Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) strongly endorses the recommendations contained in advice to Ministers about the implementation of the intensive winter grazing rules, saying the review offers practical alternatives to arbitrary rules and is an example of a truly collaborative and effective cross-sector approach.
B+LNZ chairman Andrew Morrison says the Environment Southland-led process has been a highly effective way of addressing major concerns with the new rules.
“We thank Ministers Parker and O’Connor for agreeing to consider recommendations, and the way the process has been run. There was genuine collaboration across the regional council, sector groups, farmers and Fish & Game. Throughout the process the group maintained a strong focus on workable ways to achieve the desired freshwater health outcomes.
“B+LNZ hopes that Ministers accept the recommendations. We look forward to working together collaboratively on progressing them to a practical endpoint. Farmers need a speedy resolution to these issues so they can get clarity about what’s required and when.”
The review recommends the removal of pugging and replanting date conditions and instead moving to the identification and protection of critical source areas – that is, a swale or gully that accumulates runoff from the surrounding area and channels it to a waterway. This approach is recommended because research shows this best way to address the effects from the activity on freshwater health.
It recommends a change to the slope rule – removing the requirement to determine the mean slope of a paddock and replacing it with a specific maximum slope of 15 degrees. A 15-degree slope trigger is better supported by research.
It also recommends an interim approach to the certified freshwater farm plan, in the form of an Intensive Winter Grazing Module which could be part of a farm plan or ultimately be part of the Certified Freshwater Farm Plan for this activity. This would provide a permitted activity pathway if the farmer is undertaking best practice.
“B+LNZ has consistently argued on behalf of farmers that effects-based approaches, and not arbitrary rules and dates, are the only way we’ll achieve good environmental outcomes. The review process adds weight to our arguments. Farmers are committed to protecting the environment and have done a huge amount of work in this area, and they just want practical rules that reinforce effects-based management, not hinder it,” says Mr Morrison.
For more information about the review, see the advisory group’s media release on the Environment Southland website.
For more information, please contact B+LNZ’s Senior Communications Advisor Katie Jans on 027 838 6353.