COMMENT:

Farmers for Positive Change welcomes the recent Waikato Regional Council decision on Plan Change 1 for the Waikato and Waipa River Catchments.

F4PC now believes that PC1, as amended, is the first step towards Te Ture Whaimana o Te Awa o Waikato accepting a transitional and equitably fair approach that will be required to meet the aspirational targets.

This heralds a reformed approach to how we can manage our productive natural resources in a manner that is respectful to everyone in our communities, acknowledging that one-sized rules are inappropriate.

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Outcomes must be tailored to local and specific issues. Everyone has a responsibility to reduce their environmental footprint, where those with the highest emissions needing to do the most without seeking offset so minimising cumulative externalities.

Considering this decision, F4PC now urge the Government to follow in a similar direction with the Essential Freshwater Action Package so there is no need to cut across each other for the same desired outcomes.

F4PC was formed by farmers soon after the original PC1 was notified who had observed the injustices created by the stakeholder group empowered with formulating the plan which led to a suite of rules like grandparenting nitrogen loss, farm plans needing the approval of certified advisers and more.

F4PC has found the plan change process to be a challenging and often confrontational journey in order to turn around the original version of PC1.

As F4PC name suggests, the chosen advocacy route to resolve issues of concern was achieved by embracing a can-do attitude with positive engagement with the search for workable solutions that offered pragmatic reasonableness yet still securing the desired outcomes for water quality.

F4PC would like to thank all the people who presented submissions letting it be known there had to be a better more equitable way forward. This created a powerful voice that was loud and clear on the message.

The Waikato Regional Council decision to amend Plan Change 1 for the Waikato and Waipa River catchments has been welcomed by farmer groups.
The Waikato Regional Council decision to amend Plan Change 1 for the Waikato and Waipa River catchments has been welcomed by farmer groups.

There remains some further detail to examine in relation to specific rules to work through, however on a positive note, there is now a workable framework within the amended PC1 that can be applied to nurture and manage our region's waterways for everyone to enjoy without undesirable and unnecessary disruption to farm businesses and rural communities.

F4PC is now working on the establishment of community catchment groups to facilitate the needed work to get ahead. F4PC will continue advocating for everyone to have fair and equitable opportunity, like for like, without being stood over and ignored so our journey is not yet over.

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■ Katikati farmer Rick Burke is chairman of Farmers for Positive Change.