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Federated Farmers need to cut the crap

Written By: - Date published: 1:09 pm, September 20th, 2017 - 98 comments
Categories: Economy, Environment, farming - Tags: , , , , ,

The organisation Federated Farmers continued their fear campaign today in a Herald editorial. Their anonymous spokesman made their demand that “Farmers should know they are still appreciated“.

Of course, in the Federated Farmers usual style, their unsophisticated propaganda managed to avoid actually discussing the underlying issues, the similarities between the urban and the rural landscapes, and the differences in the responses of the people living and working in them.

Both rural and urban landscapes have had a massive intensification of creatures living there over the last decades. This has increased the drain on resources like water and the amounts of crap and other waste made by these creatures, human and cow. Ultimately both were caused by policy decisions made by our government, overseas governments  and the background of a steadily increasing world population of creatures.

In farming, since I last started worked in the industry 40 years ago, animal sizes have increased dramatically as more dairy and beef has replaced sheep and a lot of cropping. The intensive farming techniques have extended into regions of the country that were climatically off limits by the use of irrigation, the use of feed pads and supplementary feeds, and a host of other techniques. This has had the effect in those areas of simultaneously consuming vast amounts of fresh clean water available especially during dry periods, and increasing the leaching of both the waste from farming practices and the existing soil minerals.

Consequently over the last few decades we have seen falling water volumes in aquifers and waterways and the water quality in both has been getting progressively worse. But this isn’t a new problem, it is just a more intense problem across the whole rural sector.

Something that anonymous FF spokeman in the Herald editorial reluctantly pointed out in their demands for more respect.

It is true that environmentalists have convinced the great majority of urban dwellers that the country’s waterways are seriously polluted and dairy farming is the principal culprit.

Farmers do not deny it but they would like some recognition of the efforts many of them are making.

Dairy farms have agreed to fence off 98 per cent of their land adjoining waterways.

I’d add that of even more significance was that all of the milking sheds and even feed lots now treat to one degree or another treat their runoff waste before discharging it. When the farmers actually fence off the waterways it will alleviate more of the issue. However they are a long way from that at present. It won’t actually stop most of leaching of leached pollutants into the ground water or the waterways, but it’d help.

It will give a better chance of reducing to accretion rate to closer to something that natural water filtering systems can deal with and start to reduce the downstream costs, both to other farmers and to the towns and urban areas who have to live with the leachates. Speaking as someone who trained in earth sciences and had an opportunity to analyse ground water samples from the Waikato 40 years ago, what is currently in progress doesn’t have a shit show of actually preventing the pollution problems from farms or to clean up the accumulated crap that showed up in my samples that long ago.

However after that rare burst of candour, the anonymous FF spokesman at the Herald proceeded to demonstrate where what I consider to be the major issue with the “rural-urban” divide lies (my italics).

All farmers – not just those in the dairy industry – have a part to play in helping revive our rural rivers.

And urban dwellers, too, need to recognise they also have an impact on waterways.

No-one should doubt the impact we are all having on rivers and streams.

You hardly need to convince urban or provincial town dwellers and businesses of that.

Unlike farmers we already pay monthly charges to deal with waste and to minimise their impact on natural resources. We have done so for generations.

They are called water bills, sewerage bills, and through our organisations like councils and council organisations we pay considerably for having and growing the infrastructure to deal with it. They are pretty steep charges that suck into our available incomes and profits. They are used to ensure that the use of natural resources and the resulting waste of all of the creatures, humans and pets, in the cities and towns is minimised. Somehow unlike the farmers grumbling in Morrinsville or Federated Farmers we do this with far less wailing and gnashing of teeth, and we definitely don’t demand the respect of others for doing it like the current whinging from some farmers calls for.

Over the last 18 years that I have owned my apartment in central Auckland, these particular costs have tripled as the city has been steadily improving its practices. It has dealt with a far higher degree of intensification than farming, and much of it has been demanded by increasing environmental standards from the government.

Most towns and cities across New Zealand could say the same. Regardless of rising or falling populations or the vagaries of business we pay for a better environment because we don’t want to live in squalor and disease. Unlike many farmers we mostly can’t just export the problem downstream.

That even this expense hasn’t been enough in many urban areas because of the forced population growth. We’re not only having to pay for what we are doing now, we’re also having to pay for the capital works to future inhabitants and businesses. The resident population in just central Auckland has increased at least five fold in the same 18 years. This puts a great strain on the existing and even upgraded infrastructure.

Having a National party in government who seem to often act as Federated Farmers legislated body hasn’t helped. Both seem to like getting freebies from other people paying for their messes. The National government by screwing up Auckland governance and then dumping 40 thousand extra migrants into Auckland for the last 5 years without paying for them hasn’t helped Auckland – see Mike Lee on the subject. Such abrupt changes in policy just make forward planning considerably more difficult. At least the farmers usually get considerable warning of future policy changes.

Yet the struggle of urban areas and towns to control their use of resources and waste appears to be a topic that the pontificating anonymous Federated Farmers spokesman at the Herald is blithely unaware of. Instead like all terrorist groups trading on fear they prefer to make up some lost in the past fantasy to justify their blatant denigration for other people.  FFS: those signs at Morrinsville like “Pretty Communist”  are so 1950s that it was like looking at someone having a long drop over a river.

If farmers had spent, even proportionally, the kind of money that the residents and businesses of Auckland and every urban and town has over the last 30 years on improving their water usage and waste systems, then they would deserve the respect. But under the warding influence of Federated Farmers trying to beat up a rural vote to prevent real change, they don’t even come close.

We mainly hear the whining of Federated Farmers and their acolytes wanting to rest on their very limited laurels, and to not continue the struggle to minimise the costs of intensification on future generations. We get their government targeting rural standards that accept dangerous levels of leaching and water contamination, and where numbers point to real problems, they just stop measuring it.

