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Hot Topic NBR Focus: GMO
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Cubicle cow applications ‘called in’ by minister

Environment Minister Nick Smith has thrown the Waitaki cubicle cow farming hot potato to a special board of inquiry.Normally the applications seeking effluent consents would be dealt with by Environment Canterbury. But Mr Smith has agreed with a request f

Chris Hutching
Wed, 27 Jan 2010

Environment Minister Nick Smith has thrown the Waitaki cubicle cow farming hot potato to a special board of inquiry.

Normally the applications seeking effluent consents would be dealt with by Environment Canterbury. But Mr Smith has agreed with a request from Environment Canterbury’s chief executive Bryan Jenkins that the proposals for the Mackenzie Basin are a matter of national significance.

This is based on the high level of public interest and the scale – 17,000 cows – and the special character of the Mackenzie, which has delicate soils as well as its status as a main tourism drawcard. The farming operations would be located on properties that drain into the pristine mountain lakes around the Aoraki-Mount Cook area.

The proposals attracted more than 5200 submissions from concerned people around the country and overseas. Many local farmers have also expressed unease at the plans and questioned the economics of the proposals, while Prime Minister John Key outlined his concerns for the image of the country.

The farming operations in question are only a portion of the resource consent applications being dealt with by Environment Canterbury, which involve plans for upwards of 30,000 cows.

The applications from Southdown Holdings, Williamson Holdings, and Five Rivers were presented in a piecemeal fashion by the developers who initially sought separate water abstraction and land use consents, planning to seek effluent discharges under further applications.

The original application for one of them stated that the operations were not for dairying. However, the panel looking at land use consents told the applicants their plans should be considered altogether in a holistic manner.

Chris Hutching
Wed, 27 Jan 2010
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Cubicle cow applications ‘called in’ by minister
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