Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Now we can clean up our river

When Horizons, the local regional council, passed a regional plan imposing nutrient limits, farmers went ballistic. Requiring them to manage how much shit and fertiliser they poured into the local rivers would bankrupt them, and cause the End Of Farming As We Know It (which is the point). But the plan was approved by the Environment Court, and has just been upheld on appeal:

Federated Farmers and Horticulture New Zealand have failed in their bid to stop Horizons Regional Council's One Plan becoming law.

A High Court appeal of the Environment Court approval of the plan, which will set nitrogen leaching limits on farms, has been lost.

Justice Stephen Kos turned down all but one of the farmer bodies' points of law, allowing one minor change to wording in a clause about erosion.

Horizons chairman Bruce Gordon welcomed the decision and said it had gone "pretty much as we expected".

And now that's dealt with, we can finally start cleaning up our river. And the precedent set here will hopefully encourage other Regional Councils to enact similar measures to protect water quality - which is what Federated Farmers is really afraid of.