One Plan raises concerns for minister
Work done to estimate the cost to farmers of the One Plan was "woeful", says the primary industries minister.
David Carter was asked in Parliament about the document Federated Farmers has labelled "Farmergeddon" because of the impact the One Plan would have on farmers' incomes.
Mr Carter said section 32 of the Resource Management Act (RMA) required "adequate cost-benefit analysis of a proposed plan".
He said he had seen the section 32 analysis for the One Plan and "in my opinion it is a woeful analysis".
The One Plan is a new regional plan to guide the management of natural resources in the region of the Horizon Regional Council, and attempts to provide an environmental roadmap, directing how the region's resources are managed for the next 10 years.
It is subject to an appeal in the High Court after the Environment Court released its decision on the document earlier this year.
The Environment Court had heard farm costs would increase by between 5 and 16.6 per cent a year as a result of the plan. But details of a preliminary report by Landcare Research into the One Plan said farmers could find the true cost to be between 22 and 43 per cent.
Horizons chairman Bruce Gordon said he had asked for a copy of the Landcare report. He said he stood by the information provided to the Environment Court.
"The section 32 analysis at the beginning [of the resource consent process] was pretty minimal," he said. "But then through the process further information was gathered."
The Environment Court had requested "a lot" of information about the costs of the plan, Cr Gordon said, and this had been provided.
Mr Carter said he was working with Environment Minister Amy Adams on legislation that would strengthen the section 32 requirements in the RMA.
"I think it's a very serious issue if we've got regional plans being developed attempting to protect water but going so far as to cause a dramatic drop in profitability, which is, after all, what New Zealand relies on.
"We must have a productive farming sector.
"Certainly, I am concerned that a plan like the One Plan appears to be so restrictive."