Monday, 07 September 2020 09:26

Freshwater regs will stall progress in Canterbury — Feds

Written by  Staff Reporters
Federated Farmers North Canterbury president Cam Henderson. Federated Farmers North Canterbury president Cam Henderson.

The new National Environment Standard (NES) for Freshwater could derail the progress already made on improving water quality in Canterbury, claim Federated Farmers regional presidents.

"The new regulations coming in over the top of what Environment Canterbury already has in place will waste farmers’ time and ratepayers’ money," says Federated Farmers North Canterbury president Cam Henderson, who was also speaking on behalf of David Clark (Mid Canterbury), Jason Grant (South Canterbury) and Jared Ross (North Otago).

The new NES rules include limits on land use intensification, set controls on intensive winter grazing, and limits the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.

Federated Farmers says it has been consistently raising issues with the workability of the regulations. The organisation’s Southland province went as far as calling for a boycott on consents related to winter grazing.

"We agree that a number of the new rules are not workable. But more than that, in Canterbury the NES is simply not needed. Not because we don’t have intensive farming but because our current regional plan already deals with improving water quality in a much more targeted and effective way," says Henderson.

The plan already contains provisions to control land use intensification and ensure good management practices are adhered to for all farm types, including for intensive winter grazing. All forms of nitrogen fertiliser, not just synthetic, are accounted for.

Furthermore, the regional plan requires all intensive farms to hold a resource consent to farm. One consent condition is for a personalised and independently audited farm environment plan.

‘’Canterbury farmers and the regional council have contributed years of work and considerable financial investment to implement the plan and drive real change on farm that will lead to improved water quality over time," says Henderson.

Federated Farmers says the new national standard uses different rules to the current regional plan, which means many farmers will likely need to reapply for their consents and rewrite their farm plans, which will then require re-auditing.

‘’We are talking years of council work to reassess farms. That means more staff and ratepayer funding and extra time and money from farmers too - all to end up where we started. And in the meantime, action on improving freshwater quality stands still.

‘’This time and resource would be better spent on continuing to help farmers implement their current plans, and further developing the regional plan to be even more effective."

The Canterbury Federated Farmers presidents will be writing to Environment Minister David Parker claiming the new freshwater standard is being met by the current regional plan.

More like this

New Feds man keen to build

New Feds board member, William Beetham wants the organisation recognised for its significant contributions to NZ farming and society as a whole.

New water rules muddy waters

More revelations about the impracticality of the Governments’ new freshwater regulations debacle have emerged.



OSPRI and LIC join forces

OSPRI and the Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) are urging farmers to play their part in improving animal traceability at a critical time on farm.

Awards help winners fine-tune

Newly-crowned Share Farmers of the Year Sarah and Aidan Stevenson are looking forward to their leadership roles over the next 12 months.


Machinery & Products

New tractor fills the gap

Deutz Fahr has introduced the new 8280 TTV, which is aimed at filling the gap between its current 7 and…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Bully boys?

OPINION: This old mutt hears that there is some discontent in the wool sector at the tactics being used by the…


OPINION: Your canine crusader, like many in the rural sector, was deeply distressed to hear the tragic news that a…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter