Waituna Farmers United
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The latest:

Interesting times
6jan12: It's peaceful, only a few fishermen about. There's not been a white double-cab Toyota in sight for at least a fortnight despite lake levels dropping daily and the increasing risk of Lake Waituna flipping to "an algal dominated state."

The importance of Ruppia
7dec11: I was distressed to see the Tuesday evening TV3 piece on the Waituna Lagoon. In my opinion, if it wasn't for the longshore drift that keeps closing it off, Waituna would be classed as an estuary - always open to the sea!

Opinions abound...
10nov11: Well it seems everyone has a view on Lake Waituna, even those that have never set foot in the catchment, never fished, hunted ducks or farmed in the area.

Muddying the waters...
18oct11: The cartoon (7th Oct in the Southland Times) relating to dairy rates increase for the benefit of Lake Waituna causes some offence to me ...

Wires crossed at Waituna
16oct11: It would seem the authorities controlling the lagoon have got their wires crossed. The lagoon is going to flip, seagrass is dying and algae growth and sediment are taking over...

ES brings about unity
4oct11: WFU Chairman Ray McCrostie speaks out about the lake, Environment Southland and the Waituna Catchment.

... and what about the weather?

Some of us have lived at Waituna Lagoon all our lives. We have done our best to farm with consideration for our environment. The lake is important to us and yet in recent times we have ALL been labelled as polluters. No-one of any note has stuck that label on us, instead it has been more a matter of implication.

Environment Southland has stated numerous times that it doesn't want to lay the blame at anyone's door but in so doing they have set up farmers in the catchment to carry that blame and be environmental scapegoats.

This was all bad enough and then to cap it off at the Waituna Catchment Group meeting (Sept 5, 2011), ES tried to railroad the farmer representatives present with the announcement of a proposed change of policy which it planned to put before the council on September 28, 2011.

The representatives at the meeting were both shocked and angered that ES was trying to push through new policy (which ES presented only vague detail of) without consultation. ES also stated at the time that some of the new policy, if accepted by council would become effective the following day (Sept 29, 2011).

Waituna farmers were quick to stand up and request that ES consult before bringing in rules.

Since then there's been some too-ing and fro-ing and the odd delay but as far as farmers in the catchment are concerned no constructive consultation.

April 4, 2012:
And then, on April 4 the rest of Southland was introduced to some of the issues that Waituna farmers have faced. On this date ES councillors met and introduced their new Southland-wide dairy conversion rules - which become effective from April 14, 2012.

The debate now continues about consultation, with Federated Farmers claiming that the rules have been brought in without adequate consultation.

ES says the public will have the opportunity to make submissions, followed by a period when submitters can make further comment on other people's submissions.

Earlier Stuff:

September 7: Just two days after the Catchment Group meeting an extraordinary meeting of council was held and later that day Warren Tuckey (Director of Environmental Management) indicated that he had tabled a report: "Waituna Interim Policy Framework Development" at this meeting.
Click here for this report -- pdf
Click here for the minutes of the extraordinary meeting -- pdf

He indicated that councillors resolved to delay consideration of the interim policy framework until 19 October 2011 to enable further consultation.


ES Resoulution - 9 November 2011:

Moved Cr Cockburn, seconded Cr Riddell, that Council:

(1) adopt and release the draft region-wide transitional policy and rule relating to new dairy farms, their associated dairy support grazing and their related activities, subject to the changes/amendments requested by Council today, for consultation with stakeholders, and that a full report on same be provided to the Council meeting scheduled for 14 December 2011.

(2) request staff to seek a legal review of the proposed provisions;

(3) undertake consultation prior to notification and during the submission process on the proposed transitional policy and rule with the primary stakeholders such as DairyNZ, Fonterra, Federated Farmers, Fish & Game New Zealand (Southland Region) and Te Ao Marama Inc, and advise secondary stakeholders such as Southland real estate companies, the main banks, and the main Southland legal firms;

(4) notify the transitional policy and rule to have effect on date of notification on Saturday, 17 December 2011, and close the initial submissions on 31 March 2012.


visitors since mid Sept, 2011

WFU would like to thank all
those who have called, emailed, written and faxed messages
of support and offers of help.