8 Nov 2013

Farmers and irrigators happy with proposed water objectives

6:32 am on 8 November 2013

The Government's announced its proposed new way of managing freshwater in the country and farmers and the irrigation industry are happy with the planned changes.

The Government's calling for public feedback on its proposals for a new regime for managing freshwater - which include establishing a national framework and a bottom line for freshwater ecosystems.

Federated Farmers water spokesperson Ian Mackenzie says farmers understand that the world has changed and they have to live within water quality limits.

He says the reforms to the national policy statement will not only show them how this can be done but allow farmers to become a part of wider community discussions on water.

Mr Mackenzie says it's sets a national accounting system for measuring water quality and quantity and some farmers will find it easy to live within the guidelines whilst others will find it difficult.

But he says farmers need to ensure they take part in discussions which will set community aspirations for water bodies within their area.

Mr Mackenzie says farmers will need to make the community aware of the effect on agriculture and the cost to agriculture if they comply.

He says the changes will affect the whole community, not just farming, because some communities will have to pay millions of dollars to upgrade their sewage and water systems to comply with the rules as well.

Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Andrew Curtis says the Government's proposal is a step forward for farmers and irrigators.

He says it provides clarity around the national objectives framework and sets out a clear consistent process in working through values on fresh water from which community based catchment outcomes, objectives and limits can be derived.

Mr Curtis says he thinks New Zealanders should keep in mind that freshwater quality overall is actually very good.