- Date published:
9:00 am, September 13th, 2017 - 162 comments
Categories: david parker, Environment, farming, labour, water - Tags:
This election has the attention of farmers. It was instructive to attend a meeting on Tuesday night in Wanaka with David Parker on water quality and commercial water charging.
Easy 100 people. Standing at back. Parker’s slide show illustrated the multiple damaging intensive farming practices. No farmer in the room argued that rivers were getting better after that.
Then came water pricing. Some younger farmers could see that a cost to alleviate the environmental impact was worthwhile. Most didn’t. The Otago Regional Council apparently has done a great job defending the environment according to one farmer, when all the others were terrible. They came across as righteous entitled snowflakes.
Parker was saturated in policy detail, in histories of river catchment, in his personal history of fishing. Unflappable and fact based. It was people from the audience that gave strong debate with the unrepentant farmers.
I cycled from Wanaka to Hawea on Saturday in a horizontal snowstorm. At 11k’s I rode next to a cyclone fence and a long irrigator arm, with a large herd of cows huddled in the snow. No shelter. I thought: what are you making? Ice cream?
Maybe the $NZ dollar will sink with a Labour government, so agricultural commodities boom, so Labour gets political cover to implement charging. Maybe.
Parker can’t do worse than the Land and Water Forum results. He was clear most farmers hate the idea of any charge. And he knows he must target regional councils.
If the government changes, it must not be bullied by agribusiness lobbyists. They will come for them and will orchestrate the rage.
From what I saw, Parker will defeat them with a calm delivery of irrefutable facts. And sound policy. This fight will be big.
Farmers, in the main, are infuriated by Parker’s words. The battle for this election is being staged in the rural sector where National and the Feds are aiming to terrify their troops into open warfare. The Divide! The Divide! It’s all The Green’s fault – or GreenPeace – same thing. Forest & Bird! They’re the WORST!!!
Its the trouble with modern politics. That we are still debating what is destroying river quality or causing climate change or what is the cause of child poverty in 2017 is incredible.
There is a dark selfish aspect to humanity that too often drives decision making.
Not so much with the farmers as with their suppliers in rural and provincial towns.
But I think that even there it is mostly a fight between National and NZ First, with Labour being the weapon. Neither wants to scare off voters (or each other as potential coalition partners) in that area so they are scaring each other with the socialist bogeyman.
The daft thing about it as a campaign is that the days of ‘free’ or very cheap water are numbered regardless who gets in.
National will try to monetise it by irrigation schemes and the like – cheap upfront funding and a long income stream. But for it to work then the water itself needs to be clean upstream.
The cities and regional councils are likely to start paying more than lip service to the concept of water security and will start pulling farmers and businesses individually through the courts.
If they don’t, then various action groups including ones like game and bird will. That latter is a direct result of this government making the fresh water council a laughing stock as being completely ineffectual.
And I’m expecting a lot more legal actions between farmers. Fresh cleanish water is in increasingly short supply.
Parker will defeat them with a calm delivery of irrefutable facts. And sound policy.
I like David Parker because that is what he does. He will be a hell of a minister again.
But I hope that he isn’t lost in the AG role. He is way more useful front footing issues that need explanation to specialist audiences. He would have been so useful back during the similar startup of the left government back in 2000.
It was useful last night to hear his commercial history starting up A2 Milk and other innovation-led agribusiness.
Also his understanding of how Uruguay GATT round had accelerated lowest cost dairy production here.
He had broad context, as well as moral purpose from the slide show.
It was always what I liked about DP. Coming from a business background with startup, exporting, manufacturing and farming connections I prefer to see people in Parliament who have actually done enough of those things to understand the issues.
The left does tend to have a surplus of policy wonks, lawyers, teachers and unionists. The most useful of which are usually the latter.
National has a similar problem with their profusion of small town business people who have little or no grasp of the world outside their own little corner of the crony capitalistic sphere. Steven Joyce being a classic example – someone who gets shafted every time he tries to negotiate with any real businesses.
In fact the most surprising thing about DP is that he actually volunteered to go into politics at all. It is a deadly boring profession if you have real world skills. I have been fortunate in being able to bypass my unfortunate sense of duty into volunteer work or this site 😈
Explaining things to the public, that’s what honest governments should be doing.
You say Parker is good for specialist audiences lprent. Labour and the Greens should be going round talking, with power points with clear examples of graphs, interspersed with small pictures of clean and dirty rivers just to remind people of what they are facing and faecing.
And iron hand in the velvet glove:- Steps to take immediately, to be notified and inspected within three months. Those who haven’t started will have the job started and be charged for it. Fencing off rivers, checking irrigation flows, working out what level of dryness will result in irrigation etc. It doesn’t need to be used every day. Advice on what level of stocking will produce what result with what feed. An understanding of mixed pasture and its advantages and allowing ‘weeds’ to grow and which to weed out. Generous sharing of grass and feed research from government advisors. Perhaps putting hedges in of tagasaste or tree lucerne.
There should not be sudden withdrawal of anything from farmers, but immediate gradual decline in bad practices should be axiomatic. (That sounds a good word for the situation.) And planning assistance on how to manage down and still keep the farm. (A good idea would be for the greedy not to go all out on borrowing to get multiple farms like the Crafurs.)
Robert G may comment on this, tree crops say tagasaste is much better than gorse and does similar things, nitrogen fixer. Palatable to animals and if allowed to flower bees like.
” tagasaste ” – also popular with kereru in spring. Could be useful in providing cover and corridors for movement and habitat of indigenous species in addition to birds.
