Vibrant rural communities could disappear across New Zealand as regional councils increase farming regulations, says farming leader Chris Lewis.
The Federated Farmers dairy chair cites new nitrogen limits like in Lake Rotorua, which he says hurts dairy farming profitability and limits land use to only trees.
He argues that if a farm is forced to convert to pine trees, there is very little to do between planting and harvesting some 25 years later.
“Apart from that in-between times, you don’t need any labour and you don’t need any of the locals. The local communities do go backwards because there’s been no money spent and there’s no one living there.”
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Canterbury farms will require land use consent under new laws from Environment Canterbury to protect and improve water quality, which is expected to affect nearly half of all local farms.
Mr Lewis says there will be “unintended consequences” so such regulations, and calls on regional councils to establish fair rules that don’t hurt a farm’s ability to profit.
Watch the full interview with Chris Lewis above.