In an unfortunate choice of words National’s David Bennett has promised that if National is elected then the Government’s water reforms will be “gone by lunchtime”.
National has come under fire from the Government’s agriculture and environmental Ministers for “stupid” and “reckless” comments about its freshwater policies.
This comes after National committed to scrapping some of the new “draconian rules” within the Government’s freshwater regulations if it’s elected to Government.
“They’re gone by lunchtime,” the party’s agriculture spokesman David Bennett said in a Facebook Live last night, talking about the water policy.
His leader, Judith Collins, was critical of what she saw as bureaucrats in Wellington making all the rules when it comes to farmers, particularly in Southland.
She was sick of these people “bossing everyone else around”.
“We should just boss out those regulations.”
In a statement this afternoon, however, National clarified that it would only repeal or review nine regulations announced by the Government, such as the removal of stock from natural wetlands.
The choice of phrase is unfortunate. It was previously used by Don Brash who in 2005 famously said that the country’s anti nuclear law would be gone by lunchtime if National was elected into power. Thankfully National was not and the law remains. John Key thought it wiser to leave it alone.
There were some problems with the implementation of the rules in Southland where the perceived requirement to get a resource consent for winter grazing where plugging occurred was thought to be excessive. But a quick change to the rules has addressed this problem.
The rules have been supported by Fonterra and the process of formulating the rules has been going on for years and was started by National. This is petty politics and National is pandering to its base.
It is clear what would happen if National gained power. They would buckle to farming pressure and change the rules to allow the trashing of our waterways to continue. The Government’s intent to have clean water and swimmable rivers would be gone by lunchtime.