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Higgins on National’s shit creek

Written By: - Date published: 10:07 am, April 16th, 2017 - 100 comments
Categories: articles, sustainability, water - Tags: , , , , ,

Nadine Higgins has written a scorcher of an opinion piece in the SST:

We’re up an unswimmable creek without a paddle

The late John Clarke wrote in The Listener a few years ago “If you’d like to enjoy the beautifully clean, swift-flowing New Zealand river system, you should make every effort to get out there before the dairy industry gets any more successful”.

I think that window has now closed. Yet another report this week confirmed we’ve trashed our waterways. More rivers are declining than improving. Nitrate levels are rising. It’s our fault but there’s seems to be little urgency to do that.

That is a national shame, but also National’s shame.

The Government’s approach to water quality has been about as upfront and effective as its approach to the housing crisis.

First step, emphatically deny there’s a crisis and if that fails, change the definition to make it look like you’re making things better. Lowering the bar of what’s considered swimmable is about the same as deciding you need only 40 per cent not 80 per cent to be an A-grade student – it doesn’t make you any smarter.

The Land and Water Forum, designed to advise Government on water policy, has been bleeding members who say their advice is being ignored.

Throw in the Government’s long-stated aim to double agricultural exports by 2025 and we’re heading up an unswimmable creek without a paddle.

Water quality should be a massive issue this election. Some friends, who are the kind of dyed-in-the-wool National supporters who call everyone else a loony leftie, now say water quality will guide their vote and it can’t possibly go to National. …

Plenty more good reading in the full piece.

Vote for clean water.

100 comments on “Higgins on National’s shit creek ”

  1. Foreign waka 1

    This is a disgrace really. But we all will get a glass of milk and she’ll be fine – (sarc)

    • saveNZ 1.1

      Soon many in this country will not be able to afford a glass or milk or water for that matter. It will be owned and exported offshore.

      Locals can pay for the clean up with the new RMA and National’s water legislation fighting for the .1% to profit, taking the water for private enterprise with the public paying for the collection into private irrigation schemes.

      Hello climate change. We might need to change the way we farm to reduce our reliance on water and convert dry drought prone areas into Manuka for honey or something else – not dairy!

      Don’t think the farmers are all profiting. Apparently many of the farmers are deeply in debt, encouraged by their Federated Farmers organisation that seems to have more interest in expansion and politics than the long term protection of it’s own industry. Clue – long term meaning 30 years plus for next generation… not next 3 years.

      Goodbye clean, green, 100% pure NZ.

      More like 100% pure bullshit from this government.

      • Foreign waka 1.1.1

        The business model is similar to a pyramid scheme but no one want to admit it. If you have the productive sector paying with debts for profits for the pencil pushers, that come up with some gobble gook plan how important it all is for NZ- you know that you are being sold up the … yes you guessed it.
        I am sure a lot of farmers do recognize this and are in fear of not just loosing their livelihood but also the farm that might have been in the family for some time. Desperate times demand desperate actions. Unfortunately more of the same is not the answer. Is there some professional society, concerned for the NZ farming heritage out there, really involved into the well being and sustainability able to help? Perhaps reducing the herds in a managed way, replacing the income from crops that are sustainable but also keeping in mind the water table and possible salinisation and/or pollution?

        • saveNZ 1.1.1.1

          Exactly – there are ways to help farmers out there for long term survival – the current rout of encouraging them to get more debt for more land to convert and cows and then be reliant on supplementary feed like palm kernel is making them dependant rather than self reliant.

          Mike Moore, said that the country calendar folks are not voting for labour anymore. They have become a party against workers and strivers and more to stop it.

          Whether this is true, I think the perception is true, and so Labour and Greens need to get policy in place to support both local farmers (maybe credits for conversation to something else), less reliance on electricity with solar power, more money spent on helping local rural community, looking at both high tech and low tech (swales etc) answers to climate change as well as helping the urban folks affected by weather events.

          Natz have zero answers, they even deny the questions and fake the statistics.

          Natz have zero credibility and are running a ponzi scheme using immigration to keep new money flowing in to hide the money flowing out. As locals become homeless, gridlocked with traffic and pollution flowing, it’s becoming harder to stay in denial and keep the illusion alive.

