You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
What do the candidates in the 2019 local body election stand for? The Otago Daily Times gave nominees for Environment Southland the opportunity to answer the following questions:
1 What is most effective way to address the issue of the ongoing degradation of water bodies in Southland?
2 What are your goals and what should the priorities be for your council?
Question 1: Southland is a diverse province, with the natural environments of Fiordland and Stewart Island contrasting with the modified farming landscape of the plains. Both are important to the region. An inclusive planning process is critical to ensure all views are heard. Embracing the plan and its intentions then becomes the goal for everyone. More processes will require a consent, and there needs to be an improved awareness, and responsibility for the ramifications of failure.
Question 2: The Southland Regional Council has a broad role across the province. It must consider how people within our communities use the varied range of natural resources available to them and how these are managed sustainably. It must consider new factors such as carbon emissions. It must consider a timeframe for change and the affordability of this decision-making. Improved sustainability in its broadest sense is my goal for the council.
Occupation: Land developer, lifestyle farmer.
Question 1: Incoming ES councillors must show more proactive leadership and ensure water stakeholders/users, become compliant in implementing and being properly accountable for their own property’s water/land management and discharges, through regulatory processes, follow up monitoring, and where there is serious non-compliance, initiate prosecutions where deemed warranted.
A wide range of initiatives must be undertaken, including water body stock exclusion, regulations promulgated and enforced regarding contour run-offs and winter stock feeding management.
Question 2: I was previously a commercial sheep farmer for 30 years and my personal goals/advocacy if elected to the council include ensuring that the necessary improvements in our region’s water quality/land management practices are achieved by landholders transitioning to more sustainable practices such as regenerative farming where a more holistic approach is taken to soil health/ conservation, improved nutrient retention.
Achieve this more sustainable basis, without unduly causing unnecessary disruption to general on-farm management and financial hardship.
Occupation: Farmer, Environment Southland councillor.
Question 1: During the development of the proposed Southland water and land plan, the community gave their views in 900 submissions. If this plan comes out of the appeal process close to the original intent, this will go a long way in addressing any water quality issues. The farmer-initiated establishment of 19 catchment groups to date show communities understand the issues and are adopting solutions. These groups will also help in developing the limit-setting process.
Question 2: My goal has always been to represent the community with common sense and practical solutions. To succeed we need a stable council open to ideas and opinions. I believe any policies and plans developed at council level need to consider the very people they will have an effect over. Hence community involvement should be a priority. We are all in this together; we rely on one another.
Occupation: Sheep farmer.
Question 1: The council must react to the national policy statement (NPS) on freshwater, by demonstrating clear thinking on developing processes to meet these targets.
The council must retain control of timeframes and mechanisms which we will use to achieve the goals laid out in the NPS.
Both the Invercargill and Southland District Councils must report on how they plan to achieve the goals set out in the NPS.
To find the balance between a healthy environment and maintaining a thriving, connected community.
And what should the priorities be for the council?
A renewed motivation from farming has arisen to improve winter grazing. The council needs to enable and support this movement.
Look forward and recognise the next land use change. Productive conventional cultivated land needs protection from blanket tree planting.
To understand the impacts of climate change on our catchments and coastlines, then formulate a long-term strategy that is responsive to the evolving science.
Age: Declined to provide age.
Question 1: The land and water plan that Environment Southland has notified contains the structure and rules which will provide the basis for improved water quality in Southland. It is apparent that more effort is required to monitor and manage high-intensity farming operations and outputs from local government sewerage and stormwater discharges. Continued education of both urban and rural communities is really important.
Question 2: I need to see that we are making a positive difference in community buy-in towards clean water and good air quality. I will continue to seek an increase to the staffing and resourcing of community education programmes across Southland to meet this need. I want to see the Bluff-to-Invercargill walkway completed in this coming term along with the upgrade of the Bluff slipway infrastructure.
Question 1: Clearly the main cause of declining water quality is farming practices in the catchment. The tools to improve water quality are available and most farmers are taking steps in the right direction but there are simply too many cows too close to waterways. A combination of education, enforcement and farmer buy-in will reverse the problem.
Question 2: Primary goal is to have our rivers drinkable and swimmable again. Coping with increasing tourist numbers is a priority for Southland as is preparation for the effects of a changing climate, including the planned retreat of housing and infrastructure from the coast. I want more walking and cycling trails and I like to see kids outside enjoying Southland’s natural environment rather than shut inside looking ata small screen.
