Horizons 'friend' of water accord

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 27/02/2013

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Horizons Regional Council has befriended the dairy industry, voting yesterday to become a party to the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord.

Replacing and improving on the former Dairying and Clean Stream Accord, the new partnership has been developed by the Dairy Industry Environment Leadership Group involving all dairy companies and their suppliers, not just Fonterra.

It has a group of supporting partners, and regional councils, iwi groups and other government agencies have been invited to join as "friends", to support and collaborate on efforts to reduce the effects of dairying on fresh water.

"The focus is on good management processes on the farm, and helping farmers to achieve that," Horizons strategy and regulation group manager Nic Peet said.

It covers issues such as nutrient management, water efficiency and provisions for dairy companies.

Cr Michael Plowman voted against becoming the friend of an initiative that was going to "screw the cocky over".

But Cr Paul Rieger said he saw a pronounced change of culture in favour of dairying in a way that protected the environment.

"No-one in that group will want to be seen dragging the chain. We just have to be sure we are not going to be sending people broke in the process."

Horizons chairman Bruce Gordon said the new accord was a significant improvement on the previous agreement.

"By including all dairy companies it levels the playing field. It is also broader in its approach and clearer in some of its commitments."

Cr Gordon did not believe the accord would detract from the regional council's own policy provisions.

"Supporting the accord gives Horizons the opportunity to work collaboratively with the dairy industry and other stakeholders which is entirely consistent with our approach to implementing the provisions of the One Plan."

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- Manawatu Standard

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