Horticulture New Zealand says it welcomes Action for Healthy Waterways, the Government's freshwater discussion document, but it still has concerns.

"The horticulture industry will do what it needs to do to play its part in further improving freshwater quality" said HortNZ Chief Executive, Mike Chapman.

"However, we have some concerns, chiefly around how what is proposed would limit the ability of growers to expand in response to our increasing population and replace land lost to urban development.

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"We need time to work through what is proposed with our growers. That is why we will be holding meetings in addition to the ones that the Government is organising. We will be in touch directly with growers about these meetings" said Chapman.

Environment and Agriculture ministers David Parker and Damien O'Connor released a swathe of documents from the Government's Essential Freshwater policy review at Parliament this morning.

Horticulture NZ Chief Executive, Mike Chapman. Photo / John Borren
Horticulture NZ Chief Executive, Mike Chapman. Photo / John Borren

Chapman said Horticulture NZ will continue its long term engagement with the Government on freshwater, and the industry was right behind clearer policies for improving freshwater quality.

"[We look] forward to greater certainty, particularly where local government is concerned".

"At the same time, New Zealand needs to ensure that it can grow enough fresh food - particularly vegetables - to feed itself, and that the prices for this food are reasonable, particularly as climate change begins to bite".

"It's high time New Zealand took greater care of freshwater, which with land, is the backbone of our economy".

The Government says research has shown more than 80 per cent of New Zealanders want action to improve water quality, and Fish and Game says a Colmar Brunton survey it commissioned found 77 per cent were very concerned about pollution of rivers and lakes.

Consultation on the changes will begin in September and go to October 17, with Cabinet to sign-off on any final decisions.

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HortNZ said it will make a considered response to the proposal following consultation with growers across the country.