It is worth re-reading John McCrone’s piece from Stuff “NZ Irrigation and its guilty secrets” where he looked at both sides of irrigation in the Canterbury irrigation schemes. For me the long-term problem is in the corruption of the basic science and is highlighted in these segments.

But as with the freshwater NPS, good science at the bottom has a way of becoming diluted by economic expediency as soon as it rises up the chain. Jenkins gives the example of nitrate limits agreed for North Canterbury’s Hurunui catchment.

“The current [gross nitrate] load is about 693 tonnes per year. The science advice ticked that it should stay at 693. The zone committee draft recommendation was it should be 693. Dairy NZ lobbied the ECan commissioners and it was raised to 832. Then it went to RMA hearing processes where it was raised again to 963.”

Massey University ecologist Dr Mike Joy is even more blunt in his view that the “farming within limits” talk is largely government spin.

Joy says the new national freshwater standards are so loose that pretty much every river in the country already meets the required targets. However the NPS is achieving this by tricks like measuring rivers against gross toxicity levels rather than ecosystem health levels.

So nitrate limits have been set at 6.9mg/l, which is where fish die by poisoning. But Joy says algal mats flourish at just 0.5mg/l. And algal mats cause wild swings in dissolved oxygen as they switch from blooming growth during the day to dormant respiration at night.

And even more of an issue long-term:-

Joy says he can cite any number of cynical ploys like this. Cadmium build up in soils, a consequence of long-term superphosphate use, is an issue that vanished overnight when farmland was made exempt from national contamination classification.

But there is a philosophical and generational difference along with the lying billshit is neatly summed up in this:-

But Kiwis seem happy to just live with such problems, because the official line from the NPS is the country’s rivers and lakes are “stable or improving”, says Joy. “It really is a failure of democracy.”

The reply from the irrigators is that New Zealand water is clean in that it has not got the same kind of chemical and industrial pollution of a lot of other countries. Nitrogen and phosphorous may knock over native wildlife and turn water holes soupy green, but they are not directly harming people.

However Joy says he thinks it is simply that New Zealanders do not realise how far the degradation of their waterways has gone, not that they don’t care.

So the water debate feels far from settled. It could just be that New Zealand is also extreme in its polarisation of views – the gap between the hard green lobby and the old settler conviction that New Zealand is an empty country begging to be made productive.

So the question is if we want the waterways and aquifers to have a excessive biological industry taint that requires all water gets costly treatment for biological and heavy metal contamination before humans and animals can drink or swim in it?

This is a downstream issue for most cities and towns in NZ.  Just think of the processing plant that Auckland or Hamilton require to decontaminate water taken from the Waikato river. With water and waste contamination, the costs spread far downstream of the polluting point

Really do we want to repeat the mistakes made by other societies?

Drivel like the Herald editorial completely misses the point, instead making calls to past deeds while ignoring misdeeds of farming. It simply doesn’t help to whinge like this:-

But farming remains one of this country’s essential industries – and as such farmers doing the right thing deserve to remain high in New Zealand’s esteem.

Respect and esteem is something that has to be earned and anyone with any knowledge following the way that Federated Farmers and National have been fiddling the standards and doing little (while trying to look like they are doing a lot) are quite aware of it.

Besides there are a number of industries in NZ that can truly point to their value to the NZ economy and are way faster growing with much less limited environmental impacts.  The revenue from just the top 200 companies in my tech sector has jumped from being little two decades ago to nearly $9.4 billion dollars last year, almost entirely in exports. It also employs nearly as many people as the entire farming sector. The same applies to tourism  with its $12 billion (see “Tourism roars past dairy as NZ’s biggest export earner“), and it employs even more.

In my view, the key difference with these urbanites and town dwellers and these growing employers industries compared to some of the dinosaurs like Federated Farmers is that we are keenly aware of the costs of degrading our environment and are willing to pay for keeping it clean. Apparently Federated Farmers and their political party National would prefer to stall and fudge the numbers while not doing very much or paying much.

It simply doesn’t engender much respect from me, nor I suspect from many urban dwellers and businesses faced with increasing water, sewerage and infrastructural bills from council to deal with our intensification and to clean up where we live.

Farming could do with getting some more people into organisations like Federated Farmers who actually understand the issues of urban and town environments and who stop trying to trade on the past and present economic glories that hare resulting in a ecological wasteland around industrial farming. We share this land, rural, provincial and urban NZ. And we share with millions of offshore visitors each year. Farmers don’t own the country. While there are some smart and aware farmers out there. It doesn’t appear that many of them get into their organisations like Federated Farmers or the National party. Perhaps they should try.


Anyway, enough of my ranting. Enjoy Jim Hubbard’s take on the water irrigation debate.


98 comments on “Federated Farmers need to cut the crap ”

  1. tc 1

    Great post. Does the 6% of GDP farming contributes justify the impact it’s having and the environmental cost it expects the rest of NZ to pick up the tab for.

    I often see cows wading through the Waipa, which joins the waikato at ngaruawahia.

    Bottoms up auckland enjoy the clean taste of chemicals inserted to ensure you don’t get Giardia, Hepatitis etc as farming is the backbone of the NZ economy according to national….yum.

  2. tracey 2

    Thanks Lynn

    Can we also remember that we all “help” farmers in many ways

    R and D subsidies
    Leaving them out of ETS has saved them money others have not ( eg forestry)
    Buy their produce
    Help fund the roads their food travels on

    And remember the English family has long standing direct and indirect links to Fed Farmers.

  3. Ad 3

    The John McCrone piece is good, especially re Tasmania.