          • keepcalmcarryon 1.1.1.1.1

            No one should give much credence to Mike Neocon Moore and his ramblings. Farmers bleed blue I doubt labour has ever polled realistically in that demograph. Thanks for selling us out Mike, now hush.

            Ive banged this drum before -this current water issue is huge and is directly attributable to National policy and Labour should be roasting them.

            Doubling primary production with taxpayer funded irrigation, nitrate leaching especially from dairy conversions in light soil (hello canterbury, mackenzie country), restacking ecan to over allocate water for irrigation, dairy farms applying nitrogen at 100kg per ha at will, how is this legal let alone government policy and why arent they being crucified?

            The public is certainly all over this yet Im not seeing the headlines from Labour, are they going to obtain office relying on opinion pieces in the paper or public statements from Mike Joy?

            What of gifting our remaining pure water abroad or wherever, or Maggie Empty Vessel Barry not even being aware some of it is to be piped through critically endangered kiwi habitat, could this actually get any worse?

            Why arent labour digging this up? Relying on NZ media to hold government to account on this does not put labour in a leadership position on this issue and they need to be there, its an election winner.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      The way that National is doing things the glass of milk is likely to be polluted as well.

      • peterlepaysan 1.2.1

        Actually , I am reliably informed (by a dairy farmer) that most of the milk tankered into Fonterra is converted into milk powder. The stuff bought in stores is reconstituted milk powder and water.

        Maybe explains panic a year or two back about contaminated baby formula.
        The water would be halogenated if from a town supply (not the Selwyn river..

        • solkta 1.2.1.1

          “The stuff bought in stores is reconstituted milk powder and water.”

          What a load of crap. Have you never heard “town supply” dairy farms? These are the farms that supply the most of the milk that sells in the shops. They milk all year round and don’t dry their herd off for winter. A premium is paid to these farmers as maintaining supply all year takes careful management and overall production is lower.

          • joe90 1.2.1.1.1

            Have you never heard “town supply” dairy farms?

            Other than a a few whole milk suppliers, “town supply” dairy farms are long gone.

        • Jimmy 1.2.1.2

          Solkta is right, I’ve never understood why people would think Fonterra would find it economic to remove all the water from the milk in the powder driers, just to add it back in and bottle it. Doesn’t happen.

        • Ian 1.2.1.3

          You need a more reliable source
          That is bullshit.

  2. weka 2

    It does beg the question of who they would vote for.

  3. BM 3

    Vote for clean water.

    Went looking for Labours clean water policy, the first result on google was this

    http://www.labour.org.nz/labour_promises_swimmable_rivers_and_lakes_over_a_generation

    Clicked on the link at the bottom which says

    Click here for more details of Labour’s policy for clean water.

    Which took me to this page

    http://www.labour.org.nz/water

    Good stuff labour, I’ll be definitely changing my vote 🙄

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Work in progress BM but call me a skeptic but I’m pretty sure you will not be changing your mind and voting for the good guys in green or in red.

      • BM 3.1.1

        Probably not, but what about other people.

        Multiple times I’ve read on here that clean water is going to be the big issue at this year’s election.

        Yet, Labour hasn’t even come up with clean water policy, really? do labour mps just turn up to parliament to eat lunch?

        • bwaghorn 3.1.1.1

          if you’re truly worried (and i fucking doubt you are ) you’ll vote green so they can drag labour into stronger action.

          edit i see weka told you the same

        • Johan 3.1.1.2

          What a pathetic little troll you are BM. We all know that National has failed to come to terms with the water pollution problem in NZ, and all you do is turn on the opposition, how pathetic are you. Saying that you will change your vote, makes you out a liar since most of your comments rendered you nothing but a RWNJ.

        • McFlock 3.1.1.3

          thanks for your concern

    • r0b 3.2

      That’s a 2014 policy piece so yes the link is no longer active.

      For thinking that will shape Labour’s policy for next election see Andrew Little:
      Clean rivers: time to cut the crap

      • BM 3.2.1

        Had a read

        Labour’s already got a good start with our Ready to Work policy. This programme will employ young people who are stuck on the dole to do valuable, paid work and get some job experience. I want to see those young people out helping to build the fences that will keep livestock out of the water and doing riparian planting – restoring wetlands and growing native plants on the edges of waterways to filter the run-off from farms.

