Environment Minister David Parker says RMA reforms are on the way, including the way environment policy is regulated

Environment Minister David Parker says RMA reforms are on the way, including the way environment policy is regulated
David Parker.

Environment Minister David Parker says big changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) are on the way and the Government will reverse some changes National put in place.

Speaking to TVNZ's Q&A on Sunday, Parker said there needs to be fewer cows across New Zealand as, in some areas, the number of cattle per hectare is “higher than the environment can sustain.”

“That won’t be done through a raw cap in cow numbers; it will be done on nutrient limits, the amount of nutrient that can be lost from a farm to a waterway, because it’s not just a dairy cow issue.”

Parker says New Zealand’s future is in producing high-value products and not by focusing on large-scale production in areas such as dairy.

The Government is looking into providing subsidies to help bring in new technologies to encourage a change in farming practices.

But what about the farmers who don’t want to change their ways?

“Well, the economics will drive that change where there is a high-value land use. Where economics don’t, regulation will,” Parker says.

He says there are only three ways to change behaviour: education, regulation and price.

“Of those, an environmental policy regulation is the most important, and you do that under the RMA, through a national policy statement, which directs regional councils what they’ve got to do.”

Parker says the new National Policy Statement the Government is bringing forward will be addressing these issues.

“It’ll say increases in land use intensity will no longer be a permitted activity anywhere in the country.

“It will also bring forward a methodology for the allocation of nutrient, where you’ve got nutrient-enriched catchments.”

Changes on the way

Parker told the NZ Herald changes to the RMA are in the pipeline for next year.

The major areas that will be looked at will be the fact it takes councils too long to change a plan, and that there isn’t enough national guidance on areas that should be standardised across the country.

The bigger changes to the legislation will come next year, but Parker says the Government is pushing ahead with some smaller-scale reforms over the next year.

Changes the National-led Government made to the RMA, including one that removed appeal rights of applicants and objectors on residential activities and subdivisions of land, would be reversed.

“A more comprehensive longer-term review of the resource management system will be considered next year, building on the Government's work on urban development and water issues, and informed by work from outside government,” Parker says.

Meanwhile, ACT Leader David Seymour says the RMA is choking the ability of the private sector to build new homes.

“In Auckland, land use regulation could be responsible for up to 56%, or $530,000 of the cost of the average home.”

In response to one of Seymour’s written question earlier this year, Parker said he agreed the RMA and planning system has failed to deliver sufficient housing for New Zealanders.  

“Cabinet is yet to make any decision about whether to review the Resource Management Act.”

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NZF must accept their share of the bouquets / brick bats on this. Personally, I expect this is another nail in the NZF electoral coffin. Bye bye WP & SJ :)

If only. Winston is like a Freddy Kruger or Jason Voorhees. Forever coming back from the dead to terrorise the innocent.

More like herpes.

Winnie Peters has been giving our tax money to the Clinton Foundation recently. That will please his voters I'm sure. https://www.taxpayers.org.nz/clinton_foundation_2018-19

Seems odd to carry those donations on from the past.

National in 2017: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11780357
National in 2016: https://www.wakeupnz.net/13-7m-nz-taxpayer-funds-donated-shady-clinton-c...


Why are they allowing it to continue? Surely there must be better channels than the Clinton Foundation, and there's no longer (one would imagine) any potential of diplomatic power to be gained from it since Hillary lost the election.

I guess, the Carter Foundation probably is another example of a president's foundation that has done some good work, but it comes with less baggage than the Clintons.

Sorry Rick, I must correct myself. You see this has absolutely nothing to do with the Clinton Foundation. You see this is for the Clinton Health Access Initiative which has nothing what-so-ever to do with the Clintons I've been told. Move along. Nothing to see here!

Producing high value products? Fine all well and good but if finishing that product is is labour intensive then it is likely to not be competitive with that of cheaper labour overseas. And then there is costly freight far from the major world markets. Innovation yes, production refinement(s) yes, uniqueness yes, but the first rule is not to ignore the economies of scale.

Sistema is absolute junk. Their containers don't seal properly. The average K-Mart equivalent is much better. Camelbak for drink bottles.

Don't understand how you can both complain that it takes councils too long to change a plan, and promise to reinstate appeal rights of applicants and objectors.

