Topics:
Environment

Government seeks farmer feedback on low-slope map inaccuracies

The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) is seeking farmer feedback on the anomalies identified in the low-slope map which is at the heart of stock exclusion regulations, particularly relating to sheep and beef farms.
Thursday, 5 November 2020

The map has incorrectly identified large areas of steep land as being low slope and this has significant implications for the management of rolling and hill country. This type of country was not originally intended to be captured by the stock exclusion regulations.

The Ministry is looking to farmers to help to build a picture of the scale of the mapping inaccuracy to help them identify what the potential solutions may be. This includes asking farmers to fill in a form stating their location so they can get a sense of the scale of the issues in different parts of the country.

B+LNZ’s Environment Strategy Manager Corina Jordan encourages farmers to fill in the form, saying it’s relatively straightforward and provides useful prompts to ensure all information is included. There is also the option of emailing MfE directly to express concerns about the map and its functionality.

“The key piece of information farmers need to provide is their address. They also need to provide supporting information to give MfE an in-depth understanding of where the issues are and the scope and scale of the inaccuracies.”

She says B+LNZ is strongly encouraging affected farmers to engage in this process as this will help the organisation advocate the government, on behalf of farmers, to find sensible solutions quickly to the issues identified.

“We continue to work closely with the government to find a way forward on regulations that are impractical to implement on-farm and don’t have the positive environmental outcomes we are all seeking.”

While B+LNZ acknowledges the basic principle of the rule and agrees that more intensively farmed stock on low slope land should be fenced off from rivers or streams over one metre wide, extensively grazed land, including land above 10 degrees, should not require stock exclusion by fencing.

“Given the scale of the inaccuracies, B+LNZ would prefer the map was replaced with a general rule that Regional Councils would be empowered to give effect to. This could be through either a 10 degree slope-trigger based at the paddock scale or by undertaking their own regional mapping.”

If farmers want to email MfE directly, they should include the following:

  •  their address,
  • the issues they have with the area identified on the low slope map, and
  • stock grazed on this land.

They could also include information about the length of fenced streams, but this is optional.

The feedback form is available on the Ministry for the Environment website.

Or the email address for the Ministry for the Environment is freshwater@mfe.govt.nz