    I would feel more supportive of irrigation schemes if there was no dairy production involved, and if Federated Farmers and Fonterra could be trusted to act in the interests of us all and of our whole country.

    From their actions over the last decade pursuing cheap volume and bulk commodity supply, that trust is pretty hard to find.

    The new Tasman dam will be a good fresh test of diversified use of irrigation farming.

  4. tracey 4

    Speaking of holding in high esteem, what about teachers?

    • In Vino 4.1

      Tracy, surely you understand that belonging to and supporting a union disqualifies one completely from any kind of esteem!

  5. weka 5

    Bloody good post.

    “Dairy farms have agreed to fence off 98 per cent of their land adjoining waterways.”

    Would love to see them back that up. What does it even mean? In the absence of detail (intentional I’m sure), I’ll take that as more evidence that Federated Farmers can’t be trusted, at all. I think farmers are important, but FF can get fucked. And the majority of farmers, who aren’t represented by FF, need to start stepping up and doing their own PR. Because so many people have just had enough.

    Someone said recently (was that you Ad?) that when the govt changes a whole bunch of lobbying doors will close to organisations like FF. Good. It will be interesting to see how much of the culture changes as a consequence.

    • Ad 5.1

      Well, I hoped so.

    • tracey 5.2

      FF will still have a swipe card to 9th floor dont you worry. Does the Poverty Action group?

    • Macro 5.3

      This “boast” is, as Mike Joy pointed out, in an interview with Kathryn Ryan the other day, all well and good, but actually pure bullshit.
      The 90% of waterways the farmers are talking about are the major rivers and lakes but it is the tributaries to these waterways that run through farms – the small streams and drains that remain unfenced and into which farm effluent pours. The spreading of manure over pasture may seem like a very good way of using the sewage from cowsheds but it just goes straight into the drains and streams and water courses that run over farms and ultimately into our rivers and lakes.
      There is no way to reduce this runoff other than reducing our already overpopulated herd size.

  6. One Anonymous Bloke 6

    The farmers don’t feel appreciated? What about the poor lawyers?

  7. “Farmers should know they are still appreciated“.

    Oh, the poor dears. After everyone’s finished letting farmers know they’re appreciated, could you all come by to tell me how great I am? I’m feeling very put-upon at the moment…

  8. Ad 8

    I’m hearing support for Labour solely on the basis of their water policy from some pretty conservative people I know – Act voters, wine growers, professional tour operators, drystock farmer relatives, foresters.

    Curious to hear people voting well outside of their direct economic interests of tax and GDP, into a really specific environmental field that has never has electoral traction before.

    • tracey 8.1


      I have heard those murmurs before but seemingly when in the ballot box they revert to type or the extra 15 bucks a week. Hopefully this time is different.

  9. tracey 9

    Am wondering if Conor English really believes he struck out on his own and risked a stable salary… you know given who his brother is…


    • greywarshark 9.1

      He definitely is omnivorous or whatever, he has been all round the world trading his Kiwi sincerity, and this is great from a ‘struggling’ family of 12 children. How soon does it take to make a small city if you have families, all of whose children live, maintain two-figure yields?

      I liked that bit showing his sharpness, “He has flown in Lear jets with people who actually have money, whilst working on an attempted takeover of the largest dairy company in Kazakhstan.” That would be an interesting story. Was he going to sell the idea of a socialist co-operative business model to a country that was
      recently under the Soviet Union? It’s a funny old world.

  10. ianmac 10

    Beef cattle used to be stocked at the rate of 1 beast equal to 5 sheep.
    Dairy cattle ratio must be much higher. Can’t find the figures but must be double that. Maybe 1 dairy cow equal as high as 10 sheep. Big effect in Canterbury.

    • lprent 10.1

      Somewhere in the things I read today there was a comment that the increase in the intensity, numbers and types of livestock over the last few decades as had the same environmental impact (presumably just the foot pressure, drinking, peeing and crapping parts) as adding about 90 million people.

      I’d love to find a numbers source for that. But a hasty back of the envelope calculation said that it was in the right order of magnitude. The biggest impact are hoof impact and concentration of nitrates.

      • tc 10.1.1

        Yes I recall a country calendar where a northland farm had ditched the Dairy model and was running a music festival (northern Bass I think) and regenerating the land.

        The line ‘once the cloven hooves stopped you could almost hear the land breath’ stuck with me as it was heartfelt and came from a former Dairy Farmer.

        Another example of it doesn’t have to be so damaging there are better ways.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Try this instead: present some peer-reviewed evidence to support your case, and please not a set of personal anecdata. You claim to be doing the right thing, you’ve fenced off every single drainage ditch and stream and river on your property; can you say that about your neighbours?

          A Taranaki dairy farmer has been fined $66,000 dollars for allowing his stock effluent disposal pump to leak into a stream.

          Taranaki doesn’t meet Ministry requirements.

          • Jimmy

            I can only speak for myself fella, but absolutely 100% fully fenced and riparian planted council compliant.
            Do you want a copy of my compliance encyclopaedia, nah that probably photoshopped right?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Just to be clear, I didn’t ask whether you are “compliant” – that’s just the letter of the law. I asked whether all the streams and ditches are fenced off too.

              I do recall the days when riparian planting was being disparaged as an environmentalist plot. Not that long ago either. Good to see the Green Party’s influence despite the bogeyman rhetoric.

              Every farmer who comments here claims to be doing the right thing, but the fact is your public face is that ‘Socialistic’ fool in Morrinsville, or the protest organiser spewing racist shite on RNZ.

              Not to mention all the cash farmers donate to the malnutrition and human rights abuse party.

