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Chairman calls for calm over One Plan


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chairman calls for calm over One Plan

Horizons Regional Council Chairman is calling for calm over his council's One Plan in the wake of recent reports that it would affect farmers' bottom lines by up to 43 per cent.

Media last week reported that the Ministry for Primary Industries had commissioned research that claimed farm costs could increase by 22 to 43 per cent if the One Plan ruling was followed to the letter.

Having been issued a copy of the report (Evaluation of the impact of different water policy options for managing water quality limits) this week, council chairman Bruce Gordon said the report analyses different policy scenarios in the Manawatu Catchment - none of which reflect the decisions made by the Environment Court in relation to the One Plan or outcomes sought through the One Plan.

"Landcare has indicated that none of the eight policy scenarios evaluated in the report for the Manawatu are comparable with the One Plan as decided by the Environment Court.

“In fact, the 43 per cent scenario highlighted in the media in terms of impact on profit bears no relationship to the context of the One Plan. I understand the scenario that comes closest to the One Plan shows an impact on profitability of less than 1 per cent."

Mr Gordon said that this type of misinformation was extremely disappointing and caused unnecessary distress on the farming community.

"I question the appropriateness of making comments around the merits or otherwise of discrete parts of the Plan in isolation of the weight of evidence presented to the Environment Court," said Mr Gordon.

"The Plan has been through the required process under the RMA, with appellants to the Plan presenting their cases to the Environment Court. The Court heard a range of economic and environmental evidence and all parties were given the opportunity to put forward their arguments and the Court formed their decision on the balance of that evidence."

The Court's decision determined the average costs to farmers to be on average 5 per cent of annual operating expenses.

Mr Gordon said he was aware of the concerns the farming community had over the impact the Plan could have on their operations but he and his council were committed to working with landowners to ensure that the plan was "practically and sensibly" implemented.

"We must now take a deep breath and work towards implementing what the court set out but do so in a way that supports those who have to make changes.

"We are not here to drive farmers off their land, we're here to deliver a future for our Region that is both economically and environmentally sustainable."

The Environment Court’s decision on the Plan has been appealed to the High Court by Federated Farmers and Horticulture New Zealand.


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