Forest owners commit to water quality

10 Jun 2008

The NZ Forest Owners Association supports the draft of the primary sector water plan of action released yesterday. The document reconfirms the commitment of New Zealand primary sector groups to the sustainable management of the nation’s valuable freshwater resources.

Known formally as the Primary Sector Water Partnership Leadership Document, it sets out a collective action plan which has been endorsed by all the partners. There are also some sector specific targets.

The partnership group consists of Fonterra, Dairy NZ, the Foundation for Arable Research, Horticulture NZ, Meat and Wool NZ, New Zealand Forest Owners association and NZ Farm Forestry Association, Irrigation New Zealand, Fertiliser Manufacturers Research Association and Federated Farmers.

Partnership chairman Hawke’s Bay farmer Hugh Ritchie says the document is designed to establish a basis whereby the sector can engage with regional councils and coordinate the efforts of the primary sector and research organisations with the objective of improving the management of freshwater in New Zealand.

The focus of the plan is to achieve real positive change in water use and quality.

He says the Partnership has already talked to some regional councils and more consultation is planned shortly to ensure available financial and people resources are directed towards where the greatest gains can be made.

“The Partnership has also taken the step of engaging with environmental and recreational organisations to explain what the group is trying to achieve and to seek constructive feedback on what has been proposed. We are also encouraging other primary sector organisations to join the initiative.

“The various organisations in the partnership have been working on this initiative for two years and this demonstrates that the primary sector recognise the importance of carefully managing water resources and how committed they are to dealing with the matter,” says Ritchie.

Two of the key goals outlined in the document are about maintaining and enhancing water quality from primary production land and the group has achieved demonstrable improvements in water use efficiency by the primary sector within five years.