Jane Smith did not mince words when discussing David Parker's new water plan, calling the Environment Minister "an angry little man on a power trip in Wellington".
Smith, a former winner of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay saying Parker's reasoning was "barely fit for consumption."
"You know I just sort of wonder if he's running a democracy or a dictatorship."
Parker's reformed National Policy Statement (NPS) on Freshwater Management could bring a halt to intensive dairy farming intensification; a move that Smith says has a lack of metrics, rationale and facts.
"Some of the things he's coming out with are ... almost economic suicide."
Smith says improving water quality is "just business as usual" for farmers who are already doing "a bloody good job."
Environmental consultant Megan Hands says comparing intensive horticulture to dairy farming is not where the conversation should be going.
Hands says the biggest drivers of nutrient loss on a farm are soil type and rainfall which can vary depending on where the farm is located. Therefore in some cases intensive horticultural operations can have the same nutrient losses as dairy farms and vice versa.
"It's not right or correct to say, one is worse than the other in every situation ... it is possible that we can have ... highly nutrient efficient dairy farming that has the same or lesser impact of a horticultural operation."
Also in today's interview: Jane Smith talks about the economic impact the reformed National Policy Statement could have on the dairy industry and Megan Hands ponders whether Canterbury will go back to intensive cropping.