News and Views

Water Conservation Orders should be abolished

Federated Farmers is calling for Water Conservation Orders (WCO) to be abolished because they are no longer relevant and a relic of the past.

Under the Resource Management Act (RMA), the Orders are limited and do not acknowledge farming, horticulture, beverages, manufacturing, and access for human and livestock drinking.

The Federation says the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management has superseded the Orders and made the legislation no longer fitting for future challenges around water conservation.

“Federated Farmers is committed to cleaning up the nation’s waterways and our National President Katie Milne made that pledge recently at the River Ngaruroro,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay President.

“WCOs are proving to be barrier and not a solution to addressing water quality issues. We have a situation here in Hawke’s Bay where our consultative process TANK- has been high-jacked by several stakeholders, who if they succeed, will shift future decision making away from the community to central government in Wellington.

Five local based organisations have filed applications for a WCO for the Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers. This in spite of Hawke’s Bay Regional Council voting unanimously to oppose it.

“It’s upset a lot of people in the community, let alone the stakeholder group and is undermining the good work to date we’ve achieved, after five years of voluntary efforts.

Will believes the application for a WCO is out of sync with the majority of the Hawke’s Bay community. The TANK had been widely acknowledged as a more effective process as it recognised both environmental and economic values.

“It’s incredibly disappointing that some members of the stakeholder collaborative group can be sitting at the table alongside their peers, yet simultaneously preparing an alternative. It’s another example of certain organisations rejecting the collaborative process.

“This is another regressive step for the province in general. Some stakeholders will be questioning the value of this consultative process and that is a sad outcome after all the goodwill the TANK had built.

” We urge the applicants to withdraw the WCO and address their issues through the TANK process instead,” says Will.

Source: Federated Farmers 

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