The Government has dissolved the elected council of Environment Canterbury and replaced it with an unelected commissioners. It has decided that there will be no elections as otherwise required by the Local Elections Act for ECan later this year. Instead, the region’s water will remain under the control of unaccountable mates of National under 2014.
The catalyst for all this was a review by Wyatt Creech that damned the elected council. Creech is a big player in the dairy industry (amongst other interests, he, along with John Key at one point, and other National figures are behind the Dairy Investment Fund which owns Open Country Cheese).
The report is a real piece of trash. It contains accusations that the ECan councillors are too worried about ‘science’ (yup, it uses the quote marks as if science isn’t real) and says their decisions are “science led rather than science informed”, which is basically equivalent to saying that ECan should turn a blind eye to the facts when they’re inconvenient for dairy interests. It goes on to say “large numbers of staff are ‘green’ in orientation”, an outrageous accusation that these public servants are swayed by their political beliefs rather than the facts and the law which lays Creech’s own prejudices bear.
At the end of the day, the dairy industry, which has deep connections with National, just wants more water allocated for dairy farming. They don’t care that this is unsustainable.
They want more water now and the consequences be dammed. Yeah, literally dammed because that’s the dairy industry’s big goal, to dam the rivers and create reservoirs for themselves, despite the damage this will do to the water table beneath their own farms. They want to right to send untreated cowshit down our rivers in ever larger quantities.
John Key himself has made incredibly ignorant comments about not wanting to see water ‘wasted’ by flowing into the sea, which displays a complete ignorance of the role of river outflows in carrying sediment that counter-acts erosion all up the coast and the life-cycle of both native and introduced fish species that change between fresh and salt water during their life spans (whitebait anyone?). It is this kind of ignorance that is driving these dumb decisions.
Ultimately, the diary farmers will pay along with everyone else for their short-termist ‘science be damned’ attitude. But not before they’ve caused long-term damage.