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Greenpeace on braided rivers and govt-funded pollution

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, February 11th, 2017 - 45 comments
Categories: Environment, farming, water - Tags: , ,

Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries: For the sake of our rivers, our land, our climate and farmers, I call on you to cancel any further plans to fund industrial scale irrigation.

Sign the petition here.

Industrial dairying is failing. It’s failing people who want to swim in clean rivers, its failing our tourism industry, it’s failing our climate and it’s failing farmers.

The industrial dairying model requires vast amounts of water and chemical fertiliser to grow more grass to feed ever growing herds of cows. All to produce more and more tonnes of low value milk powder to ship offshore.

This degrades our land, pollutes our rivers, increases our climate emissions and puts farmers into debt.

And it’s about to get a whole lot worse. Right now, two huge, costly new irrigation schemes are planned. Ruataniwha in the North Island and Central Plains Water in Canterbury.

And who is funding it? You are.

These dirty great polluting multi-million dollar schemes are only possible because local and central government are handing over millions of dollars of public money to subsidise them.

Clean, green farming is much better for our rivers, our land and our international reputation. It’s this that the government should be backing, not some failed industrial dairying model.

Sign the petition now to stop government funding of industrial irrigation schemes.

 

45 comments on “Greenpeace on braided rivers and govt-funded pollution ”

  1. Nick 1

    Link to the petition is not working

  2. reason 2

    if foreigners had snuck into new zealand …….. poisoning our waterways like the nats with their cow economy ……… We’d call them terrorists

    All those who support this poisoning of nz ….. should be tied to a post

    and made to drink this water …..

    ……………. while wearing white disco pants of course

  3. keepcalmcarryon 3

    Surely there is opportunity here for labour to stand up and define what they will do to limit or wind back Nationals disastrous policy of dairy intensification at all costs?
    Its got to be the biggest free hit waiting to be taken, there is massive public anxiety about particularly dairy pollution, this shouldnt just be left for the greens to campaign on.
    There are no votes to lose, farmers will vote national until they drown in effluent run off, time to put the environment first we all have to live in it after all.
    Go on Andrew little i dare you to come out and define how you will fix this.

    • weka 3.1

      I just tried to look up their most recent press release on river quality and their website search is buggy (ffs Labour, you have to sort this shit out already). I was going to hazard a guess that there is some positioning with Labour and the Greens where Labour can let the Greens carry more of the load on environmental issues, but hard to make that argument when I can’t even find their bloody statements.

      • Antoine 3.1.1

        > I was going to hazard a guess that there is some positioning with Labour and the Greens where Labour can let the Greens carry more of the load on environmental issues

        thats a charitable interpretation perhaps 😉

        A.

      • Sacha 3.1.2

        If Labour intend to keep to a small number of policy themes for the election then it makes sense to leave some to the Greens, yes. Here’s hope they both leave railing at migrants to Winston.

    • BM 3.2

      I agree Labour should go after the Farmers, plenty of votes to be had if done properly.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think the left have the skills to carry it off, though, they’ll take the most extreme position, the nutbar contingent will appear front and centre and then rant on about how all farmers are these evil environmental monsters hell bent on destroying the country for monetary gain.

      Voters will just roll their eyes, turn off and a major opportunity will be lost.

      [if you’d made any attempt to relate your trolling to the post I would probably have ignored it. But a Notices and Features post about an issue of national importance isn’t the place for you to push your anti-left astroturfing. As far as I can tell you just piggy-backed off someone else’s on-topic comment in order to yet again bash the left. As Stephanie says, it’s boring. It’s also election year. You are quite capable of making actual non-trolling political points, so I suggest that if you want to be here, up your game. Banned from the site for the weekend – weka]

      [additional note. BM, I’ve now gone back and looked at previous warnings and moderations and there is a clear pattern of behaviour to your trolling. You’ve been warned enough. If I see this again after your ban ends expect to be out until after the election. If you don’t understand what I mean I suggest you do some homework and go back and look at previous warnings because it’s been explained enough. I’m putting you in premod, so that when your ban ends you will need to make a comment acknowledging you have seen this moderation note for your comments to be released – weka]

      • God you’re boring.

