13 Feb 2012

Farmer says Waikato water rules attack on agriculture

6:57 am on 13 February 2012

A Waikato dairy farmer affected by new water allocation rules says they are an attack on agriculture.

The regional council is contacting more than 3000 dairy farmers who need resource consents under the variation six amendment to the regional plan, which was given the nod late last year after 37 appeals to the Environment Court.

The variation allows dairy farms to take 15 cubic metres of water a day for use in the dairy shed, anything above that will require a resource consent.

Martin Bennett, who farms in Putaruru, says he estimates that would affect farmers who milk more than 215 cows.

He milks 385 cows and is in the process of renewing his current consent to include the new rule - a process he says is lengthy and costly.

Mr Bennett says it will cost thousands of dollars to achieve those consents depending on the type of consent and the source of the water.

He says variation six is an adversarial process which is costly and very difficult to work through.

Mr Bennett says from a farming point of view, variation six is an attack on agricultural.

He says the council needs to understand efficiency around production and that farmers have productivity targets to meet.

Some 3500 dairy farmers in the region must have those consents by 2015.