Question 1: Implement the People Water and Land Plan. Monitoring and enforcing anti-pollution policies with regard to resource consents and being diligent not to further injure waterways on review of consents (new or on renewal).
Question 2: My goals are to carry out the above in a positive proactive manner and to voice accordingly to influence outcomes. To have swimmable and fishable waterways.
Occupation: NZ Gardener columnist, Environment Southland councillor.
Question 1: Our water scientists assess the health of the region’s waters and report to the council with their findings. Iwi present their cultural perspective on the waters of the takiwa and we combine the two views then consult the wider public for theirs, in order to make reasoned decisions about the way forward.
Question 2: My goal for the council is to quicken our responses to the problems identified and to prioritise them in favour of environmental protection, rather than resource exploitation. We have allowed too much development in rural areas with too few controls over that expansion of land use, resulting in degradation of our soils and waterways. This imbalance must be righted, using science as the guide and council-guided regulation as the tool for effective change.
Question 1: Improving the health of our water bodies requires identifying the source and nature of issues using professional science and supporting citizen science. Attention must be given to soil conservation, minimising nutrient and contaminant input and output, land use, supporting catchment groups and connecting Southlanders in whole-of-catchment conversations. We need Southlanders in our towns, cities, in our industry, agricultural and production sectors to all take action.
Question 2: The council’s governance and leadership decisions regarding the relationships between our people, our places and our unique natural resources need the contributions and perspective of a mother of teenagers and a professional, who is active in the community and who is a fiercely loyal Southlander.
I value continued improvement in air quality within the Invercargill air shed, diversification of our economy, supporting innovative community initiatives in pest control and biosecurity as well as supporting cultural values for water.
Occupation: Digital and communications manager at Invercargill City Libraries and Archives.
Question 1: Water degradation is a massive issue that affects how we can enjoy our rivers. Current practices surrounding cattle farming are unsustainable. Runoff must be addressed —it’s not good enough to have a few officers reviewing farming sites so infrequently to make sure practices are meeting regulations. Farmers need tools, resources and more informative material from local government. The land CAN be farmed sensibly — we just have to work together to do this.
Question 2: My goal is to create a council of representatives who listen to what their constituents want, and engage with them regularly. The goals of the council should come from the people of Invercargill, Bluff and Rakiura and I would make sure I was an active member of these communities both on social media and in person to regularly talk about environmental issues to ensure my vote always truly represented my voters.
Occupation: Agricultural tutor.
Question 1: We need reliable data to establish the level of health of our waterways and the trends over time so that we can modify our long-term plan to enhance the waterways accordingly and meet national and world standards. A standardised method of measurement doesn’t appear to have been established but I believe the measures should be E. coli, nitrates, phosphate and turbidity as a good starting point.
Question 2: In order to achieve a sustainable outcome for a vibrant Southland region, we need total buy-in and engagement across all sectors.
My goal would be to help provide objective information from all sectors so that the council can make sound decisions through a collaborative approach from both councillors and stakeholders. To seed the conversations that build on relationships that are working and rethink ones that aren’t through fresh eyes and innovative processes.
Occupation: Warehouse and dispatch co-ordinator.
Question 1: Utilise the new national environment standard on freshwater management plan to the full extent, at the same time, supporting those affected by the plan with ongoing training and support. I think the council should aim to have a fast turnaround from the current state of poor water quality across the majority of water bodies.
Question 2: I hope to use my lean manufacturing background to offer a fresh perspective on issues before the council. We need to always look for continuous improvement and assess previous solutions to see if they had the desired effect after being implemented. I think the priority for the council should be a ‘‘deep adaptation’’ plan at the forefront of its thinking with the purpose of trying to foster and encourage community resilience in the face of future disasters.
Question 1: Prioritise sustainable land-care management practices; promote change and the sustainable use of land to avoid and control run-off into waterways; seriously consider and promote alternative sources of protein (plant-based) which make more efficient use of water and land; set realistic goals to improve/restrict/ control land and water discharges; upgrade sewage treatment methods and techniques; explore caps and controls on water extraction rights; effectively use education to make the changes.
Question 2: It is time to make the hard decisions to correct the excesses of the past 20-30 years — to restore mana to our waterways and to the land which we all have a responsibility to nurture; to restore the balance between the needs of people and communities and our duty to provide guardianship to our natural resources; to ensure good, sound governance by promoting cooperation and collaboration within local government and sensible rationalisation.
Occupation: Environment Southland councillor.
