Farmers furious over runoff plan

Last updated 15:15 17/11/2012

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Furious debate is continuing about the impact on farmer' incomes of the Horizons Regional Council's precedent-setting proposed One Plan for controlling farm runoff to waterways.

Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei provincial president Andrew Hoggard today said Horizons' chairman Bruce Gordon was confused when he suggested the impact of the One Plan would be minimal.

Gordon shot back that Hoggard was out of touch.

The long-running controversy over the plan reignited during the week with the release of a Landcare Research report which found policies for managing freshwater could lead to a drop in farm profits of up to 43 per cent in the Manawatu catchment

Gordon reacted to the report by saying none of the scenarios it considered reflected those in the One Plan, but the closest scenario was one that resulted in a fall in profit of one per cent.

A landmark Environment Court decision in September upheld, and even strengthened, the One Plan. Federated Farmers and Horticulture New Zealand have appealed that decision to the High Court.

In a statement today, Hoggard said his concerns about the One Plan's social and economic effects only increased when he read comments from Gordon confusing the outcomes of an earlier version of the plan with what had come out of the Environment Court.

"If the impact was really one per cent, do you think our dander would be so up, now?” Hoggard said.

From Landcare Research’s work, it was clear the council did not provide the Environment Court with a full appreciation of just how deep One Plan cut.

“This work by Landcare Research provides a circuit-breaker for the council and it would be unwise of them to ignore it," he said.

Gordon said he wished Hoggard would turn up to some of the public meetings being held about the One Plan, or would make the effort to visit the Horizons office to have a meeting on the issue.

"He's just not in touch with what's going on," Gordon said.

The Environment Court had found that under the One Plan up to five per cent of a farm's gross income could be affected in a worst case scenario, Gordon said.

The Landcare report was not accurate as it pertained to the One Plan.

Landcare should have based its scenarios on the plan, not on other scenarios.

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- Stuff

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