Dairy con­sent draws ire from Pamu

Taupo Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - GER­ALD PIDDOCK

An Auck­land-based cor­po­rate farmer has come un­der fire from state-owned Pamu for lodg­ing a non-no­ti­fied re­source con­sent to con­vert 1800 hectares of South Waikato land to dairy­ing.

Wairakei Pas­toral ap­plied for the land use change con­sent on Novem­ber 22, with the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil, to con­vert woody veg­e­ta­tion, non-dairy pas­ture and arable farm­land to dairy farm­ing.

The land to be con­verted is owned by Wairakei Pas­toral and rep­re­sents 7 per cent of Wairakei Pas­toral’s 25,723ha Wairakei Es­tate north of Taupo. Since 2004, the com­pany has de­vel­oped 15,734ha (61 per cent) of the land, mostly for dairy farm­ing.

Pamu, which is the brand name for Landcorp, leases the farms from Wairakei Pas­toral. It claimed Wairakei Pas­toral was re­spon­si­ble for the con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion and Pamu was not for­mally con­sulted on it.

‘‘As an im­pacted party, Pamu be­lieves we should have been no­ti­fied,’’ a spokesman said in a state­ment.

‘‘Pamu be­lieves the con­sent [and any oth­ers like it] should be pub­licly no­ti­fied to en­sure all in­ter­ested par­ties have an op­por­tu­nity to be heard on the im­pli­ca­tions for the en­vi­ron­ment of the pro­pos­als.’’

Pamu chief ex­ec­u­tive Steve Car­den was un­avail­able for com­ment, but a source told Stuff he was an­gry at be­ing blind­sided by the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Landcorp runs 18 dairy farms with 20,000 cows on 8390ha of Wairakei Pas­toral land and leases a fur­ther 12,467ha for mainly dairy sup­port. Once the es­tate is fully de­vel­oped, it will have 21 dairy farms.

DairyNZ data shows the aver­age herd size on a Cen­tral Plateau 280ha dairy farm is 747 cows.

Wairakei Pas­toral said in the con­sent doc­u­ment that the land use change’s low en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact meant there was no need for it to be pub­licly no­ti­fied.

The com­pany ex­pected the devel­op­ment would boost re­gional GDP by $134 mil­lion per year, re­gional em­ploy­ment by 354 full time equiv­a­lents, and re­gional in­comes by $2m per year.

The na­tional im­pact will be GDP of $90m, full­time em­ploy­ment tor 776 peo­ple, and house­hold in­comes of $41m.

A coun­cil spokes­woman said they were re­view­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion and had re­quested fur­ther in­for­ma­tion. The coun­cil had yet to de­cide whether the ap­pli­ca­tion would be no­ti­fied.

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