Federated Farmers is encouraged to learn that New Zealand First proposes a catchment-by-catchment approach to addressing the nation’s water quality.
The Rt Hon Winston Peters, speaking to a mainly farmer audience in Ashburton today, announced several policies which will give farmers some comfort.
"We’ve been saying this throughout the election campaign and it’s in our election manifesto. Catchment groups are fit for purpose and have proven to be the most effective and efficient way towards tackling water issues," says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Vice President.
Mr Peters also pledged closer scrutiny of the farm nutrient management tool Overseer with investment to make it more reliable, where it was capable of calibrating all farming and soil types.
"It’s good to hear NZ First is aware of the limitations of Overseer as it is a complex model, which some of the other political parties are still grappling with- to what it was actually intended for.
"The reality is it’s going to be a hefty cost to address any improvements with Overseer.
"It is the best tool the industry has at present and we are ahead of the game globally, getting close to more reliable modelling. But who is going to fund those final steps, and do we have enough scientists in New Zealand to assist with getting us there?
"We really need to see more detail from NZ First about how they plan to tackle Overseer and make it more efficient.
"To do that, we need the right expertise, based on sound science to have the best outcomes for farmers and the environment," says Andrew.