13 Oct 2011

Small-blockholders get the word on water quality

10:30 am on 13 October 2011

About 70 small-blockholders in the Lake Taupo catchment turned out this week to hear how they might be affected by new restrictions on livestock farming.

Under a rule change to the Waikato regional plan known as variation five, livestock farmers in the Taupo area need to apply for a resource consent to continue those operations if they decide to farm above permitted stocking rates.

The aim is to protect the quality of Lake Taupo's water by capping and reducing the amount of nitrogen getting into the lake from pastoral farming.

Some of the 1000 or so small-holdings in the catchment will also need to go through the consents process if they're running livestock.

The regional council's on-farm programme manager, Natasha Hayward, says this week's meeting was to start helping people through the process, and she hopes it was able to address some of the concerns they have.

Ms Hayward says although people expressed concern at the start of the meeting, she's confident they went away with the view that the council is wanting to be as pragmatic as possible in terms of implementing the rules.

She says the council is trying to develop a straightforward, streamlined consent process that keep costs to an appropriate level.

Ms Hayward expects only a small number of landowners with blocks 20 hectares or smaller will need to apply for consents.