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DairyNZ has been involved in a couple of significant meetings around key issues affecting farmers, chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says.
Mackle recently met with Environment Minister David Parker, whose controversial freshwater reforms have caused concern for farmers.
"It was a good meeting," Mackle told The Country Sport Breakfast's Brian Kelly.
"When I say good – I think meetings are good when people can speak their minds in the things that are important to them and be candid about that - and understand each other."
While Parker made it "pretty clear what his drivers were" at the meeting, DairyNZ, Federated Farmers and Beef+Lamb NZ were also able to voice what was important to farmers, Mackle said.
"There was a good dialogue going on. At the end of the day if you're not at the table you don't get to eat - so we've got to be doing this stuff."
It helped that everybody had a common goal, Mackle said.
"We all want the same thing. We all want clean and healthy waterways. You can then work out how you're going to get there - and that's the key thing."
Meanwhile, Mackle also caught up with the new chairman of Fish and Game Ray Grubb, a meeting which could herald a new era between the two groups.
Mackle said he was "really heartened" by the meeting.
"I think partnering and working together, acknowledging that we might have different views still at times is the way to go."
Although Mackle found Grubb "a breath of fresh air" he believed he would still be "very firm in his views."
"He's got things he wants to see fixed and that's great - we all do - but the key thing is he wants to collaborate and see how we can work together and that's great."
It was a positive start to the year and Mackle was hopeful that people were now listening to farmers' views.
"I know it sounds cliche but we're such a tiny country, we need to be able to sort our issues out together and not be divisive about it. I hope 2021 has a lot more of that going on in it."
Also in today's interview: Mackle gave an update on the farmer-led Southern Advisory Group.