Hello readers. Sorry to miss last months post. The farm comes first and I was hard out shearing the ewes. yes I do all my own shearing, approx. 8500 thousand a yr. The ewes were quite tight this yr, meaning though going. my brother drives stock trucks and he was saying that it is a issue all over, with the ewes being lighter than normal, and all stock behind in live weight. it has been a difficult spring, very wet and the air temp below normal. Sign of the times really with “Global Cooling” coming to the fore. yes it is definitely colder  and very wet. I have had a week off catching up on other matters, and now am well into shearing the lambs. In between we decided to sell the farm. So that has also been a preoccupation.

I woke up one morning in the middle of October, said to my wife that’s it . I am out of here. I got out of bed and rang the agent. He was down that afternoon. So here goes, Offers close next week.

Well I titled this blog. Setting the Scene. I can not think of anything more appropriate. I first wrote it at the  then Council Chair Garry Murrfits behest. Surprised? I presented it the council who thought I was nuts and ignored me. No surprises there. The 2nd part  I have just written, all though it has been a work in progress for yrs, and now it has all come together and at a appropriate time with all the Waikato land use stuff going on, and given that it is Horizons One Plan review next year.

A Personal Opinion Piece by then Councilor Mike Plowman Horizons Regional Council 2007-2013.

The Resource Management Act 1991. Purpose and Principles

My view is that the Resource Management Act (RMA) 1991 is a document, Act of Parliament that is not designed to supersede other acts pertaining to regulation of water and soil.

It’s purpose is to implement Maoridoms Cultural Values, to reconnect their spiritual connection with the land through overly restrictive use of rules and regulations, imposing ever increasing costs on resource users, bringing about “Land Use Change”. over time that will bring about falling land values as the costs of meeting these overly restrictive rules and regulations combined with the financial impositions of a volatile free and floating currency creating a unsustainable economic climate in which to do business.

This will bring change of ownership. Who will own it? And what for? What will be its ultimate physical state?

Do the decision makers in their naivety seek to create a situation where Maoridom can one day buy back these lands at bargin basement prices? Or do they recognize the enormity of the task. The fact the Maori are a minority ethnic grouping in a ever increasing ethnic diversity within NZ. Are decision makers seeking to stamp Maoridoms Mana on NZ society by controlling the use of water, thus all things Natural Physical before the inevitable rush of foreign investors engulfing NZ seeking to secure the future food and fiber needs of their economies?

The Principles to achieve the above are pretty simple. Subjectivity and Illusion. Create a document, an Act of Parliament first. The treaty of Waitangi Act 1975., followed by, The Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1987, developed by the courts. Then the Act of Parliament to implement the Principles of the Treaty. “The RMA”.

Through various amendments to the original act, replacing wording which denotes meaning. Interpretation. e.g. Rangitiratanga, (communities, people), with Kaitiakitanga, exercise for the benefit of the Iwi. Adding the wording Tangata Whenua, meaning Iwi or Hapu holding Mana Whenua over that area.

Then add Tikanga, meaning Maori Customary Values and Practices, although this was in the original the original 1991 RMA Act it is only when the words by the Tangata Whenua were added some time after that, the significance of the the word becomes apparent. (Tikanga).

Create a illusionary agreement e.g. Co-Management, which sits out side of the RMA, LGA, NPS’s and NES’s (I say out side of because how many of these co-governance agreements have gone through the proper consultative process as described in the RMA and LGA, there fore? None that I can determine) thus are unconstitutional. But allows the Government of the day to “Recognise” Maoridoms Cultural Values, with regard to the resource,e.g. Water. Thus allowing decision makers to have “Effect” to those concerns. i.e. bring about make happen.

Match the illusionary agreement with a subjective Regional Council Policy Statement. Use sec 33 and 34 RMA amended in future reviews,. Tranfer of Powers and Delegation of Functions, to include decision-making powers.

