There is only so much a policy adviser can do by themselves.
When we stand up and present our submissions to hearing panels we get a real boost when we are joined by our community members, farmers, and people who care about due process.
Bums on seats matter and with that said — farmers please note you are invited to listen to Federated Farmers present its case against the Ngaruroro Water Conservation Order on February 28. We are scheduled to start at 1.30pm.
The hearings will be held in the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre 48 Marine Parade, and are heard by a Special Tribunal appointed by the Government.
Federated Farmers will demonstrate how farmers care for their land with an eye to a sustainable future for the next generation, and that a WCO is unnecessary.
The order's applicants are concerned about land use change being a threat to the water quality, which is one of their reasons for a WCO. However, we will be pointing out change is always occurring, and it's not the threat they think it is.
Water quality of the Ngaruroro is very good, proving farming and water quality can exist side-by-side.
E. coli concentrations are almost all within the "A-band" of the National Objective Framework under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.
As for land use, short term change happens constantly with the seasons. Long term change has been moving away from a monoculture of sheep and towards a diversity of production including beef, grapes, olives, arable and growing.
There is little risk of wholesale conversion to dairy. There isn't enough natural rainfall for the kind of grass growth cows need and irrigation is limited by terrain.
The irrigation we do have is mainly for lamb grazing over summer, and for crops like maize or vegetables.
We already have rules and regulations for water quality in the Hawke's Bay, so it's not like the Ngaruroro is unprotected.
These rules are even being reviewed at this very moment under the TANK project for the Tūtaekurī, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro and Karamū rivers.
Rhea Dasent is a Federated Farmers Senior Policy Adviser