              • Jimmy

                Yes all streams and ditchs fenced off, no stock access to water at all!
                If you are asking my own personal experience with riparian planting,
                I was against it for the first couple of years, well not against exactly, but just not bothered, extra cost, time etc.
                But now 10 years on, the farm looks great, and the plants have been a “Buzz” to watch mature.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Yep: vote Green: they understand farming better than you do.

                  • Jimmy

                    Gawd *citation needed*

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Always in the lead, on everything from pesticides to Climatology to water quality.

                      You get dragged along behind regardless. Why not be ahead of the curve instead of being “against it for the first couple of years”.

                    • greywarshark

                      Can’t see what you are complaining about Jimmy, you sound so green you must be invisible on your farm.

                      It could be that many of the farmers we have writing in seemingly very upset and angry are just misunderstood. We think they are writing to say they have a complaint. It is possibly just a typo, and we all have those, and they are saying they are compliant. It’s not easy to be green says Kermit.

        • lprent

          I always find it interesting that people don’t think about where things wind up.

          In this particular case in your link to the Cambridge area, I’d have to say that the article was selective billshit. Sure some of the added carbon from plant fixation and some of the other minerals and nutrients stay in the topsoil as part of their cycles. But some always escapes.

          But as long ago as 1980, the ground water in the bores from farms around Cambridge had far higher than natural levels of nitrates, phosphates, and certain heavy metals like cadmium. Most of this was easily identifiable as being added recently because of the different isotopes apparent using XRF. I measured it then as part of a geochemistry lab work.

          The nitrates were by far the worst as you can see from this 1994 paper. But it is a systemic problem that has been going on for a long time and shows few or no signs of getting much better.

          It is a major issue throughout the Waikato area.

          It is also completely invisible to seat of their pants scientific dimwits like the Marc Gascoigne trying to argue from analogy rather than getting of their lazy arse and measuring it. Hell he seems to be not able to do basic accounting of the nutrients that any farmer should be doing and try to figure out what they are using rather than putting into downstream and down below.

          Could you please at least try to actually use some intelligence in your replies? Trying to convince me that you are a witless fool who doesn’t understand the basic science of your profession doesn’t exactly engender respect.

        • lprent

          Thanks. I have dealt with the Ropere Consulting maths before. I think that it is reliable. Especially since they used the DairyNZ’s own numbers.

          Mike Joy is trying to figure out the pollution effects. He is probably correct, but the case for arguing just on the water is a hell of a lot simpler and a more immediate problem. It is on soils that are going to cause really bad leachate problems fast.

      • Melanie Scott 10.1.4

        Check interview on RNZ National yesterday. Can’t remember whether it was Nine to Noon or some other programme later in the day. (I was driving at the time.) An interviewee was talking about the impact on the planet of humans and domestic/agricultural animals versus wild animals – the impact of the latter was only 2% currently, versus the former (humans and domestic/agricultural animals – 98%). He said that the environmental impact of the number of dairly cows in NZ currently was equivalent to 140 million humans, in terms of effluent production.

        Re the Morrinsville debacle. Many of those ‘dressed down’ farmers and their supporters who apparently don’t have to worry about water taxes in their region but are concerned for their colleagues in the Mackenzie Basin. That’s because they are the same people. There are many very wealthy Waikato farmers who bought land in the South Island and developed it into those big high density dairy farms. They are not struggling cow cockies who get their hands dirty every day, (they have managers to do that.) Same goes for the Wairarapa, many of their wealthy dairy farmers have also been developing farms in the South Island. How do I know? I have relatives in both areas who are both dairy farmers, farm advisers and joint owners of networks of these huge industrial dairy enterprises.

        Labour needs to do more research into exposing the above. Big debt is also involved in starting and maintaining these enterprises. The bio threat of new diseases being spread around these farms owned by the same people is also a concern as we have recently seen.

        • greywarshark

          Interesting Melanie Scott. We wonder why we get such little traction with our ideas and even proven scary stats, but the traction from the big wheels on the farm machinery has greater torque than our talk!

    • Exkiwiforces 10.2

      You are almost on money in regards to stocking rates and also most of those sheep/ cattle producers were into mix cropping as well as part the rotation system on those old school Canterbury farms. In some cases stock or mix cropping was a afterthought depending on how market futures was going.
      Any dairy farms in the Canterbury region were for the town supply only and were usually close too town as well. This so called dairy boom is just one big Ponzi scheme that will go tits up regards of the so called water tax, especially when dairy farmers are exported NZ dairy cows and know how to its major market, just like the Kiwifruit producers once did many moons ago or when war breaks out in Northern Asia. In the end the real winners are going to those farmers who didn’t convert their farms to dairy farms. I don’t have anytime for dairy farmers who are farming in NZ dry areas such as Canterbury, Central Otago and Hawkes Bay etc.

      Anyway another excellent post Lynn.

  11. KD 11

    Really great post LPRENT, as was the interview with Dr. Mike Joy on National Radio last Sunday. It was truly one of the best interviews I have ever heard. If I could link it here I would, but I’m not that adept. It is worth looking up (National Radio, Sunday Morning, Dr. Mike Joy) and listening to. It will probably make you feel like crying, it did me.

  12. greywarshark 12

    Drinking water and arsenic made worse by irrigation is big news around the world.

    Also I came across this. Monkeys outsmarting themselves, sounds familiar.

  13. bwaghorn 13

    ”They are called water bills, sewerage bills, and through our organisations like councils and council organisations we pay considerably for having and growing the infrastructure to deal with it”

    does anyone know if a farmers council rates are used to help mitigate their effect on the environment .

    iv’e linked the below story only because it shows the rates paid by one farmer.