Consider sec 6 RMA, Matters of National Importance, All Persons Exercising Powers and Functions. (Maori)

Sec 7 RMA. Other Matters, all persons exercising Powers and Functions (a) Kaitiakitanga. (b) The Ethic of Stewardship.

Sec 8 RMA. The Treaty of Waitangi. All persons exercising Powers and Functions shall take into account the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

This section of the Act, not for the wording of the Act, which seems unobtrusive, in that most people do not have a clue what the Principles are. It is not until one reads the Ministry of the Environments discussion document titled, “Taking Into Account The Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi”. And sub titled. Ideas for the Impementation of sec 8 Resource Management Act 1991 by Diane cringle, LLB dated 1993, that one comes to gain an understanding of the changes needed to sections 6 and 7 of the RMA to ensure economic growth, free from overly restrictive rules and regulation adding cost and destroying wealth.

My interpretation of this document is thus that the courts have determined that Maoridom never sold the title to the land, but rather the intention was a long term lease arrangement and one in which Maoridom always retained the rights to determine how that land was to be used.And how better to control the use of land. Water.(Taonga)

Look for future amendments to sec 36(B-E), Joint Management, and sec 44. Are we to become a republic. With no public consultation of the RMA, and central decision makers using Maoridoms cultural values to control all things Natural and Physical?

My view is that the Local Government Act is gone with scant regard being paid to it now, or at best will under go a major review to bring it into line with the revised RMA, to accomadate the decision makers aspirations for Maoridoms cultural values.

Time has moved on now and it is November 2016. My how close was I to future reality.    Back in 2010 we had section 90 LGA. Communiy Out Comes. The need to moniture and review. Gone replaced by sec 13. Meaningless.

Where are our Decision Makers taking us. Why? Why are they using Maoridoms cultural values, nonsencial and subjective science including the unlawful use of Acts of Parliament, suspect Judical decisions to reinforce those values? All to achieve “LAND USE CHANGE”

Are they not creating another injustice? Were we not meant to develop the land as we have, thus the NZ economy as it is now?

Part 2

The views I express today are my views and my views alone. The Upper Catchment described as Ruapehu includes parts of Stratford and Te Kuiti Districts, which are part of the Whanganui catchment.

Now just abit about me. I am a farmer, farming in the Kaitieke vally since 1979. I represented you for 2 terms as a Regional Councilor on Horizons Regional Council., and which is the subject of and in some instances the source of my information. I have farmed in the valley for 37 years, same property, the geology is sand stone based soils, with pumic river flats and some very easy country on the ridge tops which could best be described as Mairoa ash type soils.

I like to think the property is pretty good, no different to yours, It is running 4200 SU. A 50/50 sheep to cattle ratio. A good fertilizer history and is 340 hec effective. Abit small may be.

Now to the subject matter requested.

Horizons One Plan. The Policy Statement has lots of written paragraphs re-enforcing the non regulatory nature of the plans.

Nonscence. Yes Nonscence. may be for now. But the policy statement ,Setting the Scene states clearly para 1.3. The Big 4. Water Quality degradation. Unsustainable Hill Country Land Use. Threatened Bio-diversity. Climate Change.

The plans must give effect to the wording of the policy statement. There you have it. Paragraph 1.5. last sentence. If the emphasis on promoting and encouraging change is not effective. It will use RULES.

I am here today to convince you that Regional Council is in fact setting the scene for regulation of Hill Country Land Use. To bring about massive land use change to tree cover.

Why, to become the rubbish dump to the world?

