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Fresh ideas will continue Rotorua lakes clean-up

20 February 2014

Fresh ideas will continue Rotorua lakes clean-up

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick today [20 February 2014] called for innovation and fresh ideas to continue the work in cleaning up the Rotorua lakes as she opened the national Biological Farming Conference in Rotorua.

“Lake water quality and land stewardship is dear to our hearts in Rotorua and through our newly crafted Rotorua 2030 vision for the district we see the lakes as a treasure. One of our main priorities for the future is an ‘Unspoilt Environment - Tiakino te Taiao,’” Mayor Chadwick told members of Biological Farmers NZ.

“We are at the hard end of our $243 million lakes water clean-up programme that started back in 2003 and we are now needing innovation and new ideas to address Rotorua lakes issues for us to achieve our potential economic, social and environmental aspirations.”

Some great progress has been made to address the nutrient overload and water pollution but Mayor Chadwick stressed more work is needed in relation to farm land use – especially dairy farming to decrease nitrogen and phosphorus inputs.

“Biological farming principles provide a great foundation for developing and promoting farm management strategies that could contribute to decreasing the risk to the lakes as well as provide many additional benefits to land, farmers and the broader community,” she said.

While Biological Farmers NZ is a comparatively recent group it is, however, based on principles that have underpinned sustainable farming for generations and which are shared with the best land stewardship values of conventional farmers and organic farmers.

“I acknowledge that this conference is bringing together speakers and participants from many different sectors and disciplines reflecting a range of new ideas –is a great environment for the sharing and the possible fusion of new ideas and pathways for implementation - through established networks,” she said.

Significant advances were made in 2013 with the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective, Federated Farmers and Bay of Plenty Regional Council signing a memorandum of understanding on a way forward to reduce nutrients entering Lake Rotorua, while recognising the importance of farming to the local economy. To assist landowners a Land Use Incentive Fund is being developed.

Most recently the regional council’s Proposed Regional Policy Statement has set a sustainable nitrogen limit of 435 tonnes per year in the Lake Rotorua catchment. The council also estimates a further 50 tonnes can be reduced through in-lake initiatives, leaving 270 tonnes to be achieved through reducing nitrogen from pastoral land use.

ENDS

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