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Thursday, March 2, 2017
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WITH family running sheep, beef, deer farms
and production forestry throughout the King
Country, Waipa and Taupo, retired farmer John
Oliver of Otorohanga is passionate about how
New Zealanders care for the land.
He and fellow Waikato Regional Council
Waipa Catchment Committee member and
former sheep and beef farmer Neil Barnett
(Ohaupo) are urging landowners to get involved
with Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Waikato
Regional Plan Change 1, for the benefit of future
“We must look after our rivers, water is
vital,” says Mr Oliver.
“I do think a lot of our land
is too heavily stocked and, in
some areas, we’re pushing
our fertile soils too hard.”
He says he agrees with
the principles of Healthy
Rivers, but feels aspects of
the proposed plan are un-
balanced and too restrictive.
“Fencing off waterways –
dairy has been working on this for
many years – a lot of hill country farmers
will find this very difficult.”
He also believes the nitrogen reference point
requirements will not allow landowners to have
change in land use, unless they can obtain a
“ The farmer reaching retirement age who may
have backed off their operation somewhat will be
penalised as any future generation coming along
who have the capacity to increase the operation
again, won’t be able to.
“I think it’s a very unbalanced way of doing it.”
Mr Oliver says all farmers need to make a
submission on the proposed plan.
“ The Collaborative Stakeholders Group made
up of sector appointed representatives spent two
and a half years developing this.
“ They have set the bar high. But it’s better to
set the bar high and be able to move from that,
than set it low and go nowhere,” he says.
“Put your submission in but don’t just say you
“If you disagree, say so, but also offer what the
Mr Barnett says: “I’m a keen fisherman. I enjoy
our rivers and our waterways and I want the next
generation, my grandchildren to do the
same as I have done.”
His father was one of the
first to use Tiger Moths in
New Zealand for applying
phosphate to land in the
“My father was a
pioneer of phosphate
in New Zealand on hill
country and here I am
now trying to work with
landowners through the
Waipa Catchment Commit-
tee to control things like phos-
phate application for the benefit of
HAVE YOUR SAY
He says if farmers do not like the proposed
changes they need to get on and make a submis-
sion to the regional council.
“Depending on what happens in the next few
months, this may be their last opportunity to
modify the changes that have been put forward.
‘It is important that people are aware of what is
going on in the region and have their say.
“All submissions will count, and be considered,
there is no such thing as a bad submission.”
Mr Barnett says farmers can contact their
industry for sector groups if they need assistance
with the submission process.
have your say
may be their
to modify the
Beef + Lamb, DairyNZ, Federated Farmers or
the regional council can help, along with groups
like Farmers for Positive Change and King Coun-
try River Care.
“Fresh water is our most important resource
for the future,” he says.
“We all want healthy rivers, and profitable,
sustainable farms with strong communities.”
Submissions close at 5pm, Wednesday (March
To make a submission, visit the website – wai-
WAIKATO Regional Council Waipa Catchment Committee members John Oliver (left) of
Otorohanga and Neil Barnett (Ohaupo) are urging farmers to make a submission on the Healthy
Rivers/Wai Ora Proposed Waikato Regional Plan Change 1 . . . as it may be the last chance to
modify what has been recommended. PHOTO WAIKATO REGIONAL COUNCIL
CALL TO EXTEND DEADLINE – P3
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