Yes I recognize that there is abit of sediment flow to water, yes I do my bit with conservation plantings, and each year. Yes I have a couple of sediment traps which do fill. So yes there is abit of perceived environmental degradation. But is it sustainable. Lets talk about sustainability. I will claim that my business is environmentally sustainable. I am utilizing approx. 80% of the DM grown. I will claim that I have applied fertilizer for 32 of those 37 years, varying between 80-135 tonne depending on the mix used. I will claim that I am growing up to 15000 kg/hec/ann. Thus there must be 3T of DM/hec returned/ann. How much dung does 4200 SU return to the soil? Any body measured it? No neither have I, but I started farming all those years ago with 3300 SU. So I have demonstrated that there is a strong likely hood farming my land is sustainable thus yours must be too.

What about our communities. Are they sustainable? yes or no. Has our population grown in our towns? I say no. In fact the opposite. Are you better off financially than say 30yrs ago? I say no. Why? yes there have been farm amalgamations. Yes you can say the market and for many reasons.

But the over arching reason is all this environmental talk. I mean we cannot pump straight sewage where ever but. We have this constant water degradation and unsustainable land use pushed at us all the time. Trees. trees ladies and gentlemen. Now this is a assumption only, but for every hec of trees planted that is say 8 SU less. == less people to work the stock, less truck drivers, less shearers, less fencers, less stock agents, scrub cutters, less banks, shops and all those people that work in them. Less teachers at school, less medical workers and so it goes on. It is self perpetuating. Spiraling down and down. Where are all the people going?. Cities. Overseas. Prison. All of these? There must be a realization that our environment includes people. Our communities. We are the most important part of the environment. Stress people and we just take.

I will make the assertion that our mountains and hills are trying to get back to sea level. They are constantly eroding naturally. That pasture is the best land use to slow that process. lets look at these pictures in the Land Use Capability hand Book. 3rd Edition. A great example on pgs 74-75. It is all falling down and all in its natural state. have you walked the Tongariro Crossing? The only thing keeping those mountains there is that they blow their top every now and again. Then these pine forests. The erosion within them is horrendous. Mike Gibbs used a really good photo in the Ruapehu Press recently as his platform for election to the District Council. Pine trees stacked up in a gorgy creek. And they all had their root structures in place.

Here on page 127 of the hand book, is a really good example of a farm. It could be one of your properties. There is not much left to be farmed if you consider just what this book leaves to be farmed. Here it is on page 77. Predominately LUC 6 and 7. Suitable for grazing and some forestry. Note some forestry.. Grazing they say. The hand book says some forestry, yet the works programme recommended on page 131 says it all. Lots of forestry. May be 60-70% of the property.

Here is a example of this. Report No 07-211 File No GE 07 02. 14/11/2006. This report discusses the amount of HEL land. (Highly Erodible Land). Land is combination of geology, soil type, slope, rain fall and vegetation cover. This report appears to target land straight to water. For Ruapehu, approximately 40,000hec. Yet HEL land identified is approximately 80,000 hec. Thus I can claim that Horizons makes no distinction between HEL land to water and HEL land. It is one and the same. 25% of farmed land in Ruapehu.

As a hearings commissioner on the One Plan Bio-diversity hearings, we heard evidence from staff who presented a report titled, Past and Current Indigenous Vegetation Cover, and the Justification for the Protection of Terrestrial Bio-diversity within the Manawatu Wanganui Region. This report identified Manuka as a potential future forest, which is needed to achieve a 30% forest cover for the region by 2050. Thus the need for 1678 hec to be converted annually. Note future forest. Manuka is the first stage of reversion of land to forest cover.

Leta discuss the Internal Policy Development Document. Land Use and Land Use capability in the Manawatu Wanganui Region. May 2008/INT/616. Page 154. Upper Whanganui Water Management Zone. (Ruapehu). 67% or 252,000 hec identified as being in its native cover. Yet they still want more. 93,000hec in exotic cover. Then 140,000hec LUC 6-8 described on the same page, plus manuka scrub to indigenous cover as described above, should all of that area be taken from Ruapehu. By my calculation leaves only 178,000 hec to be farmed.