Don’t know that tagasaste is “better than gorse” – gorse and broom are verypopular with kereru and both serve as colonizers for the denuded landscapes we create. Tagasaste doesn’t “self-spread” as readily as the other two and in my view, it’ll take rampant invasive plants to set things right – planting teams are great but can’t match the march of, say, wilding conifers or river-spread gorse and broom. Just have to be let to complete their cycles, that’s all 🙂
Hey,Grey. I went to David Parker’s public address in Invers some months back and thrilled to his antagonistic delivery – he shot down myths like a Southern duck-hunter, stirred shamelessly and didn’t pull his punches – my “own” regional council got a stropping-up in the process, which I thought fair. I noticed that everyone on the receiving end of his lecture acted offended and hurt – human nature, I suppose, but self-defeating. That said, he was an enormous disappointment to me many years earlier when he spoke at another meeting about climate change – back then, he hadn’t, it seemed to me, a clue. Plenty of water has passed under many bridges since then, so I expect he’s grasped the true importance by now. At the recent meeting, I lured him into declaring that a major problem with decision-making in regional councils was farmer-councillors. I expect the same factor affects Central Government decisions – irrigation, for example.
Hi Robert G
I once got an old document about the formation of a group of irrigation friendly councils down the SI and it seemed that there had been a coalition formed to support it. That was my impression.
There is an ugly mood among farmers which is scary to watch.
The sector gets subtly subsidised via the ETS, Crown Fund for irrigation, tenure review etc etc. The farm real returns are in tax free capital gains, as is well known. So farmers are dead scared of any CGT or inheritance tax. Parker has dealt with them before, he knows all this chapter and verse, and that just serves to infuriate them.
$’s aside, the questions around clean rivers are equally serious. Denial, evasion, intimidation, you name it… the extreme side of farming politics is coming out and it is not funny.
The problem is that even with all the incentives, subsidies and support they are granted, they still manage to mortgage themselves so highly they become dependant on this welfare.
So the mere suggestion that they actually contribute a little to what they use and spoil is heart-stopping to them.
The system’s encouragement is the cause, they are just the natural consequence.
“There is an ugly mood among farmers which is scary to watch.”
Nothing as frightening as a farmer who thinks they won’t be able to have another new gas guzzling 4×4 parked outside the farmhouse after fieldays.
Agree with all comments here, we need to buy-in the farmers not bludgeon them as the Greens are doing.
I was Green Party once and not now so we need to make Greens more ‘amicable’ to other views now.
That was why I left the Greens in 2002.
Why did they eject Graham Kennedy as he has a massive following globally. and this shows graphically the stubbornness Greens are noted as being, – with the lack of amicable support for differing views.
I forecast that the only way we on the left can take control of the Government benches is to have all three ‘potential’ Government coalition partners being labour greens, NZ First must get together now to form a grand coalition.
No time to wait. –
Call me a peacemaker but someone needs to bang these thick heads together and see sense finally.
The outcome if not is disasterous for us all.
More that he ejected himself as far as I can see.
Come back to the Greens, CG. They want farmers as part of the solution – even farmers can see that their model is unsustainable. There is money to be made in tree-planting and reparation.
NZF are too loose a cannon. How many times have they let us down over the years?
Kennedy Graham walked out shafting the party in the process. There is no way back for this kind of selfish destructive stupidity.
We tried that 15 years ago when they said that they didn’t regulation and that they would do the Right Thing™. 15 years later and things are getting worse. After we’ve given them that sort of time to clean their shit up and they continue to Fuck Things Up then we have to stop being nice.
Why would we do that when the other views are actually wrong?
Because he broke the rules and what LPrent said.
No no listen to what cleangreen is saying! Your dismissal of that view is the problem
I did. The problem is his view is wrong.
The Greens are the only Party consistently trying to break through the social welfare, good governance and ecological damage problems. Note the social welfare which Labour and everyone else is ambivalent about. Hone Harawira may be the only other Party really responsive. Labour however are trying.
But Greens are bigger than you in their views Nature Boy.
I was talking with some farmers the other day bemoaning how tough things were, then they mentioned how awesome their annual 6 weeks on holiday in Northern Europe was. Hard to take them seriously after that information. Yeah, I know not typical but..
No ,it is typical, I am one, but it’s taken me 25 years to get comfyish, and my wife is still working full time and at last we can see our kids on the other side of the world every two years or so. But Europe and Hawaii are overrun with other bloody Kiwi farmers.
willing to bet there are a fair few farmers with holiday houses in Wanaka too.
People are entitled to have holidays and baches if they can afford them.
(I’m not saying ‘don’t charge for water’)
“People are entitled to have holidays”- and too many can’t afford them. There are still kids in this country who have never seen the sea because they can’t cover the cost of the bus trip. And that’s just the urban ones.
Baches and cribs are a whole different story.
Sadly we all will cook along with the planet.
All the subsidies in the world won’t change that unless they are targetted to change behaviour.
The farmers who use methods other than intensive water dependent farming should receive green payments to encourage the maintenance of good habits.
People do what works for them, so pay for good practice.
Charge for overstocking and irrigation and poor land management. Behaviours will change.
Tax the “bad”, $ubsidi$e the “good”. Redistribute within the agri sector.
Totally agree. And there are many farmers who are trying to do the right things.
They should be encouraged.
Green policy, despite the alarmist BS from Fed farmers, is intended to help farmers into long term sustainable agriculture. Not put them out of business.
Unfortunately, business models that depend on low wages, freedom to pollute and tax paid subsidies for their externalities, are not sustainable long term. Farming capital gains, is only a short term enterprise.
Patricia you are so right here,
I have a small 7 acre ‘recluse’ up in the mountains behind Poverty Bay next to what some may call an intensive farm of 200 Ha but this farmer is as green as i am still after living alongside him here with my small patch.
We reuse our water again and again through filtration and use of Hydrogen peroxide.
What we need to learn is to use only intensive farming where water is abundant as it is here next to large native bush areas as those forests do handle riparian cleaning of our groundwater.
Strikingly unlike the clay soils of the flat land below us under the mountains.
The Motu begins here also, and we have seen most farmers fence stream/ culverts ect’ here now.
But the road authorities (NZTA )do miserably badly and very little to stop ‘road run-off ‘ of not only tyre, clutch, brake dust, but NZTA don’t control stock effluent that runs off the back of those stock trucks when on-borad holding tanks overflow!!!!
That stock effluent runs into our waterways and aquifers and winds up in our drinking water.
So we need to lean on NZTA to clean up their ‘bloody act’ now not in 20 yrs time as National has planned.
