Stakeholders step up in freshwater talks
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.