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Gov't must extend freshwater consultation period

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean is calling for the Government to extend the consultation period for its proposed freshwater plans because she says the short time frame is putting farmers at a disadvantage.

“There’s now just five weeks till submissions close on October 17, a short timeframe in anyone’s books, but when you consider that it falls right in the middle of calving and lambing it puts farmers at a clear disadvantage.

“This is the time of year when many farmers are working 12-hour days, they are unlikely to be able to read this weighty document, let alone find time to write a submission and I think it’s blatantly unfair.

“In fact some farmers have even suggested that the Environment Minister intentionally released the proposals at a time when he knew many farmers would be unable to give it their full attention because he didn’t want to listen to them.

“This is not the type of Government that New Zealand deserves. Our economy rests on the success of our rural sector and for them to feel shut out, of what many are describing as the biggest shake-up in farming practices the industry has seen, is a travesty.

“These freshwater proposals took almost 12 months to put together – it’s blatantly unfair that farmers are only being given six weeks to have their say and I urgently call on Minister Parker to extend the consultation period now.”

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