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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Masterton

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It looked a lot like Groundhog Day

Merriam-Webster Dictionary refers to Groundhog Day as a situation in which the same usually negative or monotonous experiences occur repeatedly with no change or correction.

Therefore, it was with extreme disappointment that many of the lessons of the One Plan appeared unlearnt as Horizons trotted out their Oranga Wai Our Freshwater Future water quality roadshow in Woodville last month.

About 100 people attended the roadshow and it was well attended by farmers taking time out of their busy day.

After all, meeting can be hard for anyone to attend, let alone if the sun is shining. However, when new targets were the subject, we all wanted to know how these new aspirations were going to affect the Tararua District.a 10.30am

The Freshwater targets set by the last Government has minimum bottom lines and stricter aspirational targets have been set by Horizons based on feedback from surveys held on their social media pages and at the Central District Field Days earlier in the year.

They asked people if they wanted to swim in the river or have drinkable water, and how we might support fish life.

According to our presenters on the day, these new targets are iterative and may change based on new information.

However, the targets in their current form are going to be tough to meet for our ratepayers, whether farmers, commercial landowners, or residential landowners.

Missing from the information is whether society can meet these targets, as to date there is no economic or social analysis, and the contribution of stormwater quality has not been factored in yet.

Everybody wants better water quality but what would you say if the cost was $5,000 or $10,000 per household, per year?

New information can change the context of the question and I believe this is what makes the difference between good and bad decision-making, on the part of those filling out surveys based on leading questions or more importantly, on the part of our decision-makers who do not have enough information to take new targets to the community without much-needed outcomes analysis.

Should these new targets create a need to reduce livestock, and perhaps replace these with trees, the impact to the district’s economy based on regular cashflow will be felt in our commercial areas, which have a flow-on effect on to jobs, whether meat processors, truck drivers or teachers.

In Tararua, 57 per cent of our land is farmed in sheep and beef, and our economy relies heavily on agriculture.

The cumulative pressures on our communities, including those dealing with the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, are at an all-time high.

People need to understand how these decisions are made, and where the information has come from, and to be part of a shared journey and planned pathway.

The timing of these regulations has created another layer of uncertainty and having been through the challenging implementation of the One Plan, it doesn’t appear that many lessons have been learnt.

Horizons is asking for feedback on their new targets at http://freshwater.horizons.govt.nz/have-your-say, and great to see that they have extended the submission period to close on 28th February.

I did not aim to be the Christmas Grinch with this column, so I wish all our residents and their wider families a wonderful, restful Christmas and stay safe over the holiday period.

1 COMMENT

  1. Groundhog day was created by the past government to create uncertainty because of all the regulations they put in to the debate. Sorry but this uncertainty is what creates socialism and the past government done a great job of creating it. What made this country 🤔 agriculture we were an exporting country 🤔? Know forestry solar power 🔋 wind turbines and electric vehicles? What are we going to live on Imported food 🤔. Stop being a greens and socialism plus nanny state.

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