Question 1: Better management of winter grazing and high-intensity agriculture. Farm managers must adopt practices that significantly reduce direct and diffuse discharges to streams.Compliance with ES water plan. Stand-off pads or winter barns, careful paddock selection, less tillage, wider riparian buffers, lower stocking rates and better soil health all help too. For towns and cities better management of urban stormwater systems, and new developments, to avoid contaminated run-off. Keeping sewage out of stormwater discharges.
Question 2: To promote a mixture of law enforcement and education to ensure good practices become commonplace and that all land managers know that if they do not comply with the law they will be penalised. Development of expected behaviour norms so that bad practices are seen asbeing bad for the whole community. Community collaboration to achieve jointly agreed goals. Reward best management practices. Sufficient resourcing to ensure plans are implemented as the community expects.
Occupation: Farmer, company director, hunting and fishing guide.
Question 1: Southland has started addressing the issue of water degradation. In 2017 it began a comprehensive water and land policy development which attracted many hundreds of submissions and a water and land plan was developed. This is just a first stage. The next is to develop freshwater management units for each catchment. I see the key ingredient to change going forward for water quality is to engage with the public so that they are empowered to set their own standards which ensure the best outcomes and don’t behave to a minimum of policy statement requirements.
Question 2: My goal is to see the completion of the work done on water quality. To ensure better compliance in matters like intensive wintering practice and to have the council engage with science-based solutions, including better policy around climate change.
No response received by publication deadline.
Occupation: Entrepreneur, tertiary tutor.
Question 1: Declare a moratorium on consents for new dairy expansion, or intensification of existing industrial operations, including farming. Urgently fund investigation into link between nitrate rates and cancer incidence, and start reporting on drinking water nitrates levels across the region. Consider future irrigation and water storage consents in the context of prioritising minimum flows that ensure healthy, clean waterways. Ensure rural and urban wastewater systems are resilient to both climate change and resource depletion considerations.
Question 2: Honesty and responsibility in decision-making. For our children’s sake we must include mandatory statements on climate change and resource depletion in all reports. Improved resilience for our community through changing decision making analysis to include proper consideration of the four wellbeings (social, economic, environmental and cultural outcomes). We need to get ahead of legislation in the pipeline, to reduce response times, in light of the urgency of action on the challenges ahead.
Occupation: Sheep farmer, Environment Southland chairman.
Question 1: Southland’s water quality will improve if everyone commits to doing more to achieve that goal. This cannot be an urban versus rural conversation and only an it’s-about-all-of-us attitude which will give us the traction we need to make real progress. Water quality will only be improved by action on the ground. The cumulative effects of thousands of individual and community initiatives will provide us with the improvements in water quality we all want.
Question2: My goals for the coming term are to achieve a noticeable improvement in water quality in Southland while maintaining a vibrant economy. That can only happen if sensible transition times are provided to people who need to make significant changes to their business practice. We need to learn from the lessons of the 1980s, when rapid change had detrimental effects on families and the Southland economy, which took years to begin to recover.
Occupation: Dolphin conservation.
Question1: Our rivers, streams and estuaries are connected from the mountains to the sea. We need to increase native plantings around all waterways. These plantings should be essential; creation of wetlands should be encouraged, and landowners need more support to enable this to happen. Chemical and industrial pollutants also need addressed at source to prevent further degradation of our waterways. I’m excited about communities becoming more engaged in active restoration of our estuaries and coastal environments.
Question2: Priorities for Environment Southland should be preparing for increased coastal erosion and big weather events; restoring the health of our estuaries back to swimmable and ecologically rich areas; and incentivising farmers who are leading and using best practice with regards to land, water management and animal welfare. I’m also passionate about growing the health of our inshore ecosystems, so we have abundant kaimoana (seafood) and marine mammals; and increasing indigenous involvement in council decisions.
Age: Under 50.
Question1: The way forward is to have a diversity best practice that balances the cultural knowledge and science-driven environmental policies; that honours the principal of kaitiakitanga in the implementation of the 3 Waters policy.
The value of Maori indigenous knowledge cannot be ignored anymore, because the traditional knowledge embedded in the Takitimu Mountains holds the key to solving the water quality at Murihuku. We have not respectfully tapped into that cultural knowledge yet to understand our interconnectedness to Takitimu.
Question2: My goal is simple, to bring cultural intelligence and gender diversity to the council. I want to see a regional council that supports inclusiveness that values all perspectives. There are lots of overlapping roles and responsibilities among the local councils; too many arms with no common binding framework.
The priority is to have a common framework that binds the regional and local councils and that respectfully works with the local runaka.