        • AB 3.2.1.1

          Yes – but it’s all very strategic. What RW commentators constantly do is try to set the boundaries of what it is permissible for the left to do or think. Concede some space for slightly leftish opinion, but not very much. It’s about maintaining the current position of Overton’s Window.

          • weka 3.2.1.1.1

            I agree, it looks intentional to me and it’s been going on too long. I’ve had enough, the last thing I want to be doing is spending my Saturday morning moderating, so I’m happy to just keep giving bigger and bigger bans for this shit from now on. I’m pretty sure I’ve warned BM about this before, will look that up later and use that as a guide for the next ban.

          • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.2.1.1.2

            Hadn’t heard of Overton’s Window. Looked it up, interesting and makes sense. Thanks!

      • reason 3.2.2

        Helping farmers not pollute and cleaning up the waterways will only work when there is genuine co-operation and help between govt and farmers ….

        Don’t be such a dick pic blow arse clown BM

        “Attacking them farmers …. was the speculative high land prices ….. which almost demanded high intensity ( and unsustainable ) farming practices to ….’ maximise returns’

        We’re also contributing to animal cruelty , human exploitation, species death and deforestation ………… In that special way everything our departed sub prime prime minister touches soon turns to shit …

        Johhny made-off ……………… cowboy or ponzi ??? ……

        A derivative of both…. Filth and fakery everywhere

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.3

      Unfortunately the rate of expansion of dairy was similar under the previous Clark government also, this isn’t just a Nact problem (although the concentration of the benefit to the owners, rather than the workers, is probably worse with the Nacts).

      http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/graph/17632/dairy-cattle-numbers

      Both the Nats and Labour have to change their tunes on this one – I can’t see the Nacts ever doing that, maybe Labour will, especially with the help of the Greens.

      • weka 3.3.1

        True however a couple of things.

        One is that Labour appear to be changing. Not enough, but they’re starting to take notice.

        The other is that National have as their core policy that it’s ok for our rivers to be so polluted that the standard is wadable. That’s a recipe for ecosystem collapse. In other words, they are intending to cause that much destruction across the country for the sake of profit. I don’t think we can say that is true of Labour.

        The numbers of cattle per se isn’t the issue, nor is the rise. It’s the numbers in relation to the land base, how fast the rise has happened, and that virtually none of it is being done sustainably let alone regeneratively (there are some notable exceptions).

        The additional figures from the last decade,

        https://dairy.ahdb.org.uk/media/1272837/nz_estimates_graph_497x300.jpg

    • weka 4.1

      Might come back later and critique this more in depth, but basically it’s an opinion piece from a Fed Farmers dude that is full of straw men and potent ignorance about regenerative agriculture. You’d think these people would have better PR by now.

    • The article Jimmy wants us to take seriously begins:
      “All farmers, not just those in dairy, have recently been told that the world will be better off if we just switch to ecological farming.”
      Bullsh*t. Right from the get go. Let’s read on…

    • Perhaps I’ve mis-represented Jimmy – he may be providing us with the opportunity to look into the industry’s “brain” in the form of Andrew Hoggard’s dull view – Hoggard says, of ecological farming, “When I read about so-called ecological farming, I can only view it as subsistence farming.”, saying so much about his inability to research, think, learn, you know, all of those things that lead to understanding and realisation. Mr Hoggard should refrain from commenting, I believe, until he’s mastered thinking outside of his own little square. Andrew, btw, is pictured, looking scornful, wearing his fluro vest against a background of cows. His RD1 beanie speaks volumes.