        Come on r0b you know that’s not the real issue, the real issue is overstocking, what’s Labour going to do about that?

        • weka 3.2.1.1

          Govern with the Greens 😉

          • BM 3.2.1.1.1

            So you reckon Labours water policy will pretty much mirror the greens water policy?

            Do the greens have any policy around maximum herd numbers per hectare?

            • weka 3.2.1.1.1.1

              No, I think that the Greens will move Labour left on this, and that Labour will be happy about that.

              “Do the greens have any policy around maximum herd numbers per hectare?”

              I doubt it, not least because that’s going to depend on the farm/catchment.

              Their formal policy is that rates have to be reduced, and that intensive farming conversions would need resource consent. But you need to understand that in the context of their other policies esp the ones around regenerative agriculture. Focussing on stocking rates won’t be enough to repair the huge damage already done, and it doesn’t in and of itself create the sustainability needed to protect water, although obviously it will take the pressure off many ecosystems.

              I can’t remember if the Greens had a general % on reduction of rates (and can’t find anything online).

        • r0b 3.2.1.2

          I dunno BM, let’s put them in government and find out shall we?

          Following on from the para you quoted above:

          Alongside that practical work, we’ll need proper standards without the trickery, better monitoring, and accountability for polluters. We’ll need to empower every community – because when my local river is swimmable and yours is too, the whole of New Zealand has clean water.

          • BM 3.2.1.2.1

            Why?, there’s a high chance that Labour is all piss and wind and won’t change anything.

            Why would I want to vote for that?, I’d rather keep the status quo if that’s the case.

      • Antoine 3.2.2

        > For thinking that will shape Labour’s policy for next election see Andrew Little:
        Clean rivers: time to cut the crap

        So I look at that link, and I don’t see a clear understanding of the issue, or a convincing plan of action.

        I suspect the Greens may have these things to a greater extent, but won’t have the influence in a Labour-led government to implement their policy.

        I might have confidence if I knew Labour had someone really capable and experienced lined up to be the relevant Minister – I’d then be happy that good policy and implementation would follow in due time – but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

        In sum I end up with the impression that NZ’s rivers wouldn’t be markedly cleaner in 2020 under a Labour-led government than a NACT one.

        It might help if someone could explain how NZ’s rivers would be cleaner now if Labour had stayed in power from 2008 til today? What would be different?

        A.

        • Antoine 3.2.2.1

          PS For the avoidance of doubt, I’m not advocating voting right, the best outcome as far as I’m concerned would be for Labour to (a) put someone good on the case, (b) go talk to some smart people who know water management inside out, and (c) write some decent flippin’ policy.

          A.

          • weka 3.2.2.1.1

            that’s what the Greens are for. I think you are thinking old school, macho politics coalition building where the smaller party is a tag on. I think we are going to see something new, where L/G work together. The more MPs the Greens have the more likely this is, so anyone who thinks water is a central issue can put there party vote there.

            “It might help if someone could explain how NZ’s rivers would be cleaner now if Labour had stayed in power from 2008 til today? What would be different?”

            The main difference I can see is that National really don’t give a shit. Seriously, they don’t actually care whether water is polluted or not. Labour do. I think that Labour would have still allowed too much intensification, and there would still have been water degradation issues, but when it became obvious that this was a problem they would have taken remedial action. Unlike National who are committed to pull the cow hide over our eyes while they continue to plunder.

            Also, the Greens would have been pushing hard for change and instead of mass pollution we would have had 3 terms of talking about what stocking rates are going to work, riparian planting etc, but on the front foot not the back foot. As a GP voter it wouldn’t have been enough for me, but Labour would still have done significantly better than National. Including from an ecological perspective.

            • weka 3.2.2.1.1.1

              Also, Labour are science manipulators like National are. And to give an idea of their environmental cred, go see what the Clark govt was doing on climate change before they lost in 2008. It puts us all to shame.

              • Antoine

                Well, what were they doing? (Genuinely interested)

                A.

                • weka

                  If you are genuinely interested I expect you will do your own homework. I linked to one of the govt dept documents in a recent CC post (probably the Dunedin one).

