Friday, 12 June 2020 15:05

Waikato Regional PC1 could stifle good farming practices — Feds

Written by  Staff Reporters

Proposed new regulations for the Waikato and Waipā River Catchments outlined in Plan Change 1 have raised concerns in the agricultural sector.

Federated Farmers says this was clear by the turnout of more than 90 farmers, industry body and council representatives at a public meeting at Ohinewai Hall, organised by Federated Farmers North Waikato District Chair Steven Stark.

Federated Farmers North Island Policy Manager Dr Paul Le Miere says the purpose of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for farmers to gain a better understanding of the recent Plan Change 1 (Healthy Rivers) decision and its implications, and to provide feedback to Feds, Waikato councillors and others.

Le Miere says useful changes have been made to the framework of the plan, but there are remaining concerns and issues around the detail of the proposed regulations that will need to be addressed through the Environment Court Appeal process.

"Rather than wading through the hundreds of pages of council documents themselves, Feds is encouraging farmers to read through our FAQs and focus on the council schedules to understand how PC1 may affect your farm," says Le Miere.

Federated Farmers Auckland president Alan Coles says farmers raised concerns that the new land use controls are not fit for purpose and will not achieve the water quality improvements everyone is keen to see. 

Coles says the overall sentiment remains that over-reliance on the consenting process will tie limited resources up in regulatory knots and create perverse environmental outcomes.

Feds Waikato president Jacqui Hahn says the proposed regulations could stifle good farming practices if on-farm decisions are taken out of farmers’ hands and placed in the hands of consent officers who do not have practical on-farm experience. 

Hahn says stock controls being applied over Class 6e land were most often referred to as troublesome.

Federated Farmers and other non-farmer submitters are required to file an appeal by the 8th of July 2020. All individual farmer and grower have until the 18th of August 2020.

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