Farmers encouraged to make submissions on the low slope map for stock exclusion

// Freshwater

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is encouraging farmers to make their own submissions on proposed changes to the low-slope map for stock exclusion.

farmers walking with dogs

The options proposed by the Government include: 

  • Complete removal of the low-slope map and its replacement with a freshwater farm plan. 
  • Keep the low-slope map but have a farming intensity exception; or 
  • Keep the low-slope map – but have a potential alternative pathway through a freshwater farm plan.

While B+LNZ is working with Federated Farmers and Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) to make a submission, CEO Sam McIvor is also encouraging affected farmers to submit directly to the Ministry for the Environment (Mfe).  

We appreciate that farmers are busy, but specific farm-based examples of why the current stock exclusion rules won’t work, and what would need to be done differently to make the rules work on their farms are valuable.

The consultation closes on Sunday 16 July, which is a very short timeframe. Tips on how to make a submission, including a joint industry factsheet that explains the options, are included at the bottom of this page.

Preliminary feedback from farmers on the consultation 

B+LNZ, Federated Farmers and DINZ received 342 responses from farmers to our joint survey that sought feedback on the consultation options.   

We are still working through the details, which will help inform our submission, but there were some common themes.

From our initial analysis we can see that farmers generally accept that there must be some control over stock in waterbodies. 

However, they have major concerns over the current low slope map. These concerns are driven by inaccuracies in the map and, in some circumstances, the impracticality and cost of fencing.

They strongly support changes to the current rules and the alternative approach must be simple and fair.

Respondents were mixed in their views on a preferred option, with nearly half preferring a freshwater farm-based option (35 percent as a complete map replacement, 13 percent as an alternative), a third preferred keeping the low slope map but putting in place a farming intensity exception and the remainder were unsure.  

When considering a farming intensity exception, views on the appropriate number of stock units to be considered low intensity were also varied, with an average median of 8 SU/ha and mean of 9.3 SU/ha.

We are doing more analysis of the feedback, which will feed into our submission, and talking to other industry groups. 

The number of survey responses is really pleasing given the short timeframe, and we would like to thank farmers for taking the time to provide this information. 

Tips for MfE submissions

  • This joint industry factsheet (PDF, 380KB) outlines the proposed options and more detailed initial analysis of each.
  • Access the MfE submission site here.
  • You do not need to fill in every question Under the ‘Provide General Feedback’ link you can add any feedback you like, and also upload documents (i.e. maps/plans/pictures demonstrating your examples).