Stuff – Gerald Piddock – 8 May 2018

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor​ has denied the Government is pushing to put a cap on New Zealand’s dairy cow numbers.

Instead, it wanted farmers to better manage their nutrient outputs to improve water quality standards to make rivers swimmable, he told about 500 farmers at a forum at Mystery Creek on Tuesday.

He called claims on a cow number cap a “misinterpretation” of what Environment Minister David Parker said during a recent TVNZ interview.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

“David [Parker] said this is about nutrient management. Farmers understand that and have been understanding that for years. It’s a question about how we get on and better improve that nutrient management.

“There’s no plan on [reducing] cow numbers at all. In fact, what we said to Greenpeace, who are thinking about asking for a moratorium, is that we don’t buy into it.”