It's precisely because of constant appeals and objections that it takes so long for councils to change plans or indeed for anything at all to get done

As I understand it, once a plan change is notified/proposed - most of the changed rules have effect from the date of notification... which means that all new proposals have to meet the requirements of both the operative and the proposed plans. So, appeals (where they are made) don't necessarily delay progress on the change per se. They may however delay development progress, as objectors to the changes (if the changes make meeting the rules/standards more onerous) might delay their developments/proposals while awaiting the outcome of their (or someone else's) appeal.

Our RC is allowing two years for the appeals process on their new plan. Add to that the 6months after the last appeal decision for that part of the plan to take effect and you are looking at 2.5years. Do Councils get to consider whether they make a partially effective plan, or wait until the appeals process is over before making any part of the plan operative? It seems to depend on who you talk to as to what answer you get given, so it's a genuine question for anyone who can give a definitive answer.

This will make it all clear as mud;


The short answer is - until your RC knows the nature and the number of appeals, they don't know whether or not they will make part of the plan operative in advance of all appeals being resolved.

So in theory then the implementation of the new plan could take 2.5yrs in our region of they decide to not make it operative until after all appeals are decided, which was the point of Ms de Meanour's comment?

Here is how one council describes it on their website;

Note: We are currently operating under two District Plans. At this time both the Operative District Plan (ODP) and the Proposed District Plan (PDP) Appeals version 2018 have legal effect.

The ODP will continue to have legal effect where any corresponding objectives, policies and provisions in the PDP have been appealed. As appeals are resolved, the ODP provisions will fall away and the PDP will be relied on.

While we still have both an ODP and a PDP it is necessary to comply with both Plans. However, rules in the PDP that are not subject to appeals must be treated as operative, and the corresponding ODP rules fall away.

Any rules in the PDP which cannot be treated as operative still have legal effect and are afforded 'weighting' on a case by case basis, depending on the nature and extent of the appeal.

The key is in the last sentence - proposed (but not yet operative) rules still have legal effect and the council makes decisions on new development proposals on a case-by-case basis.

Here's how a RC explains it on their website;

What does ‘legal effect ‘of rules mean to me?

It means if you are applying for resource consent, for the next few years you will need to apply under both the current operative regional plan(s) and the proposed Plan.

It also means that if you want to carry out a new activity that is a permitted activity, you need to comply with the permitted rules and their conditions in both (all) plans – both the operative plan(s) and the proposed Plan.

We suggest you contact us for advice about this if you are unclear about the status of the activity you want to do.

Therefore, what you refer to as implementation, and I would refer to as given effect to, starts (to a degree) as soon as a proposed plan is notified. Some rules have timeframes for being given effect to embedded in them (i.e., to provide time adequate to adjust/implement and/or to provide certainty for users of a plan).

I guess the next stage is to ban the BBQ then we won't eat as much red meat

Banning O&G exploration will probably lead to this eventually. Back to charcoal.

Watch his interview on Q+A yesterday

He is a man with a Personal Mission, he is chasing a legacy for his career closure, his own words not mine.

Has he got a plan or any study on the economic implication of this? his answer was NO !

So another colorful minister with an idea and no plan for unintended consequences !!

High value products that the world MUST pay higher prices for !! ... this lot is utterly disconnected from reality.

Eco, I simply cannot agree with you this time. How on earth could he be described as colorful?

The reality is that the unintended consequences of agricultural intensification are chocking the life out of some of our lakes and rivers; have the potential to contaminate our freshwater drinking sources and deplete our freshwater aquifers.

As Aristotelian ethics suggest, we need to find the midpoint between excess and deficiency. If you think we can continue down the path of excess, then it is you who are disconnected from reality.

My brief take on the last National government. 'Hey, Aussie is getting rich by gouging minerals and metals from the earth beneath their feet, lets do that too. Who's every been to Great Barrier Island anyway?' NZ Public, 'No, lets not' National....oh well, there's already cows out there, Lets just carry on with that plan. Oh, and sell down some state assets too. NZ Public, I like my flat white coffee.

Mid points are always good, but that is something that neither the Greens Understand nor Labour favours .... the red lot are authoritarians and they can only resolve problems by force ( legislation ) ... listen to the Greens cheering up the legislation move today. Listen to the warrior style interview of DP on Q+A, look at the body language....He is a worry!

