Facing water quality issues has been quite a contentious process, writes Federated Farmers Regional Senior Policy Advisor Debbie Bidlake.

The Wairoa District Council has been strangely quiet, but the Hawke's Bay Regional Council has more than made up for this.

The regional council expects to consult on the draft Outstanding Waterbodies Plan Change later this year.

It has been quite a contentious process.

Advertisement

It has also recommenced stakeholder meetings on the fresh water management plan, the Mohaka Plan Change, although, it is likely to be another 18 months before we will see a draft.

The regional council will not begin developing freshwater plans for the northern catchments until 2021; however, in the meantime they will be working with you to create catchment management plans.

Read more from Federated Farmers here.

These plans are basically non-regulatory and collaborative ways of addressing water quality issues.

We understand the regional council has secured significant funding to address erosion control in Wairoa.

Federated Farmers Regional Senior Policy Advisor Debbie Bidlake. Photo / Supplied
Federated Farmers Regional Senior Policy Advisor Debbie Bidlake. Photo / Supplied

If you have erosion prone areas on your farm, now might be a good time to get help addressing those issues from the regional council.

While frontline staff at the council seem to focus on afforestation to protect water quality, the same cannot be said of the regional council's strategic policy, including the Kahutia Accord.

The later promotes afforestation for climate change mitigation.

Advertisement

Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay executive member and Wairoa representative Sefton Alexander and other local Federated Farmers members have rightly pointed out the negative social and economic impacts of large-scale conversion from farming to forestry.

Healthy rural communities are the lifeblood of New Zealand, and the ongoing employment provided by sheep and beef farming cannot be taken for granted.

Federated Farmers has raised these issues at a regional and national level, most recently in our submission on the Zero Carbon Bill.

We know there is more work to be done on this issue.