Home' Northern Outlook : July 17th 2013 Contents 10 July, 2013
CENTRAL SOUTH ISLAND FARMER
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Conversion rules anger farmers
Critic: James Ryan of Dairy NZ says
suggested changes to the Southland
regional water plan would undermine
farmers. Mr Ryan is pictured here
Southland public farmers meetingin
SOUTHLAND COULD end up
missing out on millions of dollars
after a proposal to increase red
tape for dairy conversions
spooked farmers and knocked
That was the key reaction to the
controversial idea, which would
see new dairy conversions needing
to obtain resource consent before
Submissions on the suggested
changes to the regional water
plan, plan change 13 (new dairy
farming), began at Environment
Southland on Thursday.
The regional council has
received 40 submissions to the
proposed changes, which were
publicly notified in April last year.
DairyNZ regional policy
manager James Ryan said that
the proposal had undermined
farmers and had also affected
There had been only seven
dairy conversions in Southland in
the last 18 months, he said.
The feedback is that people
have been spooked by the rule. A
lot of that, I think, is not good for
the region, Mr Ryan said.
We believe that improving
water quality would be best
achieved by catchment limits.
Some elements of the proposed
plan were vague, subjective and
needed more work, he said.
The proposal meant that new
dairy farm conversion
applications would require a farm
management plan, which would
include a soil assessment, a
nutrient management plan, and a
winter grazing plan.
Before the hearing, Federated
Farmers Southland dairy
chairman Allan Baird said
conversions cost farmers millions
of dollars and the changes could
mean paying an additional
$20,000 in consultation costs.
It would slow the conversion
process, and farmers would need
to plan up to a year ahead to allow
for conversion approvals, he said.
Butcher Partners consulting
economist Geoffrey Butcher,
supporting DairyNZ, said that
over the last six years, Southland
had averaged 45 dairy conversions
If the region were to continue
converting at a rate of 25 farms a
year for the next 10 years, a $930
million financial benefit would be
generated for the region, he said.
Economic benefits needed to be
weighed against possible negative
environmental effects, he said.
Concerned citizen David
McPherson said the regional
council was going too far in
exercising its powers, and he felt
that the proposed plan change
basically discriminated against
The proposed change went
beyond the functions of the
regional council, which should not
be prescribing management plans
to farmers, he said.
Farmer Bill Smellie said water
quality had improved in
Southland in the last 20 years.
We don t know where this
information is coming from that
waterways are deteriorating, he
said. This is misinformation. It s
all negative, and it s all directed
towards the farming industry.
He said the change was about
control, rather than the
environment, and it should be the
farmer s choice to convert.
Submitter Alanna Barrett said
the report on the proposed plan
change was appalling, wishy-
washy , and raised a number of
I was dumbfounded when I
read it, she said. I m asking the
plan change be withdrawn.
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