Consultation starts over intensive farming rules

ANALYSED: The district council is asking for resident's views on on intensive farming rules as it begins to assemble the new district plan.

Sweeping changes could be brought in to regulate intensive farming rules in the district.

The district council wants to make a new definition in the district plan to ensure intensive farming is defined as a commercial activity which mainly occurs indoors.

The new district plan is estimated to become operative in March 2022.

Currently intensive farming is not clearly defined, making consenting requirements ambiguous.

Several issues have been identified with intensive farming-related rules in the current district plan.

Issues are the duplication of process between district and regional councils over air quality, and free-range poultry activities being permitted by ECan but requiring a resource consent from the district council.

Another problem is if an intensive farm operator wants to establish a residential dwelling on their property, they are required to apply for resource consent if the dwelling is located within 300m of the intensive farming operation.

This is even if they are the owners of the operation.

It comes as Selwyn is home to the highest number of pork producers in the country, although not the largest volume produced.

It has about 19 per cent of the country’s commercially operated pig farms, accounting for approximately 22 per cent of the domestic production.

This farming activity in the district makes up a significant proportion of the returns generated for the local economy ­ $750 million to $900 million per annum industry.

The district council is encouraging residents to take part in the survey on the draft changes it recently endorsed for further development on intensive farming rules.

Residents will be asked for their views on ECan being solely responsible for monitoring air discharges from an intensive farm and what rules should be introduced to permit intensive farming.

They will also be asked what the setback between a new residential development and an intensive farming activity should be.

District councillor Pat McEvedy said the district plan is very much in its early stages and it is sorting through what the district council’s preferred options are as part of the consultation.

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HAVE YOUR SAY: What do you think are the key issues with intensive farming in the district? Email your views to