      • Jimmy 4.3.1

        Yes you have misrepresented me Robert, I simply provided a link to encourage the “thinking” you are so into, I never suggested it should be taken in any particular way.
        Perhaps some thinking on this link and suggestions would be helpful, have a great evening.
        https://www.dairynz.co.nz/environment/

        • Robert Guyton 4.3.1.1

          Yes, sorry Jimmy. I remembered, eventually, your comments past and remembered how good they were. It is worth reading your link, if only to see how shallow the commentary from Dairy NZ – appalling really and not worthy of publication. I’ll read your second link now and try to be more careful in my response 🙂

        • Robert Guyton 4.3.1.2

          Regarding your link to the DairyNZ website, Jimmy, I’d say they are promoting themselves very well, within their own framework/story – that is, they’ll do what they define as farming, well, by their own standards. They are, in my experience, not able to see beyond their programme to profit from dairy farming. They’ll not accommodate/tolerate suggestions that their whole kaupapa is misplaced/wrong.

      • weka 4.3.2

        It’s not like we don’t have this thing called the internet. He’s chosen self-serving ignorance to underpin the spin.

        I am curious if they have been told about ecological farming and if so by whom. Is that a term used by the biodynamic people?

        • Jimmy 4.3.2.1

          Yes I know you all have the internet, this link was included in the article that I originally linked too. So it seemed relevant.

          Especially that it provides information on what the dairy industry is trying to achieve environmentally, which is what everyone is concerned about right?

          I’m pretty sure that an industry the size of NZ dairy, which includes university research teams has a fair understanding of all methods of agriculture.

          Andrew Hoggards writing style may not be for everyone, but he is just one man, not an entire industry.

          • Robert Guyton 4.3.2.1.1

            DairyNZ should’ve vetted Hoggard’s piece – it’s appalling.

          • Robert Guyton 4.3.2.1.2

            Wendell Berry on soil;
            “Soil is the recurring image in these essays. Again and again, Berry worries away at the question of topsoil. This is both a writer’s metaphor and a farmer’s reality, and for Wendell Berry, metaphors always come second to reality. ‘No use talking about getting enlightened or saving your soul’, he wrote to his friend, the poet Gary Snyder, in 1980, ‘if you can’t keep the topsoil from washing away.’ Over the last century, by some estimates, over half the world’s topsoil has been washed away by the war on nature which we call industrial farming. We may have perhaps fifty or sixty years of topsoil left if we continue to erode, poison and lay waste to it at this rate. As the human population continues to burgeon, the topsoil in which it grows its food continues to collapse. It is perhaps the least sexy environmental issue in the world, but for the future of human civilisation, which continues to depend upon farmers whether it knows it or not, it may be the most important.”
            http://dark-mountain.net/blog/the-world-ending-fire/

        • Robert Guyton 4.3.2.2

          The “ecological farming people” are well organised and well researched, from what I’ve seen, having been to several presentations by various practitioners – in fact, I’d describe them as acutely tuned to the needs of agriculture in whatever future it might have. Mr Hoggard would probably struggle to understand the concepts that the ecological farmers are working with and has chosen to attack out of ignorance, using dismissive terms to cover his own ignorance. I found the depth of understanding of soil and its importance shown by the ecological farmers vastly superior to that shown by conventional farmers in general, certainly those who thrill to Mr Hoggard’s way of thinking.

        • Robert Guyton 4.3.2.3

          “Wendell Berry’s formula for a good life and a good community is simple and pleasingly unoriginal. Slow down. Pay attention. Do good work. Love your neighbours. Love your place. Stay in your place. Settle for less, enjoy it more.”

          Oh, yes.

          • Jimmy 4.3.2.3.1

            Robert while systems like you promote are no doubt great ways to farm, and I would suggest that a lot of the current dairy farmers would enjoy running a farm on an organic/ecological system.

            The problem that the current batch of farmers, especially young farmers and sharemilkers have, is indebtedness to banks.

            This pretty much forces them into conventional farming practices simply because it returns a higher profit than systems you would promote.
            And when the bankers come knocking to find out why you are not meeting your mortgage payments, they are not going to suggest you carry on with your organic farming system.