Now I do note that Federated Farmers past chairman of the Meat and Fiber section (nationally) spilt the beans. Keith Kelly. Titled where did all the Farm Land go? The Govt appears to have its sights set on retiring class 7 hill country land. This would result in 1.2 million hec of hill country going out of production. Mostly in the North Is, especially Gisbourn and the Manawatu/Rangitiki Region and including some Otago and Canterbury land. The news  letter included a photo of a block of bush that eroded badly in the 2004 storm event. Mr Kelly got sacked at the next AGM.

Lets consider Ruapehu’s population in the 1980’s 15,500 people. The district was humming. By the census (2013/14) 11,500. Thus if Horizons ,or should I say the Government are still looking for another 80,000hec plus out of Ruapehu as per report 07-211 then one could argue that for every 23 hec of farmed lad retired then 1 person is lost . Thus another 3600 fall in our districts population is likely. What then for our essential services. Who is going to be left to pay the bills?

A subsequent report in November 2011, 07-212 states that intensification of the balance will partially off set the productive loss of livestock, as will carbon credits and forestry?? including $$$ from cleaner rivers and reduced erosion????

But Horizons Regional Councils MWRC-V-One Plan that fell out of the Environment Court process, chapter 1. Setting the Scene 2014 pg 11. May mean he introduction of new practices e.g. different stocking rates.

I note that as of 2016, Horizons have achieved their One Plan target of 50% of farms in priority catchments with voluntary plans. 64%. So no excuses for regulatory controls, or is there?

Stream bank fencing and land retirement, in my view will not work. It will not improve water quality. I include a very descriptive page of of support for a report written by Stephany Parkyn and Bob Wilcox. Titled Impacts of Land Use. It clearly shows the form of land in its indigenous state with regard to streams and water course’s, and what happens when agricultural practices are introduced, and what happens when stream bank fencing and land retirement is introduced. Wide and shallow to narrow and deep, and back to wide and shallow. My concern is that water quality is still being assessed down stream. Ooch. It will not be great. What then?

The report also describes Eels, being prolific in the warm streams whose grassy banks provide a great habitat.

Let us consider  report 07-258 Regional Council agenda 18th December 2007. Titled Hydrology 2.1. Records of Annual Maxima @ Paetawa recorder site Whanganui River. It is my assertion that the largest floods on the river were very early on in pre European and early European times. Early floods on the river were assessed from photos at 4300 cu mecs (1860-onwards till ?) In reality they were more than likely far larger. These flooding intensities  recorded gradually decline through to the 1980’s, and 1400 cu mecs. I will state that this can be attributed to the conversion of forested land to pasture over the decades to 1980 or there about. This coincides with the end of the Land Development and Encouragement Schemes. Please note that from the late 1980’s on flooding intensities have increased. It is the my view that the conversion of farmed land to forestry is responsible.

Lets then consider Mr A Dons work in a Pasture,Pine and Native Forest catchment in the central Nth Is. Titled Hydrology and Sediment Regime of a Pasture, Native Forest and Pine Forest Catchment in the Central Nth Is. I referred to this work last post, I have found the work. You will find it in the NZ Journal of Forestry Science. Good luck with that. The catchment is the Purukohukohu catchment. I will claim the study is somewhat contradictory, even subjective, but it is still very interesting and proves my assertion. In filtration rates measured were 52mm/ hr for pasture. 225mm/hr for pine and a whopping 600mm/hr for native!!! of course the native catchment also recorded the highest rain fall and had the highest minimum stream flow s  ..Yes.

Whilst the study identifys pasture as having the highest sediment discharge, lets analysis the findings. Pine had the lowest and was attributed to good channel lighting for at least 1/2 its length, which was heavily vegetated with grasses,rushes, and willow weed, which stablised the stream bed and trapped suspended sediments???. Really .Sounds like pasture to me.

High average concentrations from the native catchment were attributed to a readily erodible supply of stream sediments. These lay unconsolidated in the stream channel and were not stabilized by stream vegetation because of low light levels under the forest canopy.

