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Farmers: We pay enough

Federated Farmers Wairarapa Provincial President Jamie Falloon. PHOTO/FILE

By Chelsea Boyle

[email protected]

A submission on Carterton’s 2017/2018 Annual Plan by the boss of Federated Farmers in Wairarapa would have been music to the ears of every farmer in Carterton.

In his submission, Jamie Falloon urged council not to impose a general rate contribution on rural ratepayers for the urban sewerage project.

The proposed rates hike would help Carterton District Council fund a large sewerage treatment development, which would begin next year with a goal of preventing treated wastewater from entering waterways.

“There is a strong public sentiment that farmers needed to manage the effluent that originates from their farms to protect water quality, and that the farmer is the one who should pay for this,” Mr Falloon said.

Dairy farmers contributed substantial financial resources to manage the effluent that originated from their farms, he said.

“This cost falls squarely on the individual, with no financial assistance from urban ratepayers.”

The long list of costs was reeled off by Mr Falloon –  installation, maintenance, resource consent fees, council monitoring costs and so on.

“The expectation is that if it’s the farmer’s system, then the farmer pays for it,” he said.

“Farmers do not expect urban ratepayers to contribute to their personal on-farm wastewater systems for the general public’s benefit of sanitation and this should go both ways.”

In particular, Mr Falloon noted a Federated Farmers member had been told by council staff his general rate contribution towards the urban sewerage system would be $536 in the year ahead, a sum that easily surpassed what the farmer was already paying for compliance monitoring ($340) of his own FDE system.

“It is unfair that a farmer may be paying for his own effluent disposal systems, and also having to contribute to the urban sewerage.”

Mr Falloon’s submission recommended the use of a 360-degree irrigator on Daleton farm to improve absorption of wastewater on site.

“We urge the council to ensure that any proposed irrigation is fit for the purpose.”

Carterton District Council officers said this was an “unworkable” option due to the terrain.

Addressing concerns about the rates, officers said if amalgamation of the three Wairarapa councils gets the greenlight a review would happen as part of the Long Term Plan.

If not, it would be appropriate for Carterton District Council to go ahead with a rating policy review during the period of the next Long Term Plan – with a start date in 2018/19.

This review would likely take about 18 months to complete.

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