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Southland-style rules come to Marlborough

MEDIA RELEASE


30 May 2013

Southland-style rules come to Marlborough

Federated Farmers is concerned Marlborough District Council has notified two plan changes, which will require resource consent to establish new dairy farms in the district.

“While existing dairy farms or those expanding without need for the addition of a milking shed aren’t affected, future dairy conversions will be,” says Gary Barnett, Federated Farmers Marlborough provincial president.

“Most of Marlborough is too hilly for dairying or is in vineyards. There is no issue with dairy conversions in Marlborough or anywhere else in the top of the South Island.

“In the 10-years between 2001/2 and 2011/12, the number of dairy farms and dairy cows in the district has fallen. Dairy farms fell from 85 in 2001/2, to 60 in 2011/12, meanwhile dairy cow numbers dropped from 18,401 to 17,593 over the same period.

“Even the latest Real Estate Institute statistics for Tasman, Nelson and Marlborough Districts tell us, only three dairy farms were sold out of 14 farms in the three months to April. As a point of comparison 77 lifestyle blocks changed hands over the same period.

“The environmental performance of existing dairy farms has continued to improve too. All dairy farms are subject to strict standards of environmental performance and monitoring by council as well as Fonterra as a condition of supply.

“Federated Farmers cannot see that the plan change is justified because it does not respond to an identifiable issue.

“From experience down in Southland, we know the effect of ‘discretionary activity status’ goes much wider.

“Even if there is no intention to convert it has still made it much harder to secure credit to buy a farm if that property is suitable for dairy conversion. ‘Discretionary activity status’ seems to see land being valued on its conversion potential rather than its intended use.

“That’s why we are very concerned at the way dairying has been singled out. There are also implications for the future of dairying in Marlborough and in neighbouring regions where we are trying to achieve more measured management of fresh water.

“Federated Farmers has raised all of these concerns in our submission to Marlborough District Council.

“If you are not a member of the Federation but are concerned as we are about what this means for you, then call 0800 327 646 and ask for Marlborough’s Field Officer, Pam Boland,” Mr Barnett concluded.

ENDS

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