The Southland Economic Project
What is it?
We set up The Southland Economic Project to develop robust tools to help us understand the impacts of achieving environmental ‘limits’ set under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. So far, the project has given us a set of reports, datasets and an economic model which we are now using to provide information for our community discussions and water policy development in Southland.
The Project was a joint initiative between DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Department of Conservation, Ministry for the Environment, Ministry for Primary Industries, Southland Chamber of Commerce, Te Ao Mārama, and Environment Southland. A wider group of organisations were involved in the project, including the three local councils (Gore District Council, Invercargill City Council, and Southland District Council), Deer Industry New Zealand, Southland Branch - New Zealand Deer Farmers' Association, Foundation for Arable Research, and Horticulture New Zealand.
What is the Southland Economic Model?
The Southland Economic Model is a tool that will help us understand possible economic impacts by testing a range of ‘what if’ scenarios. The model uses data from the farm and town case studies, as explained in The Agriculture and Forestry Report and The Urban and Industry Report, and was designed in a way that made sense to the resource users.
What has been done so far?
The flow chart below shows how the project is progressing. The reports in each box are available for more information, and can be downloaded below.
Since 2014 we have been gathering information on the financial costs of dealing with discharges to water into two comprehensive reports. The information in these reports is being used in a model of Southland's economy.
The rural and urban parts of a community rely on each other, and what happens in one community is likely to flow through to other communities across the region in complex ways. The economic model will be used to build an understanding of the possible economic impacts of setting "limits" for water quality in Southland.
This report estimates the financial returns ($/ha) that could be expected for establishing plantation Pinus radiata and Douglas fir forestry on new areas of land across Southland. The research was done to help inform any future forecasts of possible land use change as a result of setting environmental limits. It is important to keep in mind that the research was done in 2015 before Central Government released the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) and the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act in 2019.
This report brings together research carried out by Southland's four councils on municipal wastewater schemes from 2016-2017. Through this research, a set of eight town case studies has been produced looking at wastewater treatment systems.
The Urban and Industry report has three parts. Parts A and B aim to give a picture of Southland and how and why urban and industry sectors are distributed around the region. Part C explains the research and methodology used by the councils to create town case studies across the region. Data from these case studies was incorporated into the Southland Economic Model.
This Stantec report looks at the variability in the quality of treated wastewater from four oxidation pond-based systems in Nelson and Waikato. It considers their applicability in Southland where a limited amount of monitoring data is available.
This paper by Beef + Lamb, Deer Industry New Zealand and Environment Southland describes how Overseer and Farmax data from 46 drystock farm case studies (39 sheep and beef farms and seven deer farms), was distributed across the region for use in the Southland Economic Model.
This paper describes how DairyNZ and Environment Southland distributed Overseer data from 41 dairy farm case studies, across the region for use in the Southland Economic Model.
This paper describes how technical and financial data from eight town case studies was used for The Southland Economic Model for the remaining towns with a municipal wastewater scheme.
The future is always uncertain. This report explains the development of three economic futures that help give us a sense of the range of futures that might be possible. These alternative economic futures will be used when testing ‘what if’ scenarios with The Southland Economic Model.
This paper describes the approach that the Regional Forum will be using to assess potential impacts on local communities, particularly the testing of ‘what if’ scenarios.
This paper describes a set of general conclusions used in developing the 2020 baseline scenario for Southland (i.e. a forecast about the future without further freshwater management). The 2020 Baseline Scenario is a key piece of information used in The Southland Economic Model.
This report follows the progression of an expert panel from July 2021 to 2022, known as the Farm Debt Working Group, as they explored the topic of farm debt and freshwater management in Southland.
The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020
The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 provides local authorities with updated direction on how they should manage freshwater under the Resource Management Act 1991. It came into force on 3 September 2020.
People, Water and Land programme
The Southland Economic Project forms an important part of the People, Water and Land programme. Click here for more on this programme and the other work underway to maintain and improve water quality and quantity in Southland.