27 Nov 2014

Controversial One Plan finally approved

7:48 am on 27 November 2014

The Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council has finally signed off its much debated One Plan after 10 years of consultation and legal battles with farmers and growers.

The ground-breaking plan guides resource management decision-making and replaces six regional plans.

Regional council chairman Bruce Gordon signs the plan.

Regional council chairman Bruce Gordon signs the plan. Photo: SUPPLIED

Since the first consultation began a decade ago, it had been through a lengthy hearing process and survived appeals from Federated Farmers and Horticulture New Zealand in the Environment and High Courts.

Federated Farmers' dairy chair Andrew Hoggard, from Manawatu, said meeting nutrient management targets was going to be challenging for some farmers and believed the plan would need quite a bit of tweaking.

"It doesn't quite gel with the National Policy Statement on Fresh Water, in particular. It's only identified certain catchments as priority catchments that these rules apply in and in terms of the nitrogen, the focus of the plan is around intensive farming, whereas the NPS, I believe it says you must account for all sources of nitrogen.

"So there is the potential in some of these catchments where you can have nitrate limits on intensive farming there, but other activities in that catchment could actually increase the nitrate load in the waterways."

The Horizons One Plan would be operating from 19 December.

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