            • Antoine 3.2.2.1.1.2

              > I think we are going to see something new, where L/G work together

              I would be more convinced of this if they had been able to develop any little snippet of joint policy in this area in the last 8 1/2 years?

              > Seriously, they don’t actually care whether water is polluted or not. Labour do

              Are you sure about that? My read is that Labour doesn’t know or care much about water quality, but sees it as an area where they can embarrass National.

              > I think that Labour would have still allowed too much intensification, and there would still have been water degradation issues, but when it became obvious that this was a problem they would have taken remedial action

              Well, like what?

              Did the Clark government do anything (during its part of the dairy boom) to improve fresh water quality?

              A.

              P.S. Obviously a Green vote is a good protest vote in this area and I’m not ruling out doing that, but as long as Lab > Green, what NZ’s rivers more need is for Lab to get a clue in this area…

              • Antoine

                > My read is that Labour doesn’t know or care much about water quality, but sees it as an area where they can embarrass National.

                Edit: I admit that David Parker probably both knows and cares

                A.

    • That’s your problem bm right there. The post points at the gnats, you put up stuff about labour. You then use that to say your not changing your vote to labour meanwhile you still can’t address the point of the post itself. Go back to trying to be the nice rwnj instead of the dim one eh.

    • Sabine 3.4

      can you link to Nationals Clean Water Policies?

      cheers.

      • weka 3.4.1

        we’ll need a shower afterwards though.

        • greg 3.4.1.1

          linking to nationals water policy comes with a health warning and explosive diarrhea.

        • Sabine 3.4.1.2

          we might we might not.

          the question still stands tho, what are Nationals Policies other then do nothing and collect taxpayers funds to finance their and their families life style?

          so no matter how much cow shit it involves, just what are Nationals policies for clean water for the plebs.

  4. Incognito 4

    I don’t like to conflate issues but National’s shit creek is symbolic for its attitude to the environment: it is to be exploited without reservation. This is the attitude of a dinosaur leaving big footprints in its devastating wake.

  5. The Fairy Godmother 5

    I am horrified at the pollution caused by the dairy industry and also the cruelty. I finally made the decision just over three weeks ago to go vegan. Until the industry cleans itself up that is the only way I can see it. That way I don’t consume their products.

    • weka 5.1

      I think food choices are a very personal thing, but I’ll just point to an alternative strategy, which is to support regenag and sustainable meat and dairy producers. That way we get a momentum and a building of actual practice on how to do this. Those farmers are pioneers and the more support they get the better for us now and in the long term. Unless we source non-animal products locally (which is hard to do for most people) we’re building up substantial food miles and often supporting another set of damaging agricultural practices via monocropping, tilling, and if non-organic, pesticides etc. It’s hard to eat ethically, but local food rocks on most levels.

      • The Fairy Godmother 5.1.1

        That is a good strategy but where am I going to source these products in suburban Auckland. I guess I could eat our free range back yard hens eggs

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          Depending on whether cost is a factor, check out your local organic retailers and ask them. Be specific about wanting local and good environmental practices rather than it being a personal health issue. For the dairy, ask deeper questions to see if its coming from a small grower or via Fonterra. The small growers often have websites and you can contact them and ask about their environmental policies. If you are ok with raw milk, you will have more options.

          Your local Farmers Market would be somewhere else to check. And some New World’s will have localish produce, but it can be harder to get information.

          Cities are often easier to buy ecologically ethical because the bigger population supports small and local better. The organic shops often are better organised too. You want an organic retailer who is in it philosophically. Sorry I don’t know Auckland and can’t make recommendations.

          • weka 5.1.1.1.1

            you can probably research a lot of that online too. I had a look and there seems to be plenty around but I don’t know Auckland and the country around it.

  6. adam 6

    Love it, so the bolt hole that many of the rich are looking to escape to, will have no drinking water.

    Can always trust liberalism to go for idiocy over anything else.

  7. bugsolutely nz 7

    If you want to take affirmative action starting today one meal a week of crickets will save over 1/2 million liters water per year. May sound not be what your used too but better than drinking cowshit.

