Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
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December 2016 
Dear <<First Name>>

The year is coming to a close amidst uncertainty. The hearings on PC10, which we anticipated to be done and dusted by Christmas will now occupy us for the first three months of 2017. You will see all the key dates in this process outlined below. It is positive to see the numbers of landowners engaging with the Land Use and Support team in Council. The recent rain would have been welcomed by all. We wish you a very merry Christmas with family and friends. 

Remember, everything you read here is on our website -
Battle fatigue pretty much sums up the feeling in The Collective at the moment.  We continue to strive to do our best but I think everyone – members and executive alike have temporarily run out of steam. I guess we’re well and truly ready for the Christmas break and we’ll all come back recharged in the New Year and ready for the substantial battle that still lies ahead. The coming months are certainly daunting as we head into the hearings in March. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the executive members for all the hours of hard work they have put in this year.
We have written two letters to the Commissioners' requesting a deferral of the hearings until after the completion of the upcoming science review. We all know the science of the lake has changed dramatically since the rules were first conceived. Unfortunately our request to delay these hearings was turned down by the Commissioners. We accept that decision fully and will move on and do our best to prepare, despite our ongoing concerns that the absence of up to date science will mean the commissioners hands are tied to a large extent by out-dated information. 

My big disappointment however is that Council lawyers completely misinterpreted our letter to the commissioners, and alleged that we were relying on the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in relation to the science review, as a justification for deferring the hearings. That was simply not what we intended to write and definitely not the case. The MOU simply backs up and adds detail to the rules themselves.  

We believed that in view of the imminent science review that the Council themselves have scheduled for 2017, that it was simply common sense to wait for its conclusions. I am therefore saddened that the lawyers have led the commissioners to believe that the Collective were using a MOU, which I personally signed in good faith, as leverage for a deferral. I hope the Commissioners will accept my assurances that this was not the case.

Not only are we preparing for the hearings; we are also working hard on trying to find a way forward - a way for farming to remain commercially viable in the future, under the proposed environmental constraints. We have been inundated by businesses seeking our support and assistance with a variety of technologies and possible solutions that need trialling. We are endeavouring to try and carefully assess all possible options and are focussing on those that we believe are genuinely trying to support us, and those which show real promise and a real commitment to finding a solution. We are in fact already working very closely with several of these stakeholders and businesses, some of which BOPRC themselves are also supporting through their funding. However it should be remembered we are all volunteers, with families and businesses to run outside of the Collective, and our resources and time are severely limited. 

It was very disappointing for The Collective to have our commitment questioned by a private business owner in his letter to the commissioners which I believe was an attempt to strong-arm us through the use of undue political pressure. It simply does not follow that just because The Collective did not endorse this business proposal that we do not have a genuine desire to be part of the solution for a sustainable clean lake.  No one has a higher financial and emotional investment in solving this issue than the landowners in this catchment.

I hope to put these disappointments behind me and move on in the New Year in a more positive spirit. In the meantime I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a much deserved break.

From Gisele Schweizer, Co-Chair of the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
Public Hearings Dates
The independent hearing panel has confirmed that the hearings for the proposed Plan Change aimed at reducing nutrients from entering Lake Rotorua will be held from 13th March to 4th April 2017. All submitters have received an information pack with key dates, tips about speaking at the hearing, when and where the hearings will take place and what a section 42a report is.

You can view the information pack and all other information about the hearings process online.

All communications relating to the following deadline dates should be emailed to or phone Nora on 0800 884 881 ext 9249 .

20 January 2017
  • Planners Section 42A report released (along with supporting Council evidence)
  • Want to speak at the hearing? You'll need to complete the hearing status form by this date
  • If you'd like to present evidence in Te Reo Maori, or be heard on a marae, let Council know by this date
22 February 2017
  • Want to call an expert witness to speak at the hearing? Send in an overview of the evidence that they will speak about by 5pm on this day.
Monday 6 March 2017
  • If you'd like the panel to visit a particular site?  Send a request in writing with reasons why and a map if necessary by this date
  • Would you like to provide evidence at the hearing? Send copies of the evidence or any other material by this date  
  • Rebuttal evidence by the Council will be available at 
Monday 13th March to Tuesday 4th April 2017
  • Independent Hearings for Proposed Plan Change 10
Hearings Panel Commissioners
BOPRC has appointed four commissioners for the public hearings panel:
  1. Judge Gordon Whiting (Chairperson)
  2. Rauru Kirikiri
  3. Gina Sweetman
  4. Dr Brent Cowie
This panel will listen to arguments for and against PC10 put forward by submitters. After everyone has had a chance to speak, the hearing committee will make a recommendation back to Council. You can read brief bios on these commissioners here.

