A claim that cropping farmers were in trouble and were being
unfairly treated under a plan developed to improve water
quality and quantity in the Ashburton District has been
levelled at the committee responsible for the plan.
Alastair Studholme, who farms a 800ha sheep and cropping
property at Coldstream near the Rangitata River mouth, raised
his concerns with the Ashburton Water Management Zone
Committee at its meeting last week.
Mr Studholme said he was very concerned about inequities in
the plan for farms in the non-dairy sector, around nitrate
His property was only able to leach a fraction of the level
of the neighbouring dairy farm, but the dairy property was
worth more than his.
''At the end of the day we probably have a single-figure
nitrate level. We're not creating a problem. We never have
and we're unlikely to do so.''
Mr Studholme claimed the plan would hinder his farm and was
putting a $200,000 crop of hybridised canola at risk.
''If we lose that contract we won't get it back.''
Mr Studholme said he had been developing irrigation and deep
wells as he was able and was developing a small seed
The property was in an area of the district with the lowest
rainfall and most of the farm fell outside the Rangitata
Diversion Race area.
He said there was plenty of ground water available in his
''We feel we are being treated unfairly. The plan will hinder
our farm and damage our crops.''
Mr Studholme said he had talked to a lot of his peers in the
district and the general view was that as cropping farmers,
they were in trouble.
''We've been forgotten about.''
He said it was unfair to be putting farmer against farmer.
''If you can't get us on board, it concerns me it won't work.
I can't see a future for us under this plan.''
When asked by committee member, Sheryl Stiven for a solution,
Mr Studholme said the zone had been set over the whole area
from the coast to the hills to simplify things and to get it
moving forward. He said it needed to be split into more
The plan is due to be notified on September 29 and will then
be open for submissions.
- Maureen Bishop