A case study of the consultative process concerning water clarity in Lake Taupo was used to identify the key elements required to reach consensus between land-owners, users and regulatory authorities. These elements included: the identification of all stakeholders; impacts at the farm level where individual behaviour change must occur; the scientific validity of data used and the decision support models available to assess biological and economic impacts. The importance of the consultative `process` itself and the need for sufficient time for this process to occur were other key elements. The Lake Taupo case study was then compared with the larger scale issue of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from New Zealand agriculture. We concluded that a much greater level of scientific uncertainty existed for the effect of GHG emissions on climate change than for Lake Taupo water clarity. This fact, coupled with the potentially much greater economic impacts on agriculture and individual farmers helped explain farmer reluctance to accept proposed solutions. Findings from the Lake Taupo study suggest the way forward in the GHG emission debate requires a major improvement in the underpinning science and a clearer understanding of the implications of GHG emission control at the farm scale. Mitigation options must consider both physical and financial inputs and outputs. The consultative process must involve farmers at policy, economic and science levels and be long enough to cover all issues.

DA, Clark, and MG Lambert

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 62, Palmerston North, 219-224, 2002
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