Fed's view: Policy work never-ending

Chris Dillon
Chris Dillon
Federated Farmers Southland president Chris Dillon discusses the response to various Government and regional policies.

The autumn was super kind to us and now winter has hit with a bang. Environment Southland have so far taken to the air once and are impressed with what they saw. This is a credit to farmers for making adjustments to their practices.

He Waka Eke Noa and Three Waters are the most prominent items currently in the media. It has been openly reported that Southland Federated Farmers did not support signing up to He Waka Eke Noa, because of the obvious shortcomings in this document.

The cynic in me thinks the Government was caught off-guard when all the parties agreed to sign up.

We are the only country in the world to tax the producers and not the end user, as well as putting agriculture into such a regime. What we achieved as an organisation throughout the process was recently outlined in our member advisory on June 8.

There are a large number of people upset over Three Waters. The Government has accepted some recommendations for change, but in essence it is still taking over ratepayer-owned assets. The concern is the centralisation and the effects this will have on our regions.

Removing water management from councils is effectively making them largely redundant which a pessimist would question where local councils will end up.

The work that Federated Farmers does often goes under the radar.

There are myriad policies that we are working on at present and it is becoming overwhelming.

What is increasingly frustrating are the inadequacies in the development of policy in this country which often appears like it’s a solution looking for a problem.

The right people are not involved in the development of the policy, leading to it being so far off track that it requires a large amount of resources and time to fight it, so its end point is actually workable legislation.

The only winners here are policy planners and lawyers.