  8. At least the National party wont win this coming election , … that much we can be thankful for.

  9. Jenny Kirk 9

    For the benefit of those who think Labour has no policies about freshwater quality –
    in 2006 Helen Clark’s government had started work on a national policy statement (NPS) for freshwater management to deal with water quality.

    However, obstruction by many with farming interests meant the Nats changed it to a much weaker version which did not control increases in livestock intensity, and allowed waterways pollution to get worse. Nor did it give any guidance to regional councils on freshwater management.

    David Parker, Labour’s spokesperson for the environment has reiterated often that Labour will restore a proper NPS – requiring stock proof fencing of farm land from waterways, having sufficient buffer strips to enable proper revegetation, limiting nutriant runoff, making irrigators pay for the cost of irrigation and water storage ,halt the sale of NZ’s freshwater supplies, and so on.

    • timeforacupoftea 9.1

      I would add no swimming or wading in our rivers as I remember clearly when young we would pee in the river while swimming.

      • Jenny Kirk 9.2.1

        Yes – I agree Brendon – its appalling that Canterbury has become cow country – in an area which cannot sustain it without massive irrigation . Its more than time that we reverted back to using land to its ability, and not to over-burden with activities it cannot sustain.

        • Antoine 9.2.1.1

          WIll Labour end the Canterbury dairy industry?

          A.

          • Psycho Milt 9.2.1.1.1

            Probably not – that would be an intense and bitter fight to get into. However, progressively imposing limits and restrictions to make dairy in Canterbury a lot more difficult would be do-able, and only one of the two main parties is even likely to do it. Vote for that one, not the one that’s only going to encourage more intensive dairying in inappropriate environments.

            • Brendon 9.2.1.1.1.1

              The polluter should pay. It is unacceptable that costs are a loss to the whole community while the benefits are privatised to a few lucky landowners.

            • Muttonbird 9.2.1.1.1.2

              See that’s why you are such a dick. Not because you want to address the overuse of water by the new dairy industry in Canterbury but that you’d frame it by by saying, “progressively imposing limits and restrictions to make dairy in Canterbury a lot more difficult would be do-able”, rather than the very simple, positive, and progressive statement from Brendon at 9:21pm.

              • That’s because I’d prefer to see a Labour/Green government actually win power than to bask in the glorious purity of my ideological principles. I guess for the less-rational end of the left spectrum, that does constitute being a dick, but the people at my end have opinions about the people at yours, too.

    • Antoine 9.3

      > Labour will restore a proper NPS

      OK, so that’s something substantive.

      What time frame will the NPS take effect over? http://www.labour.org.nz/pce_proves_water_quality_still_deteriorating says “dirty rivers cleaned up _over a generation_”.

      Is Labour prepared to walk the walk on its promise that “increases in land use intensity should not be a permitted activity until plans have the rules needed to keep our rivers clean”? Will it stand up to the dairy industry?

      What more resources will Labour put into enforcement of compliance with the NPS?

      And why does Andrew Little not mention the NPS when he talks about water quality?

      A.

    • Antoine 9.4

      Jenny

      After a day’s reflection

      If Labour’s policy is to introduce a new NPS, then why is Andrew Little not saying that at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/hawkes-bay-today/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503459&objectid=11820462? (Which Rob cited above as Labour’s new thinking)

      Why is he instead running off about some kind of work for the dole scheme to fix up river banks?

      Are these guys talking to.each other??

  10. Janet 10

    New Zealand farmers have always been very adaptable and very capable and we need them to stay that way as they represent only 10% of the country’s population but are producing 65% of the country’s income.
    They have always been reasonably willing and quick to uptake the new scientific agricultural research ideas that have come out of our government funded agricultural research stations and universities be it the wholesale spreading of super phosphate over the pastures in the early 1950, s the spraying of hillsides of gorse with 245T, the spraying of thistles in the pastures with 245D, instead of grubbing gorse and thistles out by hand. More recently the intensifying of dairying using urea and importing palm kernel to winter feed cows and so on and so on.
    Instead of importing fertilisers and supplementary food they should have stayed within the boundaries of what their own farms could supply naturally. In other words not over-stocked and not converted to dairying on the unsuitable soils.
    Right now they should diversify out of 100 % dairying and start, for example, a horticultural venture on the suitable areas of their farms eg: an orchard, vegetables , cereals , forestry woodlots. Instead of the cowshed waste being a problem it could be used organically to help grow horticultural crops thereby achieving a more natural, wholistic balance to the farm’s overall operation.
    Farmers must now move to working with more sustainable methods of land use and farming. As usual they will listen and they will act. As usual there are the those that quickly uptake the new information coming out and there are the “cows tails”, who are slower to learn and react. Goodbye factory diary farming, welcome back clean waterways and sanity.

