Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Give collaboration a chance

This was an opinion piece on the Horizons One Plan, Federated Farmers’ Lyn Neeson had published yesterday in the Dominion Post

Give collaboration a chance

Lyn Neeson is Federated Farmers Ruapehu provincial president and is a sheep and beef farmer from Taumarunui and this originally published in the Dominion Post.

When my husband and I purchased our first 345 hectares in 1987, we never thought 25 years later we’d be fighting a regional council for survival.

Through good years and bad, we have worked hard to grow our farm to 1500 hectares carrying 4500 ewes and 250 Angus cattle over winter. Farming keeps your feet on the ground because it is hard to have airs and graces during docking and shearing. We also want to keep farming here. Our son and his family have turned the farm into an intergenerational and sustainable business. Is their future and that of our grandson’s in these hills?

Starting back in 2005, the Horizons One Plan has so far cost ratepayers an astounding $15 million. Given the resources we have put in, let alone others involved in it, the true cost is probably closer to $30 million. The potential cost of implementation is an added concern and is why One Plan deserves some serious investigative journalism. All we have to show for our millions is paper.

While Gareth Morgan has low regard for my intellect and my profession, surely he can see that cutting a large driver of your regional economy doesn’t grow it. Then again Bruce Gordon, the chair of Horizons, has been telling media that farmers ought to relax. With elections due in 2013, we should believe him when he says that Horizons will go soft on farmers and review the One Plan after a couple of years, changing it, if it doesn’t work. He erroneously tells us to don’t panic, believing One Plan’s effect on farms will be minimal at less than one percent.

I am yet to decide if we are living through an episode of Dad’s Army or Fawlty Towers, but I do know the council has as much discretion on rules as the Police have at a checkpoint.

Fish & Game have been surprisingly quiet on the going soft option. I am sure they are just biding their time because 'going soft' invites direction from the Environment Court; rules are rules after all. As for the one percent claim, really? That was the 2010 Decisions Version and not the 2012 Environment Court reality we and the Tararua Growers Association face. This is why we exercised our legal right to appeal. If One Plan is as minimal as Mr Gordon believes, just ask a councillor how they will implement it. That generates more than a few ums. Judging by an Official Information Act request, it seems the Ministries for the Environment and for Primary Industries (MPI) are as dubious about the ‘small affect’ as we are.

There is not much fresh produce in a Wellington pantry or fridge that won’t have come from a farm or market garden in the Horizons region. As for Wellington’s Farmer’s Markets, most of what people buy has likely come from ‘up the road’. That the Tararua Growers Association and HortNZ are shoulder to shoulder with Federated Farmers proves how vast One Plan’s drift net is.

Truth be told, the Manawatu River is not among the worst in the western world and never has been. The river recently got a fair rating for swimming quality from the Ministry for the Environment. Even Fish & Game lauds the river as a world-class sport fishery, albeit, when they want to sell licenses to anglers.

Given the Manawatu is cleaner than the Hutt River, what do the community truly want?

Horizons Regional Council could introduce a variation today effectively reinstating the 2010 Decisions Version. The original Horizons One Plan panel was an independent one, which included councillors and appointed experts including a former Environment Court judge. After two years of preparation and hearings we had a plan in 2010 we could live with. Or, so we thought. That was turned on its head when Horizons didn’t defend the collaboratively agreed Decisions Version in the Environment Court. Ultimately the court rejected the independent hearings panel and the clock went back to 2007.

The council could easily shift gears by reinstating the 2010 version, given what we now know from work done for the Land & Water Forum.

The MPI has found farm profitability will take hits in the 22-43 percent range. This is massively greater than what the council found and means unprecedented land use and social change. Hill country sheep will be replaced by trees while lowland cows, crops and vegetables will be replaced by sheep. Skilled trades and manufacturing dependent on farms will leave meaning less need for accountants, teachers, doctors, medical services or even, shops. These social impacts are real but were ignored by Horizons Regional Council. It needs to be heard.

So let’s give collaboration a chance by a One Plan variation reinstating the 2010 Decisions Version. It is the version most aligned to the current Land and Water Forum way of thinking. If Gareth Morgan disagrees with me, he is free to buy a farmer’s organisation to put on his mantelpiece beside the Phoenix and the Hurricanes. Better yet, what about a farm or two?

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Another Leader Exiting: Statement From Peter Dunne

I have concluded, based on recent polling, and other soundings I have been taking over the last few weeks, that, the volatility and uncertainty notwithstanding, there is now a mood amongst Ōhāriu voters for a change of MP, which is unlikely to alter...

“I have therefore decided that it is time for me to stand aside, so the people of Ōhāriu can elect a new electorate MP. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>

ALSO:

Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>

ALSO:

Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election