Expect more disruption due to climate change, rural sector warned by minister

Crowds turn out for a hot Field Days day at Manfeild. (File photo)


Crowds turn out for a hot Field Days day at Manfeild. (File photo)

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor is warning the rural sector to expect more disruption as a result of climate change.

His comments, made during a Stuff political panel at the Central District Field Days at Manfeild Park in Feilding, come as the Government seeks to push farmers to change agricultural practices to reduce emissions through the He Waka Eke Noa partnership.

“Things are going to change, disruption will be upon us,” he said.

“Nothing is certain in this world and as you travel around climate change is effecting every country, the monetary situation, has upset every economic theory we can think of.”

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However, he warned social media has “exacerbated divisions and differences in opinions” as well.

”We have a divide and more finger pointing now than we ever had.

O’Connor was joined on the panel by National’s Ian McKelve and Mark Cameron, who is the agricultural spokesperson from the ACT Party.

McKelvie, the MP for Rangitikei, said the sector did not want to go backwards in regard to climate change, but the issue was that He Waka Eke Noa was confusing and poorly understood.

“We want to move in a manner that keeps us in the game and keeps us in the game internationally,” he said.

“The big problem with He Waka Eke Noa is that farmers don’t understand it and still don’t.”

He raised the broader point that New Zealnd was seeking to cut its food production while the world’s population was growing at a high rate.

McKelvie attended the panel in place of National’s Todd Muller, who stood down from politics – and as his party’s agricultural spokesperson – earlier on Friday. He will be replaced by Todd McClay.

Cameron said farmers do not understand what the Government is seeking to address through the partnership and other policies in he agricultural sector.

“We are now jumping through more red tape than we have ever done. We have got to simplify the codes of practice and acknowledge the good work we are actually doing today.”