A Waitangi Tribunal report and recommendations on water ownership have put Māori rights and interests in freshwater firmly back in the public spotlight, just as the Government releases a raft of policy changes.
“I keep saying it: it’s not about too many cows, but how the land is managed,” he told Rural News.
Curtis, who is leaving the helm of Irrigation NZ in March, says he knows some “very, very good” dairy farmers with good environmental footprints and some “very, very bad” dairy farmers with horrible footprints – and the same with good and bad cropping farmers.
“So, let’s stop going on about the land use thing because it’s all about land management practices,” says.
“We’ve got a limits regime in place now and the limits regime basically says set the limits at a catchment level.”
Curtis has seen “a lot of fuss” over the dairy development of the Simons Pass Station in the Mackenzie.
“But, having seen that development, they’re retiring an awful lot of that land. And that land’s going to be well-managed; so instead of it being pine-infested, heiracium-infested, rabbit-infested — as much of it is at the moment — they’re going to set aside management funds to restore that properly.”