The approach is also worrisome Kate, these people are arrogant and the results are anything but planned or assessed properly ... their words not mine !

So this is not about the actual action, it is about how we are getting about in solving our issues, albeit with sledge hammers be it in Agri, housing, or homelessness, or even health and education .... the CoLs are the warriors in pursuit of Fairness ...

So skip the emotions Kate and look at the big picture and most importantly How it is done.

Oh, and stop assuming what people like myself want because you don't know that. Take emotions out of your debate maybe we could have an objective one.

What is worrisome about the approach, that being;

“[A National Policy Statement that states that] increases in land use intensity will no longer be a permitted activity anywhere in the country. [In conjunction with] a methodology for the allocation of nutrient, where you’ve got nutrient-enriched catchments.”

In some regional council areas this is already the case. The devil in legislation will be 'What's the definition of increases in land intensity'?

Dairy grazing can be intensification of a farming system - who is going to monitor non dairy farmers taking on grazing? Intensively grazing sheep on crops can be worse than grazing dairy cattle from a nutrient perspective. Switching from dairy to growing tulip bulbs significantly increases use of N. Dairy farmers in Southland have reported significant increases in grass growth after leasing land to the tulip growers because of the very high fertiliser use, especially N in growing those bulbs.

David Parker has repeatedly talked about growing crops and horticulture as a land use alternative. A commercial orchard is considered contaminated land by councils. You can't build a house on land used as an orchard unless it is tested clear of contamination. In orchard areas in Otago you have to test your potable water supplies for copper contamination - and he is advocating non contaminated land becoming contaminated because he has an issue with the dairy industry??

And I put it to you that high value products are more likely to be grass fed organic low intensity dairying with a back drop of clean rivers and lanscapes to leverage off.....as oposed to your beloved Nat party one trick of intenisve dirying, irrigated landscapes, palm kurnel fed disease ridden dairy herds with a back drop of stagnating lakes and rivers. Which is exactly what this govt has been lumbered with.

You are right. All of us have so much to gain from having clean unpolluted country. From those of us that like to take our children swimming, to those that use the image to sell red meat. In many areas the current levels of pollution are simply not within the boundaries almost all parties would find acceptable. It shouldn't have been allowed to get to this state and we now must back pedal. A little painful, yes. But the alternative is much worse for all.

How about taking your kids swimming on Auckland's beaches with Rangitoto in the background- no dairy farms there

More polluted than a dairy farm. Run off from Suburbia

Grass fed maybe - though there are many parts of the world that do that already. Organic - NZ grass fed farming system would almost meet 'organic' standards in many other countries.

it a Clement Attlee government and we know what happened to great britain, it was great no more....Labour and the greens have no idea what it takes to run a business because none of them including the finance minster ever has. Cullen will bring forward some grand theory like his last rubbish capital gains tax that look good on paper and not work in practice... its all Clement Attlee ....

Now that is scary. Attlee’s government embarked on nationalism. For instance ripped the coal out from under the private grounds of the coal barons’ estates and ruined them. Afraid to say it did not take too long for the control freak ambitions of the previous Labour government to start coming out of the woodwork.

Successive Labour governments destroyed the Productive Sector in England , by 1979 the Labour Governments had all but gutted British industry , they had spent everyone else's money , the country was broke , the sick man of Europe

It was Margaret Thatcher's radical policies that managed to rescue the Country.

And look where neoliberalism has taken our world and in regards to Britain, its now a country that is almost beyond rescuing. And Europe is not far behind.

In the UKs case, not back to the IMF.

Rubbish. Oil crises finished the UK off, it couldnt be an industrialised producing economy when expensive oil made its goods un-affordable.

Being an Ex Maggie voter I sort of agree, but really it was

a) a case of frying pan or fire as we can see afer 30 years of "neo-liberalism" failure.
b) What saved MT was North sea oil which is now in serious decline.

North Sea oil saved the british economy. Thatcher was irrelevant.

So,6 years of a post-war labour Government,was then followed by 13 years of Conservative governments. Just how did Attlee manage to ruin Britain during his time in office,in a way that successive Conservative governments ware unable to undo? i think you need to improve your knowledge of British history.

