A Waikato agriculture consultant says lessons on water management could be learnt from New Zealand's trading partners.
Nicola Waugh travelled overseas on a Nuffield scholarship last year, to examine the different approaches to water quality management in relation to agriculture.
She has released a report on what she calls the choice between the carrot and the stick.
The carrot is an incentive such as a per-hectare payment to the farmer to take land out of production to promote water quality and biodiversity - common in Britain.
The stick is regulations, or blanket rules which farmers must comply with so they can farm - as in the United States.
Ms Waugh says her choice for this country would be a combination of the two.