Meng Foon Barked at Winston Peters in Gisborne yesterday while Winston was here talking at a public meeting by asking what will NZ First do about (quote) “our terrible roads”
Winston calmly asked Meng Foon who in Gisborne is sticking up for the people of Gisborne about rail and other infrastructure?
Meng did not answer as Meng is now wanting roads and has forgotten rail, so Winston replied quote “well Mayor Foon, you must use all transport modes port, road, rail all together as that is the way it is done around the world now”
That showed us that Winston is as Green as the Greens are.
Then the day before 11th September 2017 in North Auckland at another political forum ‘the Northland Rail forum’ Winston was along with the Greens both were calling for the restoration of regional rail services.
There are some similar agreements between them we must observe honestly.
No, that is the farmers needing to clean up their bloody act. Those on board holding tanks shouldn’t be over-flowing.
The only thing that can be done about tyre, brake and clutch dust is to get the cars and trucks off of the road – which we also need to do.
“No, that is the farmers needing to clean up their bloody act. Those on board holding tanks shouldn’t be over-flowing.”
Trouble is….there may be an issue with the distribution of disposal sites.
That’s still the farmers problem. They need to take that into consideration when sending their stock off in trucks and then change the number of stock on the truck so as to prevent over flow.
What we really need is on-farm, shared local abattoirs. e.g. Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm in the US. They’re not perfect, but it does increase the transparency of farming, and removes a whole bunch of current barriers to sustainable farming. There’s a rort in the current system, very hard for organic farmers to get the offal back to sell for instance. And too many farmers are having to transport stock across province then back to the farm if they want to sell it locally.
Another example of ‘Economies of Scale’ bringing about an uneconomic result.
Even local abattoirs owned by the local farmers would probably be better than large, far away abattoirs owned by someone else.
Still it won’t be long before that’s fully automated as well making local abattoirs better.
Weka is absolutely correct.
Thanks for the feedback.
What consecutive government’s have done is to ‘encourage’ business ‘rationalisations’ by closing down local meat works and milk treatment stations as we all know just come to Gisborne/HB and you will see what is wrong here now.
Milk tankers come from Opotiki full when they get to Gisborne and then have to travel all the way to Manawatu now as they have closed down any HB milk treatment stations of any volume, and then the product comes back to port of Napier for export all by road.
Total around road trip of 994 km per tanker and stock truck travel is almost the same because meat works also were rationalised too.
it’s a f——ing mess they have caused us all.
The NZTA are responsible through their RMA act to provide effluent draining stations not the farmers Draco T barstard sorry so read the Road Controlling Agency (RTA) literature for clarity.
That is why we have been fighting for 16 yrs for a better stock transport use of rail in our regions as when we had rail they had stock yards and better control travel and less stress of stock.
I recall recently a case where a farmer allowed stock to be left on a truck for days and stock suffered so there is need of better transport again as we used to have with those close by processing facilities too.
By the way Draco there are F—all effluent draining stations between Opotiki & Manawatu.
NZTA are doing everything in the provinces outside ‘the golden triangle’ on the cheap as they are spending big on Auckland road to holiday homes.
Then the farmers need to adjust to meet the limited resources and stop polluting our roads and waterways.
And, yes, rail is a far better option but the farmers still have to work within what is there rather than going beyond it.
That would be National and their delusional RONS.
The British caused the spread of their deadly disease of cattle (was it bovine enchpahilits or spongy brain?) because of the long treks of cattle to centralised works, along with the spread of disease along the routes infecting almost the whole country.
Industrial agriculture is as mindless as industrial machinery business. Money from profit and Ricardo’s point of comparative advantage win the day against all other important and responsible behaviours.
While we wait for The Right Methods to be brought in there needs to be remedial work done right now. Delivering statements of ideological purity doesn’t deal with now. Miracles take a little longer!
Now, we need stuff done now – while keeping the right behaviour in the front of our thoughts to be actioned next.
What a load of bollocks.
We do need stuff done now – we need the farmers to act in the limits of what’s there and not just go off and do whatever they like to make the most money at our expense.
” very little to stop ‘road run-off ‘ of not only tyre, clutch, brake dust,”
Who has the ongoing responsibility to monitor the short and long term effects of this pollution? Does it include the tainting from run off after road sealing work? What code of practice do we have for the material removed from ditches and culverts? Who ensures it’s followed?
Who is responsible for the distribution of the information – and making enforceable recommendations throughout the country?
We do this with building materials; why not also for roading materials?
So often, in this country, work is begun, recommendations are made and then, with scarce a ripple, the initiative slips beneath the budget, wriggles a few times – dies. Until there’s some sort of chronic catastrophe…
I think the only solution at this juncture is to pay farmers not to pollute.
Parker should have just sat down and said, “How much $$ will it take for you to stop polluting our waterways”.
Farmers only understand one thing: money. Labour should promise a monthly cash payment to farmers on the condition they stop polluting. And dress it up as a payment towards helping farmers lessen the environmental impact of their operations.
The question with that approach is if they are a honest blackmailer – do they stay brought? Or do they say one thing and carry on doing another.
Based on the measurements in our waterways compared to the protestations of Federated Farmers about how farmers have been taking care of the waterways over recent decades, I would say that they are not. We need more inspections by bodies not associated with MAF, some stinging fines, and if required some jail time for recalcitrant offenders.
More inspections by Sainsbury’s and Woolworths would be effective.
Yes Ad you bring in an important point. The drive by some supermarkets to show they are buying ethically and with maximum traceability may be a deciding factor in losses to farmers and consternation and obedient action in the farming nation, that seems to keep itself separate from other NZs, that no tax or effort at reasonable government controls will.
I’d say that we need to take the farm off of the polluters – while leaving them with all the debt. Should be able to use the proceeds of crime act.
I think you’ll find that many farmers would be willing to clean their act up if we actually got serious about enforcing the rules even as they are.
We all need to own the “water pollution” as we all mostly drive vehicles that cause ‘road pollution runoff’ too.
Translation: But, but, they do it tooooo, WAAAAAAH
From post above –
They [farmers staunch on keeping present policies] came across as righteous entitled snowflakes.
