Wednesday, 10 April 2024 11:49

Freshwater farm plans to get a revamp

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard. Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard.

Freshwater farm plans will be improved to make them more cost-effective and practical for farmers.

The coalition Government says the current system for creating freshwater farm plans is to costly and complex.

Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard says a fit-for-purpose freshwater farm plan system will enable farmers and growers to find the right solutions for their farm and catchment.

“Farmers faced an avalanche of regulation under the last Government, including its national Freshwater Farm Plans system.

“Using property and catchment specific farm plans makes sense because they can be used to identify environmental risks and plan practical on-farm actions to manage those risks.

“The current system is too costly and complex, and too broadly applied. We want to make sure that the cost of completing a farm plan, in both time and money, is matched with the level of risk.

“It is important that councils and the community can have confidence in the robustness of the freshwater farm plan system as an alternative to local rules and consents, where and when appropriate.

“We believe that farm plans should be able to highlight the work that many farmers and growers are already doing to reduce the impact of farming activities on the freshwater environment.”

Several regions have already started implementing freshwater farm plans in specific areas, including Waikato, Southland, the West Coast, Otago, and Manawatū-Whanganui.

 “We want an enduring system that builds on the good work of farmers in these regions while making sure that any improvements to the system don’t result in sudden changes to plans already being developed,” says Hoggard.

“We are exploring how to make any changes fair for all farmers.

“As part of this, we may look into whether current requirements to complete a freshwater farm plan could be paused while improvements are developed.”

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