Positive but realistic

Happy new year.

Hopefully time off farm has been managed or some is planned for this month or next.

Santa definitely brought the perfect gift for us this year in the form of 20ml of rain, although that feels a long time ago and the dry is really starting to bite up here.

I hope wherever you are reading this that rain is close.

The year starts with a more positive spring in most of the agricultural sector’s step.

The new government and the promise of more practical regulation coupled with utilising the wealth of knowledge and expertise in the development of said regulation is refreshing to say the least.

Now, I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but this positivity must be tempered by the reality that is a number of issues currently being worked through on a local and regional level, that are still taking plenty of our time here at North Otago Federated Farmers.

On a local level we have the issue of the new provisions from the draft Waitaki District Plan and the impact it will have on productive farmland.

We do not argue with the fact that these areas need to be preserved for our children and their grandchildren down through the generations; what we are asking for is more site-specific focus and less of a broad-brush approach.

Anyone with any worries on this issue please do contact us and we will be happy to help or advise as the need may be.

A number of our exec are working especially hard on this issue along with our fab regional policy adviser.

In the Otago Regional council space, we are looking forward to the edited Land and Water Plan being available to the public to submit on, in the first few months of the year.

With much up in the air following on from national government legislative rollbacks, it will be interesting to see which path the regional council takes.

Will it look to hold off on any immediate release of the plan, with an eye to further guidance from the government, or will they plough on with what they already have with an eye to the original June 30 deadline for the plan?

The issue is that should they plough on and later the national guidance dictates that the current hierarchy of needs (what the top priority for water use is) is changed, then the whole plan may need to be changed anyway and even find itself open to legal challenges.

Conversely, if they don’t get a plan under way, it could take two to three years to get the full guidance they need to create the "perfect" plan, leaving Otago very much behind the 8-ball on land and water plans.

It is a complex situation and one we hope they don’t take lightly, as the consequences have far-reaching effects.

Let’s hope in both these instances our hours of work on the issues are listened to and common sense prevails.

In the meantime, please do get in contact if we can be of assistance in any way.

 

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