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New Zealand First Announces Fresh Water Policy

New Zealand First today announced its fresh water and farming policy in Feilding setting out a pathway forward for all forms of farming and agriculture to have a dynamic and sustainable future.

“While in support of the broad direction of fresh water policy New Zealand First believes the direction of travel contained some impractical details around resowing dates, pugging definition, accuracy of mapping and achievable Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) limits. To work, such regulations need to be standardized alongside certified Farm Environment Plans, whilst recognising that one size does not fit all,” said New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters.

“New Zealand’s food provenance story is an essential foundation for positioning our products at the premium end of consumer choice to extract maximum value. New Zealand First acknowledges new regulations to address environmental issues are essential, but they must also ensure best practice standards are met at scale,” said Mr Peters.

New Zealand First will;

· Introduce modifications to the new fresh water rules to ensure that they will in fact work.

· Ensure an immediate move to certified Farm Environment Plans for the 2021/2022 season to allow farmers time to get their plans up and running.

· Increase accelerated depreciation on wintering sheds which would allow certainty for farmers around new plans.

“Regional councils and farmers need flexibility to ensure regulations are fit for purpose. For example by allowing winter cropping on slopes over ten degrees, where that is clearly appropriate, resource consent should not be necessary.

“Support for water storage projects has provided farmers with confidence and certainty of their future. Our Provincial Growth Fund has been able to fund 35 water storage projects across the country which has provided access to critical infrastructure and aquifer mapping,” said Mr Peters.

“New Zealand First supports a national stocktake of water storage projects to develop a “Strategic Overview” to identify other projects across the country with a focus on areas such as Hawkes Bay, Central Otago, Marlborough and Northland.

“New Zealand First, having explicitly blocked tax on water whilst in government, will continue to hold this position in any future government,” said Mr Peters.

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