From Your Mayor
Tena Koutou Katoa
On a wet, stormy night last week, about 70 farmers filled the Rua Roa Hall to hear Horizons Regional Council explain their plan change proposal to the One Plan.
The proposed change affects the nitrogen leaching table found in the Discharge to Land and Water chapter and has a major impact on whether farmers can gain a resource consent.
The path to a ''consent to farm'' regime was started in 2007 and the table was embedded in regulation based on land use capability (LUC) class and the maximum amount of nutrient leaching allowed as to not impact on water quality.
These numbers were calculated through software modelling tool OVERSEER.
Dairy farmers have had to deal with ever changing goal posts caused by OVERSEER updates, standard consenting pathways rejected by the Environment Court, and increased uncertainty as both issues stymie real environmental progress.
Farmers have a greater understanding of their role in achieving positive environmental outcomes than perhaps they did in 2007.
With improved science and good communication between the regional council and farmers, this has contributed to that knowledge and also helped build better relationships.
OVERSEER has been updated eight times since the table was produced but the table itself was never updated.
The proposed recalculation is expected to address the issues this has caused.
It is an ongoing challenge to stick together as an industry and, as more farmers are able to get consented, my wish is for each to continue to support those struggling through the process. Noho ora mai s all the best,