The current government is not to blame for New Zealand's farming woes says Winston Peters.

The Deputy Prime Minister disagreed with The Country's Jamie Mackay's suggestion that this Government was "hell bent on putting the boot into dairy farmers" with freshwater reforms potentially forcing sheep and beef farmers to fence off large areas of their properties.

Damien O'Connor: Banks putting pressure on dairy farmers
Shane Jones stares down Wairarapa dam critics

"Well you just got the wrong party when you said that. It was [National's Minister for Climate Change Issues] Nick Smith who said they've got to fence off the hillsides and everything else. You remember how many million ... kilometres of fences he demanded? It was Nick Smith who did that, you know very well when it was. So it's not us saying that".


Peters also dismissed Mackay's suggestion that a proposed 46 per cent methane emission reduction in the ETS could potentially threaten livestock numbers.

"You wanna talk about the issue of 46, 47 per cent – that is not even the Government's position – the Government set out a policy between 47 and 26 [per cent]. You remember that don't you? So why do you go for 46-47 and try to alarm all your farming listeners?"

As for the ETS, Peters insisted his Government had put it "back on a sound footing" after the previous National leadership.

"You talk about the Emissions Trading Scheme for example. Which was the government that took the Emissions Trading Scheme unit from $25 down to $2.34 and just about busted every farming enterprise that went into forestry? Do you remember what government that was?"

Listen below:

When asked about banks, Peters agreed with Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor who said they were "fair-weather friends" when it came to dairy farmers.

However, the Deputy PM said the blame for banks deserting kiwi dairy farmers lay partly with an old political foe.

"Maybe you should speak to your friend John Key who heads one of those banks in New Zealand. Namely the ANZ. Maybe you should speak to him about it?"

Peters said he wanted to know why ANZ was not prepared to make a "fair economic contribution to the future" after doing "so well out of New Zealand", especially since the country's economy was "far more sound now", compared to Key's run as Prime Minister.


Peters told Mackay he was tired of criticism when it came to his government's handling of farming issues.

"We're not going to stand back this year while you take pot shots at our policy when it comes to farming. Damien O'Connor and myself and Shane Jones will be out there taking you guys on to say you've never had it so good".