Thursday, 02 May 2024 07:55

Editorial: War's over

Written by  Staff Reporters
Does the end of winter grazing regulations equal the end of the war on farming? Does the end of winter grazing regulations equal the end of the war on farming?

OPINION: In recent years farmers have been crying foul of unworkable and expensive regulations.

The avalanche of regulations around water and environment unleashed by the previous Labour government have been labelled by farmers as unworkable and confusing.

So, when the coalition Government last week announced a Bill to fast-track amendments to the Resource Management Act, farmers were overjoyed.

Federated Farmers went to the extent of saying that the announcement by RMA Minister Chris Bishop marks the end of ‘the war on farming’.

The rules imposed by Labour were harsh, to say the least.

Winter grazing rules would have required over 10,000 farmers around the country to get a resource consent just to feed a winter crop to their stock. Even if farmers had complied, the councils wouldn’t have had the capacity to process that number of consents.

Then there’s the flawed stock exclusion rules that currently require extensive sheep and beef properties to fence their waterways by July 2025. Fencing streams on extensive properties with low stocking rates has the potential to cost farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars, for very little environmental gain.

Federated Farmers freshwater spokesperson Colin Hurst says these impractical rules have been a complete nightmare since the day they were introduced and farmers will be pleased to see the back of them.

He rightly points out that farmers are always looking to improve environmental outcomes on their properties and to care for the land, but regulation needs to be practical, pragmatic and affordable.

Sadly, the current rules failed on all three counts – completely disconnected from the reality of farming, devoid of all commonsense, and heaped on a tonne of unnecessary costs for farmers.

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