Tuesday, 12 June 2018 14:55

Double D’s launch water plan

Written by  Mark Daniel
Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor with Cambridge farmers Bill and Sue Garland. Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor with Cambridge farmers Bill and Sue Garland.

The double-D’S were front and centre at Karapiro, Waikato, recently to promote a voluntary water quality initiative. 

David Parker and Damien O’Connor, ministers for the environment and agriculture, respectively, joined industry leaders to endorse the Good Farming Practice-Action Plan for Water Quality 2018.

The plan was developed largely from principles set out in the 2015 Industry-Agreed Management Practices first applied by Environment Canterbury. 

The voluntary initiative is led by Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb NZ, Dairy NZ, Horticulture NZ, Irrigation NZ and people from regional councils and regulatory authorities.

The chief aim is to help make rivers swimmable and to improve the ecology of waterways, so the plan advocates good farming practices -- assessing individual and regional catchments, measuring and showing improvements and telling the public about progress. 

At grassroots level this will see workable plans being drawn up to identify physical and topographical constraints, and identify land where cropping should cease because of erosion risks. The plan includes keeping accurate records of inputs and outputs, and managing run-off, sediments and nutrients entering waterways.

Environment Minister David Parker applauded the voluntary nature of the plan and conceded that regulation “might not be the b-all and end-all”. But he said rules and regulations would be part of the solution, as would better education and perhaps “pricing” to influence behaviour.

Parker’s former flatmate Minister Damien O’Connor noted “the need for guidelines in tune with the environment, and for a part of the social licence that allows landowners to operate”.

 NZ agriculture and horticulture needs to be the best producer in the world, he said, with their output “food for people who care, produced by farmers and growers who care”.

The plan now is to spend the next two years enlisting farms and local and regional authorities in a campaign going through to 2030.

 

More like this

The model is broken – Govt

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins concedes the timing of the Taratahi interim liquidation is tough, especially for students and staff, and he says supporting them is a top priority.

Primary sector exports soaring

The value of New Zealand’s primary sector exports is set to grow by 3.8% to a new record high over the coming year.

NAIT for sheep?

Bringing sheep into the NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing) system may be a way of getting more value out of the animals, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor claims.

Deafening silence

Your old mate notes that Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor was — like most of his coalition government colleagues — quick to crow about his successes after a year on the treasury benches.

 
 

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Proper cows!

Maternal aggression may be behind many attacks on humans by cows, say two overseas animal experts.

 
 

» Connect with Dairy News