Otago's regional council neighbours have been challenged by
an Australian resource management specialist to justify why
they are not following this region's example when dealing
with water quality.
National Farmers Federation natural resource manager Deb Kerr
asked Environment Southland and Environment Canterbury
representatives the question at the first day of the New
Zealand Association of Resource Management conference at
Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin yesterday.
The discussion arose after the three councils explained their
individual responses to the Government requirement to set
limits to improve water quality.
While Australia did not have the same problems with water
quality, Ms Kerr was in favour of the Otago Regional
Council's approach, which allowed farmers more flexibility.
"I prefer that approach," she told the 100 delegates.
Environment Canterbury consultant Ian Brown said there were
aspects of the Otago approach, such as giving farmers the
opportunity to work out how they met limits, in Canterbury's
plan but there was a significant "lag time" in its system.
Environment Southland senior resource planner Rachael Millar
said Southland had a complex system, which also had "lag
time" problems, hence its regulatory approach to the dairy
industry, but it hoped to be more outcome based in the
Three farmers, one each from Southland, Otago and Canterbury,
also spoke on how they were developing their practices to
meet the new standards and their relationship with their
respective regional councils.
"I'd like to bang all three of their heads together to get a
more common approach - that would be useful to us as
farmers," Clutha farmer Stephen Korteweg said.
Association chairman and Waikato Regional Council
agricultural adviser Ross Abercrombie said most of the
association's members were land management officers employed
by regional councils plus some consultants and industry
Its focus was on coal-face resource management as they were
often the "intermediary" between farmers and policymakers.
Today and tomorrow, members will tour the region to talk to
farmers about what they are doing and the challenges they