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One Plan - Farmers relieved someone is listening

19 August 2008

One Plan - Farmers relieved someone is listening

Federated Farmers Ruapehu president Lyn Neeson says it is a huge relief that commissioners considering Horizons' proposed One Plan are listening to farmers concerns and are recommending changes to the plan advocated by Federated Farmers.

Mrs Neeson made the comments after the chairperson of the One Plan hearing panel, Joan Allin released an initial minute on the first topic, land. The land chapter covers: sustainable land use; erosion; farm tracks; and clearing scrub.

"Federated Farmers pushed Horizons for these changes right from the start. Farmer leaders and policy advisors have spent thousands of hours getting their heads around One Plan, said Mrs Neeson.

"Commissioners have taken on board farmer's appeals that the plan needed to be more flexible and practical. They have addressed specific concerns raised by Federated Farmers and offered workable solutions.

"In particular commissioners have recommended that the sustainable land use initiative (SLUI) be separated from One Plan, and the definition of erodible land be changed.

"Commissioners have said the Resource Management Act already covers rules for routine land use activities and there is no need for the council to make additional rules.

"Commissioners have recognised farmers are custodians of the land and have recommended rules should only be imposed if the activity is large scale earthworks or vegetation clearance within erosion management areas, previously know as Highly Erodible Land (HEL).

"Farmers are already actively managing the environment and are doing the best they can with the tools they have. Farmers invest substantial sums of money improving the environment for everyone. It is great to see the fact, that farmers care about the environment, is recognised.

"There are still problems to work through including the per-property clause. This is not the final finding, just recommendations from the commissioners but members of Federated Farmers will be relieved that the hearing process to date is giving them a fair run. We tried to work with council and much angst could have been avoided if Horizons had listened to farmers at an earlier stage.

"I just hope this common sense approach flows through to other parts of the plan. This is only the first of 12 topics to be covered," Mrs Neeson said.


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