The Chief Executive Keeping up with the Government
There is a very good argument for the government to have a term that is longer than three years.
My main reason for proposing a longer term is it will give the government time to properly develop and consult on its new policies. With a three-year term the first casualty is public consultation on new policy. Public consultation is often truncated and government often puts out for consideration policy ideas that are not fully developed. Short time and incomplete ideas make it very difficult for the public to have a reasonable chance to make submissions, which limits the often very sensible amendments to the new policies that can result from public consultation.
In terms of good policy development, once an initial public consultation has been conducted, then there needs to be a further round on what is being proposed before law change is taken to Parliament. This is because it is much more difficult to effect meaningful improvement once legislation is drafted and being considered by Parliament. In addition, good policy development requires the detail to be settled before a law change is put before Parliament.
It is particularly important for there to be a second round when the policy changes can be made without the need for Parliament to change or make laws. This is because implementation of new rules and regulations is not done by government or councils, but by the public in their everyday lives. Good consultation allows not only workable laws, rules and regulations to be developed but also enables public buyin not only to the concepts that are proposed, but also to undertake what needs to be done.
From December, over the Christmas break and through the summer holiday period, Horticulture New Zealand made submissions on the following:
Reforming the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme: Rules for auctioning.
Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill.
Transforming the resource management system: opportunities for change – Issues and options paper.
Country of Origin Food Labelling – Regulations.
“We need time to make the best decision and to ensure that lasting change is made.”
Better Protection for Contractors – Discussion Document.
Reforming the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme: Proposed settings.
Accelerating renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Also consultation is running on the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity and a significant amendment to the Fair Trading Act. This does not include the regional and
district submissions we made to councils over this period. This intense period of policy consultation followed fast on our November submissions covering Temporary Migrant Worker Exploitation and Fair Pay Agreements.
Throughout the Christmas period and the last few months, our most important work – noting that all of the above is important as well – has, however, been on climate change adaptation and water quality. We have been working with regional councils and the government in a series of meetings to refine and adapt what was publicly proposed last year for water quality. There are essentially two options: (1) impose on land owners a series of prescriptive requirements or (2) work with the landowners to achieve lasting change. Our aim has been to achieve option 2 by using farm environment plans that address the key risks with the identified mitigations subject to audit through our NZGAP (Good Agricultural Practice) programmes.
Our strong view is that a partnership approach to effecting lasting change, particularly lasting environmental change, is the only effective way to achieve the desired outcomes. A partnership approach requires full disclosure and trust. It requires all parties to work together and to reach a common understanding and approach. In essence this is what effective consultation really is: working collaboratively to achieve common goals. The one key ingredient that is needed is time, time to fully and properly consider whatever proposal, time to have input into what is proposed, for adjustments to be made and most importantly time to make the changes. With a government three-year term, we do not have the required time. This does need to change as we face more challenging environmental issues – we need time to make the best decision and to ensure that lasting change is made.
Freephone: 0508 467 869 Phone: (04) 472 3795
Fax: (04) 471 2861
Web: www.hor tnz.co.nz Email: email@example.com.