Plan change past point of in­ter­ven­tion

Matamata Chronicle - - Property - GER­ALD PIDDOCK

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Nick Smith is un­will­ing to in­ter­vene in the leg­isla­tive process in­volv­ing Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil’s Healthy Rivers Plan change.

Smith was asked whether he would ap­point a board of in­quiry to in­ter­vene in the plan change by ACT Leader David Sey­mour dur­ing par­lia­men­tary ques­tion time on November 8.

Smith was able to in­ter­vene by in­vok­ing sec­tion 142 of the Re­source Man­age­ment Act. But with no­ti­fi­ca­tion of the plan change now pub­licly avail­able for sub­mis­sions, it had passed the point where he could in­ter­vene, Smith said.

‘‘It would be un­usual for the Gov­ern­ment to step in and, ef­fec­tively, take over a re­gional coun­cil’s most im­por­tant func­tion of water qual­ity. We did choose to do so in Can­ter­bury; I am re­luc­tant to do so in the Waikato.’’

Sey­mour said he had been con­tacted by landown­ers con­cerned about the ef­fects the plan change would have on their prof­itabil­ity.

‘‘We hope the hear­ing com­mit­tee will prop­erly lis­ten to sub­mit­ters bear­ing in mind that the Min­is­ter is closely watch­ing.’’

The high cost for some farm­ers as out­lined in the Fed­er­ated Farm­ers-com­mis­sioned Farm Plan Project saw New Zealand First at­tempt to se­cure a par­lia­men­tary de­bate.

The re­quest was re­fused by House speaker David Carter be­cause the re­port did not fall into the realms of min­is­te­rial re­spon­si­bil­ity.

That project had 13 mostly dry­s­tock farms and 11 Fon­terra farms go through the process of de­vel­op­ing farm en­vi­ron­ment plans (FEPs) as re­quired un­der the plan change. The FEPs are de­signed to iden­tify cur­rent con­tam­i­nant losses and where those con­tam­i­nants can leave prop­er­ties.

They also de­tail what ac­tion landown­ers will take to re­duce those losses in a cer­tain time­frame.

One of the farms stud­ied in the project could have to pay $785,687, of which $479,138 was fenc­ing costs to meet its en­vi­ron­men­tal obli­ga­tions un­der Healthy Rivers.

Other farms used as case stud­ies had costs rang­ing from $0-$500,000, with the bulk of the costs tied up in hill country fenc­ing and water retic­u­la­tion.

A ma­jor project funded by the Waikato River Author­ity is the Man­gao­tama Wet­land restora­tion near Ngahi­napouri in the Waipa catch­ment. Inset: Nick Smith says he does not want to in­ter­vene in the Healthy Rivers Plan Change.

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