The pasture discharge was 1/2 way between pine and native and is probably due to the highest peak flows, surface run off modified by the stabilizing effect of luxurious channel  grass growth.

Thus my interpretation is that pasture lets storm flow go straight away, whilst pine and native soak it up till soils reach saturation and then look out. That is when you get peak flood intensities. I rest my case.

This report also discusses work carried out by Pearce and Mc Kercher (1979) who found on average that flow ranged from 7-40% of gross rainfall in treed catchments, whilst pasture catchments only produced on average 0.4%. The science is not settled.

Whilst the MWRC-V-POP still persists  with the view that it is Unsustainable Hill Country Land Use which is clogging up the lowland flood protection schemes. Horizons own report titled Review of Fluvial Science. CHC 2008-018. Written by NIWA scientist Greame Smart. This report clearly states that it is the fine sediments of the lowlands plains its self causing the problem, and it is the tightly constrained nature of the flood protection itself that is causing the loss of aquatic bio-d and water quality issues. Probably a few trout too.

This report also discusses the Whanganui River. Stating that water quality is good above the section but from the Gorge section down it deteriorates. Why? This is the Whanganui National park. Can it be all the timber lying in the river bed, all with its root structure still in place. Imagine the amount of soil that would have been associated with such erosion events. All that bio-diversity which surely must die rotting away to water.

Mr Smart gives plenty of references to back up his conclusions.

Lets talk about Carbon. A source of supplementary income. Since 2010 or there about, it has gone from $25 to $2.40c and back up to $19. What is driving it? I will say speculators. NZX firm OMF Monday the 12th Sept 2016. OMF’s weekly carbon report states. Only selling we are seeing speculators taking profit.

Recently I had an article pointed out to me. It is the Straights Times, London. July the 29th 2016.  Carbon markets facing a black hole. Free enterprise solution to saving the world now in danger its self. United States credits selling @ US $4.53. Euro Credits. 4 Euro per tonne. That is $5.66c NZ. Yet here in NZ credits are selling for $18-19/t. Why. Who is buying and why?. Is such a market appropriate for the environment. Here today gone tomorrow. What about you, me at the mercy of a faceless speculator.

Here we are ladies and gentlemen. Grasslands ripe to be restored. Land Care researcher John Diamond. 2 million hec grassland can be restored to indigenous forest. NZ had another 700,000 hec of scrubland suitable for protection from clearance. This had a high carbon sequestration over stock carrying capacity ratio. This was published in January 2016. I could say a lot of this is in our catchment and the Turikina Whangaehue water management zones. See the HEL catchment management zone map.

So the purpose of my presentation is to show that Hill Country Land Use will be defined to be unsustainable. We will work with Horizons Land Management team to implement the work programmes prescribed only to make matters worse. Greater sedimentation of water ways. Thus regulation of Land Use Activity is a certainty to achieve the out come sought. Land Use Change. The General Overview for the One Plan Bio-diversity Provisions states. It is vital to protect, link and expand our natural areas of bush, wetland, coastal and aquatic  habitats. 

I have no doubt regulation of hill country land use is the out come sought. Whether it be sub catchment by sub or a blanket over the region. How soon? The One plan is reviewed next year. may be the 2027 review. It might transpire that  land Use Change will happen  as it is now, with carbon and farmers and apiarists continuing to be active in the market until the desired area’s described are achieved.

I do not doubt that many of you have nutrient budgets prepared for your own farms. many of you will already know if you can work within the Nitrogen Leaching Limits as per table 14.2 chapter 14 One plan with out dropping capital stock. I am betting you can not. Therefore the cost could well be large. Ultimately having to be born by the industry and our communities.

Will Tourism take up the unemployed that surely must come as a result? Is it safe to invest in the carbon market? What is the best use for your asset the land? What is best for your families, your people, our communities, and yes democracy.

Until next time