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Good things take time

29 November 2013

Good things take time

Federated Farmers are thrilled by the recognition Otago farmers received at the first New Zealand River Awards last night, with two rivers as finalists and the Shag River taking the prize for most improved river in New Zealand.

“The Shag River has come a long way from 10 years ago, and it is a credit to those farmers who care for and value their river,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers water spokesperson.

“Change is hard for everyone, but once you take the time to get everyone on board you can really make a difference. Changing the result of 30 years of degradation is not a quick fix, there is no instant gratification, so that is why 10 years on from the water management plan’s implementation you are seeing some positive results.

“It is vital we celebrate the progress being made. Gareth Morgan can be congratulated for this initiative, which encourages people to take responsibility for their local rivers and draws attention to all the great work being done to look after our rivers for future generations. This carrot approach will have a much more positive impact than the stick,” Mr MacKenzie said.

Federated Farmers provincial president for Otago, Stephen Korteweg, says it is encouraging to see the positive results coming through.

“There has been a significant improvement in E.coli levels in the river over the past 10 years, with levels recovering by 13 percent a year since 2004, since the council's water plan was instituted,” Mr Korteweg added.

“It hasn’t always been smooth, but we have a great working relationship with the Otago Regional Council now, and we’re excited to build on the progress being made. It has proven that while changing practices on individual farms may appear to be insignificant, the cumulative impact across a catchment can be enough to turn the tide on deteriorating water quality.

“There is plenty more work to be done, but for now I think we all deserve to take moment and congratulate ourselves on how far we have come. With the Waikouaiti River coming third Otago has much to be proud of,” concluded Mr Korteweg.


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