    • Jimmy 13.1

      The rates I pay too the NPDC for the pleasure of owning my 100% fully fenced and effluent compliant (council came yesterday to test water quality) dairy farm, is just in excess of $12,000.
      For this money I get, No rubbish collection, No sewerage treatment, No water.
      I do get a road, but that’s about it, oh and a shiny art centre in NP that I have never been too, they tell me it’s nice.
      So in my opinion this article is just as much bullshit as the one it intends to denegrate.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1.1

        Reality check: the NPDC annual plan lists the following Council Services.

        Parks and Open Spaces
        Stormwater Drainage
        Flood Protection and Control Works
        Solid Waste and Kerbside Collection
        Water Supply
        Wastewater Treatment
        Emergency Management and Business Continuance
        Community Partnerships
        Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
        Puke Ariki and District Libraries
        Venues and Events
        Regulatory Services
        Economic Development
        Civic and Democracy Services
        Management of Investments and Funding
        Major Projects 2016/17

        Jimmy tells lies of omission.

        What’s your feeble excuse Jimmy? Been voting National for so long lying just comes naturally?

        • Jimmy

          Jesus just be an arsehole why don’t you, most things on that list are not applicable to me, as I don’t live in the Urban area.

          So Parks and open spaces, nice if it wasn’t over 50kms away I could enjoy it!

          Transportation, transporting who and what? Nothing that I’m using.

          Stormwater drainage, I’m guessing that’s for the people that live in the city, nobody but me is paying for stormwater on this farm.

          Flood protection and control, again that’s my cost on this farm.

          Solid waste and kerbside collection, my cost nobody picking up rubbish here.

          Wastewater treatment, my cost, septic tank and 3stage pond system.

          You get the idea, farmers pay plenty and get no services in return.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Last farm I was on had a huge rubbish tip just up the hill from the river. Tucked away out of sight, of course. Lovely people and everything.

            What do you do with yours?

          • greywarshark

            Complain to your council, don’t come bitching here. Do you want someone to hold you hand as you go to make your case. You do know that it is a collective fund for the whole area that you pay into along with the others?

            It’s not a privatised fund where your instalments add up and eventually you will get a small bridge over your stream properly built. But then maybe there should be something like that. Work out a plan as to how the council can do this. You may just be a little guy and they tend to get ignored by all in power. Get some neighbours together and ride a tractor into their offices. Get your girlfriend to go in naked on a horse with a long wig and tell them the roads are so bad you can’t use your car and you’re at your wit’s end.

            You might get arrested and kept overnight in a cell and enjoy a nice chat with your local constable. A cheap night out. Your girlfriend will be given some clothes by the local ladies who will feel sympathy with her. Life can be on the up and up in your area.

            • Jimmy

              Me personally very happy, not bitching at all, just trying to be involved in a NZ discussion, try not to be a cock!

          • Draco T Bastard

            Transportation, transporting who and what? Nothing that I’m using.

            So, you don’t use the roads to go shopping?
            Don’t use them to send your produce off the farm (must be really expensive paying for all those helicopters).

            Flood protection and control, again that’s my cost on this farm.

            I suspect that it would be costing you a lot more if the council weren’t doing anything about it.

            You get the idea, farmers pay plenty and get no services in return.


            You wouldn’t be able to farm without all the services that you use apparently without even realising it.

            • Jimmy

              I understand the services provided and don’t mind paying rates, I’m just pointing that their is a difference between services provided and $ amount paid between the rural and urban communities.
              I’m sure you can see this.

      • Ian 13.1.2

        Your on to it Jimmy
        Aquifers are now fully recharged after winter rain. City folk pay their waterbills,sewerage bills ,rates etc but it’s no where near enough as city infra structure is failing bigtime. Townsfolk are going to have to front up with massive dollars to catch up with what farmers are doing. Mike joy is a tool and and a disgrace to science.
        I pay my dues to the apolitical organisation, federated farmers and have never been a member of a political party.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Townsfolk are going to have to front up with massive dollars to catch up with what farmers are doing.

          Newsflash: we already did. Massive costs to separate stormwater and build proper water treatment facilities.

          • Jimmy

            You already did?
            Not if you are in Auckland you didn’t!

            • lprent

              We did and we keep having to do it.

              We have National to thank for adding population in excess of the existing rate payers to pay or even have time to build capacity for them arriving. National are cheap arseholes who like getting freebies at other peoples expense.

              Perhaps you should actually read my post rather than jerking off your silly ideas into type.

              What happens when you keep having about 40,000 more people added to a city every year just from offshore? This government that the rural sector helped to foist on us has now been doing that to Auckland for the last 4 years. Since they got in we have added more than the current population of Hamilton to the city just from nett migration from offshore.

              And that doesn’t even count the migration from the provinces and rural sector to the city.

              Auckland city has no control over either. If we did then we’d be a damn sight more selective than to accept the poor quality migrants National seems to find acceptable. Sure we can make most migrants productive eventually. We just can’t do it fast enough for them to pay for our growth.

        • Psycho Milt

          Mike joy is a tool and and a disgrace to science.

          You just blew any credibility you had right there.

    • lprent 13.2

      does anyone know if a farmers council rates are used to help mitigate their effect on the environment .

      Yes. Amongst other things, directly or indirectly via regional councils they make the resource planning, provide the testing and enforcement, provide much of the drainage systems where natural ones are available, deal with natural drainage systems that blocked, deal with straying stock, provide effluent drainage sites fro stock carrying trucks, and a host of other services that I can’t currently remember.

      Plus of course they maintain the kilometres of road that keep the individual farms accessible. Up at our old farm there was a 3 kilometre gravel road that was put in for just 3 farms. In the lower part of the farm there was 1.5 kilometre road that we shared with a farm on the other side of it. We used both.

      I tried to figure out how much road I pay for in Auckland on rates. Works out to about 12 metres length.

