The National Party is promising to dismantle legislation it says is too much of a burden for farmers, including the new freshwater regulations, the Resource Management Act and the Zero Carbon Act.

The agriculture policy also includes improving access to foreign workers, reviewing treatment of forestry by the Overseas Investment office, reviewing parts of the Emissions Trading Scheme, and pursuing an active free trade agenda.

National is pledging to:

  • Repeal the Resource Management Act (RMA) and replace it with an Environmental Standards Act and Planning and Development Act
  • Allow skilled workers and Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers to enter New Zealand
  • Create a fast-tracked Primary Sector Visa
  • Repeal or review the nine new water regulations Labour introduced in August
  • Promote water storage options
  • Review the treatment of forestry in the Emissions Trading Scheme
  • Remove the exemption that streamlines the process for forestry applications in the Overseas Investment Office test
  • Remove the review process around introducing agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme in 2022
  • Pass seven changes to the Zero Carbon Act, including a review of the methane target
  • Pursue an active free trade agenda to open up new markets for New Zealand's food and fibre products.
  • Enforce stronger penalties for biosecurity offences
  • Build the infrastructure to ensure better connectivity for rural communities

Party leader Judith Collins and agriculture spokesperson David Bennett are in Gisborne to announce the policy today.

Collins says the party's pledge is to "ensure that our agricultural policy focuses on allowing farmers the opportunity to farm their way to better outcomes, rather than being regulated into oblivion".

Bennett says: "There will be a demand for more sustainability in our farming practices. Farmers are up for this challenge and this desire for improvement is clear in farmers' efforts over recent years.

"We'll address the issues around workforce shortages and ensure that primary sector businesses have every opportunity to continue growing and supporting New Zealand's economy."