Labour are taking a strong environmental focus with both this announcement and that on oil and gas exploration. Or is this just appeasing the Green Party?
Bridges said when taking leadership role that National would be looking to taking a stronger environmental focus. However, his comments criticizing this latest move clearly show that National has yet to embrace a green focus.
And yet James Shaw remains notably very quiet/lost in action.

"Taking a stronger environmental focus" doesn't mean that you have to blindly worship any environmental action the Government takes. If the Government's proposal is not well thought out, lacking detail as to how it will actually work and what impact it is expected to have, and not supported by any environmental, let alone cost-benefit, analysis - then why shouldn't National criticise it?

Sounds like an argument for more science, less genuine progress.

It's quite simple: fewer ruminants per hectare = less nutrients into the receiving environment.

All soil scientists and all water scientists agree on that one.

Kate, you stopped up a bit short: fewer ruminants per hectare = less nutrients into the receiving environment = less income = less expenditure = less tax = less money for the Government to redistribute.

I have no skin in the game, but what I would like to see is transparency e.g. people of NZ, we put some things higher than the mighty dollar so we have put the environment ahead of intensive dairy. As a result there will be an overall reduction in economic activity of X billion and Y% of jobs will be lost. We thank those who will make the sacrifice for this and hope you can see past your individual circumstances and vote for us at the next election.

Pigs will fly before we see such honesty.

No, the full stop was in the appropriate place - as that much is a given. All the add-ons you suggest are not givens but speculation. When it was no longer economical to produce typewriters, IBM started producing other stuff. Capitalism works that way. Innovation is never in short supply.

You should be a politician with that response. In my time looking at dairy farmers in financial distress I saw no alternative path for these farmers to improve income. The response was always to reduce debt.

If you have acreage you have to produce something to obtain an income from it. There is a saying in the Naki, "don't pull down a fence or remove a gate until you understand why it was put there in the first place".

Wilful destruction of business with no answer as to what will replace it is the hallmark of the Left and will be their undoing. Then we'll have to rebuild it all again.

Agree. Less farm activity = less tax revenue, and next week's Budget is likely to have 3% 'growth' factored in to the out-years as to revenue assumptions. Let's wait and see.

Farmers, unlike most other business activities can:

  • Mix business with private activity. E.g. taking an afternoon fishing on the quad bike and checking the back 40 at the same time.
  • Reduce revenue to the point where it pays the bills but leaves zero for the IRD: e.g. by running up inventory like grain or silage, or by buying the best 4wd ute when a clunker would do, and taking the depreciation into expenses

The average age of farmers is in the low fifties, and expecting change of the sort envisaged is not really a short-political-term thang. It's a 20-40 year slog.

Farmers tend to manage taxable profit now in expectation of future tax free capital gain on sale. I wouldn't be surprised if BOP beach houses take a bath when the COL announces the party is over and farm capital gains will be taxed. I would expect bank credit criteria to tighten significantly based on farm carrying capacity.

So, to improve income one must reduce debt. Sounds good.

But I think you'd be searching a long time to find a farmer that reduced debt via intensification. Rather most who have intensified have increased debt in the hopes of greater returns (and on sinking margins as well).

This is very much the trap associated with a price taking/commodity strategy.

Speaking from experience, I once ran a $40m business in a commodities market. The higher volume/lower margin strategy worked in terms of improved bottom line for about five years - problem is all my competitors followed suit on the way down. So we started bundling, given the breadth of products offered, but that novelty wore off with the customers pretty quick as they took on inventory they didn't have an immediate need for as a means to buy at the bundled price. After that, the only way forward was efficiency, combined with USPs and value add.

I don't know much about Fonterra but from the outside I think they might be facing that scenario.

No, to resolve their financial distress, farmers needed to reduce debt, not try to grow income to service what they had. I'll give Roberston credit for one thing; living within your means is the way to go whether it's personal, business or government finances. The latter has the most difficulty as lenders know that they are able to tax to increase income, to a certain point so push governments to borrow.

We and many other farmers do not need to reduce debt to improve income Kate. That comment shows how much you have bought in to msm bias and how little you know about intensification when done well.

