10 Nov 2017

Making water the winner

From Country Life, 9:30 pm on 10 November 2017
Southland farmer David Rose

Southland farmer David Rose Photo: RNZ Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

The proposed Water and Land Plan is part of the Environment Southland's Water and Land 2020 & Beyond project to maintain water quality in the region.

Over the last four months, many farmers have been voicing their concerns about the plan at public hearings in Invercargill and Gore.

Natalie McRae and her husband Matt have a 630-hectare sheep and dairy support farm at Mokoreta.

Natalie told the five commissioners her main concerns are around the distance they would be allowed to farm from waterways and about cultivation on sloping ground.

Natalie McCrae at the Water and Land Plan hearings

Natalie McCrae at the Water and Land Plan hearings Photo: RNZ Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

Some of the McRae's sloping paddocks have three waterways and they would lose 20 metres of grazing on each side of them should the plan go ahead.

"That's just a huge amount of land!" she says.

In total there are 35 kilometres of streams and creeks on their farm.

Northope farmer David Rose agrees. "That's lot of land left uncultivated and growing weeds," he says.

Ray McCrostie's submission was in support of the proposed plan. The 63-year-old from Waituna has been farming since he was 15.

"The whole environmental issue is a catalyst perhaps just to think a wee bit beyond short-term profit and gain and just look a bit further out".

In all, Environment Southland received 953 Water and Land Plan submissions.

The commissioners are considering the submissions before a decision version of the Water and Land plan is released in March next year.

David Rose hopes all the submissions are taken into careful consideration before any decisions are made.

"We don't have a guaranteed income, so if you lift our costing or tell us what to do without sound reasoning… then we'll all go out of business and so then where will we all be?" he says.

Ray McCrostie speaks to the commissioners

Ray McCrostie speaks to the commissioners Photo: RNZ Cosmo Kentish-Barnes