Shaw appears to take relatively moderate line on dairying

Green Party Leader James Shaw told TV1's Q&A that the Greens will be pushing for a package to help farmers make the transition to more sustainable ways of farming.

In response to a question about whether the Green Party wanted to reduce cow numbers he said it was unlikely there would be much activity in that area over the next period of time but the Greens in government would work with the market to identify ways in which more sustainable farming could be achieved.

RNZ reported as follows:

The Greens intend pushing ahead with their plan to pay dairy farmers to convert to other forms of farming.

Green MPs will hold some ministerial jobs outside Cabinet under their supply and confidence agreement with Labour, and although exact portfolios have yet to be announced, the party says it will have responsibilities for cleaning up waterways.

Prior to the election, the Green Party said it would pay more than $136 million for farmers to move to more sustainable practices and if it were in government it would invest in a Sustainable Farming Fund.

Green Party leader James Shaw said a priority would be putting together a package to help farmers make the transition from dairy farming.

He said the Greens wouldn't be pushing for a cap on the number of cows.

But Mr Shaw said dairy farmers would need help to change.

"A lot of dairy farmers are still heavily in debt from the acquisition of the land and also the conversions and also it's a pretty difficult time when the price of milk is still somewhat depressed.

"So you know the thing we're going to be pushing hardest on is making sure that there is a package available for farmers to help them make that transition."

Mr Shaw said dairy farmers needed to make the transition to more sustainable methods of farming.