Tough stand on riverside planting

Tough new rules encouraging farmers to get into riverside planting have been signalled - but they won't be introduced until the middle of 2020.

The Taranaki Regional Council is considering making farmers who have not completed their riparian planting or made good progress by July 2020 get a land use consent to keep farming.

Those consents could cost between $800 and $1000.

Agriculture was the greatest human-induced pressure on the quality of Taranaki's freshwater, Council planning manager Chris Spurdle told the policy and planning committee yesterday.

A report to the committee suggested options to reduce the pressure such as nutrient caps, nutrient trading scheme, or new rules added to the riparian planting.

Because riparian planting, currently voluntary, is seen as the most effective way to manage farming discharges into waterways, new rules will come into place in 2020.

Farmers would get lots of warning and lots of support before then, Mr Spurdle said.

But some councillors thought 2020 was too far away.

"Won't there be pressure on the council before that?" Peter Horton asked.

But, the draft report won't have gone through the system and be publicly notified until 2014.

Council chairman David MacLeod queried what would happen if a farmer did not do any riparian planting and sold the farm in 2019 or 2020.

The new buyer would have to get a land use consent, chief executive Basil Chamberlain said.

"Let the buyer beware."

About 60 per cent of the stream banks that need to be protected by plants have been planted and 74 per cent of those that need fencing have been completed.

The Taranaki Riparian Management Programme is the largest enhancement planting scheme on privately owned land in New Zealand, involving thousands of kilometres of new fencing and the planting of 2.5 million trees.

Taranaki Daily News