Thursday, 14 December 2023 10:55

Editorial: Great expectations

Written by  Staff Reporters
Agriculture Minister Todd McClay has suggested that the confusion around freshwater plans will get the once over. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay has suggested that the confusion around freshwater plans will get the once over.

OPINION: As the new National-led coalition begins its term in office, there are high expectations that the promises and rhetoric of the election campaign will quickly be transformed into actions.

National and ACT made a strong bid for the rural vote and were duly rewarded. NZ First was also there.

Promises of fewer and better regulations were made and this was music to the ears of rural people who felt that Labour was not listening to many of their concerns – especially around environmental matters.

It is not surprising that farmers voted for National as it has its genesis in the farmer supported Reform Party which was formed in 1909 and later merged with the Liberal Party in 1936 to become the National Party. Its farmer representation in parliament was initially strong but over the years has waxed and waned. But in this, the 6th National government, farmer representation in caucus is strong and supported by farmers in the coalition partners.

There are high expectations among farmers that there will be a paradigm shift in their favour, although wise heads are aware that environmental and other regulations to support the quality of exports will not disappear. So, what will, and can happen, and in what timeframe will the National-led coalition deliver the changes that farmers are hoping for?

Already there are strong noises from Agriculture Minister Todd McClay that the mess and confusion around freshwater plans are in his sights and will get the once over and be sorted out quickly. Other regulations said to be impractical and unworkable on-farm will also get a quick doing over.

Dairy farmer morale has lifted, but it is still fragile following the election of the new government. How long it stays positive may depend on how quickly and well National and its coalition partners live up to their election promises and meet the expectations of their rural constituents.

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