The National Party's new agriculture spokesperson says she'll be working from the grassroots up, rather than the top down, as she tackles her new role.
Bennet claims O’Connor has provided no reassurance to farmers around updated Essential Freshwater targets.
“While appearing in front of the Primary Production Select Committee the Minister confirmed that he had neither advocated for a reduction of the toxicity threshold from 95% to 90% nor for a longer time frame for these reforms to be achieved than the current one generation target.
“The Minister asserted that the 95% toxicity target, which is equivalent to a DIN of approximately 2.4, was ‘achievable’ on-farm.
“With 6,600ha of land use change predicted to achieve some of the new Essential Freshwater reforms, the Minister gave no reassurance to farmers in catchments whose business will be at-risk from these high thresholds.
Bennett says O’Connor acknowledged that land use change was inevitable in some areas and that at-risk areas, such as the Selwyn district, have the option to move to arable or forestry farming.
“He also acknowledged the lower value of farmland for those at-risk users and confirmed that the Government would not consider compensating affected farmers for that loss of value.
“He needs to start advocating for farmers around the Cabinet table instead of advocating for the Government to farmers.”