Friday, 31 May 2019 11:13

Council's environmental management rules out of reach

Written by  Nigel Malthus
Dave Ashby. Dave Ashby.

The Waimakariri zone committee’s draft zone implementation programme addendum (ZIPA) is unachievable for many farmers in its current form, says a newly formed farmers group.

The Waimakariri Next Generation Farmers Trust is a response to the pending changes. 

Click here to read: New council rules tough on farmers.

Formed by seven local farm owners and managers, the trust attracted nearly 60 people to its first public meeting on May 3. It aims to consult farmers to make a case for changes to the ZIPA, and will be making a submission when public consultation begins later this year.

Chair Scott Evans, an Oxford dairy farmer, says the group was formed to unite the rural community in their goal of protecting the environment for future generations.

“A key objective of the trust is to work alongside industry and local authorities in the development of environmental policy. 

“Farmers have a lot of local knowledge and we want to ensure this grassroots perspective is not overlooked. We need practical, achievable changes that positively impact the environment and incorporate farmer-driven solutions.

“We all have the same aim and that is to ensure the environment is protected now and into the future.” 

Evans said the overall philosophy of the ZIPA is good but some detail had been lacking. For example, Plan Change 5, in force in Canterbury since February, does not define good management practice (GMP).

“How can we get to GMP by 2025 when we don’t actually know what GMP looks like? So we need a clear definition of that.”

Evans said many farms in the zone are new, with good modern infrastructure, but many smaller and older farms need to spend a lot of money to get them up to GMP. 

“We need to make sure that if we broad-brush a rule there’s a ‘valve’ in there to take account of the people who can’t make it, or won’t make it. I feel they could be quite a large proportion.”

Evans said farmers having trouble meeting GMP could apply for a separate resource consent. He said ECan may expect that to apply to only about 10%, but he thinks it could be more like 40%.

 “I don’t think it’ll be an easy channel for farmers to navigate.”

Many farmers had already been “going above and beyond” to protect their natural environment.

“Farmers are some of our best environmentalists. [They invest in] riparian management, farm environment plans, stock exclusion, irrigation management, wetland restoration and new technologies.”

Environmental spending by dairy farmers in the Canterbury/Marlborough region was $170,000 per farm from 2010 to 2015.

 

More like this

Death by trees

OPINION: Your canine crusader finds it ironic that the pompously self-proclaimed ‘champion’ of the provinces and ‘first citizen’ of regional NZ, Shane Jones, is single handedly destroying the regions.

Feeding the fart tax debate

Farmers are working hard to help the environment, but the ‘quoted experts’ need to work hard too, explains Greg Jarratt, vet and director of Matamata Veterinary Services. 

Reversing the trend of degradation

Environment Minister David Parker recently told a Forest & Bird meeting about the Productive and Sustainable Land Use package unveiled in the Budget. Here are excerpts from his speech.

Have your say on the Zero Carbon Bill

Farmers are being urged to have their say — via the internet — on the Government’s proposed Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill.

 
 

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Budget blues

Now that the circus surrounding the Budget’s release has subsided, Milking It makes the following observations about some of its…

» Connect with Dairy News