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Southand dairy farmers don't like local rating proposal that targets them; 3.6% of ratepayers to pay 41% of rates

Southand dairy farmers don't like local rating proposal that targets them; 3.6% of ratepayers to pay 41% of rates

Content supplied by Federated Farmers

Federated Farmers told Environment Southland (ES) at their Annual Plan hearing yesterday that their proposal to heap additional costs on to the region’s dairy farmers, by increasing a rating differential on dairy land use, makes no sense.

“It is our view that you are simply imposing an environmental tax on one land use in Southland based entirely on perception,” said Russell McPherson, Southland provincial president.

“Dairy farms comprise only 3.6 percent of the total number of rating units yet, if this proposal goes ahead, will be paying 41 percent of the property value based general rates.

“In total, the dairy sector is already paying their fair share for what are Environment Southland’s public good resource management responsibilities, but it is specifically and solely targeted through the differential as if it was failing to meet its obligations. That could not be further from the truth.

“Taken at face value the dairy differential indicates that if there was no dairying in the region then there would be no water quality issues. Clearly, this is not the case. Nor is it the case that the dairy sector is the only sector which needs to do better to address water quality.

“If the differential is nothing about recognising the costs attributed to ES work and a blatant environmental tax then the differential does not recognise or incentivise individual farmer behaviour. It is like handing a speeding ticket to every driver just for getting in the car. It is simply a tax for being a dairy farmer.

“If you are trying to put dairying in Southland on the back foot and alienate farmers then you are on the right track. You will not engage at a farm level with dairy farmers during any response to the NPS for freshwater by telling them they have to pay you to tell them what to do.

“The dairy differential detracts from the goodwill felt towards council from the very dairy farmers council should be supporting – the dairy farmers who are doing things the right way and leading environmental on farm best practice though massive investment and innovation.

“Council’s decision on whether or not to increase the costs allocated to the dairy sector through the dairy differential this year is actually a decision on how it perceives the sector and how water quality issues in Southland will be addressed.

“If the intention is to develop a partnership approach to identifying the mechanisms to best address resource management issues, then the dairy differential is a bad idea.

“If the intention is to recognise and incentivise good practice, then the dairy differential is a bad idea.

“If the intention is to require all sectors of the community to do a better job of resource management then the dairy differential, is a bad idea.

“If the differential is an attempt to identify a scapegoat, distance this council from a key sector in the region and absolve all other resource management users from responsibility, then the dairy differential is a good step,” Mr McPherson concluded.

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A very small win for dairy farmers as a result of dairy submissions.  Still a long way to go as the dairy differential rate increase was still 80%, down from 141%.  The new CEO seems to have his feet on the ground rather than head in the clouds, so one is hopeful for further gains next year.
In a separate decision, the Council has resolved to reduce the amount to be collected from the Dairy Differential Rate this year, by $261,000.
The decision was made on the basis that the Water and Land 2020 & Beyond project identified that the whole community was contributing to water quality issues, one way or another, so the dairy industry should not be the only sector singled out for an extra contribution to the planning component of that project.
Instead of being funded by the Dairy Differential Rate, the $261,000 will come from the anticipated surplus funds from the current financial year.
The Council has also resolved to take a fresh look at the way costs are allocated against the Dairy Differential Rate next year.

you are just like a big fat goose ;-)  ready for plucking.

:-) The geese have had enough of been 'plucked about with'. ;-) 
The new CEO needs to be given some time so we will see what they do next year.  Their own science is starting to disprove their 'head in the clouds' theories so it is getting harder for them to continue their spin.
The information I had from councillors prior to the meeting was that there would be no reduction.  So I will take the small win for now. And of course it is election year for Councillors!

as long as you have few feathers left, someone is going to want them.  

Days to the General Election: 25
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.