Preparing for the PC10 Pubic Hearings
The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has compiled a useful guide outlining how to prepare for a public hearing.  You can view this booklet online here.
Lake Rotorua Incentives Board Update

The Lake Rotorua Incentives Board (a committee of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council) is undergoing a few changes since the recent local government elections. Colin Holmes was not re-elected so has been replaced by Councillor and farmer Norm Bruning; and Judith Stanaway who served as the inaugural Chair has stepped down. We thank them both for their contributions and wealth of experience that they brought to the Incentives Committee. New members are likely to be appointed in the New Year to help continue with the work the Incentives Committee has done to date.

A new initiative that the Committee is keen to progress is developing a streamlined process for deals between 150Kg and 1 Tonne of nitrogen at lake. More information will be available early in the New Year.
Update on Land Use Advice and Support
Advice and support is available to every landowner affected by proposed Plan Change 10. Our staff will work with you to define the fence lines and then work out what your provisional Nitrogen Discharge Allowance (pNDA) is. From there you can select one of the independent Land Use Advisors who will work with you to assess what your current Nitrogen Discharge is and then develop a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) to work towards your pNDA.

A number of landowners have registered and utilised the service already. See some key stats below:
  • 97 landowners registered 
  • 43 NMPs completed 
  • 36 NMPs currently in preparation
  • 57 (60%) of landowners in the catchment with properties over 40 hectares have engaged with Advice and Support to date 
BOPRC Offices Closed
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council will be closed from Friday 23rd December, 2pm and will re-open Monday 9th January, 8.30am.

Wishing you a safe and happy holidays!
Two Collective executive members recently appeared on the popular TV series -  'Rural Delivery' . We think Neil Heather and Chris Paterson deserve a place in this month's 'In the Spotlight'.  Click on the images below to see their fabulous stories. (Note: You'll need to login to TVNZ On Demand to view these videos).
Read Chris' Story
Watch Chris
TV NZ On Demand
(Begins at 8:58 minutes)
Read Neil's story
Watch Neil 
TV NZ On Demand
(Begins at 8:16 minutes)
Merry Christmas!
Relax and enjoy the day with family and friends! Thanks to all our members for your support over the year.
Ballance Regional Farm Environment Awards - Bay of Plenty
The Ballance Farm Environment Awards recognises and celebrates good farm practices which promotes sustainable land management - now run in 10 regions throughout New Zealand.
Date: Friday 24th February 2017
Location: ASB Baypark, Mt Maunganui
mobileTECH – A primary industry technology event
MobileTECH has firmly established itself as the major cross-sector technology event focusing on agriculture, horticulture and forestry industries. The theme for MobileTECH in 2017 is disruptive innovations.
Date: 22 - 23 March 2017
Location: Distinction Hotel, Rotorua
Significant concerns raised by Feds’ Healthy Rivers project
Discussions held with Waikato Federated Farmers members have revealed significant concerns about the impact of the Waikato Regional Council’s proposed ‘Plan Change One’. Federated Farmers hosted a meeting for the release of the report on its Farm Plan Project, which aimed to test drive the Farm Environment Plan part the proposed ‘Healthy Rivers’ Plan. Read more
Effort in gets best nitrogen reports out
As dairy farms’ nitrogen reports start hitting letterboxes for last season, farmers are being encouraged to put as much effort into this season’s recording as they do into producing milk.“These reports are a great tool for assisting farmers to analyse their nutrient use and see what needs to be done to improve their nutrient efficiency” ... Read more
Rotorua woman supreme winner at rural awards
A Rotorua woman who built up her own chain of rural physiotherapy centres has taken out the supreme award at the 2016 Enterprising Rural Women Awards. Amy Dibley was presented the award at a ceremony in Wellington on Saturday night for her work as founder and director of Physio Direct, taking home the supreme award... Read more
Videos to be produced “by farmers for farmers”
Farmers in the Lake Rotorua catchment will feature in videos providing advice to other farmers about good nutrient management practice. The main objective is to reduce nutrients entering Lake Rotorua although the videos may appeal to a wider audience. Read more


Thinking about becoming a member of the Collective?
Three reasons to get involved!

 1. Influence policy that will affect your farm business
 2. Learn about on-farm nutrient management solutions
 3. Get support from fellow farmers and industry bodies


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