  14. greywarshark 14

    If farmers can be taken to task for overstocking their farms and overloading the environment with poo and fertiliser, then the government could also be sued or something for encouraging immigration without the services to deal with their poo and general needs. We sure get an overdose of fertiliser from government. It affects all the senses, listening to the radio is bad enough without even looking at them.

    • Ian 14.1

      So how does sueing the govt for 40000 per year kiwis returning home work ?

      • lprent 14.1.1

        Which particular year are you talking about? Not this year nor last year.

        Is this another Farrar / National billshit myth from the years gone by? Or is it just another simple lie – the type that Nick Smith and Steven Joyce prefer?

        This was the first link I found – nett migration from the Stats Department for May 2017. My bold for the relevant sentence.


        Annual net migration reached 72,000 in the May 2017 year, Stats NZ said today. Migrant arrivals numbered 130,400 and migrant departures numbered 58,400 in the year ended May 2017.

        “The continued high level of net migration in the May 2017 year was driven by non-New Zealand citizens migrating to New Zealand,” population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. “Of the 130,400 migrant arrivals, 3 out of 4 were non-New Zealand citizens.”

        On a net basis, New Zealand citizens leaving and returning to this country almost balanced each other out in the last 12 months. There was a net migration gain of 73,300 non-New Zealand citizens in the past year.

        For fucks sake – please learn to actually look at real data before writing. Apparently holding your testicles and gently hand milking them is not the way to generate it.

        • Ian

          Where is the historical comparison ?.Traditionally a lot more kiwis were leaving than returning. Probably around 40000 not so many years ago.
          Using selective stats to abuse me is crawling pretty low

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Migration timeline 1922 – 2012.

            In short, you’re wrong about this too.

          • lprent

            Your statement of fact was

            …40000 per year kiwis returning home…

            It was completely wrong because you didn’t give a time period.

            That your job to dig out information supporting your position since you were the one asserted that it was happening now. If you assert a fact, then in my eyes you own the statement. I regard assertions without backing or knowledge and that are simply wrong as just being an outright deliberate lies. I particularly dislike repeated myths.

            You deserved the ‘abuse’ for using false facts without checking. Perhaps the ‘abuse’ will assist you in not making the same stupid mistake again. The trick is that if you don’t know then express it as your opinion or your current belief. Don’t assert it as a fact. Because if you do, then you are fair game for the less polite amongst us.

            The ‘abuse’ you are referring to is an interesting question as well. I postulated three possible ways that you could have come up with your false fact. Which bit did you find was abusive?

            FYI: There have been a few years over the last century when returning kiwis outweighed immigration. As far as I am aware they all coincide with the beginning of severe downturns in employment in Aussie. There was one a few years ago when the aussie commodity boom with china died – it was for a short period in 2013 or 2014 I think. The only other one I am aware of was one back in the 1970s during the oil shocks and Aussie commodity boom dropped with the world economy. Before that I’d have to look.

            The nett migration for the last few years has been close to or above 70 thousand which is completely unprecedented. Because the nett migration of kiwis for the last year has effectively been zero or close to it, our current nett migration is all immigration. These can all be found on the reports from StatsNZ.

            OAB gave the link that shows nett migration in the historic sense. The sustained high nett long term migration is far above anything that NZ can sustain. It is over 1.5% increase per annum and hasn’t gone down since it hit the highest peak 2 years ago.

  15. simonm 15

    The “urban waterways are just as polluted as rural waterways” argument used by farmers is a total straw man.

    99% of NZ’s waterways are in rural areas and just 1% are in urban areas.

    Therefore, if a total of 60% of NZ’s waterways are polluted (a conservative estimate), what percentage of NZ’s rivers, streams and wetlands are contaminated and where has the damage occurred?

  16. Foreign waka 16

    Well, we now know who “owns” NZ and we saw the display of assertion and intelligent posturing (banjo anyone?)
    To really make things feeling a lot better, Mr Sweetee distributes phone numbers and some ballot boxes are being taken home.
    Hang on, I just need to look at my GPS whether I am a lot further north/west than was my impression.

  17. feijoa 17

    Err.. how much income tax do farmers pay

    Last I heard about the same as a couple on a pension…

  18. Delia 18

    Some turning violent towards Labour MPs as well it seems.

  19. gsays 19

    I had a close up experience of a dairy farm yesty.
    Was helping my brother with firewood on a local cockies farm.
    Had split a load and saw the cows coming in for the milking.
    Time to leave as we were using the race they were on to get out. (Very wet underfoot here in the manawatu)

    Sods law, I had ‘traction issues’, and took 1/4 of an hour to get free.
    Any how, long story short, drove gently through this herd on the race and through the feed lot. Some really big cows amongst them too.

    Shit everywhere, really hard to comprehend how the faeces and urine is managed. Especially when it is multiplied out with the increase and intensification of dairying recently.

    Having said all that I am very wary of the idea of dairy farmer=bad.
    As was witnessed in morrinsville recently, the notion of ‘townies don’t appreciate farmer’s stuck in the craw, therefore I am mindful of generalising about farmers.

    • lprent 19.1

      I spent 6 months working as a farmhand for a town supply back in the 1970s (and 6 months on a sheep station) when I was deciding if I wanted to go into farming as a vocation. I have traipsed those races myself. High gumboots and a shuffle style of walking to stop the shit flicking up is the way. I’d hate to take a vehicle on them unless it was a bike or 4wd.

      The whole point about the post is that in my view the time for freebies for farmers effectively funded by other taxpayers should be well and truly over. The intensification of farming means that those farms are far more polluting and resource hungry now than they were back then.

      Paying for resources used and cleaning up should be just as much a cost of living and business just as it has been for decades is for townies. If a particular business isn’t capable of paying for their resources and cleaning up after themselves, then that business is freeloading on the backs of whoever has to clean up the mess and should be shutdown. Crafar farms comes to mind.

