Moss company owner could lose livelihood over SNAs

Green sphagnum moss close up with blurred background. Photo: Getty Images
The sphagnum moss industry still employed quite a few people on the Coast. Photo: Getty Images
A Grey Valley sphagnum moss farmer says he stands to lose $1.2 million and his livelihood if the Government pushes ahead with 'significant natural areas' to protect native forest and wetlands on private land.

Bruce Truman owns Super Sphag Ltd based at Totara Flat.

He fears an upcoming national policy statement will create more SNAs on the West Coast and lock up his private land.

Mr Truman intends attending a public meeting at Shantytown at 6pm today, part of national consultation on proposed freshwater changes affecting farmers. He has called for a show of support from West Coasters.

West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O'Connor, who is also Agriculture Minister, will be attending.

Mr Truman said he already had a 'schedule two' wetland on his land and he feared that if he applied for resource consent to develop it he would risk it being upgraded to schedule one.

He spent $1.2 million to buy the land a few years ago when the dairy industry was developing, with the aim of securing land to prevent it being converted to dairying.

He then found out it had the schedule two wetland and has been fighting it ever since.

Mr Truman said SNAs -- the equivalent of schedule one and two wetlands -- would makes things a lot worse for a lot more people.

The sphagnum moss industry still employed quite a few people on the Coast.

There was already not enough moss without more moss swamps being compulsorily protected as SNAs.

"That's even worse."

Mr Truman said he been trying to get a meeting with Mr O'Connor about the changes.

Asked today what he would say to Mr O'Connor, he said: "Do they want the moss industry or don't they".

"It's quite an environmentally friendly industry."

"Why is the moss industry being punished for the dairy industry."

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