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Environment spokesperson Scott Simpson said National's new farming package was about using targeted rules with clear environmental limits so that farmers could work with confidence. File Photo: PIXABAY

National to make farm regulation changes

National has announced changes to farm regulations to improve access to workers, restore local decision-making, and protect food production.

Agriculture spokesperson Todd McClay said its Getting back to Farming package made 19 changes to current rules and regulations.

“These changes will help farmers get on with earning the income on which their livelihoods, New Zealand’s economy, and New Zealanders’ standard of living, depend,” he said.

“New Zealand farmers are the world’s best and among the most carbon efficient.

“They also help New Zealand pay its way in the world with dairy, meat, wool and horticulture being New Zealand’s largest export earners.”

Environment spokesperson Scott Simpson said the package was about using targeted rules with clear environmental limits so that farmers could work with confidence.

“National is committed to this country’s climate change goals. We know shutting down some of the world’s most carbon efficient farmers only sends production to less efficient farms overseas and could raise global emissions,” he said.

“We can protect the environment and allow farmers to get on with business by reining in the bureaucracy and using clear, well-targeted rules instead. That’s what National’s Getting back to Farming package will do.”

The Getting back to Farming package includes:

Deliver smarter rules for the future:
1. Introduce a 2-for-1 rule for the next three years: for every new regulation that central
or local government wants to introduce on the rural sector they must take away two.
2. Require local and central government to assess the costs of all new rules on the rural
sector and publish the findings.
3. Establish a permanent Rural Regulation Review Panel to consider every local and
central government regulation affecting farmers and advise the central Government
on solutions.
4. Introduce a no duplication rule – the Government cannot ask farmers for the same
information twice. It is up to officials to share supplied information where appropriate
within the system.
5. Make appointments to reference and advisory groups based on skills and experience
not politics.
6. Commit to real consultation – officials must consult in a genuine, open and
transparent basis and respect differing views.
Supercharge the rural economy
7. Double the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) worker cap over five years to
38,000 per year and explore other countries entering the RSE scheme.
8. Change Accredited Employer Work Visas for agriculture to create a path to residency
and eliminate the median wage requirement to allow wages in line with local workers.
9. Ban foreign direct investment for the purpose of converting farms to forestry to collect
carbon credits.
10. Focus the definition of Significant Natural Areas on areas that are significant by
making the rules workable and clear for landowners and councils.
11. Change the National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land to allow a broader
range of productive rural activities such as on-farm storage ponds and sheds and off-
farm dairy factories and vegetable processing.
12. Scrap the ute tax.
Get Wellington out of farming
13. Change rules for culverts and how wetlands are defined in legislation to only cover
actual wetlands, rather than areas with limited environmental value.
14. Make stock exclusion rules more practical to protect critical source areas while
avoiding unintended consequences like unnecessarily large exclusion zones for
small water bodies.
15. Amend the proposed National Environmental Standard for drinking water to avoid
excessive compliance requirements for small providers of 30 connections or fewer
and return autonomy to small rural communities.
16. Defer central government rules requiring resource consents for winter grazing until
freshwater farm plans are in place, with freshwater plans to become risk- and
17. Replace the winter grazing low slope map and low slope rules for stock exclusion
with more effective catchment-level rules to accommodate regional differences.
18. Restart the live exports of cattle with gold standard rules set in regulation to protect
animal welfare and safety. National will require purpose-built ships and introduce a
certification regime for the importers of destination countries to ensure animals live in
conditions at the same standards required in New Zealand.
19. Repeal Labour’s rebranded Three Waters and replace it with Local Water Done Well
– National’s plan to restore council ownership and control of water assets while
ensuring water services are financially sustainable.