Thursday, 29 February 2024 09:55

Dealing with SNAs

Written by  Peter Burke
Associate Minister for Agriculture and the Environment, Andrew Hoggard. Associate Minister for Agriculture and the Environment, Andrew Hoggard.

As Associate Minister for Agriculture and the Environment, Andrew Hoggard has a number of delegations to focus on.

The most immediate one is dealing with problems relating to SNAs or significant natural areas - stopping the mapping of new ones and dealing with existing ones. This is in the 100-day plan.

Another matter he's been tasked with dealing is animal welfare and with that comes the controversial issue of the export of live animals. Hoggard says he will also havr to deal with animal welfare codes coming his way from the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC). Food safety is another of his delegations.

Of major interest will be what happens regarding changes on environmental matters.

"Farm plans is something I will be putting quite a bit of effort to this year and I'll also look at water storage - another big issue for farmers," he says.

Hoggard says the key thing is making the plans simple so that farmers can do these themselves and not have to employ a $10,000 consultant.

He says it seems the consenting process has got out of hand with a plethora of consents required, whereas rolling many of these into one consent would be less costly and just as effective.

Hoggard says while some ideas about improving the environment may be desirable, the way they have been presented to farmers has been poor.

He adds that the connection between Wellington and farmers has been lost. He says there is a need to rebuild that relationship and for Wellington to come up with better outcomes that are practical and inexpensive.

"I'd like to see less money spent on paperwork and instead [see] that money invested that back to farmers to help them form of better practices," he says.

Hoggard says dealing effectively and efficiently with environmental issues would take some of the pressure off farmers - especially sheep and beef farmers - who are going through some hard times with lower returns and high on-farm costs.

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