Disputes Continue over One-Plan Policy30 November 2012
NEW ZEALAND - A Wellington businessman, Gareth Morgan, has criticised farmers for their reaction to One Plan, a region wide plan guiding the management of resources in the Horizons region.
This comes after the reaction of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (FFNZ) to Landcare Research analysis into the possible effects of One Plan farm management guidelines should they take effect. The Landcare report predicted that farm incomes could be lowered by 22-43 per cent by new One Plan restrictions such as a Nutrient cap and a ban on nutrient trading.
Mr Morgan, while talking to rural news channel Country99TV, described the attitude of the farming community to One Plan as 'hillbilly' and 'disappointing', saying that One Plan is a good policy and that Federated Farmers should do more to promote sustainable, environmentally conscious farming.
Gareth Morgan added that there is an 'ignorant rump of farmers' who do not portray agriculture in a good light and that the Federated Farmers of New Zealand have supported them by reacting to the Landcare report as they did. He then eluded to suspicions about FFNZ having links with the Act Party and having political motives.
In response to this, Conor English, Cheif Executive of FFNZ, told Country99TV that the farming community as a whole is passionate and driven about delivering profitbale and sustainable agricultural practices so farming can support wildlife and carry on for generations.
He also added that FFNZ is purely a policy orientated, non-governmental organisation that takes little interest in politics but focuses on policy. He expressed interest in having an honest, transparent debate about the environmental impact of farming and One Plan adding that he thought farmers were being used as an easy excuse.
Mr English told Country99TV that real problems are present in the country's water systems that Federated Farmers acknowledge this. The Manawatu River, he explained, has human sewage channelled into it that is not fully treated in Palmerston North and this needed action. The Tokomairiro river in Otago at Milton has an E.Coli count of 7,700 according to data at the Milton sewage plant.
Mr English urged that these issues could be discussed by relevant organisations and solved.
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