In February, Smith and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy released a consultation document on new measures to improve the management of New Zealand’s rivers, lakes, aquifers and wetlands.
Among the proposals were national regulations to get stock out of waterways, strengthening requirements on councils to set nutrient limits, standardised water permit conditions on the efficient use of water and minimising nutrient loss, and improved iwi involvement in council development of water plans and water conservation orders.
Smith said today, that the Greens were “late” to the party.
“Our Government has done more than any in our history to improve water quality of our lakes and rivers. We introduced the first National Policy Statement on Fresh Water in 2011 and the standards framework in 2014.
“We have ramped up investment in river and lake clean-up from the $29 million spent between 2000 and 2008, under the Labour government, to $115 million between 2008 and 2015 and committed a further $100 million in Budget 2016,” he said.
He said the Greens proposal for a blanket, nationwide moratorium on dairy conversion was a “blunt approach that will punish regions”.
“The more sophisticated approach, where limits are set on nutrients, addresses the environmental issue without blocking growth in exports and jobs.
“Dairy conversions are, under this Government, being declined for the first time in areas such as Southland and Canterbury, where they would exceed the newly established limits on nutrients.
The Green Party policy to ban every rural landowner in NZ from being able to convert their land to dairy is a totalitarian policy.
One of the marks of a free society is you can choose what to do on your land. It is in totalitarian countries that the Government decides for you.
Now if in specific areas, there are issues of water quality, then local authorities can deal with that by declining specific applications (which is occurring) or requiring any new dairy venture to have no impact on water quality. That is called a balanced approach.
The Greens however want to ban every rural landowner in New Zealand from being able to establish a dairy farm. They hate dairy, and they think they should decide for everyone how their land is used.
It’s a great reminder of how dangerous their policies would be, if they ever made Government.