            The other contributing problem, is consumers demand from farmers, a safe and high quality product at a cheaper and cheaper price.

            You have seen plenty of commentary where the consumer it sure they are being ripped off for dairy products.

            Try telling them they need to pay more for it if they want environmentally sound products, they will say they will.
            But when offered the choice of cheap but status quo or expensive and environmentally sound, most go for cheap every time, and then go home and write on internet blogs what a bunch of polluting rip of bastards farmers are.

            • Robert Guyton 4.3.2.3.1.1

              Jimmy – yes, what you say makes sense, but only if we “forget” what we know about the bigger picture: the degrading condition of the whole shebang. Conventional farming will feed us,right up till the point where everything collapses; the environment we live in can’t take that sort of treatment for much longer, so arguing to keep going with it, even with improvements by the industry, is not sensible, to my way of thinking. An “ecological” approach is an improvement, in terms of the bigger picture, but still threatens to destroy the place eventually, in my view. An even more courageous and well thought out “system” has to be adopted, soon, in order that we don’t bugger the place up for ourselves and a lot of other life forms. Banks, mortgages, sure, those are factors forcing the situation but they’re not reason enough to continue wrecking the joint, just as “jobs for the miners” isn’t reason enough to continue extracting coal, imo.

              • Jimmy

                Ok sounds good, but what is this new system exactly?
                How can indebted farmers convert to organic/ecological systems, without losing the shirt off their backs?
                How can we convince consumers to happily pay more for organic dairy products?
                Until these questions are answered in a way that suits all party’s only the status quo will reign.
                And the greens and the farmers will continue to butt heads, and the bigger picture will not be realised.

                • Indebted farmers will do it hard, but if keeping the status quo means eventual collapse, we’d be mad to do it, yes? Your greens .v. farmers is a false dichotomy; many farmers are green, many greens are farmers. Describing the way through this, the steps needed to get to a position that’s sustainable, isn’t easy but the ecological/regenerative farming people have some very good ideas for just that and the likes of Hoggard and his low-brow criticisms are endangering us all, “us” being living things.
                  Edit: at the council I constantly hear farmers who baulk at regulation, say, “show farmers the problem and let them find the solutions” – well, the problem is a dead-end practice – let’s hear their solutions, please.

  4. Foreign waka 5

    The land gentry has once more pulled the wool over the eyes of the many and just stole some more land that is close to the river (SI news story this week) without any regard that the irrigation will pollute the water upstream and thus the drinking water for the rest of the people further down. And down they are in their opinion it seems.
    Oh well, NZlanders with their “she’ll be right” attitude wont be doing anything about it anyway. Hence it is regarded as a silent approval. Let them drink Coke.

      • Foreign waka 5.1.1

        Yes, and what is going to be done about it? This is sanctioned theft and those who are doing it are effectively sheltered by all levels of government alike.
        Similarity, where are the Maori voices?
        So in other words one just can take land at will. And it is absolute wrong to say that the boundaries are difficult to pinpoint. Rates are based on these – so it should be very clear. Oh and here comes the best part, farmers are such good conservationists. They look after the land….. yeah we can see now what they mean.

        “But the areas taken over for farming were gone for good, Ms Miller said.
        Federated Farmers environment spokesperson Chris Allen said land titles adjacent to rivers were notoriously complicated, and he urged farmers to stick within the law if they planned on doing any work there.
        “I would say it is a good time to have a good, clear discussion as to what the current law and regulation actually is, before we decide as a community do we have adequate protections currently under the laws.”
        Mr Allen said he was not in a position to describe what those adequate protections might be.”

  5. simbit 6

    By ‘Maori’ you mean Ngai Tahu (if we’re talking about braided rivers along the East coast of the South Island) though any Maori (individual or collective) can venture an opinion of course.

  6. Foreign waka 7

    Simbit, this is the kind of answer that really proves my point- doesn’t it.

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