Parker was saturated in policy detail, in histories of river catchment, in his personal history of fishing. Unflappable and fact based. It was people from the audience that gave strong debate with the unrepentant farmers.
If we townies and others of enlightened rural people will have to keep up the fight for NZ. That is what it is. The farmers have settled into the farmers first and only attitude that we started our colonialism with. We have gone backwards from being the educated, smart-thinking business bucaneers in a first world that we have in our imaginations. Sure we have got into the IT world to some extent but we hang our everything on the pegs we get from farming and tourism income.
We have succeeded in IT. But the IT world seems so volatile.
Some sanity on the water charge.
I grow grapes in a bloody dry area and crop 80 to 100 tonne depending on the season.
I have a water allocation of 126 cubic metres a day, of which I only use about 80 c.m.
For the full allocation that is $2.50 a day, $17.64 a week and $282.24 for a 4 month season. Usually only irrigate for 3 months equilivant, again depending on the season.
That’s $225.79 for the season.
Grapes are worth up to about $1800 a tonne or $180,000 in a very good year.
Fuck me, that 225 bucks is going to cripple me.
I heard some tosser complaining on the radio this morning that the charge was going to cost him $100,000 a year, if he was growing grapes, admittedly a high value crop, he could grow 44 thousand tonnes of grapes and that’s 79.9 million dollars of income.
Something may be wrong with all the figures because the total NZ grape crop is around 360 ,000 tonnes or $818,000 water charge at 2 cents a cubic metre for the entire NZ grape crop.
That’s not a lot of money compared to the projected income that the alarmists are quoting.
BTW, what the fuck is he growing that needs that much water, one farmer using an eighth of the entire NZ grape harvest water use ?.
P.S, that 180 grand looks like a lot of money but a huge proportion of it goes straight back out the door and I’m coming in to a two month period when frost can wipe out the lot in 5 minutes.
Even after spending 6 months working on a town supply farm 40 years ago, I still can’t figure out where in the hell some of the volumes of water that some in the farming community are tossing around could even be used. Horticulture possibly? But you damn near have to be leeching the nutrients out of the topsoil by running the soil as a boggy mess at the numbers of litres they are talking about.
And that is before we get into the lying by the likes of Federated Farmers and the National party about the probable costs per litre.
nope…those figures are about right in some cases (esp here in canty)…even at 1-2 cents per cubic some are looking at 10s of thousands…..you have to remember that a 2 week rotation at say 25mm coverage over perhaps 1000 h equals a substantial quantity of water…..and therein lies a potentially valid argument from the sector….it is not exclusively irrigators that are responsible for say the likes of nitrate contamination….and remembering that is additional to other significant cost increases associated with irrigation.
Theres no doubting the need to modify behaviours but suspect this is going to be a drawn out negotiation once the election is over and it is highly likely there will be some modification of the policy before it is implemented.
do you know how Labour came up with the 1 – 2c/L number?
It’s not 1 to 2 cents per litre but 1 to 2 cents per cubic metre.
thanks, sorry, bit short on sleep.
Well then, perhaps they’ll get innovative about supplying water to the farm. Or perhaps they’ll realise that what they’re farming is simply the wrong thing and stop doing it and start farming something else.
These are, BTW, the actions that the pricing mechanism is supposed to bring about. So, your argument is that we need the pricing mechanism to help show these farmers the error of their ways.
you personalise it and simplify it to the point of nonsense….there has indeed been considerable innovation with irrigation, some of which has had unintended consequences and some that has been beneficial…..there is no denying modified behaviours are required, however knee jerk reactions are unlikely to find the best solutions….it will require negotiation (in good faith) by all parties….not condemnation and confrontation…I would expect that everyone would hope for the same if the boot was on the other foot.
No I didn’t. I just put it into market speak so that farmers would understand it. The same stuff they use when the price difference between NZ produced food in NZ and the UK is brought up.
If so then it’s failed and we need more that actually resolves the problem.
I wouldn’t. After all, there was no consideration given to all those made redundant by state actions in the 1980s/90s.
So, why should such consideration be given to farmers who should’ve known for a long time that such regulation was coming and yet did nothing about it? Who only whinged when their deplorable actions were brought up?
you have selective memory re the 1980s reforms (assuming you even experienced them)….farm values halved, and the impact on the rural communities was every bit as devastating as anything that occured to those made redundant…….as to whinging I expect they’ll have plenty of competition from all quarters as the changes that are needed are proposed……fortunately keyboard warriors won’t be the ones making the decisions.
I remember them quite well – being one of the ones made redundant. I even recall the screams of the farmers at the time as some subsidies were removed. They quietened down pretty quick though – probably didn’t want to draw attention to all the indirect subsidies that they still get like clean, fresh water for nothing.
And you’ve still not come up with any reason why consideration should be given. If there’s a bad practice then it needs to be ended ASAP.
then your memory fails you….go and read some history…as to being made redundant , you really don’t want to get into a pissing contest.
You’re the only one trying to turn this into a pissing contest.
The thing about the farmers and their whinging is that they always seem to make out all right as the government steps in and helps in some way (Fonterra’s legislation for example) after crying wolf while the other people sometimes don’t and the government removes their support.
Our neigbour up in the Gisborne hills has 500 acres and uses only one 22000 litre tank for his cattle water supply every two weeks and is happy to contribute to a fund to help clean up the water pollution.
At two cents a litre he would pay $10 to 20 a week at worst or $500 to $1000 yr not the thousands the national party & Farmers Federation are claiming.
But an argument put forward by a farmer at the Wanaka meeting was that he, as
a farmer in the Maniototo , had to rely on irrigation in that very dry climate to such an extent that it would cost him $81,000 a year for irrigation at a cost of 2 cents per 1000 litres.
He is a sheep and beef farmer, not dairy.
Maybe the policy needs to be tweaked for this situation? Maybe 1/2 a cent a litre is enough? Other options? Maybe he shouldn’t need to use that massive volume of water?
Or maybe trying to farm sheep and beef in that environment isn’t actually feasible?
Perhaps camels may be more suitable?
