Agriculture Minister Todd McClay On Refining Resource Management for NZ's Agriculture

Agriculture Minister Todd McClay On Refining Resource Management for NZ's Agriculture

Farming, mining and other industrial regulations are set to be scrapped or amended under the Government's first changes to the Resource Management Act. Now, some of these changes include revision of stock exclusion, winter grazings in there as well, and also the suspension of significant natural area requirements.

Agriculture Minister Todd McClay discusses the latest reforms to New Zealand's Resource Management Act (RMA) and the implications for the country's agricultural and environmental policies. 

The conversation delves into how these reforms aim to shift focus from bureaucratic procedures to tangible environmental outcomes, thereby reducing the regulatory burden on farmers and other industry stakeholders. A key talking point is the revision of specific regulations such as stock exclusion rules and winter grazing protocols. 

McClay emphasises that the majority of farmers are already meeting environmental obligations and that the new rules will enable more practical, region-specific solutions. 

"The focus on better environmental outcomes remains, but we're just finding more practical, sensible ways to be able to work with the wider community to deliver that." 

This suggests a move towards collaborative efforts between farmers and regional councils to address environmental challenges in a manner that is both cost-effective and suited to local conditions. 

Another significant aspect of the discussion revolves around the decentralisation of environmental policy-making from central government to local authorities. McClay critiques the previous government's one-size-fits-all approach, advocating instead for a system where local entities have the autonomy to determine the most appropriate agricultural practices for their areas. 

"We just don't think that Wellington knows best and that all of this should be done down there by the Beehive." 

This indicates a strong belief in the ability of local councils and communities to better manage their unique landscapes and resources. 

He also touches upon the suspension of significant natural area (SNA) requirements and the proposed changes to the Te Mana o te Wai hierarchy, a framework that guides water management and prioritises the health of water bodies. 

McClay explains that the coalition government is committed to rebalancing the rights of all water users, which will be extensively consulted on. However, in the interim, "the applicant won't have to demonstrate how they're going to apply the consents, this concept of Te Mana o te Wai, it will be for the council to consider more broadly." 

The conversation paints a picture of a collaborative effort to ensure the protection of New Zealand's natural treasures while supporting the needs and practicalities of its farming communities.

Listen to the full chat between Todd McClay and Dominic George above.

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