8 Oct 2019

Freshwater proposals wouldn't increase veg prices - minister

11:18 am on 8 October 2019

Environment Minister David Parker says the government's proposed freshwater policy won't affect the cost of vegetables.

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Environment Minister David Parker Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

Growers are worried about the effects of the plans to put tighter controls on land intensification and tougher limits for nitrogen leaching.

They say if they can't expand to keep up with demand, it will push up the cost of vegetables.

"The first thing I'd say is that lettuces today cost two dollars at Countdown and they're not going to go up in consequence of this," Mr Parker told Morning Report.

But Mr Parker said there is no-one was suggesting that vegetable growing should be shut down.

"We have moved to protect elite soils from being covered over by subdivisions and lifestyle blocks," he said. "We actually think we're on [growers'] side."

Mr Parker said he would listen to the industry's concerns at a closed meeting in Pukekohe today.

"I am aware that only one percent of our land is used for vegetables, that we have to be careful that we don't have one size fits all.

"I don't think we do in this document, but no doubt it's possible to refine it further, and we'll be listening to their concerns."