Why I voted no to river plan
Waikato Regional Council voted on it’s Healthy Rivers Wai Ora Plan change recently.
This is the largest proposed change to affect agriculture in our history.
The votes were tied 7 for and 7 against. Chair Paula Southgate then used her casting vote in favour and the plan will shortly start its journey through the system.
Stuart Husband and I were two of the councillors to vote against the plan.
No one has any issue with the intent, being to improve water quality in the Waikato and Waipa Rivers.
Those voting against were still happy that the plan go to the community for submissions and whatever the final rules are they are a reflection of community views and the new rules will only take effect from whenever the plan is finally adopted.
The single sticking point was that it will be near impossible for land owners to convert to dairy, or market gardening, etc as from the end of next month.
No submissions, no consultation, ‘‘we know what’s best’’.
We did try and have the plan referred back to the writers asking them to relook at the single rule on land use change, but this failed to gain enough support. So where to from here. The plan will be publically notified sometime end of next month.
The community is then given an extended 80 working day period to make submissions on any proposed rule.
Submissions can either support or oppose. All submissions will be considered by a fiveperson panel of independent commissioners who will recommend changes.
The new rules will directly affect every single farmer in the
‘‘The single sticking point was that it will be near impossible for land owners to convert to dairy, or market gardening, etc as from the end of next month.’’
Waikato/Waipa catchment, including dairy, sheep, beef, forestry, horticulture, horses.
Implementation of the plan is predicted to decrease the region’s economy by 4 per cent and see thousands of jobs disappear.
Next year a process will start to bring in similar rules to all in the Waihou/Piako catchments, and the final phase will be to look at new rules for the towns and cities.
Whether you are a business person in town or someone farming in the rural area the new rules will impact on you, so use your democratic rights, look over the rules and have your say.
Hugh Vercoe, Waihou Constituent Councillor
A plan has been passed introducing new rules to improve Waikato rivers.