Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Dirty dairy corrupts our democracy

The planning process under the RMA is meant to be one of public consultation: the council prepares a plan, and we all get to have a say on it. But it turns out that in Otago, the dirty dairying industry has been trying to rewrite the new land and water plan before the public even gets to look at it [paywalled]:

DairyNZ is lobbying the Otago Regional Council to alter its upcoming environmental rules to be more friendly to farmers.

The council’s land and water plan will be notified in June [2024 - I/S], but before then, it is working with DairyNZ and other interest groups on proposed good management practices (GMPs) for farming.


DairyNZ correspondence, released to the Otago Daily Times under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, showed the industry body has already expressed concern about many of the proposed measures and wants several changes before they go out for public comment.

It also pushed back against any suggested implementation of region-wide regulations above that of GMPs, because of the nature of the activities and the sometimes-high cost to farmers associated with them.

Like most lobbying, this is simply a corruption of the democratic process in favour of rich and powerful established interests. And its not something we should put up with. Dirty farmers will have a chance to make their case during the regular submissions process. Before then, they should stay out of it, rather than trying to tilt the rules in their favour and cut the public out.