    • Foreign waka 10.1

      Hi Janet
      Agree, but to be honest I have this nagging feeling that all of the “strategy” is currently laid out to have even more debt incurred on the individual owners and it stands to reason that many will sooner rather than later go broke. This seems to entertain the idea that either the corporate or foreign interests can come in and in “saving” the farm, making the owner farmer a servant. The fact that NZ Prime minister has a long history of farming inherited and has been related to members who were involved in the Fed Farmers makes the whole affair even worse! How in gods name is it possible that someone who with such extensive knowledge lets all of his happen?

      • KJT 10.1.1

        Greens are the only party that even suggests we help farming families into more sustainable farming. National and Labour both plan to let the market prevail. I.E. Let them go bust, and big corporates take over, as the inevitable adjustment is forced on them.

  11. Janet 11

    New Zealand farmers have always been very adaptable and very capable and we need them to stay that way as they represent only 10% of the country’s population but are producing 65% of the country’s income.
    They have always been reasonably willing and quick to uptake the new scientific agricultural research ideas that have come out of our government funded agricultural research stations and universities be it the wholesale spreading of super phosphate over the pastures in the early 1950, s the spraying of hillsides of gorse with 245T, the spraying of thistles in the pastures with 245D, instead of grubbing gorse and thistles out by hand. More recently the intensifying of dairying using urea and importing palm kernel to winter feed cows and so on and so on.
    Instead of importing fertilisers and supplementary food they should have stayed within the boundaries of what their own farms could supply naturally. In other words not over-stocked and not converted to dairying on the unsuitable soils.
    Right now they should diversify out of 100 % dairying and start, for example, a horticultural venture on the suitable areas of their farms eg: an orchard, vegetables , cereals , forestry woodlots. Instead of the cowshed waste being a problem it could be used organically to help grow horticultural crops thereby achieving a more natural, wholistic balance to the farm’s overall operation.
    Farmers must now move to working with more sustainable methods of land use and farming. As usual they will listen and they will act. As usual there are the those that quickly uptake the new information coming out and there are the “cows tails”, who are slower to learn and react. Goodbye factory diary farming, welcome back sanity.

  12. RuralGuy 13

    I think the standard should avoid any blogs discussing agriculture as the knowledge on this blog is Pretty poor. I haven’t seen a single post that convinces that any of you have stepped onto a productive farm.

    This, unfortunately, includes Nadine Higgins; who somehow thinks the Tukituki is influenced by dairy farms. There is approx 1200 ha of dairy in a 650k ha Tukituki catchment. What an absolute goose, and it’s hard to take anything in her piece seriously when she can’t even identify land use. I guess dirty horticulture doesn’t have the same ring as dirty dairy for the clickbait fake news she’s dished up.

    Understanding this is a political blog; Having met with the Ag spokespeople from the 5 obvious parties in my professional role over the past 6 months, and the message from all 5 is that it is business as usual for dairy. There may be some green attempts to minimise industry growth, but legally it’s a very tenuous proposition to write a law which limits how an individual might interact with private property rights on agricultural zoned land.

    The other interesting piece is how can any limits upon the dairy industry (which is the country’s best income source) be hindered without being an impediment on the Lab/Greens financial promises around debt /GDP. Thus, why the message has been business as usual.

    At the end of the day, I couldn’t really care about Nadine or the multitude of other urban hand wringers say/write/do. Until a consumer in a Chinese market opts not to buy NZ produced dairy as a response to water quality concerns, it’ll be business as usual for my colleagues and I as no government (regardless of composition) will dare to step behind our farm gates and harm the golden goose.

