4 May 2012

Growers worry over accountability for water quality

8:14 pm on 4 May 2012

An Environment Court water quality hearing over the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council's controversial One Plan is raising the ire of the region's horticultural growers.

Horticulture New Zealand was at this week's hearing, which is considering whether growers must apply for resource consents to operate in the future.

A council resource management framework, One Plan, was launched in 2010 to make dairying a regulated activity, in a bid to improve water quality.

The court is considering whether irrigated sheep and beef farming, cropping and the growing of produce should also be consented activities.

Horticulture NZ says the Department of Conservation and the Fish and Game Council are driving the bid to regulate the horticulture industry.

Its natural resources and environment manager, Chris Keenan, says that would be costly and restrictive for the region's 350 growers.

The key topics before the court over the next few months are surface water quality, nitrate leaching and non-point-source discharges.