Lewis - Government needs to work with farmers on water issue

Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Chris Lewis says farmers are prepared and willing to support government initiatives to clean up the  nation's waterways, but are worried Environment Minister David Parker might "come in with a sledgehammer and destroy a chestnut". 

Lewis spoke to Radio New Zealand's Guyon Espiner this morning on the subject of Parker's proposed farm nutrient run-off limits, voicing a mixture of support and concern:

"Yes we are worried because we don't know exactly what he [Parker] is thinking. But, we're prepared and willing to work with the minister, so what I'm saying to him is: have a conversation with us, work with us, and let's work towards cleaner rivers and a better environment, because that's what farmers want themselves."

The concerns Lewis refers to are centered mainly around the potential for regulations being brought in that don't work, have little effect on the environment and are costly for farmers:

"A good green policy is both good for the environment and for farmers wallets. They work side-by-side, they work together. They've got to be well thought out policies that have a real effect on the environment and farmers will adopt them quickly... bad regulation just costs dollars and achieves nothing, that's what really worries us."