Farmers perspectives on water quality across Hurunui Waiau region

Duncan, Ronlyn
Oral Presentation
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The call for a shift to good management practice is a dominant message being sent form regional councils and industry groups to farmers across New Zealand in efforts to reduce nutrient losses from agricultural land use. Indeed, the requirement for good management practice is becoming enshrined in regional plans across New Zealand. This paper presents preliminary findings of research that examines how farmers are interpreting the calls for change around nutrient management and water quality. Drawing on science studies theory and a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with farmers across the Hurunui-Waiau region, this paper presents farmers' perspectives on the relationship between land and water. This research has found that farmers' understanding of the issue of water quality, how nutrients move from land to water and their contributions to nutrient pollution are at odds with scientific models of this relationship embodied in the regional plan. It is argued that this divergence has significant implications for the implementation of good management practice and going beyond that, and achieving compliance with the rules of the regional plan.
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