      Especially since we have other growing industries like tourism using the same resources and employing far more people that can really get damaged by widespread pollution.

      As I point out in the post, I target a lot of this fear and loathing divisive shit directly on to the way that Federated Farmers and National operate. It is their way of trying to shut down debate on the subject of pollution and resource costs while trying to foist poor pollution standards on the rest of us.

      • Ian 19.1.1

        You will remember then that in the 1970’s untreated dairy effluent went into the nearest river or stream. It was not untill the mid seventies that the Govt. acted and along with catchment boards started to get farmers to clean up their act. MAF employed a multitude of advisors and a lot of progress was made in a relatively short time. Over the last 30 years Effluent disposal methods have become highly technical and non polluting.
        As a farmer it would be nice to get recognition for the effort and the negative campaign by labour directed at a small group of farmers who will get whacked with the water tax has been obscene .
        I aknowledge nitrate leaching is an issue we must deal with and we are dealing with it. WE have committed to reducing our nitrate leaching by 35 % by 2025.
        The fear and loathing divisive shit is real and your poster girl needs to look in the mirror to find out why.

        • lprent

          You will remember then that in the 1970’s untreated dairy effluent went into the nearest river or stream.

          I did point that out in a comment as being the biggest single improvement that dairy farmers had made.

          But did you realise that up until the early 60’s effluent was pumped with minimal processing out into the Manakau Harbour from Auckland. From memory Dove-Meyer Robinson kicked the ignorant C&R (National party in drag) blockheads enough to put through the rates increases required to pay for and run an effective sewerage systems.

          I can’t see any farmers lauding that – can you? I also can’t see any Aucklanders wailing and gnashing their teeth demanding respect from the rural community for removing the vast poo stain on the landscape. Unlike farmers we tend to just get the frigging problem fixed usually having the fight the National government and their damn C&R proxies here each time to get it done. Consequently it tends to be a annoying start/stop approach.

          Since it was installed the plant has had two major upgrades that I know of. It has also now had almost all of te city either hooked into it, or had subsidiary systems added for places like Owera.

          I aknowledge nitrate leaching is an issue we must deal with and we are dealing with it. WE have committed to reducing our nitrate leaching by 35 % by 2025.

          I can remember similar commitments being made in the 1980s, 90s, 00s as well as the 10s. I acknowledge that the problem is being tackled. However I don’t know of a place apart from possibly the Rotorua Lakes where there is any real evidence that groundwater is getting better. There are slightly better results for streams, however I don’t know of anywhere apart from possibly the Rotorua lakes where the main cloaca (hard to call them rivers these days)

          Instead, what I can see is that dipshit Nick Smith trying to make out that the far lower standards that he set last year (?) were in fact a improvement. Furthermore this appears to be done at the bidding of the farmers through your organisations like Federated Farmers and DairyNZ. The faux ‘consultations’ with other interested groups who use the rivers in the Fresh Water Coalition eventually led to virtually all of them walking.

          I’m afraid that farmers now own the problem because they are the ones doing the great bulk of the pollution and the ones who seem to fight tooth an nail against doing anything that actually makes it better – rather than simply slowing down the rate of increase in pollution.

          FFS if you want to be victims, then you really do need to pick up some decent lines. These are much the same ones that I have been hearing for virtually all of my adult life.

          I did those groundwater surveys in 1980. I started questioning it then. All I have seen since is that there have been attempts to fix it in the existing farming areas but the insidious problem has been spread to many other areas. Meanwhile research on other ways of fixing things like nitrate leaching or superphosphate tends to get a blaze of publicity when the research starts and then it gets quietly cut a few years later.

          • Ian

            Fish and game and greenpeace were never going to agree on anything and it was their decision to piss on the tent from the outside. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
            We are victims of lies,innuendo ,and a political campaign that is smashing right back into the faces of the nasty ,envious priks that are running it. Personally I am following best practice,complying with all resource consents and helping keep our local economy humming. Why Jacinda nd her motley crew want to ruin our community has me perplexed. She has not fronted up any where in the rural community to debate her plans for working groups and committees for very good reason. Labours negative ,nasty campaign is disgusting .

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Ian, Master of Irony, Ruler of the Ethical Void. Fact-mumbler, Poet of Tripe. Blowhard.

              Speaking of negative…

            • lprent

              …to piss on the tent from the outside.

              Forest and Bird? Trampers? Whitewater rafting? Ummm Exactly how many members have left that forum? How many recreation and enviromental groups are are left?

              Effectively what is left is industry groups and the EDS who tried to start up a collaborative approach and lost all credibility doing so.

              When Nick Smith and national just ignored virtually everything in the forums report on freshwater in favour of placating the polluters, they also lost all credibility amongst anyone who was interested in conservation. Hence your farmers feelings on not holding esteem. Since the government blocked the routes to actually achieving future change largely at the behest of the farming groups like FF and DairyNZ – you are perceived to be the problem. That was your choice.

              Personally I am following best practice,complying with all resource consents

              Well after you get standards as low as possible, then why not follow them? After all, the freshwater standards that Nick Smith has put in effectively gave you have much more room to pollute eh?

              I haven’t seen billshit turn up to anything amongst unions apart from a carefully choreographed enforced one at one of the Talley’s plants. Apparently the management insisted that the workers stayed to met him.

              …to ruin our community has me perplexed.

              You mean because they want to have cleanish fresh water, rivers that have water in them, aquifiers that haven’t been drained and some attempt to actually clean up the mess that farming has been trying to make worse for decades?

