Farmers and foresters have been put on notice by the Otago
Its new water quality regulations, which the council approved
yesterday and allow landowners to choose what they do on
their land as long as their run-off meets certain standards,
do not mean business as usual, chairman Stephen Woodhead said
at a council meeting.
''It is unique to Otago in the freedom it allows landowners
but it comes with big riders.
''It's not a free bus ticket.''
The 6A water plan changes will come into force on May 1,
ending an approximately five-year process to secure a water
quality in Otago safe for swimming.
Yesterday, the council celebrated its achievement of enacting
the plan change without a lengthy and costly Environ-ment
Court battle, as had happened with similar plan changes in
The appeals of 21 parties who were against the plan change
were resolved through mediation.
Mr Woodhead said the achievement was a tribute to the
council's collaborative approach to designing the changes.
The plan also gave effect to the Government's National Policy
Statement for Freshwater and met the desires of the Otago
community to have recreational-level water quality, he said.
Landowners needed to quickly understood their
responsibilities and the environmental impacts.
''It's not business as usual. The standards in this plan are
quite tough ...[some staff] would describe as
The plan included transition times which landowners had to
take advantage of to make changes on their properties so the
region could ''deliver on our intent and make sure our
children and grandchildren can use our waterways as we
Cr David Shepherd, who sat on the plan change hearing panel
alongside former councillor Duncan Butcher and independent
commissioner Clive Geddes, said it was a major achievement to
have adopted a plan change without an Environment Court
That was due to the work done by staff early in the process
in consulting the community, he said.
''We led the way in that type of consultation. We've shown
the way it should be done.''
Cr Doug Brown said it had been a long journey and it was
''almost surprising'' how community attitudes had altered
over that time towards the plan change.
''There was a lot of resentment, initially, but it's
pleas-ing to see how much people have come on board.''
Policy planning and resource management director Fraser McRae
said it was very pleasing only one of the discharge
thresholds set had to be altered.
That change increased the nitrogen leaching rate for the
Queenstown Lakes from 10kg to 15kg per ha per year and did
not open up the area for further intensive development, he