Waikato farmers are generally pleased with recommendations on Plan Change 1 "Healthy Rivers" that the Waikato Regional Council adopted this week.
From this month, riparian plantings by farmers are tax deductible as an operational expense instead of being classified as capital expenditure.
A change to the Income Tax Act explicitly allows deductions for plantings to "prevent or mitigate discharges into water courses or water bodies". The provision is available to trees, shrubs and other plantings.
The Government says the new measure will encourage farmers to plant trees and shrubs in riparian strips along creeks and rivers, thereby increasing natural habitat and reducing the amount of sediment and nutrients entering waterways.
Waikato Regional Council catchment services group manager Scott Fowlds says the council, its partner iwi and stakeholders have a strong focus on protecting water quality in the region.
So the Government's new tax rules are a welcome addition to measures supporting this, he says.
"The council itself already offers grants of up to 35%t of the cost of fencing off waterways and riparian plantings on farms in priority catchments."
For more advice on planting and fencing issues, contact a council land management officer on 0800 800 401 or visit www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/forfarmers