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Although some may say there is an urban/rural divide in this country, there is one thing all New Zealanders can agree on according to Dr Tim Mackle.

"We all share a passion for our water and our natural resources in this wonderful country that we've got here."

DairyNZ's chief executive spoke to The Country Early Edition's Rowena Duncum about how farmers are doing a lot of work to continually manage dairying's environmental footprint, and this includes a focus on water quality.

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Read more: Tim Mackle: Dairy farmers leading charge to clean up water

Mackle admits there is still work to be done but hopes that people will acknowledge the work dairy farmers have done so far.

"Dairy farmers, quite rightly get sick of having the finger pointed at them, when actually a great majority of them have been making great progress in the last few years."

Dairying is only one land user in a country of many different land uses that have the potential to contribute to water quality issues, says Mackle.

"It's time we get start to get a bit more balance in the conversation."

Also in today's interview: Mackle talks about the big issues for DairyNZ in 2019, including Dairy Tomorrow, Mycoplasma bovis and climate change.

Listen below: