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Freshwater Farm Plans On Hold

Freshwater Farm Plan start dates are on hold while the Government investigates the system further. A statement from Chris Bishop, Minister for RMA Reform, said planned changes to Freshwater Farm Plans were likely to make it more cost effective and practical.

But what those changes look like for Marlborough is still unknown, Council’s Regional Catchment Facilitator Nic Dann said.

“Are Are Creek was the first catchment to be rolled out in Marlborough and was due to start on 1 July 2024 - that date has now been paused.”

“At this stage we will be pausing all catchments’ “turn on” dates while we wait for more clarity on the regulatory requirements,” she said.

“Information on Freshwater Farm Plans will continue to be shared on the Marlborough Rural Hub web pages at www.marlborough.govt.nz/environment/marlborough-rural-hub, as well as updates of information as we receive it.“

Introduced as part of the Government’s Essential Freshwater package, Freshwater Farm Plans are aimed at identifying risks to freshwater from farm activities and look at what farmers can do to manage and mitigate those risks.

A series of workshops held around Marlborough this year were related to the Freshwater Farm Plan Regulations 2023, integrated with Council’s own catchment restoration programme and focused on providing rural communities with information about the process.

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Resources have already been developed by Council to provide information to affected landowners.

“Our goal is to help rural landowners through support, resources and updated information,” Nic said.

Are Are Creek catchment is still part of the At Risk Catchments programme and funding is available for landowners towards freshwater improvement outcomes such as riparian fencing and planting until end of June 2025.

Assistance and funding are also available for landowners in other catchments including Te Hoiere, Tua Marina and Flaxbourne.

The Hill Country Erosion Fund provides advice and financial support to landowners wanting to plant trees and retire eroding, marginal land.

Contact Council if you are interested in accessing these subsidies.

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