While the government's freshwater reforms are meant to involve all New Zealanders, they seem to be concentrated on one sector, says DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle.
"When you really stand back and look at essential freshwater ... it's very focused on dairy. I know everyone's impacted but if you strip back the rules and have a look at it there are some pretty big impacts on the dairy sector," Mackle told The Country's Jamie Mackay.
Although the dairy industry was definitely "part of the problem" - it had been involved in coming up with solutions for quite some time, said Mackle.
"I guess that's what's gutting for farmers ... they've actually been on the journey for some time. We did the first water accord back in 2002 – and I know that progress wasn't as quick back then – but lately it's been pretty fast."
Farmers had already done "a heck of a lot of good work," including fencing 98 per cent of significant waterways said Mackle, who believed some regulations would slow this progress down.
"They don't want to be encumbered with dumb rules."
These "dumb" rules included new restrictions for pugging, paddock slope and resowing of crops that will have a detrimental effect on winter grazing, especially in Southland and Otago.
Another worry was that those making the regulations didn't actually know about farming, said Mackle.
"You come back to this sowing date ... every farmer I've spoken to clearly is fully aware that they will try and get a paddock back into grass as quickly as they can – and I don't think the regulators understand that."
"This is just an example where you've got to work with farmers and work out where you need rules ... and where you don't. And I think that's what's annoying farmers."
DairyNZ had also been "shut out" from the freshwater process and had to "engage from the outside," by sending in a "massive submission," Mackle said.
However, DairyNZ had been included in the implementation group set up to ensure the rules were applied, which Mackle said was "encouraging".
"I hope we can pick our way through this stuff and really focus on the things that make the greatest difference, but do it in a way that everyone can cope with and actually deliver."