Part of your last statement is at least correct - you don't know much about Fonterra. But then that is understandable as you aren't a shareholder and it is a private company. This link might be of interest to you to get a greater understanding of what Fonterra does. https://www.fonterra.com/content/dam/fonterra-public-website/pdf/Fonterr...
Keith Woodford gave his views on the presentation here https://www.interest.co.nz/rural-news/93364/keith-woodford-explains-how-...

You commented Fonterra was in a death spiral to Keith's article. The dairy industry has been exporting since the 1880's. It has been challenged, changed and adapted since then and I am sure it will continue to do so in the future. https://teara.govt.nz/en/dairying-and-dairy-products

We and many other farmers do not need to reduce debt to improve income Kate.

It wasn't me that suggested that was the case, it was Rex Pat when referring to his experience in advising farmers in financial distress.

I appreciate that intensification done well can increase income - and that intensification may/may not require large amounts of additional capital (or debt) to achieve that increased income.

But depending on the nature of the receiving environment, there are some 'no go' farms and 'no go' areas. Hence the Minister's intent to disallow intensification as a permitted activity nationwide - meaning rules (for intensification) will need to be written - and perhaps in some highly sensitive areas (i.e., surrounding some of our more polluted lakes, for example), intensification will be prohibited.

Will have a read of the links provided, thanks. Bear in mind, I don't advocate no dairy production for NZ. It's really a matter of finding that midpoint between excess and deficiency. That is as true on a national scale, as it is on an individual landholding scale. If intensification is done well, it is because the carrying capacity of the land is there and the environmental limits of the receiving environment have not already been reached, or breached (based on the cumulative effect of the individual holding + all the other holdings in the catchment/area).

If intensification is done well, it is because the carrying capacity of the land is there and the environmental limits of the receiving environment have not already been reached, or breached (based on the cumulative effect of the individual holding + all the other holdings in the catchment/area). Not entirely correct Kate intensification can be done well because of mitigations taken e.g. two neighbouring farms one with a stocking rate of 3.4cows/ha one with one of 2.8. The higher stocking rate can have a lower N leach rate due to, but not limited to, types of feed e.g. pke systems can have a lower environmental footprint than all grass fed systems. Note: We are all grass farmers and so I am well aware of the problems associated with all grass farming and leaching. Intensification done well isn't always because of the carrying capacity of the land etc it is more about farming systems. It's a bit like those who say cow numbers need to be reduced - there is often mitigation that can be taken - that doesn't require reduced cow numbers.

If he is thinking about a carefully designed nutrient or water trading scheme he might be on to something however I doubt it just wishful thinking

I was once a fan of polluter pays, but 20+ years of the Kyoto Protocol in operation has dented my faith in such schemes. What David Parker explains that he is thinking about;

“[A National Policy Statement that states that] increases in land use intensity will no longer be a permitted activity anywhere in the country. [In conjunction with] a methodology for the allocation of nutrient, where you’ve got nutrient-enriched catchments.”

are both really simple requirements to implement and enforce under the RMA. We will however also need to bolster monitoring and enforcement within Regional Councils - so I do hope central government stumps up with the necessary cash to RCs to do just that.

a methodology for the allocation of nutrient, therein lies a potential problem - whose methodology - a one size fits all? Sensitive catchments are not all equal, so methodology can't be the same for all. Some sensitive catchments have very long lag times - longer than David Parker is likely to be an MP. ;-)

I think I read somewhere that they are further investigating the use of Overseer in the regulatory environment - so am assuming an NPS methodology will incorporate the use of that tool which, if I understand its application, does take into account the natural variability of catchments that you refer to.

God help Ag if they use Overseer in the national regulatory environment - it has a +/- 30% error rate and doesn't give recognition for mitigations. Last year I was told our wetland was treated by overseer as 'unused grassland' yet science shows wetlands can reduce the nutrient loading up to 80% depending on type etc. There is a new version due out soon but as it stands, it is far from accurate even if it is the only tool around.

It is the right kind of joint-venture, not-for-profit company;


With further support from its shareholders, it should be able to iron out the problems and improve its weaknesses. If we get it right here, I can imagine it might become a valuable export as well.

