Farmers out in force for environment meeting

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The rural community turned out in force to a Ministry for the Environment meeting in Ashburton yesterday to hear discussion on the Governments’s Essential Freshwater proposal and to voice their concerns.

Around 350 people turned up to the Hotel Ashburton to hear government representatives – Ministry for the Environment’s Martin Workman and Amanda Moran, with Ministry For Primary Industries Charlotte Denny – outline the plan to improve water quality nationwide and how to protect productive land.

It was a chance for the rural community to have their voices heard on the discussion document, which is out for consultation, and to encourage them to put in a submission on the document via the Ministry for the Environment website.

The Ashburton meeting was the first, of a series, of primary sector meetings nationwide.

There are also public consultation meetings under way but no others planned for Ashburton.

However, there is a meeting in Timaru on September 19.

Those attending, who included farmers and industry representatives, and many from out of the district, did not hold back voicing their concerns.

Questions included the accuracy of the science being used, how the one percent dissolved inorganic nitrogen level was unrealistic, how the regulation would tie in with the myriad of other regulations already in place, whether economic modelling had been done and consideration on the effects of any regulation on people, future generations and their communities like Ashburton.

Immediately after this meeting, at the same venue, Beef+LambNZ, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers took the opportunity to host a meeting for farmers about the issue.