Jacinda Ardern denies the Government will introduce a cap on cows in New Zealand - but says we need to look at different land-use options.
The Prime Minister told The AM Show the Government is working on a national policy statement to keep our freshwater unpolluted. However, she emphasised that the focus will be on nutrient run-off limits instead of a direct cap on cattle numbers.
"The focus is on the pollution," she says.
"What we'll be looking at is the amount of impact across an entire area. Because that's what we have to look at, the way that land use in different areas is causing an impact on our waterways across a whole area."
The Government expects advice from the Land and Water Forum on how to divide up nutrient discharge rights by the end of May.
People want to be able to swim in rivers again.
Ms Ardern says some farmers should be encouraged to move away from farming and towards horticulture and forestry instead.
"In some areas they're pulling out trees in order to create dairy farms, and we should think about whether that's the best use of that land."
The dairy industry says they want to work with the Government on improving water quality.
"It's an important thing to us; it's an important thing to the Government. We are keen to work together," Tim Mackle from Dairy NZ told Newshub.
- Government forced to defend limits on dairy water pollution
- Freedom campers 'couldn't care less' about NZ environment - says local
"We actually do support having consistency between regional councils across the country."
Ms Ardern says it's important to prevent "further degradation" to our environment.
"People want to be able to swim in rivers again, so we have to make sure now we're talking about what do we need to do to make that a reality," she says.
"We're saying by default this idea that you can just intensify and add more and more without it having an impact - we have to acknowledge it does."
Watch the full interview with Jacinda Ardern above.
The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.