10 May 2012

Lobbying continuing on new Southland dairy conversion rule

9:00 pm on 10 May 2012

Southland Federated Farmers new president says the organisation will continue pushing for changes to a rule that will require all new dairy farm conversions to have a resource consent.

The regional council adopted the transitional land use policy last month, in the face of strong farmer opposition, to counter the environmental effects of new dairy farming on marginal land.

The issue caused a rift in the Southland Federated Farmer executive when the then president Hugh Gardyne, spoke out in favour of the policy.

Mr Gardyne, who had been president for a year, decided not to stand again. He was replaced at Wednesday's AGM, by the dairy sector chair, Russell MacPherson.

Mr MacPherson says federated farmers will continue to give the dairy conversion rule high priority but it thinks it will achieve little environmental benefit.

Meanwhile, Hugh Gardyne had a message for Southland Federated Farmers in his outgoing president's address.

He criticised executive members for not participating in recent regional council meetings where the interim policy on wintering and nutrient management was developed.

Mr Gardyne said federated farmers needs to be in the tent, participating in discussions if it wants to have its voice heard and influence the outcome.

Russell MacPherson says the federation had been engaging with the council through its policy staff - but in future it will seek to deal more with elected council representatives.