OPINION: The refusal of both Damien O'Connor and PM Jacinda Ardern to release some of the correspondence they received about Groundswell begs a question or two.
“When it comes to freshwater, we have a job to do as an industry and that’s to restore our rivers within a generation,” O’Connor says.
On 14 September at a meeting with catchment group leaders and farmers, O’Connor announced $2.1 million in funding for 31 farmer-led catchment groups across the Manawatū, Rangitīkei, and Wairarapa which are helping farmers and growers transition to more sustainable land use.
“Nationally, these groups that we are backing provide on-the-ground support to more than 5,000 farmers, helping them access expertise and tools to improve their environmental and economic sustainability, not to mention wellbeing.”
O’Connor says that, over the past 18 months, the Government has invested close to $29 million in catchment groups through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) extension services and Jobs for Nature programmes.
O’Connor says catchment groups support farmers to develop detailed Farm Environment Plans and provide an opportunity to learn good practice from one another.
“Catchment groups working together and farming integrating practical and meaningful insights from them into their farm plans is how we’re going to shift the dial,” O’Connor says.