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


Water intent supported while practical concerns remain

5 November 2019

Nutrient management and environmental experts Ravensdown have delivered their submission to the government’s discussion document on “Action for healthy waterways.”

The farmer-owned co-operative strongly supports the minister’s message that new requirements must be practical, enduring, science-based, understood by the public and underpinned by effective regulation and enforcement. But concerns remain on one-size-fits-all limits, mitigation approaches and the resourcing of farm environmental plans (FEPs).

“Ravensdown has the capabilities and competencies to help deliver robust FEPs accompanied by sound nutrient management advice,” according to Anna Wilkes, Environmental Policy Specialist. “After all, we have the largest number of Certified Nutrient Management Advisors in the country.”

“We believe in smarter farming and so we support the moves towards Good Management Practice in ways that keep farmers’ opportunity to innovate and to run farm businesses that are productive, sustainable and profitable for the benefit of New Zealand,” continues Anna. There are three main areas of concern:

One-size-fits-all limits

Every waterway is different. Because nitrogen and phosphate levels can vary due to so many factors, Ravensdown opposes national bottom lines and prefers regional limits. Even with the implementation of Good Management Practice, we believe the proposed limits are unachievable in a number of waterways. Economic analysis of the financial impacts to farming, which are likely to be severe for some, is currently lacking. An inflexible, ‘blanket approach’ is likely to smother the ability of regions to settle on a limit that’s right for their catchments and ecological health.

Resourcing of farm environmental plans (FEPs)

It is estimated that 28,000 more farm environmental plans are needed. While we support the ideal of each farm having an environmental plan, questions remain about who will be completing them, how fast they can be delivered, how the provider will be certified and who by. Introducing a freshwater module into farm environmental plans is an admirable ambition, but begs the questions: where an ‘army of freshwater specialists’ is going to come from and what hydrological tools they are going to use.

Mitigation approaches

All the case studies featured in the document are from Canterbury. Soils, climate and management practices mean the representativeness of these examples is severely limited. Rainfed volcanic soils with short rivers generating pasture as the primary feed source will have a very different approach to sedimentary soils with low rainfall with a higher reliance on forage crops throughout the winter.

The co-operative’s other concerns:

• Ravensdown opposes the requirement to move existing fences to meet the proposed new five-metre setback for fencing waterways. Farmers who have already fenced waterways have invested significant time and expense in doing so and any new setback requirement should only be required to be met at the end of the life of the fence.

• The proposed stocking rate thresholds for non-low-slope land could have significant implications for farmers where standard farm practices (such as rotational grazing) will likely trigger the requirement to fence rivers over a metre wide and lakes across the entire property with a five-metre setback by July 2021.

• The consultation period has been too short for the kind of rigour warranted for such an important topic.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


TradeMe: Property Prices In Every Region Hit New High For The Very First Time

Property prices experienced their hottest month on record in December, with record highs in every region, according to the latest Trade Me Property Price Index.\ Trade Me Property spokesperson Logan Mudge said the property market ended the year with ... More>>

Motor Industry Association: 2020 New Vehicle Registrations Suffer From Covid-19

Chief Executive David Crawford says that like some other sectors of the New Zealand economy, the new vehicle sector suffered from a case of Covid-19. Confirmed figures for December 2020 show registrations of 8,383 were 25% ... More>>

CTU 2021 Work Life Survey: COVID And Bullying Hit Workplaces Hard, Huge Support For Increased Sick Leave

New data from the CTU’s annual work life survey shows a snapshot of working people’s experiences and outlook heading out of 2020 and into the new year. Concerningly 42% of respondents cite workplace bullying as an issue in their workplace - a number ... More>>

Smelter: Tiwai Deal Gives Time For Managed Transition

Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed to working on a managed transition with the local community,” Grant Robertson said. More>>


Real Estate: Auckland’s Rental Market Ends Year Near $600 Per Week Mark

The average weekly rent in Auckland reached a new high of $595 at the end of 2020, just shy of a long-anticipated $600 per week. More>>

University of Auckland: Pest-Free Goal Won’t Be Achieved Without New And Better Tools

New Zealand’s goal to become predator free by 2050 will remain an unrealised dream unless new technologies and advances in social engagement continue to be developed, researchers who first promoted it say. A team from the University of Auckland has ... More>>

OECD: Area Employment Rate Rose By 1.9 Percentage Points In The Third Quarter Of 2020

OECD area employment rate rose by 1.9 percentage points in the third quarter of 2020, but remained 2.5 percentage points below its pre-pandemic level The OECD area [1] employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – rose ... More>>

Economy: Strong Job Ad Performance In Quarter Four

SEEK Quarterly Employment Report data shows a positive q/q performance with a 19% national growth in jobs advertised during Q4 2020, which includes October, November and December. Comparing quarter 4, 2020, with the same quarter in 2019 shows that job ad volumes are 7% lower...More>>