Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Deadlock breaks on plans for Mackenzie Country dairying

Deadlock breaks on plans for Mackenzie Country intensive dairying

By Pattrick Smellie

May 13 (BusinessDesk) - Key environmental groups have signed up to a proposal which would allow both ecological restoration and intensive dairying to occur in the Mackenzie Country.

The newly unveiled Mackenzie Agreement is the product of three years' consensus-building led by Guy Salmon, a close adviser to Cabinet Minister Nick Smith and an architect of the collaborative process behind the Land and Water Forum.

While welcomed by the government, Labour's conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson slammed it for favouring development over conservation, while the Greens are worried the accord relies too heavily on a new Mackenzie Country Trust, which would be funded by the government, donations and sponsorships.

Conservation Minister Smith and Environment Minister Amy Adams welcomed the agreement, whose recommendations to establish the trust by legislation it will now consider.

The agreement assumes nearly 10 percent of the Mackenzie Basin's 269,000 hectares of "flat and easy country" will be irrigated, with current small-scale irrigation on sheep and beef farms doubling to 15,000 hectares and some 9,600 hectares made available for intensive cubicle-style dairy farming on five properties.

The plan envisages 29 large, but marginally profitable sheep and beef farms being able to afford more conservation efforts, including better pest control, and less intensive grazing to allow restoration of tussocklands to recover, if allowed to increase small scale irrigation.

It notes all irrigation proposals will be dealt with under existing the existing Resource Management Act provisions, "which may themselves limit or reduce the proposed areas for irrigation."

The agreement came after the Environmental Defence Society successfully challenged resource consents granted in 2009 for intensive dairying in the semi-arid South Island high country setting, bordering the Southern Alps and several major lakes and attracting increasing tourism.

Three companies, Williamson Holdings, Southdown Holdings and Five Rivers, were behind the applications to build cubicle farms for around 17,000 dairy cows since the late 2000s. The intensive farming method controls nitrate runoff by capturing cows' urine before it heads into waterways.

Not all major irrigators in the area signed the accord, but EDS and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand are among 22 signatories, along with local governments, dairy industry lobbyist Dairy NZ, local Federated Farmers, and the Fish and Game Council.

A critical feature of the proposed trust's mandate would be "to protect water quality from the adverse effects of land use intensification."

This remains "a major outstanding issue" for the proposed trust to address.

"In principle, the forum can see potential in irrigation strategies, but their acceptability would depend on establishment and funding of the Trust."

EDS welcomed the deal as "unique to New Zealand", but the Greens warned a trust dependent on government funding, sponsorships and donations would not be able to guarantee environmental restoration in the area.

Labour’s Dyson expressed concern that "the agreement specifically says the plan will not contain a map of land identified as being of value for conservation."

“Collaboration has been undermined by provocative tenure reviews and the Ecan legislation which changed all the rules for water conservation orders."

The plan for the area would include control of wilding pines and a "learning by doing" approach to restoring native vegetation in an area already heavily altered by the burning of forests by Maori settlers and farming since colonisation. Some invasive plants, such as hyeracium, could only ever be managed rather than eradicated, the agreement document says.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Stats NZ: Largest Drop In Terms Of Trade In A Decade As Dairy Export Prices Sour

Lower export prices for dairy, meat, and logs in the September 2020 quarter led to the biggest drop in terms of trade since June 2009, Stats NZ said today. Export prices fell in the September 2020 quarter, down 8.3 percent from its highest ever ... More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: Election Boosts October Job Numbers

Job numbers were boosted by general election staff in October 2020, along with rises in the manufacturing, retail, and hospitality industries, Stats NZ said today. Filled jobs rose by 27,667 to 2.2 million in October 2020 compared with September, after ... More>>

Government: New Year Border Exception For Seasonal Workers In The Horticulture And Wine Industries

2000 additional RSE workers to enter New Zealand early next year employers must pay these workers at least $22.10 an hour employers will cover costs of managed isolation for the RSE workers RSE workers will be paid the equivalent of 30 hours work a week ... More>>

ALSO:


Media: Discovery, Inc. Completes Acquisition Of New Zealand’s Mediaworks TV Ltd

Auckland, New Zealand, December 1, 2020 - Discovery, Inc. (“Discovery”), the global leader in real-life entertainment, has completed its acquisition of New Zealand’s leading independent free-to-air commercial broadcaster, MediaWorks TV Ltd, now operating ... More>>

Department Of Conservation: Big Year Underway At Albatross Colony

Familiar faces are returning for the new season of Royal Cam, with a big breeding year underway for the toroa/northern royal albatross colony on Otago’s windswept Pukekura/Taiaroa Head. More than 120 albatrosses, a taonga species, have returned ... More>>

Real Estate: ASB Survey Reveals Majority Of Kiwis Expect House Prices To Keep Climbing

ALSO:

House price expectations are soaring as New Zealand’s housing market shifts up a gear. But stretched affordability is putting a dent in perceptions of whether it’s a good time to buy. While Kiwis reveal they do expect interest rates to fall further. ... More>>

Stats NZ: Births And Deaths: Year Ended September 2020

Births and deaths releases provide statistics on the number of births and deaths registered in New Zealand, and selected fertility and mortality rates. Key facts For the year ended September 2020: 57,753 live births and 32,670 deaths ... More>>

ALSO: