Submissions on the Essential Freshwater Package closed at 5pm on October 31. DairyNZ completed its comprehensive submission, which you can access here. A team of water scientists, policy experts and economists worked tirelessly to ensure farmers’ interests are represented in this submission.
Under the Essential Freshwater proposal, there are policies DairyNZ does and doesn’t support. Those we don’t support are due to a lack of robust supporting science linking the proposed policy to actual water quality outcomes. DairyNZ’s economic analysis indicates they would come with significant cost. We believe there are better ways to achieve the desired results than those proposed.
Dairy farmers had valuable input in this process – thousands attended meetings, asked questions and made submissions in a short timeframe. There were 3000 downloads of DairyNZ's submission template.
DairyNZ examined the potential economic effects of the Essential Freshwater proposals. This helped inform the submission.
Key points from DairyNZ's economic analysis:
- DairyNZ’s economic modelling shows the proposed Essential Freshwater package could significantly harm New Zealand’s dairy sector and the wider national economy – by 2050, it could lead to a fall in our GDP of $6 billion.
- The proposal would result in significant declines in milk production and is a serious threat to the international competitiveness of New Zealand’s dairy sector.
- The economic analysis forecasts that by 2050 total milk production will fall by 24 percent and all exports by 5.2 percent or $8.1 billion.
- With the Zero Carbon Bill and its assumed reductions in methane considered alongside the Essential Freshwater reforms, the forecast showed an additional $1 billion loss ($7 billion) in GDP and another 4 percent reduction in milk production (28 percent).
- Proposed nutrient limits would impose a significant financial burden on the dairy sector. These limits – broadscale introduction of phosphorus and nitrogen leaching reductions in monitored catchments – are based on overly simplistic relationships and not supported by robust science.
- Southland, Taranaki, Marlborough and West Coast are likely to be most negatively impacted. By 2050, GDP could fall in Southland by up to 3.6 percent; Taranaki by up to 2.9 percent; Marlborough by up to 3.2 percent and West Coast by up to 2.9 percent.
- Less milk means 15-20 percent less jobs and reduced competitiveness in global markets.
- Economic impacts of the Essential Freshwater proposals on New Zealand dairy farms
- Regional and National Impacts of Proposed Environmental Policies on the New Zealand Dairy Sector
What is the Essential Freshwater Package?
The Package proposes some major changes to the management of New Zealand’s freshwaters.
The proposals have two main objectives:
- to stop further degradation of waterways and start making immediate improvements so that water quality is improving within five years
- to reverse past damage and bring waterways and ecosystems to a healthy state within a generation.
What are the key aspects of the proposal that affect dairy farmers?
For dairy, the aspects of the proposal likely to have the largest impact include:
- changes to the way in which councils implement their management plans to simplify and speed up the process
- an increased focus on ecosystem health outcomes, including new nutrient limits, interim controls on intensification, and new practice standards for agriculture. This includes new regulations for stock exclusion, winter grazing, limiting nitrogen use, stock holding areas and feedlots, and a requirement for farmers to have a Farm Environment Plan.