That’s bullshit. Farming in places like the Maniototo didn’t used to need mass irrigation. What’s changed? The industrial farming sector has convinced many farmers to shift how they farm, but that’s the risk they all took. Climate change was already on the horizon. I’m not adverse to financial help for farmers to wean themselves off irrigation, but they need to stop with the whole ‘we can farm how we like’ stuff.
So there needs to be a bit of clarity about the intent of the policy. Is it intended to cause some farmers, in some sectors, in some areas, to (a) reduce waste of water, (b) reduce their operations, or even (c) get out of the business entirely? If so, which and why?
To me it looks like the rate of the water charge is a bit low, if the intent is to force changes in land use. I would have thought most users would just pass it on or take a hit from their bottom line – rather than doing anything differently on the ground.
P.S. I would much rather have seen a more sophisticated regime where the price of water varied depending on scarcity, nil in a flood, very high when drawing from a non-renewable aquifer…
writing a post on that as we speak 🙂
Their choice and because The Market says so.
In theory they can’t pass it on. The price that they get is the price that The Market pays. If the price that they get doesn’t cover the costs involved then they have the choice of improving productivity, reducing costs or shifting to doing something else entirely.
That’s the theory but we do know that many will simply pass the cost on because they can.
Nope. That’s not how The Market works. The market would supply water at a single price. The users of the water would then choose if they can continue as they are or choose to work differently.
The problem we’ve got is twofold:
1. The government didn’t set any limits to water availability (dependent upon source and time)
2. The government didn’t set a price on water
These two omissions has resulted in unsustainable and inefficient water use. The farmers, who’ve engaged in these rather stupid practices, are now whinging about not being able to continue with them.
>> I would much rather have seen a more sophisticated regime where the price of water varied depending on scarcity, nil in a flood, very high when drawing from a non-renewable aquifer…
> Nope. That’s not how The Market works. The market would supply water at a single price.
Absolutely false, a massive misapprehension.
A true market (clearly not possible in this case) would price at the intersection of supply and demand.
In the absence of a true market, we should aim for ‘market-like’ pricing, where what is scarce and highly desired is expensive, what is available in abundance is cheap, and what is available to excess is free.
> The problem we’ve got is twofold:
> 1. The government didn’t set any limits to water availability (dependent upon source and time)
> 2. The government didn’t set a price on water
On this I agree.
But a single price, nationwide, at all times of year and regardless of the source of the water, is not the answer. That is far too blunt of an instrument.
At a single price.
That’s not how the market works although people believing that’s how the market works is what’s causing the problem. In a market everything has a price and there is no excess. And it is that wrong belief that led to the two-fold problem that I enunciated and you agreed with.
Actually, it’s the only one that can be done because we don’t have a perfect market. Just imagine the screams of outrage that would happen if the farmers in Canterbury were charged 5c/m^3 while the farmers on the west Coast were charged 1c/m^3.
Of course, if such did happen then there’d theoretically be a market to ship water from the West Coast to Canterbury which would result in both having a water price of 5c/m^3 or perhaps even more.
But what we’re really talking about here is a resource price. The price that the government charges for simply taking of a national resource. We should be doing this with all of our resources rather than the royalty system that we have for most of the rest.
> Just imagine the screams of outrage that would happen if the farmers in Canterbury were charged 5c/m^3 while the farmers on the west Coast were charged 1c/m^3.
Yes, this is the sort of thing we need. I don’t know why you say it can’t be done.
> there’d theoretically be a market to ship water from the West Coast to Canterbury which would result in both having a water price of 5c/m^3 or perhaps even more.
This is crazy talk, you can’t ship water from the West Coast to Canterbury for that price
Then the price of water to everyone will go up to over 5c/m^3. That’s what the market does.
Read all the way to the bottom of my comment.
> Read all the way to the bottom of my comment.
I did. I think you have some funny ideas about markets. You have got the idea that a market can only have a single price applying at all locations. That’s not how most markets work, certainly not most real markets, not even most theoretical idealised markets. If you want to have a discussion about the subset of theoretical idealised markets that have a single price everywhere, then go for it, but leave me out of it.
That’s exactly how markets work.
At location A there’s a water price of 1c/l
At location B there’s a water price of 5c/l
Result: Water will be shipped from location A to location B until the price stabilises at 5c/l in both places thus maximising profit (while also doing massive environmental damage).
But that’s immaterial as it’s the government setting a price on the nations water resource. Not on the shipping, not on the extraction but on the resource itself. And when a government does that they need to set the same price everywhere with limits on the availability changing per location.
We don’t want the idea that if we just pay more we can have more or, the obverse, that if we just made more available from a region it will be cheaper. The limits need to be fixed and that means a fixed price.
Well, you go talk to NZLP mate, cos what you don’t want is exactly what they’re planning (price varying between regions, but no new limits on quantity) and I and mainstream economics say they’re right.
You mean the economics that causes:
over-use of resources
destruction of the environment
Yeah, I think we’ve had enough proof that it’s wrong.
Build a water supply pipe as California has done?
They shouldn’t have allowed water extraction from our best deep bores for export drinking water was just another national F—Up>
Worst are the carpet baggers.
Buyers who buy land for existing water rights, then stop farming and start selling water.
A huge problem in California.
We are on the cusp.
It will involve hard choices to make changes and manage markets,
It does if you bothered to pay attention when it was announced.
Here you go, you lazy prick.
Well (a) that hasn’t been properly communicated by Labour, and (b) it don’t impress me much, until and unless someone figures out how to set the price in a given place at a given time.
PS When I say “not properly communicated by Labour”, I am referring to the likes of David Parker running round saying “about a cent per thousand litres” rather than “possibly nil, possibly lots, depending”
I think if you want that level of detail the onus is on you to go look it up on the party’s website. Some of the Green Party policy docs are 20 or 30 pages long. You can’t fit that into a five or even 15 min media interview.
