Tuesday, 05 November 2019 09:55

Freshwater submissions flood in

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

The Government will take the next few months to go over 12,000 submissions and work on the proposed Essential Freshwater package.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor told Rural News that as a result of submissions he would expect changes to the freshwater proposals. Submissions closed last Thursday.

He says DairyNZ’s analysis, released last week, is “a valuable contribution” to the body of evidence the consultation has produced. 

O’Connor in recent weeks encouraged stakeholders to propose solutions to water quality issues. He thanked all the sector groups and farmers for their work on the proposals. “We’ll take the next few months to go over the more than 12,000 submissions and work on the proposals: that will include talking to sector groups.

O’Connor says the Government has heard the concerns regarding nutrient bottom lines: this will be looked at closely. 

“Our consultation document was clear that no decision would be made on nitrogen and phosphorous bottom lines until comprehensive impact analysis has been completed.”

O’Connor says there are several areas of DairyNZ’s report worth noting. “Critically, the baseline used in DairyNZ’s report excludes existing requirements. Actions required under the 2014 National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management are ignored. 

“Many of the changes identified in the report would have needed to be made under existing policy.”

He agrees with DairyNZ that the right solution will balance environmental sustainability with economic prosperity. 

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