for the rural sector as New Zealand enters a recession,” ACT Leader David Seymour.
“37,500 jobs were lost in April and the Reserve Bank predicts we are about to face the biggest fall in economic growth in 160 years. Now is the worst possible time to be creating new uncertainty for the rural sector.
“Farmers have been some of this country’s heroes during Covid-19. The rural sector got us through the lockdown.
“The Government is now repaying them with more stringent freshwater regulations that will cost jobs and add pressure to our rural communities.
“ACT is calling on the Government to consider pausing new freshwater regulations for the rural sector until the effects of Covid-19 have passed.
“The Ministry for the Environment’s own analysis says that job losses and mental health pressures will result from new freshwater regulations.
“New costs on farmers will be passed through to consumers, and ratepayers will be required to pick up the new costs faced by councils.
“The Government should instead be focused on urban waterways – like Hobson Bay in Remuera where E. Coli levels are 700 times the acceptable level – rather than putting more pressure on the rural sector at a time of great economic uncertainty.
“The rural sector has been one of the whipping boys of this Government, with the passage of the Zero Carbon Act and now freshwater regulations.
“In ACT’s view, there hasn’t been enough recognition of the environmental work that farmers do and the importance of food production to our communities.
“Covid-19 has shown how critical the rural sector is to this country.
“The Government should consider pausing new freshwater regulations for the rural sector until we are out of recession.”