Two years of speaking up is paying off - we are being listened to
“Our collective 'howling' that 'we're not going to take it' and the behind the scenes advocacy to politicians of all stripes is paying off," Groundswell NZ co-founder Bryce McKenzie says.
“The polls are tight and to see National's 'Get Back To Farming' policy announcement this morning reflecting so much of what we have been calling for is refreshing.
"With the election year well underway, all parties will be trying to nab the rural New Zealand and farming votes - some more so than others - and we all know to apply a healthy dose of scepticism until we see it in action. However, this announcement gives us a lot to feel hopeful about.
“In particular, Groundswell NZ supporters will be pleased to see National has heard our repeated calls for local approaches to agricultural regulations as one size just does not fit all. We would love to see Wellington deferring to local experts and not just barking orders from the capital.
“National's proposals for RSE workers will be welcomed by dairy farmers and horticulturalists in particular and the banning of foreign farm-to-forestry conversions for carbon offsetting is a policy we can all get behind.
“Groundswell NZ supporters have been urging the Government to review all existing regulations and their impact on farming and rural communities since our inception. We would welcome the establishment of a Rural Regulation Review Panel.
"National still needs to tell us what they will do with emissions pricing, He Waka Eke Noa, and NPS Freshwater policies. They also still broadly support the Zero Carbon Act which comes with a concerning number of fish hooks. We will be keeping a close eye on where they go with these issues.
“The closer we get to the ballot box, the more we must focus on holding all parties' feet to the fire. We aren't party-aligned and although we are glad to see National has listened to what we are saying, we will continue to advocate for farmers and rural communities to everyone with the potential to sit in the seats of power."