The Taranaki Regional Council’s current Fresh Water and Soil Plans are being merged into a Regional Freshwater and Land Management Plan for Taranaki.
A Proposed Freshwater and Land Management Plan will go out for public consultation as soon as reasonably possible.
The Council has already conducted informal, targeted consultation on a Draft Plan, drawing valuable feedback that has highlighted a number of issues where further detailed work and consultation is needed. These issues will potentially have a significant impact on the shaping of the Proposed Plan. They include the setting of limits; inclusion of cultural values; and protection of biodiversity and wetlands.
In addition, the Government is proceeding with major reforms of the Resource Management Act. These create uncertainty and have the potential to have a major impact on the new Plan.
Changes are happening now
On a number of important issues relating to freshwater management, the Council has already clearly signalled its direction of travel. Changes are already taking place:
- Farm dairy effluent treatment and disposal: There is a marked swing towards land-based treatment and disposal of dairy effluent, and away from the discharge of treated effluent into waterways. Land-based systems are regarded as best practice and farmers renewing their effluent consents are already, in most cases, required to move towards such a system. This is the Council’s policy. There is also strong industry support for land-based systems.
- Riparian fencing and planting: The Council’s Riparian Management Programme is being implemented in a substantial way. The Council is confident that this project will be largely completed by the end of the decade. The project aligns with industry requirements, and with the Government’s proposed legislation.
- Protection and enhancement of native biodiversity: The Council has increased the resourcing for its Biodiversity Strategy. It works closely with landowners in successful protection and enhancement programmes targeting key native ecosystems. Working alongside landowners is the key to success.