”I think if you want that level of detail the onus is on you to go look it up on the party’s website. Some of the Green Party policy docs are 20 or 30 pages long. You can’t fit that into a five or even 15 min media interview.”
that is why the left can’t win an election , over complicated long winded messages that national can drive a truck load of shitting burping cows through. most voters are simple fuckers if they don’t get it you lose
SO the risk here is that either:
(a) Labour feels obligated to cap the charge at about a cent per thousand litres, which is far too small and won’t achieve anything tangible, or
(b) Labour charges a lot more than 1c/kL in at least some areas, and the electorate gets aggrieved (fairly in my view) because the charge is a lot bigger than advertised.
a 20 page policy document isn’t a message, it’s a comprehensive, independently costed plan of how to run part of government once in office. It’s a good thing because it many of the questions the media and pundits will ask. The message is a different thing and as I already pointed out, you don’t try and present the whole policy in that messaging via the media. If people like Antoine want detail they need to go to where the detail is.
It’s bizarre to suggest that the Greens shouldn’t have fully costed policy. It’s one of the reasons why they’re one of the most competent parties in parliament.
What’s changed in the Maniototo and elsewhere is that many farms have converted to dairy.
BTW,Living down south and travelling past intensive dairy farms you can’t help notice the stink. Lots of farming practices smell but dairy takes it to a whole new level.
I live within cooee of a dairy farm (who doesn’t?), I know what you mean. Some of the smells at the moment I’m having trouble identifying 🙁
Yes, Maniototo and many other places think they need irrigation because they’re trying to force the land against the natural climate. It’s happening with non-dairy a bit too. All so stupid.
Auckland stinks a bit too,There being more arseholes there, a neat statistical fact.
Very good link.
If Canterbury and Southland had the kind of transparent active plan that Auckland just outlined, there would be no resistance from Federated Farmers or any farmer.
City management better enables whole catchment control, publicity, and mitigation.
Very informative Poission, I am suitably shocked.
1 million people in Auckland don’t live near dairy farms though. They won’t know that you have to shut the air intake into the car in many places. Worse when biking past . If we could bottle that smell and release it into the malls in the cities……just to let the city folk experience intensive dairy
No, it doesn’t.
He should look at farming something else that doesn’t use as much water or, perhaps, not farming that location at all.
…it would cost him $81,000 a year for irrigation at a cost of 2 cents per 1000 litres.
It would? So, he’s using 4 billion litres of water a year, then? We need to stop taking our political opponents lies at face value. They are liars and their lies are for political (and in this case, financial) gain. Slap them down when they try to peddle this bullshit.
Hi Psycho….shamefully I hadn’t worked out those numbers…..you are absolutely right 4 billion litres is massive, over 10 million litres a day.
The guy was probably talking total bollocks.
An interesting fact mentioned by Parker at the meeting was that only 2% of rivers are within urban areas, which should shut the farmers up on the issue “why aren’t they being charged in the cities”.
Didn’t mean to imply negligence on your part, I’m just well sick of the blatant lying from National and its supporters about this. You’d think being caught out over the $18 cabbages and the $11 bil budget hole would have taught them to tone it down a bit, but apparently not.
Working of ORC’s figures for seasonal irrigation limit http://www.orc.govt.nz/Documents/Publications/Farming%20and%20Land%20Management/Aqualinc%20October%20%202006.pdf (6300 m3/ha for the Upper Taieri ) they’d be irrigating 650 ha. That would be a 1.4 km long pivot irrigator.
There’s a few of them around Otago.
Once again, that $81,000 is about 10% of the water nessecary for the entire NZ grape crop which is worth 2 BILLION dollars of foriegn exchange.
That is the wrong farming model.
Go and talk to Doug Avery for gods sake.
Yeah, you’ve got to wonder about marginal pastoral farming in dry areas. Cherries have much better returns per hectare and m3 of water, as do grapes. But you see irrigated dairy set up next door to both of these in Otago. I suppose if livestock farming is all you know, it’s hard to do something else. There’s probably a degree of incrementalism in the process too, it starts off with turning water out of a race, and after a while you invest in efficiency with a pivot and then you’ve got such a tie up you can’t turn back.
Good facts Adrian. We all need to know a bit about the agricultural – primary side of business here as it is a big part of our national earnings. I try to keep up.
Started learning not to make a bad job putting the cups on cow’s teats and have them drop off.
I don’t know why Parker – and Labour – bother with farmers: they’re never going to vote for them anyway. Better, IMHO, to target provincial towns where not everyone is an unreconstructed neanderthal right-winger. Better still to try and reconnect with Labour’s base (an apology for neoliberalism would be nice) instead of appeasing its enemies. Otherwise, Labour looks as though it’s still trying to be all things to all people. And we know where that got them.
Wanaka is fully reconstructed.
It was a majority pro-Labour in the room.
And you know what?
Labour really are All Things To All People.
(Some just don’t know it yet)
So vote Labour.
Good words Ad. So vote Labour – or Green, better.
Nope, Party Vote Green for a progressive government.
Good to see commentors here trying to come to grips with the complexities of farming and confirming that most urbanites know jack shit about farming,farmers and rural communities. You have also confirmed to me that the proposed water tax on irrigators is a envy tax on rich farmers and has nothing to do with cleaning up rivers. Canterbury would pay $41 million dollars at 2 cents per 1000 liters and only 4 % of rivers in Canterbury are poor for swimming.
The Auckland region would collect $500,000 and 62 % of the rivers are poor for swimming.
Picking on irrigators is stupidity.
Such a helpful and friendly comment. Just reading The Guardian today. The UN has a new report out that states that current farming practices have caused one third of the world’s soil to be acutely degraded. I live in a rural area. Always amazed at the fact that most farmers hate trees. They love denuded wastelands exposed to the high winds in the area where I live. My grandfather planted trees around each and every paddock on his farm near Whanganui. Admittedly they were mainly macrocapa and lawsonianas but they provided shade and protection for stock and must have helped conserve soil and water quality a bit. And go to England – population 60 million plus. Most farm land there much better managed than in NZ. Know many entitled farmers who think they should be able to do what they like, because we all owe them.
According to those interesting standards promulgated by Nick Smith – Mr Lying with Numbers. Basically the standard he picked seems to mean that there is about a 1 in 10 chance of picking up a nasty waterborne disease if you swim in it or even wade in it regularly.
