Waikato Healthy Rivers

Update

9th July 
Please find a copy of our Notice of Appeal for PC1 attached on the right hand side.
We have also updated the frequently asked question to reflect the changes in the Decision Version, and attached the PowerPoint presentation from the recent workshops Federated Farmers has been running. 

The decision on the Proposed Waikato Regional Council Plan Change 1 – Waikato and Waipā River Catchments (PC1) to the Waikato Regional Plan was notified by Waikato Regional Council (WRC) on the 22nd of April.
A copy of this can be found to the right. 
Many aspects of the alternative framework proposed by Federated Farmers were picked up by the hearing panel, such as removing the Nitrogen Reference Point, providing more flexibility for low intensity dry stock farmers, providing pathways for both a standardised permitted Farm Environment Plan (FEP) or a tailored FEP which takes into account off-farm mitigations and sub-catchment differences.


The changes also endorse Federated Farmers’ assessment that nitrogen was not the main water quality issue in the PC1 catchments.

Federated Farmers was the only pan sector organisation at the hearing and we put forward a practical, sensible and affordable framework that worked for all farming sectors - dry stock, arable and dairy - and importantly also the river. We are particularly pleased with the outcome for the dry stock sector we fought hard for.

While Federated Farmers is generally pleased with the decision, which largely reflects Federated Farmers alternative framework, the decisions version of PC1 has made some significant changes to the notified version of PC1 in a way that will likely change how many farming activities are regulated. 

Federated Farmers has put together the answers to some FAQs to help farmers to understand what this decision means for them. 
We have also put together a flow diagram outlining when who needs to apply for consent. 
These can be accessed on the right hand side of the page. 

Appeal to the Environment Court
Any person who made a submission or further submission on PC1 may appeal to the Environment Court in accordance with clause 14 of Schedule 1 of the RMA.
Any appeal must be in the prescribed form and lodged with the Environment Court within 30 working days of notification of the decision. You are also required to serve a copy of your appeal on every person who made a submission on those provisions or matters to which your appeal relates within 5 working days of lodging an appeal.
WRC have applied to the Environment Court for a waiver to extent the appeal period to within 50 working days of notifying its decision. If the waiver is granted, submitters will be notified, and details will be made available on the WRC website.
Federated Farmers agrees that the usual appeal period should be extended but disagrees with the timeframe proposed by WRC and have provided feedback to the Court as to what we consider reasonable in these circumstances.
Our feedback suggested that the appeal period should not begin until Alert Level 2.  Our main concern is that because of the Alert Level 3 and 4 restrictions, there are potential practical difficulties for farmer and grower submitters to obtain access to resources and advice to understand the implications of the decisions version of PC1 for their farm and their options to participate in the Environment Court process.
We will continue to monitor the WRC application and provide updates to you as it progresses.

Next Steps
Federated Farmers will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on the WRC application. In the meantime, we are considering the merits of appealing several aspects relating to the workability and implementation of PC1.
We will also put together a plan to ensure that farmer and grower submitters are able to obtain advice about the implications of the decision and to advise of the Environment Court process.

We encourage farmers to read through our FAQs to understand how PC1 may affect your farm.  If you are unsure if you need to apply for resource consent for a new activity on your farm, our flow chart can guide you through this process.

If you have any questions about the decisions version of PC1 or about the appeal process please phone 0800 327 646 or email admin@fedfarm.org.nz.

Here is the previous information on the PC1 Notified Version and Hearings.