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Dairying’s legal footprint continues to improve

Dairying’s legal footprint continues to improve

Federated Farmers is happy to see the legal footprint of New Zealand’s dairy industry continue to improve based on figures obtained by The Dominion Post.

“We are very happy to see prosecutions heading in the right direction,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers President.

“While 21 prosecutions is 21 too many, we need to remember that there are some 12,000 dairy herds in New Zealand. In pure percentage terms it is 0.175 percent of all herds.
“It affirms our view that there is a genuine change of culture in farming. A decade ago the main topic would be stocking rates but today it is dominated by environmental factors.

“When you’ve got weather beaten dairy farmers in their late 50’s comparing notes on riparian plantings and ground sensors, you know there’s a cultural change afoot.

“The 21 prosecutions in 2013/14 arguably make the 34 recorded in 2012/13 an outlier. The 2012/13 season went against a falling trend, sandwiched between 25 prosecutions in 2011/12 and the 21 prosecutions in the 2013/14 season.

“Given the 2012/13 season corresponded with the worst drought in 70 years, that could be a factor. What is beyond doubt is a substantial improvement on the 49 in 2009/10.

“We also need to be realistic that these numbers will oscillate and some years will be better than others but the overall trend is positive. In terms of abatements, they are 43 percent lower than the 2008/9 season while infringements are 49 percent lower than in 2008/9.

“Generally speaking, regional councils have started to understand farmer psyche and are improving their dialogue with farmers.

“We are also seeing the Courts taking a much tougher line with the average fine growing substantially as each season passes.

“Clearly, the Courts take the view that there is plenty of support there from not just us, but from DairyNZ, dairy processors, consultants and even some councils.

“After some years of tension we are seeing councils communicating better with farmers and this has made a substantial difference to compliance,” Dr Rolleston concluded.

By the numbers:

SeasonAbatement noticesInfringement noticesProsecutions (completed)Total finesAverage fine
2008-953750047$ 592,626.00 $ 12,609.06
2009-1044539449$ 1,144,274.00 $ 23,352.53
2010-1138734032$ 1,211,300.00 $ 37,853.13
2011-1233534625$ 859,000.00 $ 34,360.00
2012-1329022134$ 1,230,614.00 $ 36,194.53
2013-1430325321$ 847,600.00 $ 40,361.90
Source: The Dominion Post

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