What it means to be a ''good neighbour'' was discussed at
Federated Farmers' high country conference in Queenstown
The conference was examining how neighbours could look after
each other in regard to water and nutrient management and
pest control, Federated Farmers high country chairman Chas
''We need to communicate with each other to understand each
other's differences and work towards mutually acceptable
outcomes,'' he said.
He was pleased with the Department of Conservation's
''increasing willingness'' to involve the wider community in
its decisions and work.
Vice-chairman Simon Williamson said the high country group
made submissions on the draft conservation management plans
for Canterbury, Otago and Southland on behalf of Federated
The more inclusive policy, outlined by Doc's then
director-general Al Morrison at last year's high country
conference, was evident in the introduction to all three
draft plans, Mr Williamson said.
In most cases, the group was disappointed in the lack of
commitment to pest control, particularly wilding trees, in
It was also disappointing that, in two of the plans, were
stated intentions to adopt policies or projects that would
impinge on private property. In some cases, the affected
property owner had not been approached and the first they
heard was through the draft plan.
That sort of approach was not in keeping with the
''partnership'' concept promoted by Mr Morrison last year and
espoused in the introduction to the plans, Mr Williamson
Doc did some excellent work in protecting some of the
country's precious natural assets.
However, over the years, it had been allotted considerable
areas of land in which to undertake that role and it did not
have sufficient funding resource to undertake its fundamental
duty and to fulfil its responsibility as a ''good
''The way we see it, the 'partnership' concept has been
introduced to encourage outside organisations and individuals
to support Doc in its more important conservation projects.
''This will not happen if the conservancies do not talk with
their neighbours prior to announcing plans that could
adversely affect their neighbours' properties and
livelihoods,'' he said.
Decisions on submissions to all of those plans were expected
about October and he believed they would show the extent of
commitment the various conservancies had to a ''meaningful
There were still areas of ''major concern'' around the
proposed Canterbury land and water plan, relating to stock
farming in the hill and high country and restrictive rules,
particularly in lake sensitive zones relating to nutrient
leaching control, Mr Williamson said.
''We are well aware of the problems caused by nutrient
leaching in some specific situations and support the need for
control in these cases.
''Our concern from the high country perspective, though,
comes from the fact that the Canterbury Regional Council is
imposing stringent rules on properties where the current
farming practice is not creating a problem.''
The proposals would be very costly for those properties,
possibly jeopardising the sustainability of the farming
business, he said.
Federated Farmers had appealed parts of the decision.
It was also involved with ongoing consultation with
Environment Canterbury commissioners and staff in an effort
to remove some of the more impractical aspects of the
decision. Talks to date had been encouraging, he said.
The conference finishes today.