Good Farming Practice: Action Plan for Water Quality

For the Federated Farmers breakdown of the 2019 Essential Freshwater Package information, click here

The agricultural and horticultural sectors are committed to swimmable rivers and improving the ecological health of our waterways.

Industry bodies along with regional councils and central government have developed the Good Farming Practice: Action Plan for Water Quality 2018.

The Action Plan’s purpose is to accelerate the uptake of good farming practices for improving water quality, to measure and demonstrate this uptake, to assess the impact and benefit of those farming practices, and to communicate progress to the wider public.

You can find the Action Plan, a one page summary of the principles and plan, background information and practical examples opposite.

Practical examples of good practice and farm environment planning

Barrhill farmer Malcolm Cairns says the Farm Environment Plan (FEP) process provides farmers with practical tools to improve both environmental and economic outcomes

Cutting edge technology key to good management practice

Eyreton farmer Darryl Brown is discovering positive environmental and economic benefits from Farm Environment planning

Horticulture NZ video

Bill Garland, Roto-o-Rangi Farmer - Farm planning

Jon Hayward, Puahue Farmer - Managing and retiring bogs and swampy areas

Federated Farmers policy on water

Water is the lifeblood of farming and food production. Water is also central to the interests and concerns of other sector groups; and tensions around water quantity and quality issues have been difficult in many regions. Too often stalling productivity in litigious proceedings ill-designed to deliver optimal outcomes. Federated Farmers supports more collaborative ways of working together at national, regional and catchment levels; and strongly advocates for investment in infrastructure and innovation to deliver win-win outcomes. Federated Farmers acknowledge that farming has an impact on the environment but it is also part of the solution. It is working closely with primary sector organisations to support the development and uptake of initiatives to improve the efficiency of resource use and to minimise run-off and leaching from farmland. Over the last decade, significant progress has been made across all farming sectors: in addition to major investments in research and extension activities, a number of sectors have implemented audited self-management systems.

Federated Farmers emphasises that industry leadership, rather than regulation by arbitrary numbers, will deliver water-efficient and nutrient-efficient farming systems that enhance ecological and recreational values.

Federated Farmers supports national guidelines for safeguarding indigenous species and for secondary contact recreation; with bottom lines or exceptions applied equally to urban and rural waterways.

When it comes to the Overseer model and managing nutrients for water quality, Federated Farmers views that enhancement of the model is required so that measurements become more stable and reliable over time. In the short-term, there are significant limitations that need to be catered for in any allocation or regulatory regime. Other measures may need to be included to ensure innovation is incentivised and that the focus remains on good practice rather than numbers. If modelled estimates in Overseer change then appropriate transition periods should be provided for. As a policy position, Federated Farmers rejects resource taxes, such as a water tax, on farming. Resource taxes are at best very poorly targeted and applied, and at worst grossly inequitable and ineffective.

Whats been happening

Freshwater Farm Plans Review 05 Mar 2024

Posted on 5/03/2024
Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Federated Farmers) support the Government’s stated intention to replace the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (NPS-FM).

David Parker’s unworkable freshwater rules must go

Posted on 15/11/2023
If the incoming Government are looking for ways to restore farmer confidence quickly, then repealing David Parker’s unworkable freshwater reforms must be at the very top of the priority list.

Submission on the Water Services Entities Amendment Bill

Posted on 6/07/2023
Federated Farmers of New Zealand appreciates the opportunity to submit to the Government Administration Select Committee on the Water Services Entities Amendment Bill.