New Zealand First leader Winston Peters gave his final interview for 2019 on The Country to tell farmers they have never had it better under the current coalition Government.
“Here you've got these record returns [for farmers]. These returns would be nothing like a record if the currency under the National Party persisted in the way it has in the last two years,” he told host Jamie Mackay.
“We've gone from above 80 cents US - dollars that is - in the dollar, to now between 64 and 66, up and down around about there.”
Mr Peters credits that the exchange rate have led to massive returns to farmers, and says that’s where the dollar should “for an export- dependent economy and farmers are exporters.”
“Now if they heard this message more often they'd actually stop and think "well actually I that might be why we're doing far better than we did before,” the Party Leader added.
Mr Peters also said that farmers have also been spared from taking a serious hit with climate change policies.
“Then you've got climate change measures coming but they're going to be totally shielded and cautioned and made the shock troops of improvement in a sustainable way whilst their income goes up, not down.”
When Mackay asked him what he plans to do regarding the proposed freshwater changes which the host says could “decimate farming”, Mr Peters said the only action needed urgently was from the farming community to engage in the consultation process.
“Well I'm waiting for some action from you too because it's out there for consultation. We're waiting for your submissions. We're waiting for you to get off your rort half-acre and make a positive change and to ensure that clean water in this country, sustainable water - which is more of a crisis in the urban centres than it is in the rural centres - can happen.”
The Party Leader said that many farmers were already ahead of the curve when it came to taking care of the environment.
“We see thousands and thousands of farmers, usually evidenced by the farming programme The Country Calendar every Sunday night, all these forward-thinking farmers who've made massive changes.”
“They're way ahead of any of the requirements for climate change already all by themselves. And our job is to ensure that they get clear guidelines where they get to decide how they're going to do it as a farming community,” Mr Peters added.