And I see that you are fulfilling the stereotype of being a whining farmer who likes getting everything for free while never taking any responsibility for anything that they pollute. And that these particular whinging fools don’t understand urban environments and appear to be too stupid to learn.
Auckland ‘region’ is pretty much Auckland City. The urbanised area is something like 85% of the region. It contains about 1.6 million people in an area that is a small fraction of the size of Canterbury.
All Aucklander residents in the urban area directly pay at least $500 per year in water bills. The majority of which is for treating sewerage and waste water. Then the businesses pay as well.
The 500k you are referring to is from the very small area that is actually irrigated and not currently paying – some urban dairy, market gardens and vineyards. Which probably produce more food for Auckland than Canterbury does. This is known as something called “efficient agriculture”, and generally most of them are also already paying both for their water and treatment. Paying for resources is a particularly good way for wasters to learn how to not waste. A lesson that you so clearly don’t want to learn. FFS it is like talking to a child.
This means that just in WaterCare itself, there was 570 million dollars in revenue in 2016 ( see https://www.watercare.co.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/AllPDFs/Watercare-Annual-Report-2016.pdf ), and their 10 year capital expenditure plan for capacity and water quality improvements is about 8.5 billion dollars.
Auckland is merely the biggest. Every urban area in NZ and almost every town down to the size of hamlets has been doing this for decades.
Unlike the lazy whining farmers like you, we spend money and effort on cleaning up our crap and we don’t expect everyone else to do it for us.
Perhaps you should go and learn why urbanites care about their environment and what they are willing to expend to keep their working environment clean. It’d be more productive than your current policy of whining and wanting freebies.
No one in NZ currently pays for water.
Labours proposed water tax is a totally new concept and if you can’t see that directing it at irrigators and not other water users is nasty and discriminatory, I’m sorry.
You obviously have no idea on what is actually happening on farms now to improve water quality , and I get the impression that you don’t want to know.
The average New Zealander uses x-amount of water. An irrigating farmer uses xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx amount.
So it’s exactly the same, aye, Ian.
If a water tax is introduced obviosly large users will pay more
Electrity generators for example need to ne charged as they are using that water to make a profit.The price of electricity will need to rise and the consumer will pay.
The discriminatory nature of labours proposed water tax is a very big problem for labour
A result of poorly thought out policy
But hydroelectricity generators aren’t fouling the water supply for everyone else. Dairy farmers using irrigation are doing just that so make the bastards pay, I reckon. As for bottled water suppliers, although they are not fouling the water for others, they are making profits from a freely available resource that doesn’t belong exclusively to them – so make them pay too but at a higher rate to reflect the fact that most bottled water companies have at least one prominent Nat high up in their corporate food chains (ie board or senior executive level).
Have never seen it seriously suggested that power generators should pay for water. They dont consume it, they return it to the waterway after using it…
No one in NZ currently pays for water.
I’m pretty sure the PNCC doesn’t make water come out of my taps for nothing, in fact last time I looked they were billing me for it. I doubt I’m the only person in NZ receiving such bills.
The argument is that you are paying for infrastructure. Are you paying a litre rate?
Stop telling lies you stupid dickhead.
Settle down old fellow.I don’t tell lies.Your just jealous .
I can’t see a water tax on that bill
Semi-literate, lazy and incurious too. From the top link “Domestic water, wastewater and other charges”:
Only 100 times more than the proposed charge on agricultural polluters.
I don’t see anything in Labour’s policy that is directed just at irrigators. It applies to ALL commercial water users,
“Introducing a freshwater royalty
Water permit holders meet consent and extraction costs and measure quantities (if five or more litres per second) to ensure they stay within their allocations. They do not currently pay for the water itself. The National government says this is appropriate because no-one owns water.
Labour says that everyone owns water, although some people have particular interests in it that can be valuable. We say that when a public resource such as this is being used for commercial profit, the public has a right to get a return on it by way of a royalty – as we do for oil, gas, coal, silver and gold, and even gravel.14
It is fair that such a royalty should be paid by large commercial water users – such as water bottlers, irrigators, and other industrial users – instead of them getting it for free. Also, a royalty would encourage the best and most efficient use of freshwater – so would act as both an economic and environmental tool. All domestic uses of water would be exempt from the royalty, as would stock water uses.15
The freshwater royalty will be set by the government at a fair and affordable level, with expert advice being sought from Treasury and others on its design, and interested parties consulted. The royalty per cubic metre of water used could vary from region to region, or within a region, and depending on the use. The royalty for pristine water good enough to bottle would be higher than for lower value uses.”
The whole thing is here, https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/nzlabour/pages/8414/attachments/original/1504825077/Water_Policy.pdf?1504825077
Have a read, it cover a lot more than the Resource Levy, and will affect urban people just as much with the cleaning up of urban sewer and stormwater discharges.
and they’ll scream just as loud
Well, the conservative rate payers who demand that rates, and services don’t increase will kick up merry hell. They are the same ones who wouldn’t spend the money to fix these problems that have been known about for 30 or 40 years. You also get restricted maintenance budgets, so mud tanks don’t get cleaned out as often as they should, so more heavy shit off the roads ends up in waterways than should.
but I reiterate, change is coming for us all…whether we like it or not.
Read the OECD report on how the world views our economy especially on unregulated rivers.
Read the Parliamentary Commissioner on the Environment’s report on the fresh water policy of this government.
The whole world is watching what farmers do in this election.
The fate of Fonterra itself – and all its suppliers – rides on it.
If National get returned they have a National party MP (retired) taking the present Commissioners place to rubber stamp all National’s dirty practices, then we are all screwed.
I think your reading skills are as spotty as this revised comment by me below which I think states your points more clearly and adds other queries that must have been in your mind as salient, though not mentioned.
Revised by greywarshark with aim of making some points clear:
Good commenters here trying to come to grips with the complexities of farming. Most know jack shit about farming [including some] farmers and rural communities. It confirms for me that the proposed water tax on irrigators is a tax on rich farmers and is supposed to help to clean up rivers. But only 4% of rivers in Canterbury are poor for swimming [according to my understanding].
