23 Jul 2013

Tax breaks for riparian plantings

10:02 am on 23 July 2013

Regional councils are welcoming tax breaks designed to encourage farmers to plant alongside their waterways to protect water quality.

The change announced earlier this month by Conservation Minister Nick Smith means riparian plantings carried out by farmers become tax deductible as an operational expense instead of being classified as capital spending.

The Government says the new measure will encourage farmers to plant trees and shrubs in riparian strips to reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients entering waterways.

Taranaki and Waikato regional councils say the new tax rules will complement the help they have been giving farmers.

Taranaki council was the first to start a riparian planting scheme about 15 years ago and will this year provide 500,000 plants to farmers at cost.

That adds up to about three million plants since the scheme started, and 96% of Taranaki dairy farmers now have a riparian planting plan.

Waikato Council has taken a different approach. It provides grants of up to 35% of the cost of fencing off waterways and riparian plantings on farms in priority catchments. It says the new tax rules are a welcome addition to its efforts to protect water quality.