    • Antoine 13.1

      Well spoken

      • keepcalmcarryon 13.1.1

        Really?
        Tourism was our biggest (“best”) income earner in the last financial year.
        Not too discerning eh Antoine, but I suppose you are both proving RuralGuys point about poor knowledge? Perhaps if you were born rural and lived and worked here you’d have more clues.

        The rest of RuralGuys defensive spray is a cut and paste of fed farmers/dairy NZ/Fonterra, we are too big to touch, some of us fence our creeks, I planted a tree once, Riche McCaw, golden goose, backbone of economy yada yada, market will decide.
        Trouble is you are fucking the environment, everyone knows it. You wont own ecan and the government for ever. For the sake of the environment lets hope its not for much longer.

    • r0b 13.2

      I haven’t seen a single post that convinces that any of you have stepped onto a productive farm.

      I’ve spent over a year of my life on farm land – bits spread out over many years. Milked cows. Made silage. Gathered hay bales. Shot rabbits and possums by spotlight from the backs of the utes. Ridden horses. Swum in the river. Wandered the hills. Fishing and eeling. Built shelters. Deerstalking. Gymkhanas. Hung out by the campfire or on the farms with farming families. Grew up with them. Watched the change from sheep to dairy. Stopped drinking from the river. Farming families were very kind to us for so long, and I’m very grateful to them.

      Until a consumer in a Chinese market opts not to buy NZ produced dairy as a response to water quality concerns, it’ll be business as usual for my colleagues

      And you accept the cost of this? Trashing the waterways. People getting sick. Dogs dying after a swim in the river. Doesn’t bother you?

      and I as no government (regardless of composition) will dare to step behind our farm gates and harm the golden goose.

      Maybe, maybe not. If it kills another golden goose (tourism) then government of any stripe might take action.

      There has to be a balance.

      • lprent 13.2.1

        My parents used to have a 88 acre ‘hobby’ hill farm north of Auckland that consumed most of my weekends and holidays when I was an adolescent. They moved up there in about 1986.

        I spent my 1977 pre-university year working on farms; a town supply in Alfriston and a sheep station in Taupo deciding if I wanted to go on the land. The farmer reliance on SMP handouts convinced me it simply wasn’t particularly economically viable and the resulting increased capital cost of land far exceeded its productive returns. In effect most farmers are mining their property for capital returns – a situation that continues today.

        FFS ‘RuralGuy’: This is New Zealand you’re talking about – not whatever strange place you come from. The depth of urbanisation was relatively recent. I’ve been in and out of the rural sector for most of my life. I have family scattered everywhere from rural to urban.

        • ropata 13.2.1.1

          Yep RuralGuy is talking out a cow’s arse. “Urban” kiwis have rural family and friends too, and we haven’t always been townies. I grew up in a town surrounded by farm land and regularly visit my country bumpkin whanau 🙂

        • weka 13.2.1.2

          Me too. Different circumstances but lots of time on farms and interaction with working farmers, including those that farm sustainably and conventional farmers that are trying to do the right thing.

          But Rural Guy was just using the slur as a set up for the rest of his comment. He’s the authority now, right? The only one. The rest of us are just peasants 😉

    • ropata 13.3

      The government will have to do something if irresponsible cow cockies fuck up again and poison 10,000 more people. Havelock North 2016, Queenstown 1984, what’s next? Are you bullshitters going to wipe out half of Christchurch or something?

      • Graeme 13.3.1

        J don’t think agriculture can be held responsible for the Queenstown gastro outbreak. That one was totally human effluent from a pressurised manhole (HGL was out of the ground for the engineers) that blew out 50m from the water take in Lake Wakatipu. Absolutely stupid engineering, but the result of two councils, borough and county, being overwhelmed by development pressure. And it took 4 years to fix it, kind of….

        Havelock North has some similar themes.

        We’ve ALL got to stop shitting in the water. The continual duck shoving, finger pointing and inaccuracy by everyone around the water debate isn’t going to get us to a better place any time soon. But hey, that’s the nature of water management.

    • What you’re effectively saying is that you’re confident farmers can, will and should continue wrecking NZ rivers as long as there’s money in it, and Labour won’t genuinely do anything about it because they want the government’s cut of the take (which ignores the effect the Green Party will have on the next government). I’m aware that’s a common view on the right, but it’s not the kind of attitude the people running the country should have – we deserve better.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.5

      a law which limits how an individual might interact with private property rights on agricultural zoned land.

