Waimarino vegetable growers are asking Horizons councillors to make sure their usual crop rotation doesn't need resource consent under the new One Plan, Ohakune Growers' Association chairman Bruce Rollinson says.
The 14 vegetable growers in the Waimarino are all members of the association.
Their usual method is to lease crop land from sheep and beef farmers. They cultivate land for vegetables after it has been in pasture for 10 to 12 years.
They then crop vegetables for four years - first brassicas such as swedes or Brussels sprouts, then potatoes, then either carrots or parsnips for the third and fourth years. Then the land goes back into pasture.
Sheep and beef farmers like the system because it's a good source of cash for them in times of low prices.
Mr Rollinson said the rotation kept the soil in good condition and prevented the build-up of diseases. It had been worked out over 120 years of vegetable growing and was sustainable.
The growers used the best science and water quality in the Waimarino was improving. Otherwise the vegetable growing area would have been one of Horizons' "priority catchments".
"It shows our water quality up here is as good as what you would expect."
The growers were worried that under the new One Plan they would have to apply for resource consent every time they wanted to cultivate pasture to grow vegetables.
The cost of that might motivate growers to use the same land for vegetables for more than four years, which would harm the environment. It could also put sheep and beef farmers off leasing land to growers, and the increased costs could boost the price of vegetables. "It's quite scary from our point of view."
They might have nothing to worry about, however.
Horizons Regional Council chairman Bruce Gordon said the council encouraged the rotation of crops to lessen the impact on soil structure and avoid high nutrients in one area.
However, he didn't know what form the new procedures would take.
The growers would like to see their crop rotation written into the new rules as an existing farming practice that did not need additional consent.
Council staff are in the process of drafting procedures for implementing the plan, and Mr Gordon said Horticulture New Zealand would have a chance to comment on the procedures.
Its comments would be placed before the Environment Court on October 31, along with the procedures drafted by the council.
The growers are asking the elected chairman and councillors to influence those. Their perception has been that council staff were calling the shots on the issue.
"I am disappointed the regional councillors continue to let staff dictate the council's direction.
"Who represents the community's aspirations, the elected members or the staff?" Mr Rollinson asked.
"Come out from behind your staff and tell them extreme views are not welcome here."
Mr Gordon said council staff provided guidance to councillors, but at the end of the day it would be the councillors who made the decisions.
He promised the association a public meeting as soon as the Environment Court detail was confirmed.
WAIMARINO VEGE GROWING
Less than 2 per cent of land used
14 family-owned businesses
Main income of 65 families