Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Submissions open on nutrient rules

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Submissions on the controversial Lake Rotorua Nutrient Management rules, designed to improve water quality in the lake, are now open.

The proposed rules were "formally notified" by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council today, marking the beginning of an official submission period.

The Lake Rotorua Nutrient Management rules are a proposed plan change to the council's Regional Water and Land Plan, and are one of four components being delivered by the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme (RTALP).

The proposed rules aim to reduce nitrogen loss on land that then enters the lake and were developed with input from Rotorua Lakes Council, Te Arawa Lakes Trust, stakeholders, technical and science experts, and the community, through feedback received at public meetings, hui, and information sessions.

The proposed plan changes would mean landowners, depending on how much land they have and what it is being used for, will have to apply for a resource consent and would be given a Nitrogen Discharge Allowance that they must not exceed.

Regional council chairman Doug Leeder said the submission period provided the opportunity for anyone to submit formal feedback on the proposed rules. Submissions close on Friday April 15.

"The proposed rules have been under informal consultation for the past two-and-a-half years, signalling a greater focus on engagement and collaboration between the community and regional council," he said.

"But they are by no means final - there is still time for the community to continue to have their say."

Funding of $72 million has been allocated to protect water quality for the four priority lakes under the RTALP. This includes $5.5 millon to support landowners in the Rotorua catchment through a Land Use Advice and Support Service of $2.2 million and a fund for investigating alternative land uses of $3.3 million.

"Significant work has been undertaken in recent years and great progress has been made, all with the focus on striking a balance between the environment, the economy and the needs and desires of our local communities," Mr Leeder said.

Lobby group Protect Rotorua spokeswoman Sharon Love said she did not know what the group would do until they had met again in the near future.

She said making a submission would probably not do any good.

"They seem to just do what they want anyway.

"I don't think it's for the benefit of the lake, but removing the people who are against the rules.

"It's a frustrating process for farmers, especially when we all have full time jobs. It's hard work for the community to keep up.

"Protect Rotorua will look closely at it and then work out as a group what we want to do," she said.

Additional Information:

The Lake Rotorua Nutrient Management - proposed Plan Change 10 to the Bay of Plenty Regional Water and Land Plan - will affect rural landowners in the Lake Rotorua Groundwater Boundary.

The proposed plan change will mean that:

Properties/farming enterprises 5ha or less in total area will be able to continue to use their land without requiring a resource consent so long as the land is not used for commercial cropping, commercial horticulture or dairy farming.

Properties/farming enterprises greater than 5ha and up to 10ha of effective area will not require a resource consent so long as they comply with a stocking rate table at any time during the year and the land is not used for commercial cropping, commercial horticulture or dairy farming.

Properties/farming enterprises between 10ha and 40ha of effective area will not be able to increase their nitrogen loss from what they currently do and will need to provide information to Bay of Plenty Regional Council annually until June 30, 2022.

From July 1, 2022 landowners will need a resource consent. They will be given a Nitrogen Discharge Allowance (NDA) that they must meet and a requirement of the consent will be to develop a Nitrogen Management Plan to show how they will meet their NDA.

Properties/farming enterprises greater than 40ha of effective area will require a resource consent from July 1, 2017. They will be given a Nitrogen Discharge Allowance (NDA) that they must meet and a requirement of the consent will be to develop a Nitrogen Management Plan to show how they will meet their NDA.

Properties/farming enterprises used for forestry, bush and low intensity farming activities will not require a resource consent but will need to provide information to Bay of Plenty Regional Council annually.

Properties/farming enterprises that have commercial cropping, commercial horticulture or cannot comply with the stocking rate table will not be able to increase their nitrogen loss from what they currently do and will need to provide information to Bay of Plenty Regional Council annually until June 30, 2022.

From July 1, 2022 landowners will need a resource consent. They will be given a Nitrogen Discharge Allowance (NDA) that they must meet and a requirement of the consent will be to develop a Nitrogen Management Plan to show how they will meet their NDA.

Lake Rotorua Nutrient Management rules
- Aims to cut nutrient discharge into Lake Rotorua
- Submissions to the plan open today
- Submissions close on Friday, April 15
- A landowner's advice line has been set up, call (07) 921 3377

- Rotorua Daily Post

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