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NRT: Election 2014: A clear choice on clean rivers

Written By: - Date published: 11:37 am, July 15th, 2014 - 6 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, election 2014, Environment, farming, greens, national, Politics, same old national, sustainability, water - Tags: , ,

no-right-turn-256Reposted from No Right Turn.

The National government’s policy for economic growth has been simple: pump up dairy production, export more low-value milk powder, and keep low-value farmers as the “backbone of the economy”. To achieve this, they’ve dismantled democracy in Canterbury, pillaged rivers, thrown hundreds of millions of dollars at subsidising irrigation schemes, gagged DoC from speaking up for conservation, and gutted the RMA. And to deal with the obvious consequence of shit in our rivers, and shit in our drinking water, they’ve lowered water quality standards so that rivers will be defined as clean even when you have a 5% chance of infection just from touching them.

Over the weekend the Greens responded with a different proposal: lets have clean rivers instead:

The Green Party’s plan to restrict dams and irrigation schemes, and make rivers clean enough to swim in, would save taxpayer money and benefit the agricultural industry in the long term, says co-leader Russel Norman.

The party launched one pillar of its election environmental policy in Hamilton yesterday: cleaning up rivers with a strengthening of existing regulations, a tighter cap on pollution, and setting up a protected network of rivers.

National is already attacking the policy as “irresponsible”, “costly”, and “impractical”. I’d say the same about theirs. Dirty rivers cost us money. There’s the obvious threats to tourism and to the dairy industry itself, both of which are marketed on our national reputation as “100% pure”. But beyond that, we’re also paying directly in pollution subsidies and decontamination and health costs, and indirectly in forgone recreation and industrial opportunities. These are real costs, and they should not be ignored. But the only side of the balance sheet National sees is the one which benefits their donors and cronies in Federated Farmers. To them, environmental costs just don’t exist.

This election, we have a clear choice on that: on whether to count environmental costs, or ignore them. On whether to pollute, or protect. On whether we want clean rivers, or shit-filled sewers which make us sick. And I think that’s a pretty clear choice.


Greens: “National muddying waters and needs to come clean
Gareth’s World: “Labour fires the first shot on water quality” (May)

6 comments on “NRT: Election 2014: A clear choice on clean rivers”

  1. Ennui 1

    Farming is a corporate balance sheet exercise…..there are bankers, there are export corporations etc etc….the man on the farm rarely owns, or if so he is indebted to some ridiculous amount. Most are in it for capital gain.

    A farmer once explained to me how farms were traditionally valued…8x the revenue. Note revenue, not the profitability. You may need to be able to repay interest but whatever you do you must push up revenue. So if you own a farm and you borrow 10% of its revenue to increase production by 1.5% you are in front. So as a farmer the more revenue you can get out the cost is not high. But the return when you sell when added to inflation etc is extreme.

    Under these commercials no wonder corporates like to own farms. And banks love the loans. And it translates to more artificial inputs, more cows, more marginal land conversions, and huge externalisation of costs. Like pollution.

    We need to change the accounting rules, the tax rules and the banking rules for the rivers to get better.

  2. Mary 2

    And it doesn’t matter whether it’s the Greens or IMP who decided to say this first. The fact that both parties are is even better and if in government will straighten Labour up when they look like kicking for touch – on this and every other issue Labour has an appalling track record on – and there are a lot of them.

    • lprent 2.1

      I added the link for a Gareths world post on Labour’s May updates to their 2008/2011 policy

      I think it got lost in whatever political waffle was going on at the time.

      I don’t think that they have released their environmental policy in which water would form a part of.

      Nice thing about it is that I can’t see how any of these parties would have problems coming together on this particular topic in coalition.

  3. Chooky 3

    Fonterra and the National Party are disastrous fools for New Zealand farming’s long term economic future …..they are characterised by economic short term simple-minded thinking!

    Rod Oram puts it more politely…’Fonterra’s announcement about a third farming hub in China’.


  4. Sable 4

    Why not also pass these comment along to the twits from Labour who also seem to have an aversion to cleaning up our filthy rivers.

    Seems the Greens are the only ones with any common sense these days.

  5. Herodotus 5

    11 minutes in “the growth has got ahead of the science and the environmental impact …”
    Try using this excuse in any other industry that has a negative impact towards the environment or in this case water quality. In the area I am in earth, civil works & land development we have to ensure that there is no adverse effects down stream, and have to mitigate at source.
    Pity macro issues like this lack traction as IMO most voters are concerned with those issues that have a day to day issue e.g Cost of living, mortgages etc.

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