The Ensign Column - Joseph Mooney MP - September 2022

Spring is here, and this gorgeous season represents joy, hope, renewal and growth. It is lovely to see the daffodils out in bloom!

It's a busy time for our farming sector midway through calving and lambing, and our growers will be looking forward to harvesting their crops as summer is fast approaching. I do hope the Government engages early with the sector to ensure a sufficient number of seasonal workers available to cover the harvesting period.

The freshwater regulations come into force at the start of November. Under the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020 regulations, farms using intensive winter grazing must have either certified freshwater farm plans or apply for resource consent.

But despite the looming November compliance date, the Ministry for the Environment is yet to publish guidelines meaning none of the affected farms can develop their plans. This means thousands of farmers face uncertainty around whether to plant crops for winter grazing next year as it will require everyone to go through the costly and time-consuming process of applying for resource consent.

The worst part is that forcing farmers to apply for consent is unlikely to achieve any environmental gains.

National supports moves to improve New Zealand's freshwater management, but the current regulations are not fit for purpose. We will be pushing hard against these unworkable regulations and regulatory overreach. There needs to be more emphasis on local solutions rather than a one-size fits all blanket rule.

Three Waters remains high on the agenda too. At recent select committee hearings, many councils raised the issue of the Government's massively overblown costs over $3 million of hard-earned taxpayer money spent on promoting a flawed Three Waters policy.

The Government should be listening. I'll keep fighting on behalf of our community to make the Government accountable to you on Three Waters, and National will repeal and replace these broken reforms.

On another note, congratulations to the Hokonui Huanui Project on its recent launch. I am excited about the support this project will offer tamariki and rangatahi in their journey from birth to adulthood. I look forward to hearing more about their successes over time to come.