|Rural Women New Zealand
Water is the word on everyone’s lips at the moment with reports and opinions on the Three Waters reform flooding the media.
However, the concept that we need to safeguard our waterways did not come down in the last rain shower. New Zealand Landcare Trust (NZLT) has been knee-deep in helping landowners to protect water catchments for 25 years.
Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) played a key role in the formation of the non-government organisation in 1996 when it recognised the need for an independent body to empower, rather than dictate to, communities wanting to be part of the solution to environmental degradation.
Today the NZLT Board of Trustees still includes representatives from the wide variety of organisations responsible for its formation, including the Federation of Maori Authorities; Federated Farmers; Federated Mountain Clubs; Fish and Game New Zealand; Ecologic Foundation; and Royal Forest and Bird Society of New Zealand. The current RWNZ representative is President Gill Naylor.
The purpose of NZLT is to support, give advice, and act as a link between government departments, agencies, care groups and landowners, from farmers and horticulturists to lifestyle block owners.
While the protection of individual streams is important, NZLT’s ultimate goal is to conserve entire catchments from the mountains and hills to the estuaries and lakes. It is especially keen to encourage the formation of catchment care groups around the country. These groups are generally made up of landowners, farmers, growers, workers and community members, people who have a common goal to maintain good land and water quality for themselves and the generations to come.
As you may be aware, the Government is making it mandatory for farmers (with more than 20 hectares of land) and growers (with more than 5 hectares of land) to produce Farm Environment Plans (FEP) or something similar.
Last year NZLT produced regional webinars to help those affected navigate through the maze of requirements.
Landowners of less than 20ha have increasingly become part of the rural landscape over recent decades. Many lifestylers farm animals, grow crops, use fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides, have land that contributes to runoff into waterways, etc.
Although lifestyle block owners are not currently required to prepare an FEP, NZLT has recently produced videos specifically aimed at helping lifestylers who are interested in finding out how to manage their land more sustainably using a voluntary environment plan as a guide.
If you are interested in learning how an environment plan could help you to look after your natural world NZLT is a great place to start. You can find the videos at https://www.landcare.org.nz/resource-item/farm-environment-plans-feps