Stake­hold­ers step up in fresh­wa­ter talks

Matamata Chronicle - - Out&about -

Early Novem­ber has been quite dry, hope­fully not the pre­cur­sor for the pre­dicted El Nino dry sum­mer. It has not been an easy past eight years, grass­land pas­toral farming wise ir­re­spec­tive of whether you are dairy or sheep and beef farming in our part of the Waikato.

We have also not that long ago been through the Vari­a­tion 6 wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion con­sent process, for the un­der al­lo­cated Wai­hou and the over al­lo­cated Pi­ako river catch­ments. How many of those same farm­ers picked up on the pub­lic no­tice by Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil [ Waikato Times, 8/10/2015] ref­er­ence the Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment for Fresh­wa­ter Man­age­ment 2014.

Cur­rently, a col­lab­o­ra­tive stake­hold­ers group is ne­go­ti­at­ing po­si­tions for fresh­wa­ter man­age­ment within the le­gal bound­aries of the Waikato River Author­ity, prin­ci­pally the Waipa and Waikato rivers and trib­u­taries.

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers have Waikato im­me­di­ate past pres­i­dent James Houghton as a mem­ber of that CSG and Hamil­ton­based pol­icy an­a­lyst Sally Mil­lar as a del­e­gate. James is do­ing a ster­ling job for his fed­er­a­tion mem­bers, a farmer speak­ing up for farming fam­i­lies. From that pub­lic no­tice, the re­gional coun­cil has adopted a staged pro­gramme to fully im­ple­ment the NPSFM by De­cem­ber 31, 2025 through a se­ries of plan changes and a re­gional plan re­view.

This will af­fect farm­ers in the Wai­hou and Pi­ako river catch­ments. Clearly stated, the staged im­ple­men­ta­tion pro­gramme for the Wai­hou and Pi­ako catch­ments is not open for sub­mis­sions.

Re­cently, Fish & Game New Zealand re­signed from the Land and Wa­ter Fo­rum. One can only sur­mise that they do not wish to col­lab­o­ra­tively work out a work­able so­lu­tion on such a se­ri­ous is­sue. I can only come to the opin­ion that me­dia com­ment for their own points of view will en­sue, which will get us as a coun­try nowhere.

Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil gazetted the draft reval­u­a­tion of their con­stituency. The to­tal value of prop­er­ties in­creased from $10 bil­lion to $12 bil­lion.

The av­er­age in­crease of dairy farming prop­er­ties is 35 per cent. Yes, that is the av­er­age in­crease and ru­ral life­style av­er­age rise nudged into the dou­ble fig­ure of 13 per cent. Ob­jec­tions must be lodged by 5pm Fri­day, Novem­ber 27. MPDC in­vite con­tact on 0800 746 467 for dis­cus­sion from con­cerned ratepay­ers about their in­di­vid­ual reval­u­a­tions. Gen­eral rates are based on the cap­i­tal value of prop­er­ties. I have no con­tact of con­cern from mem­bers. MPDC CEO Don McLeod did make an of­fer to me, for his ex­ec­u­tives to at­tend a Mata­mata meet­ing with farm­ers. Ob­vi­ously there is no de­mand for such a meet­ing.

I have no prob­lem in help­ing ar­range an ap­point­ment for mem­bers to in­ter­face with MPDC staff. Re­mem­ber the dis­trict coun­cil’s prin­ci­pal re­spon­si­bil­ity is land, re­gional coun­cil reg­u­late air and wa­ter and other re­spon­si­bil­i­ties such as re­gional trans­port is­sues.

The flag vote cer­tainly is not viewed by many ru­ral folk as a sen­si­ble way to spend $26 mil­lion. Please make the ef­fort to vote.

Stew Wadey is chair of the Mata­mata Dis­trict Fed­er­ated Farm­ers.

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