The Government's freshwater plan contains proposed amendments that will cause significant changes for New Zealand's primary sector, says Blake Holgate.

Rabobank's Sustainability and Animal Proteins Analyst spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay about the proposals, which he thought would have an impact on costs "across the board for the sector".

"I think also importantly it's going to add to the complexity of farming in New Zealand. We're going to move to a far greater consenting regime and a range of activities where previously farmers could do as a right, they'll have to go through a consenting process which does add that layer of complication".

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Longer term, nutrient limits will pose some "major challenges" in catchments that are well above the proposed level they need to get to, said Holgate.

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Compliance costs are also a concern, yet are indicative of a transformational period that New Zealand agriculture is going through.

"It's not just around water quality rules" said Holgate.

"If we look at agriculture coming into the Emissions Trading Scheme [and] a strengthening carbon credit price which incentivises plantings of trees - we really are setting the rules of how we farm over the next generation".

Also in today's interview: Holgate talked about healthy a red meat market and Rabobank's Good Deeds promotion.