In Auckland apparently 62% of the rivers are poor for swimming. [I am not sure why the high percentage] but I note that at 2 cents per 1000 litres Canterbury would pay $41 million and Auckland only $500,000.
So it would appear that Canterbury is using a lot more irrigation water than Auckland. I would like to know the number of rivers affected in both Auckland and Canterbury as the percentage difference for low-standard ones is great.
It also occurs to me that the tax will lead to less use of irrigation and cut down on any wasteful practices that have occurred because as the water is free there is no monetary charge to act as a restraint, and probably little checking of water usage according to agreement by Council or other ‘responsible’ body. e&oe
6 figure pumping costs and large R and M costs on precision irrigation equipment is a very real incentive to minimise water use.We use aquaflex soil moisture probes observable in real time to decide when to start and stop the machines.
All our water is measured using electronic flow meters.
Wow, what a humongous amount of water! – even for farmers to waste.
41,000,000 x 50 x 1000 = 2,050,000,000,000 litres!!
Two thousand and fifty trillion.
Sure is. I seem to remember that Watercare only provides 148 billion cubic metres * 1000 = 148 trillion litres for the 1.6 million in the Auckland region.
yep Page 43. https://www.watercare.co.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/AllPDFs/Watercare-Annual-Report-2016.pdf
Ummm I see that I am a bit low in the population now. http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/population/estimates_and_projections/SubnationalPopulationEstimates_HOTPAtJun16/Commentary.aspx#region
Apparently farmers mainly export water from Canterbury and pee in the rest. No wonder they don’t want to pay for cleaning it up.
so what. It keeps on raining up in the mountains and the water cycle just keeps on going around.
That doesn’t make it an inexhaustible supply.
We know how much rain falls on the country per year. We know, approximately, how much nature needs for it’s good health. We know how much each person needs for their good health.
What’s left is what can be used for commercial purposes. It’s a very limited amount.
The so what is that in Canterbury and Central they are trying to grow grass on shingle by the addition of water and nitrogen, the fact that the soils are free draining means water and contaminents re-enter aquifers, its called shitting in someone else’s nest.
having said that, and assuming your numbers are accurate (havnt checked) fairness issue aside 41 million is not a huge deal and equates to around 10cents per kilo milk solids (in canterbury)….you get more variation with exchange rate fluctuation…and yes i know not all irrigators are dairy operations…even so
It becomes a huge issue when added to all the other taxes that labour plans to hit nz business and communities with.
if your operation is not viable with a reduction of 10 c/k ms then the bank has already got you on credit stop…and as to Labours suite of tax hikes, where are they?..their budget equates to Nationals less the tax cuts…there is no net tax increase
“Äll the other tax’s” ….Such as….
(Perhaps you’ve been watching too many TV add!)
I understood the jury, ( Working Group), is yet to convene……
Perhaps they’ll add another 2.5% to GST. Just like National!
And what taxes might they be? I note that Labour has said, over and over again, that it won’t impose new taxes until after its Tax Working Group reports, apart from two differing rates on commercial water users. And, IIUC, the Nats plan to tax commercial water users themselves but are saying even less about it than Labour.
I lived for 8 years in a farming community. And I thought they were doing a great job. But what caused a reaction in me was when they said that because they were the backbone of the NZ economy we owed them.
My response was, “Rubbish. You are farming because you enjoy the lifestyle, have a good income, you are confident in your skills and are free to come and go as you see fit. You are not farming for the sake of the economy any more than a truck driver, a freezing worker or the local doctor.”
A bit frosty for a while they were.
The point that they don’t seem to want to understand is that they’re not the backbone of the economy any more. We don’t have more than 50% of the working population involved almost entirely around farming as we used to and we haven’t have for some time (measured in decades).
So, essential as it is, farming is not the backbone of the economy.
17 % of GDP last year. Not to be sneezed at
That’s right, campylobacter infections display entirely different symptoms.
Farmers who use industrial scale irrigation constitute 17% of GDP? Got a citation?
Measurement of of GDP is, at best, a bad measure. It’s far better to relate it to how much of the workforce it uses up.
As I say, once you start thinking in physical terms rather than dollars the economy takes on a far different character. Then what we can do in our economy becomes wider because we can start asking questions like: Do we have far too much farming when it returns so little while requiring so much?
Reduce farming by 70% and we could seriously increase doctors, teachers, builders, R&D and our manufacturing sector. Yes, all of them.
US farming accounts for 1% of their gross domestic product. The NZ figure is approx 17 %. We are very much dependent on farming .
Ian. Think you forgot something.. Although you had referred to it earlier! Funny that…
Contribution to GDP of the New Zealand tech sector, compared to dairy and tourism
Agriculture is a lot more than dairy
I agree the tech sector is going gang busters a lot of it agriculturally based
Peter Fraser (economist not former PM) said some agriculturalists are using the same amount of water in a year as 31,000 people. That’s a small city.
And they think that’s fine. How incredibly selfish.
I really should do the sums properly but the water charges have to be less than the electricity to pump it.
Heres a go, I can pump 7000 litres i.e, 14 cents worth, in an hour with a 1.5 hp pump and that costs me 42 cents without the line charge, say 45cents tops.
So the proposed water levy is a THIRD of the cost of pumping it, work is work, it costs the same per litre to pump no matter the size of the pump relativly speaking.
The complainer in Wanaka is spending about 240 THOUSAND bucks on electricity
Hes either a liar or a fucking idiot or most likely, both.
This Wanaka farmer must have been getting his mathematics directions from the $11 billion dollar man -Steven Joyce?
Dont forget the articles published in 2011 That farmers pay less tax than a couple on a pension.
Yes, exactly how much do these backbone of the country people contribute to the whole??
‘Milk powder, butter, cheese, meat, and edible offal accounted for 41 percent of the total value of merchandise exports in the year ended March 2014.”
You are saying that all of that is reliant on industrial scale irrigation?
You need to cite a reference.
Go out for a drive in the country and open your eyes.
disappointing Ad, comprehension skills demonstrably lacking with that comment
Agriculture is a lot more than dairy
I agree the tech sector is going gang busters a lot of it agriculturally based