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ECan 'In The Gun' 

The return of a fully elected Environment Canterbury Board will foreshadow some make or break changes over the entire Province that is causing conniptions amongst the farming community who are simply unprepared for the changes necessary to reduce the nitrate run-off that is fouling waterways, and threatening the health of the entire population.

Hopefully, and at last, real enforcement action will be forced on the authority to ensure compliance that has been successfully avoided since the appointment of commissioners by the National Government ten years ago.following sustained pressure from the farming community. This is what both bete-noir identities - artist Sam Mahon, and university lecturer Mike Joy have in common in claiming that far too little, too late characterises to actions of the reposible regional authorities, including ECan. 

What is interesting from our standpoint is highlighted in David Williams excellent article in today’s Newsroom  that points to what in the view of outgoing ECan’s Chair – David Caygill that constitutes what he considers to be its greatest achievement:

"Only last month, ECan notified plan change seven to the regional plan, which includes catchment limits for the Waimakariri and Orari-Temuka-Opihi-Pareora areas. (By notifying the plan before this month’s election, the plan still falls under temporary legislation that restricts appeals to points of law.)

Caygill says several thousand farms are covered by the new, nitrate-limiting rules, maybe as many as 5000. “All dairy farmers, for sure.”

That is a staggering achievement after ten years! But enforcement has always, and will remain the issue – one successful prosecution is noted for the entire Province over the last year.

But for all that, they are still a country mile ahead of progress in this direction here in the Waikato, and there is no sign that with the Election, there will any change in the power balance on our Council that will ensure that nitrate restricting measures will be put in place that will ensure the cleanliness of or our waterways being achieved at any time in the foreseeable future..

It is just too difficult, and points to the necessity for central Government to take control in the manner now proposed, but against which a rear-guard action will be interminably fought by Federated Farmers and the entire cohort who feel threatened by any measures likely to place further demands on their farming practices.

Undoubtedly ECan faces a entirely different and fragile situation with its porous soils and underlying gravel structures, but it is laughable for the South Canterbury Fed Chair Jason Grant to claim that knowledge of the nitrate effects post-dated the mad charge into intensification – an 1980 OECD report on pastoral farming in this country pointed out the potential dangers from nitrate leaching into the waterways. Evidently, nobody took any notice. 




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