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Industry Organisations Approve Final Water Report

16 November 2012

NEW ZEALAND - The third and final report produced by the Land and Water Forum, a policy directing collective of organisations, has been welcomed by the farming community. Building on previous forum publications it intends to guide the implementation, structure and objectives of water management policy, writes Michael Priestley, thecattlesite editor.

Working together, 21 organisations have colluded to produce a report to direct land and water use policy. The first report provides an outline for reform, outlining problems with the current system and discussing possible governmental improvements for planning procedure and water management.

The second and third reports propose how forum recommendations might be implemented. Major discussion takes place on the creation of regional management schemes and sets direction about how catchments could be set.

The final report strikes the right balance between using land for production and preservation, said Beef and Lamb New Zealand.

Involved in the forum, Beef and Lamb NZ represented producer interests, striving to develop a profile for farmers as stewards of the landscape.

Ms Bryan, a Farmer Director at the Organisation said, "the process has allowed all of the voices of water users to be heard."

She welcomed the emphasis throughout the process on local people making local decisions, within a national framework.

“Every catchment is unique in its physical, economic and cultural characteristics and is best understood by the people who live in it. Local people determining what water values are most important to them as a community allows for long-term thinking and long-lasting solutions.”

One of the main elements in the recommendations is for communities to adopt a collaborative process in setting water quality limits.

The Federated Farmers welcome the report although are cautious about potential local administrative difficulties the policy could cause.

“We take issue with regional councils rushing to set limits. This fails to inform or involve the community in what will affect jobs and the standard of living there," said Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers water and environment spokesman.

“Any collaborative process must be genuinely informed by what limits mean for individual communities. It is about striking a balance between what is feasible and what is not," added Mr Mackenzie.

Fonterra has welcomed the forum's goal of a “fair efficient and accountable” framework for deciding freshwater objectives.

“The report recommends a much improved framework for the sustainable management of water which also takes into account the need for the productivity and economic growth which is so important to New Zealand’s future,” said Fonterra’s Managing Director, Co-operative Affairs, Todd Muller.

“We support the goals of combined decision making in catchments and continued improvement in water quality through better management practices."

Mr Muller said Fonterra had valued being a member of the Land and Water Forum, which had enabled good working relationships to be established across a very diverse group of stakeholders.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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