Fish & Game New Zealand has welcomed the findings of a New Zealand Institute of Economic Research report, which rejects claims the Government’s freshwater proposals will have a significant economic impact.
NZIER concludes: “Due to the relatively small size of the dairy industry, the impacts of the government reforms are unlikely to be major at the national level, and not felt for many years due to the long lead in times proposed”.
In total, the dairy industry only accounts for 3 per cent of New Zealand’s GDP.
“There has been much scaremongering from certain quarters in the farming community that the Government’s plan to clean up our polluted waterways will end farming in some areas and hurt the economy. However, this report shows the claims are vastly exaggerated,” Fish & Game New Zealand Chief Executive Martin Taylor says.
“To claim farmers have been thrown under the tractor is ridiculous – in fact they have been thrown a lifeline to clean up their act and embrace sustainable farming.
“What the Government is proposing is just common sense and long overdue – it reflects what New Zealanders have been saying for some time: that polluted waterways are one of their biggest worries. (Colmar Brunton research in August showed three quarters – 77 per cent – of those surveyed said they were extremely or very concerned about the pollution of lakes and rivers).
The report was commissioned by Fish & Game New Zealand, Forest and Bird, and Greenpeace in response to the Government’s announcement earlier this month on a proposed new regime to help clean up waterways.
“This is not about the end of dairying. It’s about getting the balance right. NZIER says by focusing on profits, not production, farmers can increase their economic returns and reduce their impact on the environment.
“Many good farmers have been getting on and improving their practices – the Government’s plan will just ensure all farmers embrace sustainable farming, and that will be good for them, for the environment and for all New Zealanders,” Mr Taylor says.
Read the Colmar Brunton research here
The NZIER report can be found here