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Water Policy Too Important To Get Wrong

April 10, 2006
Water Policy Too Important To Get Wrong

Farmers will be carefully considering the government’s announcements on water policy, said Hugh Ritchie of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

Mr Ritchie was commenting after the release of the government’s ‘Sustainable Water Programme of Action’.

“Water is the lifeblood of farm operations. Farmers already have strong incentives to use this critical resource efficiently and cleanly. We would oppose any new policies on water that would negatively impact the productivity and viability of the 80,000 farming businesses that underpin this country’s wealth and well-being,” said Mr Ritchie.

“On water quality, Federated Farmers supports initiatives of groups such as Dairy InSight, which last week unveiled a dairy industry strategy on sustainable environmental management. The strategy is relevant to all pastoral farmers, and the Government’s policies must recognise this sector-led approach (see http://www.dairyinsight.co.nz/main.cfm).

“Meanwhile, on water quantity Federated Farmers has developed eight policy principles that we expect any water allocation policy to be consistent with. These policy principles were adopted last year after extensive consultation and discussion among members of Federated Farmers (see http://www.fedfarm.org.nz/Water.ppt).

“The Water Plan of Action is a large document which discusses a number of complex issues. It needs careful thought and full consultation – the issues are too important for the nation to get it wrong,” said Mr Ritchie.

Mr Ritchie is a Federation board member and its spokesman on water quality, allocation, and irrigation.

ENDS

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