19 May 2014

Irrigation nitrogen limits 'go too far'

6:28 am on 19 May 2014

Dairy New Zealand says the Board of Inquiry's draft decision on the Ruataniwha dam and irrigation proposal would force existing farm production in central Hawke's Bay to be cut by 40 percent.

The site of the proposed Ruataniwha Dam.

The site of the proposed Ruataniwha Dam. Photo: RNZ

In its submission on the draft decision, Dairy NZ argues the board has gone too far in the nitrogen discharge limit it's proposed in the Tukituki River catchment, where an irrigation scheme linked to the dam would operate.

Senior policy advisor Oliver Parsons said the organisation wanted Hawke's Bay Regional Council to set the nitrogen limit by consultation through a district plan change.

"The board's vision was for a sustainable growth with sound environmental limits and that's something that all the primary industries were supporting."

"The problem is the limit that the board's set is going to actually end up with a claw-back on existing farming in central Hawke's Bay - up to 40 percent claw-back."

"We think the best way forward for this would be for the board to direct the council to set a limit through a plan change process that would allow all the evidence to be gone over with a fine tooth-comb and it would allow for full community involvement in the process."

Meanwhile, the Government has agreed to a month's extension to the deadline for the Board of Inquiry to produce its final report on the irrigation project. That's now due by 28 June.