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Feds Wins Time For Waikato Farmers And Growers

The Environment Court’s decision to allow more time for the filing of appeals on Waikato Regional Council’s Plan Change 1 has Federated Farmers breathing a sigh of relief.

All three of the Federated Farmers provinces affected by this plan change are delighted and somewhat relieved with this decision.

Federated Farmers Waikato president Jacqui Hahn says this means individual farmers and growers have 70 working days from 11 May to file appeals.

"These are tough times for farmers, dealing with COVID-19 restrictions, drought, meat processing issues and even things like home schooling with a poor internet connection. Extra time to work on this process is a help."

Federated Farmers sought the extension for farmer and grower submitters based on the alarming and mounting challenges farmers are facing right now that are severely limiting their ability to engage on important issues like Plan Change 1.

Federated Farmers Rotorua/Taupo president Colin Guyton says the time frame given was simply unachievable given the huge implications of the plan change.

"We now have time to get advice, consider the implications and consider how to participate in the Environment Court process".

In its decision the Environment Court gave considerable weight to Federated Farmers’ views about what time is needed, highlighting Federated Farmers as the "specialist representative body with significant experience around the country in plan change appeal processes affecting its members."

Auckland Federated Farmers President Alan Cole says "It is good to be heard, and even better to be understood. We are pleased with this recognition; it is a very real nod to sense and sensibility for the only pan sector industry group that genuinely represents all types of farmers.

"We are farmers working for farmers, this means we understand the challenges that COVID-19 restrictions are placing on the ability and capacity of farmers to engage. We know everyone is under pressure, but we will engage with our members and obtain a mandate. We are after a PC1 that is reasonable, practical and affordable."

Federated Farmers and other industry groups have 50 working days from 28 April to file their appeals.

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