Originally it was owned by the fertiliser companies. It's been around for decades. Fert companies have so much faith in it now that they refuse to do nutrient budgets as required by RCs that require them, in our area. The govt (National) really only came on board when it was realised that there were not insignificant issues with it and RCs started to refer to it in their Plans. Sheep, cattle and arable farms are not done well in Overseer. It is at best it could be described as a guesstimate.

One of the issues is lack of science in overseer parameters but more so the huge number of variables in an on farm system. e.g. artificial wetland v natural. Wetland margins around a water source like a lake v flaxland. New plantings of natives v established. Riparian plantings haven't been given any mitigation credit despite science saying depending on the issue, they can be of benefit. Again the variability of 'riparian plantings' can be significant.
I would doubt it's exportable Kate - Many countries around the world already use systems to measure ags effect. https://www.eea.europa.eu/airs/2017/natural-capital/agricultural-land-ni...

God save NZ from ideology driven Governments that force stupid changes upon the productive sector without consultation of industry

Next you'll be complaining about how many working groups they've got on the go.

They don't need a working group the politicians just need to get their arses out into the farming community and get themselves educated.

This Government is running where the Devil fears to tread .

They have clearly never heard of unintended consequences


The unintended consequence of a government that didn't want to do anything, is the election of a government with a slogan of #Letsdothis. Who do you blame?

Good point.

Didn't National bring in the NPS-FM?

Yes. And then followed it with (what many saw as bogus) water quality standards. You might recall that the National government largely ignored the Land and Water Forum's consensus recommendations in that regard.

That was the body it set up to advise it on freshwater management - so to ignore its consensus recommendations was (in my opinion) a significant political bungle;


Independent Observer said the last government was a 'do nothing' government, well they did do something, even if some parties weren't happy with it.
When it comes to water quality standards there will always be some who aren't happy.

By year 2035, the current political system in (at least) the five eye countries will no longer be compatible with the economic development. So, there are two options left for change before it is too late - change from the top or change from the bottom.

Change from the top will be the best option but it will be likely from the bottom given the top people are becoming less and less competent under the current structure.

I can see why most of you previous commentators probably voted National. You obviously like a government that does nothing.

Laissez-faire economics. It's in the name. Let be. It also completely neglects all feedback loops in unregulated free marketism, and any negative externalities.

Parker knows he will get a round of applause for this ideologically driven virtue signalling stunt, from the urban electorate. Critically, he'll be applauded by the WGN and AKL Green Party faithful. Which is his political expediency motive, given the steady march back to better water quality that is already underway thanks to peak dairying having passed and the positive effect of decades of farmer mitigation measures now gaining traction.

AWOL Peters and travelling huckster Jones are the supposed rescuers of Northland which has the worst polluted waterways in the country yet comparatively low levels of dairying but will no doubt, yet again, perform their pontius pilate stunt and stay silent as the coalition sticks it to other provinces.


You obviously haven't seen the proposal for intensive dairying in the McKenzie Country. I am told that it could involve up to 15,000 dairy cattle on some of our most sensitive land.

Cows in the McKenzie is madness. I own a bit of similar land. You could make it happen, but it's a crime.

Yep, have. I'm very familiar with the area. And I agree with KH, it's a crime. But the proposal has also stalled in the courts which is where it will hopefully stay. Public pressure should persuade the judiciary to make the right call.

But you miss my point I think - which is that Parker acknowledges we have turned the corner on nutrient discharge but intends to lower the boom anyway as a political support buying stunt, bugger the economic impact on the regions. Same as collapsing the hydrocarbon exploration industry, thereby increasing NZs Co2 discharge; who cares about Taranaki and south Canterbury people. As long as he secures votes of the cafe/winebar supposedly 'green' set in AKL & WGN busy consuming the fruits of the country's dairying industry which they so vociferously bag.

Which has Forest and Bird and Fonterra singing off the same hymn sheet. ;-)

Not quite applicable to NZ, but still a very interesting doco on how to green the planet.
I feel sorry for the speaker, he admitted that 40.000 elephants had to be culled, a grave mistake.

How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change | Allan Savory

Do watch, it's worth your time.

Yes truly fascinating talks.

