Clarity on rules wanted

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Sam McIvor. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Sam McIvor. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Beef + Lamb New Zealand continues to seek clarity from the Government on the new Essential Freshwater rules, including requirements concerning low slope maps for stock exclusion, winter grazing regulations and farm plans,chief executive Sam McIvor says.

BLNZ had extensive consultation with about 4500 farmers across the country during the submission process and got a "good measure" of farmers’ views and concerns.

"We did get some positive changes made, particularly around restrictions on land use changes for sheep and beef farms."

However, there are still three key issues with the rules.

"We have major problems with winter grazing regulations.

"As they stand, we don’t think they are practical or fit for purpose."

Mr McIvor also wanted further clarity on both the accuracy of the low slope maps to be used by farmers for stock exclusion and certified farm environment plans.

Farmers in general understood their on-farm risks and, as stewards of their land, wanted to be able to build good farming businesses while identifying and managing the environmental risks and demonstrating to the public and to international consumers they took environmental issues seriously.

"It should be industry-driven, rather than regulations from Government."

As part of their advocacy on behalf of their farmers, BLNZ had a representative on the newly-established Southland-based National Environmental Standard for Freshwater advisory group, which had its first meeting recently.

Its role was to produce clear and practical recommendations to address implementation concerns about the new rules, with an initial focus on parts of intensive winter grazing.

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