Py­lon buf­fer zone raises con­cerns

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By STEW WADEY,

The busi­ness of pri­mary pro­duc­tion livestock farm­ing in our re­gion will have its chal­lenges in the next 24 months.

The ob­vi­ous down­ward trend for farm gate re­turns of raw prod­uct for pro­cess­ing this sea­son should not be ig­nored, no mat­ter whether you are as­so­ci­ated with dairy or dry stock.

Qual­i­fied com­men­tary on the fi­nan­cial domino ef­fect on farm gate re­turns, in my opin­ion, have been well flagged for ap­pro­pri­ate dili­gence to your farm­ing fi­nan­cial man­age­ment.

Well-es­tab­lished farm­ers have even made com­ments that two-year cash flow bud­gets should be in place now and plan a farm man­age­ment strat­egy to that, as the con­sis­tent theme of ex­tremely tight cash flows be­ing in­di­cated .

It is not doom or gloom if you plan ac­cord­ingly and keep your ru­ral bank in the loop as the sea­son pro­gresses. Banks, I be­lieve, care­fully ap­prove over­draft fa­cil­ity for farm in­puts that will make a cash re­turn to the busi­ness.

I am aware there will be some le­git­i­mate late fil­ing of tax re­turns which means pro­vi­sional and ter­mi­nal pay­ment for May 31 bal­ance dates will be due over a short pe­riod when head­ing into mid-2013. Banks may cough or smile to cover a sig­nif­i­cant spike in cash­flow debt at the tail end of the dairy farm­ing sea­son, when posted ad­vance pay­ments out to Fe­bru­ary, paid March for many dairy farm­ers raw milk is $3.85ckg/ms.

So I will as­sume many pen­cils have been sharp­ened as to maize silage, graz­ing and other farm in­put cost ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Te Aroha Dis­trict Fed­er­ated Farm­ers’ chair­man An­drew McGiven has been busy on our be­half hav­ing en­gaged in the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion pa­per for the Dis­trict Plan Re­view ref­er­ence trans­port and util­i­ties that is now due, and for those of you who may be un­aware this is the forum by which Trans­power will be try­ing to get their much ma­ligned 64m py­lon buf­fer zone into the dis­trict plan.

Why is Trans­power dic­tat­ing to landown­ers un­for­tu­nate enough to have py­lons on their prop­erty – now in­sist­ing that re­source con­sent is re­quired for nearly any ac­tiv­ity within 32m of a py­lon?

The sim­ple an­swer would be money, be­cause un­like the new trans­mis­sion lines be­tween Taupo and Auck­land, Trans­power does not want to con­sult and ne­go­ti­ate ease­ments and com­pen­sa­tion with ev­ery landowner.

Yet I would con­tend that if Trans­power did com­mu­ni­cate and con­sult with the af­fected landown­ers, in­stead of leg­is­late and reg­u­late, the process would be eas­ier and cheaper for them long term.

I am also op­posed to the way Trans­power is try­ing to pass the en­force­ment and pros­e­cu­tion por­tions on to the coun­cil by get­ting the buf­fer zone in­cluded in the dis­trict plan.

Dis­trict coun­cils do have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect sig­nif­i­cant nat­u­ral fea­tures un­der the Re­source Man­age­ment Act but surely this does not ex­tend to com­mer­cial as­sets of a state-owned en­ter­prise.

I do not pay rates for coun­cil of­fi­cers to check that landown­ers are main­tain­ing an ‘‘ac­cept­able’’ buf­fer for Trans­power’s py­lons; this is a com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity and is Trans­power’s re­spon­si­bil­ity.

The con­sul­ta­tion pa­per for this re­view closed on Septem­ber 14 but keep your eyes open for the call for sub­mis­sions as this is when the ar­gu­ments and de­bates will de­cide what Trans­power and/or any other state-owned en­ter­prise may at­tempt to hi­jack our dis­trict plan for their own com­mer­cial pur­poses.

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