When living in Australia I read about a grazier that still had green productive pastures while his surrounding properties were drought stricken. His strategy was dragging railway sleepers behind his tractor to flatten any remaining autumn grass against the ground. However, he also retained as much mosture on his land by slowing runoff with fallen trees etc left in his ephemeral streams. No burning was done something that NZ farmers need to learn. Carbon high organics can help tp keep nitrogen on the land and out of the rivers etc.


I'm into farming. Sounds like more of a long term plan than the short term thinking from the previous administrations.

Ditto red cows. Is there a place for the government helping to realise value from sustainable grass based nutrition, as often mentioned by commenters on this site? Is realising such value wishful thinking, or best left to overseas investors?


What we really need is a serious overhaul of board/management/thinking at Fonterra. There has to be any number of people capable of taking that organisation from being a price taker to a price maker.

Farmers are price takers, Fonterra is a price maker. All those commentators on here who whinge about the 'high' price of milk and 'greedy Fonterra' prove it to be so.

I hire the Cheesemakers.

At $6.55 this will be the 4th highest milk price paid to farmers since the formation of Fonterra. ;-)

Nothing to do with the culture of corporate excess and associated strategy in Fonterra, as endorsed by shareholders, and everything to do with vagaries commodity supply and demand.

The world has too many people and that is why the landscape is screwed. Same in New Zealand. If we had half the population places like the McKenzie would be like they should be. Lonely, unused, and seeing only the occasional traveler. It would be magnificent, as it deserves to be.

Tourist numbers are not far away from our permanent population numbers we could 'halve' our population by closing our border to tourists and then the McKenzie would be more like your nirvana - lonely, (maybe not unused as it has been farmed for over 100 years) but it would then only see the occasional traveller.

Are there any stats on the net benefit of tourists to NZ? They overwhelm local infrastructure, and creates low paying jobs, but for who exactly? Who’s getting the money? What’s the difference between farming pollution and tourism pollution? These people fly in from long distances, use fuel to get around, defecate and urinate in their millions. Surely this must have an unacceptable environmental impact? Where is the noise from the COL on this? Maybe the GST revenue is too valuable? There should be no sacred cows, surely, unless they are hypocrites.

There has so far been some recognition of their impact with the set up of the $25m pa Tourism Infrastructure Fund - but it's a drop in the bucket with respect to the wastewater infrastructure upgrades facing many (if not most) local authorities;


Thanks Kate. Wikipedia has the following

Tourism is an important industry in New Zealand, directly contributing NZ$12.9 billion (or 5.6%) of the country's GDP in 2016, as well as directly supporting 188,000 full-time equivalent jobs (nearly 7.5% of New Zealand's workforce). A further 4.3% of GDP (or NZ$9.8 billion) is indirectly contributed through the flow-on effects of tourism. International tourist spending accounted for 17.1% of New Zealand's export earnings (nearly NZ$12 billion). International and domestic tourism contributes, in total, NZ$34 billion to New Zealand's economy every year.

There’s clearly enough money flowing into Government coffers to measure and ameliorate the impacts of tourists on our society.

....overstated benefit if we net off the NZ tourist 'spend' on our own overseas slurge - $10 Bill in 2016.

As a certified self-contained caravanner who sees this stuff first-hand, I'd hazard a guess that 80% of the 'drops in the bucket' are a) not in a bucket at all and b) are occurring in areas where the nearest 'waste-water treatment' facility of any description is tens of km's away. For a working example, check out Tekapo's lakeshore adjacent to the public carpark on the eastern edge of the lake.

We simply are not set up for the sort of tourists we seem to be attracting to remote areas.

Interesting Reveal

Most of the annual 3½ million tourists come in during a two-month window of December-January - Most come in through the front door of Auckland Airport and the rest come in through the side door of Queenstown Airport

NZ has a built-in sewerage capacity to meet the needs of its 4½ million domestic population

How the heck it copes during the high-tourist season one can only wonder

It reads that 25% came in those two months. Still, it's a sizable number and it's a good point to debate. Are tourism operators socialising their costs onto tax payers and rate payers? In places like Venice and Barcelona tourists are seen as a scourge.

Clearly the tourism industry is privatising the benefits and socialising the costs. Queenstown is a great example. "a man in the Koru club" told me that he was building the sewage plant at the Shotover, and it was half the size required because of the cost. I live downstream. The costs are more than just financial.