      One minor teensy little problem with your wet dream is that you don’t own the water, and have sweet fuck-all private property rights over it.

      An easy way to stomp all over your thieving little fingers is to require you to take your drinking water supply, unfiltered, from the downstream boundary of any waterway that flows through your property.

      Problem solved.

      • Robert Guyton 13.5.1

        The law that requires farmers to fence livestock off roads doesn’t seem to be a problem. Rural Guy’s “private property rights” argument is bullish, bullying bullshit.

        • greywarshark 13.5.1.1

          That business of owning land. Land in NZ is all held under the ultimate umbrella of the Crown, and of course under the grace and favour of nature which disposes of its rights with the ‘force of nature’.

          General land” is defined in TTWM s 129(2) as “land (other than
          Māori freehold land and General land owned by Māori) that has been alienated from the Crown for a subsisting estate in fee simple”. This is a very accurate definition, as it makes it clear that all private titles in New Zealand derive from a Crown grant – and of course in New Zealand such grants are not “lost”, as they typically are in English law, but can be readily located. Crown land, which is about half the country, is defined as “land … that has not been alienated from the Crown for a subsisting estate in fee simple”. Basic to both definitions is the notion that the surface area of New Zealand as at the acquisition of Crown sovereignty was held by Māori under Māori customary law: this title had to be extinguished, by purchase or by some other means, before the Crown could acquire a proprietary title to it, or grant it.

          http://www.regulatorytoolkit.ac.nz/resources/pdfs/05_RR_ch05_revised.pdf

    • Janet 13.6

      I am a fourth generation NZ fulltime farmer, I think I qualify but most importantly my family adapts when proved to be going down the wrong track,

    • solkta 13.7

      “legally it’s a very tenuous proposition to write a law which limits how an individual might interact with private property rights on agricultural zoned land.”

      Why?

      What makes property rights in the country more absolute than those in the city?

    • Foreign waka 13.8

      Rural Guy, I appreciate your apprehension and defense to not only circle what “is yours” but also to reiterate that you like to make the most if not more out if it. Fair call.
      A little hook in all of that, you are dealing with a living thing that, given enough abuse can die and with it the streams (as they have in man parts of NZ). The word that everybody is looking for is: sustainability. Your farm or indeed all of NZ farms cannot fill all of China’s quota. The race to do so for the big buck will ruin the county and as it is a race for the biggest return the money makers will move to another place (Chile perhaps?) without thinking about the destruction left behind.
      All the public is asking for is that as the “guardian” you also accept the responsibility to keep the ecosystem alive. If this can be conveyed, not only are the products better positioned in the market, but the demand on the “townies” to clean up their act has far more weight.
      This is an issue that affects everybody, and even more so future generations.

    • Jenny Kirk 13.9

      Rural Guy – perhaps you had better have another think about farmers and what they are doing to our waterways and our environment. A good starting point would be today’s RNZ story – here’s the link :

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/programmes/water-fools/story/201840326/water-fools-spray-and-pray

  13. Rural Guy’s a dag; not of the Fred kind, more sheep.
    He expressed well the views of his colleagues though, and we should thank him for that. Interestingly, he points fire-brand readers (OAFB?) to a solution that he says would change farming practice here; customer revulsion to polluted water, in Rural Guy’s view, the Chinese. I suppose then, those people loathed by Rural Guy and his peers; “whistle-blowers” like Mike Joy, must have the attention of farmers as a fox would, chickens.

  14. Jenny Kirk 15

    To Rural Guy – the basic evidence of dairy farming harming our environment can be seen every day in the north. Just come on up to the farms and rivers and streams around Whangarei for starters. This has been extremely well documented with photos and videos by local people over recent years, and has provoked Fonterra at least into putting up a fund to assist farmers to fence and re-vegetate river/stream banks and buffer zones. Its not enough, more needs to be done but it is clear there is a problem, and it is being acknowledged by Fonterra.

  15. Fonterra milk tanker involved head-on in deadly crash in Southland yesterday.

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