              If you don’t understand that by now, then I suspect that you probably won’t ever until the water you feed your stock starts to poison them. In the meantime those downstream in the rivers, towns, cities and beaches will be having to clean up your messes and not treating you with the respect that you haven’t earned.

              Just as an aside, I think that a lot of farmers, especially the younger ones are actually trying to do a better job and not just to the pissant standards that Nick Smith thinks are appropriate. But until they get rid of the dumb shits that are in organisations like Federated Farmers and other farming organisations who keep fighting needed changes tooth and nail, then farming will wind up with crap all over their image.

          • weka

            “But did you realise that up until the early 60’s effluent was pumped with minimal processing out into the Manakau Harbour from Auckland.”

            Dunedin City were pumping sewerage into the Otago Harbour up until the 2000s and out to sea at Tahuna until the last decade (yes, toilet paper on the beach when the tide was wrong). I think the difference there though is that everyone knew it was wrong and when the council went to fix it people didn’t argue about their right to not pay rates and that the shit should keep being pumped into the water.

        • weka

          How many dairy farms were there up until 1970s? How many cows? What were the stocking rates? If you want to be taken seriously on the environment, then you need to stop making disingenuous, self-serving arguments about how good farmers actually are, and start addressing the valid concerns that people have. Our stocking rates are too high, we have too many farms, and the ecosystems can’t cope. You can tinker around the edges of that all you like, but in the end there will need to be less cows and less industrial dairy farms.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            *fewer 😈

          • Ian

            I was waiting for that. Correct there were a lot more farms,less cows and lower stocking rates. But nearly all the effluent from the milking cycle was being discharged directly into the nearest river. Literally the rrivers and streams in Taranaki and the Waikato ran green for a while after each milking. WE have come a long way,just like urban waste is now treated bigtime before it is discharged into the sea or the Manawatu river for example.
            Your valid concerns has turned into a hate campaign and people who live in glasshouses should be carefull throwing stones.
            Our cities have too many people in them, We have too many suburbs,and the infrastructure can’t cope. You can tinker around the edgesof that all you like but at the end of the day there will need to be less people and less cities.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Transparent avoidance and spin. Votes National then complains when infrastructure doesn’t meet demand.

              And pop! goes the weasel.

            • weka

              Again, from an ecological point of view, pouring effluent into a river isn’t necessarily a problem, it depends on how much and the flow of the river.

              Obviously it’s not ideal, but I argue this on the other side too when townies start going on about cows shitting in rivers next to National Parks. Cows have been doing that for over a hundred years and while again it’s not ideal, what’s actually at issue is whether the local ecologies can manage. Where those are high country farms with low stocking rates, it’s way less of an issue, but now we have people calling for every single water way in NZ to be fenced.

              There are small towns all over NZ that still have septic tanks with overflows that empty into water. That didn’t used to matter because the numbers of people using the systems was low. Now they’re high (thanks tourism). The issue is ecological. Your arguments are mechanical. When I see farmers, Fed Farmer especially, expressing ecological intelligence I’ll give them some pats on the back (and do already where I see that).

              “Your valid concerns has turned into a hate campaign and people who live in glasshouses should be carefull throwing stones.”

              I live in the country, in a place undergoing inappropriate dairy conversion. Land being flattened, trees cut down, overstocking, big irrigation. Don’t know yet how bad the nitrates and other pollutant issues are. So sorry, your arguments don’t wash, because I am literally seeing the country side being wrecked.

              • Ian

                every time I drive through Rolleston to Christchurch or Christchurch to Amberley I see complete and utter devastation as productive farmland is nuked for motorways ,housing,and industry. At least the dairy conversions you have as neighbours will be able to replant shelter belts, use science to mitigate problems with nitrates and the xtra people working those farms contribute to your community. In 20 years the native birds will be back if we can do this thing better.

                • Pat

                  you do know why Rolleston was sited where it is dont you?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  productive farmland is nuked for motorways ,housing, and industry


                  So your main concern is zoning changes, not environmental degradation.

            • weka

              “Our cities have too many people in them, We have too many suburbs,and the infrastructure can’t cope. You can tinker around the edgesof that all you like but at the end of the day there will need to be less people and less cities.”

              I’m totally for NZ moving to a steady state economy and stabilising population. This is why I vote Green. Am happy to have that discussion with you any time, but I’m guessing you will flounder at the first sustainability hurdle.

            • Psycho Milt

              I was waiting for that. Correct there were a lot more farms,less cows and lower stocking rates. But nearly all the effluent from the milking cycle was being discharged directly into the nearest river.

              The point of stopping the direct discharge of effluent into rivers wasn’t to enable intensification to the point where there’s no nett gain from stopping the direct discharge of effluent into rivers. The intensity has to be cut back if we’re to have clean waterways – either that or the people doing the intensive farming need to fund research and technology implementation to mitigate the effects of what they’re doing. One way or another, you’re going to have to come to the conclusion that what you’re doing is unsustainable. If a progressive government has to drag you kicking and screaming to that conclusion, so be it.

  20. gsays 20

    Couldn’t agree more.
    After all ff is just the farmers union.

    Once we have the polluters doing the right thing it is time to focus on getting the freight where it belongs: on rail or coastal shipping.
    Free the roads of trucks.

  21. Dot 21

    Thank you for your knowledgeable contribution LPRENT.
    Sadly it is likely beyond the the [ self interested] comprehension
    of a certain group of farmers.

  22. lprent 22

    Definitely worth reading. The problem isn’t the farmers. It is that they appear to be extremely susceptible to National’s scare tactic propaganda.


    Perhaps they need a blog site where this kind of crap can be discussed transparently in public

    • Ian 22.1

      I prefer to listen to Jamie Mcfadden from North Canterburyhttps://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/opinion/97029047/antifarming-ranters-enough-is-enough

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