Regional council acknowledges Government’s Overseer review

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive James Palmer says the council is assessing the findings of the review of the nitrogen modelling tool known as Overseer, prepared by a Scientific Advisory Panel, which found limitations in how the tool estimates nitrogen leaching on farms.

The results of the review are particularly relevant for the council’s assessment of Tukituki land use consent applications, which will likely need to be revised, based on the future development pathway of Overseer, Mr Palmer said.

The Scientific Advisory Panel expressed concerns with Overseer’s model structure and found it doesn’t provide reliable estimates of nitrogen loss in a range of situations.

But Mr Palmer noted the Government has made it clear it will redevelop Overseer until it is fit for purpose, or a new tool is developed.

He said:

“For us, this means we will continue to implement our Tukituki plan as the law requires us to, and farmers can still use Overseer to collate and record farm data.

We all know there are water quality problems in the Tukituki catchment and farmers are making changes and working constructively with the Council to address this. It’s important this work continues.”

“Farmers still need to submit Tukituki land use consent applications and updated Farm Environment Management Plans.” 

Regional Council General Manager of Policy and Regulation Katrina Brunton says the council will work with primary sector organisations and treaty partners to look at the detail of the review findings and next steps.

“We realise this is another change for farmers to addresss and factor in to their business operations. We will continue to work with our Tukituki community to improve water quality and support them through this process.”

More information can be found on hbrc.govt.nz and #overseer.

Source:  Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

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