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Climate submissions run hot

One submitter on MDC’s climate action plan advocated converting more farmland to forestry blocks. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

There was no shortage of opinions on Masterton District Council’s [MDC] climate action plan, with 23 people presenting to the council last week.

Eighty-seven written submissions were received with ideas ranging from making water storage tanks mandatory for new builds to not doing anything at all.

The climate action plan outlined 118 actions the district should take to mitigate the impact of climate change and included MDC installing solar or wind energy generation infrastructure on council-owned buildings, supporting residents to convert to energy-efficient products, and promoting alternative energy development in the region.

Recommendations also discussed were coastal erosion mitigation, promoting home composting, and regenerative agriculture.

Among the submitters last week was Thomas Murphy, who said it appeared the council had not done any cost-benefit analysis on the proposed activity.

He said about 80 per cent of Wairarapa’s emissions were from the agriculture industry, and yet there was little mention of remediation in the plan.

“The proposed plan seems to dance around agriculture and doesn’t really propose talking about it or doing anything about it,” he said.

“It really does seem to be a bit of a cup game where we talk about everything and everyone gets a participation trophy, but we won’t actually talk about making any meaningful change.”

He suggested more sheep and beef farmers move to forestry and that farmers avoid over-fertilisation of land.

On the other side of the coin, sheep and beef farmer Rico Fairbrother and his school-aged son Luke spoke about the importance of the agricultural sector.

“Masterton is a service town, and its prosperity relies on a thriving primary sector,” Rico said.

“Council should be doing everything to help the sector, not hinder it.”

He said he and his son were fifth- and sixth-generation sheep and beef farmers in the Blairlogie area.

“Our property and many others in the district are carbon positive,” he said.

Luke said, over many years, his family had planted thousands of trees for erosion control, stock shelter, and to enhance biodiversity on the farm.

His grandfather had also established a 6-hectare QEII trust area on the property to protect native bush for future generations.

“Help farms become carbon neutral,” the Fairbrothers requested of the council.

Masterton councillors would deliberate on the 87 submissions on August 24 and were set to adopt the plan on September 14.– NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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