Overcoming over-regulation: A candid chat with Nicola Grigg on the future of NZ agriculture

Overcoming over-regulation: A candid chat with Nicola Grigg on the future of NZ agriculture

As the National Election draws ever closer, the policies and plans of each party become clearer and clearer. Farmers, who are facing significant on-farm challenges on top of a cost of living crisis and rising interest rates, amongst other things, are particularly focused on how this election could improve their situation long term.

From the grip of Wellington on farming operations to the bureaucratic maze surrounding regulations, National Party MP for Selwyn Grigg told REX host Dominic George it is a sector struggling under the weight of over-regulation and outlined a passionate appeal for reform.

"There wasn't enough of a rural voice out there, especially rural women. That's exactly the reason I went to Parliament," she shared, discussing her motivation for entering politics. 

"The over-regulation of the industry has just become too burdensome... some farmers have lost their love of farming and that's just heartbreaking."

Grigg pinpointed a key problem area in the disconnect between legislation and its end users, the farmers. She stressed the need for more input from farmers in shaping laws and regulations.

"I always use the farm gate farmer as the end user of legislation, so therefore they should be the ones inputting into the design of the legislation."

A focal point of the discussion was the new Natural and Built Environments Act and its effect on High Country Pastoral leaseholders. 

According to Grigg, the changes have turned farming into a bureaucratic quagmire, with the process of acquiring consent for farming becoming a herculean task. She argued that the Act, coupled with the Te Mana o te Wai Statement, have brought an unprecedented level of uncertainty into the industry.

"New Zealand needs farming to do well because if farming doesn't do well, New Zealand doesn't do well," she said. 

Grigg called for a review of these regulations, arguing that they are stifling innovation and growth in the sector.

If elected, Grigg shared the National Party's plan to repeal the new Natural Built Environments Act and return to the existing RMA. 

"We've committed to repealing the new Natural Built Environment Act... because we know you can still farm under those conditions," she explained. 

"The innovation coming out of New Zealand's farming is what the rest of the world are going to look to, so we need to empower and enable our farmers to keep doing what they do really well."

Listen to the full chat between National Party MP for Selwyn Nicola Grigg and Dominic George above.

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