Comment: The Southland Water and Land Plan adversely targets farmers, writes Federated Farmers Southland senior policy adviser Darryl Sycamore.

You can have whatever you want – as long as you pay for it.

So when you don't pay, what can you expect?

Costs are skyrocketing for Federated Farmers as we prepare for Environment Court Hearings on the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan.

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Tens of thousands of dollars have already been spent on several years of submissions and hearings on this plan.

Southland Federated Farmers has identified 27 aspects of the plan that will adversely affect farming in Southland.

Read more from Federated Farmers here.

What is abundantly clear is farming in Southland will change as a consequence of the new plan.

While we note there is a need for change in environmental regulations to improve water quality in some local catchments, any work has to be done in a way that brings everyone along so changes can be meaningful and the community doesn't feel disempowered by the process.

Community is a great word. It generally means everyone. Not just one group.

However, the emphasis of the proposed plan adversely targets farmers.

The burden of the proposed plan falls disproportionately on farmers and adopts an overly heavy-handed approach, with little regard for good management practice.

Whether you are a farmer or a business-owner who relies on the rural dollar, we consider the plan, in its present form, will make primary production in many areas uneconomic.

So if you can't make money, why would you stick around?

The plan as it stands will hurt local business, especially the Southland retail sector, making it challenging for communities to thrive.

Pursuing the appeal to the Environment Court is now our only option to strike a balance and protect everyone's future.