Environment Southland notified a new Water and Land Plan in 2016 which replaces existing plans for water and effluent management. The proposed Water and Land Plan includes measures to halt the decline of Southland's water quality, including rules for on-farm management practices, as part of achieving goals for the region's water. It includes rules for wintering, cultivation and implementation of Farm Environmental Management Plans.
The notified plan reflects the feedback from farmers and the community that Environment Southland sought on their draft plan proposals late last year. Find the full notified plan and supporting documents here.
DairyNZ undertook an assessment of the notified plan, consulted with local farmers and lodged a submission with Environment Southland in August 2016. Read DairyNZ's submission here.
DairyNZ also recently lodged evidence in preparation for the hearing. DairyNZ’s statements of evidence can be found here.
Council has now considered all submissions and evidence and the hearing process is underway. Hearings provide people who submitted on the proposed plan, and who indicated that they wished to be heard, the opportunity to present their evidence to a panel of commissioners and councillors.
The final decision on the proposed plan is scheduled for late 2017.
Ongoing support for farmers
DairyNZ have run sessions to assist farmers prepare for the hearing. Some useful tips are also below:
About the hearing process
- There are five commissioners on the panel, three Environment Southland Councillors and two independent commissioners.
- Your original submission will already have been read by the panel.
- Prepare your evidence statement carefully, stating your name and outlining your farm business and the key points of your submission you wish to address
- Be factual not emotive about the subject, but also tell your story – how the issue you oppose or support will affect your business and community
- Practice your statement at home and if possible go to a hearing beforehand
- It is a public forum but only the panel can ask you questions
- Try to anticipate what questions the panel may ask and prepare your answers.
- Relax, it is a formal process but not a cross examination. The panel want to hear from you.
- If you are asked a question you cannot answer, tell the panel you will respond in writing within the next 1 – 2 days.
DairyNZ has also been working to carry out related research and develop resources on farmers’ behalf. This work includes:
- Evaluating the social and economic implications of different farm environmental mitigation options. Find the document here.
- Assessing the state of Southland's estuaries, rivers and lakes. Find water quality quick facts here.
- Defining good wintering practices in Southland. Download our Wintering on Crops in the South Island brochure further down this page.
The limit setting process is also part of the Council's Water and Land 2020 & Beyond project and is scheduled to start shortly.
Setting limits for water quality and quantity is one of the requirements for all regional councils under the Government's National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. Limits include restricting the amount of contaminants that can be discharged into waterways and how much water can be extracted.
Catchment limits might require changes to current farming practices.
We will continue to work with farmers, Environment Southland, dairy supply companies, Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, to ensure the catchment limit setting process is based on robust science and farmer input.
The limit setting process is due to be completed by 2021 and will be undertaken catchment by catchment. View timelines here.
Resources for order and download
Wintering on crops in the South Island
A land management guide to good environmental practice.
Your step-by-step guide for successful riparian planting in Southland.
Good management practices
A guide to good environmental management on dairy farms.