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If National wins the hope for clean water and swimmable rivers will be gone by lunchtime

Written By: - Date published: 8:03 am, August 27th, 2020 - 40 comments
Categories: Economy, Environment, farming, Judith Collins, national, same old national, water - Tags:

In an unfortunate choice of words National’s David Bennett has promised that if National is elected then the Government’s water reforms will be “gone by lunchtime”.

From Jason Walls at the Herald:

National has come under fire from the Government’s agriculture and environmental Ministers for “stupid” and “reckless” comments about its freshwater policies.

This comes after National committed to scrapping some of the new “draconian rules” within the Government’s freshwater regulations if it’s elected to Government.

“They’re gone by lunchtime,” the party’s agriculture spokesman David Bennett said in a Facebook Live last night, talking about the water policy.

His leader, Judith Collins, was critical of what she saw as bureaucrats in Wellington making all the rules when it comes to farmers, particularly in Southland.

She was sick of these people “bossing everyone else around”.

“We should just boss out those regulations.”

In a statement this afternoon, however, National clarified that it would only repeal or review nine regulations announced by the Government, such as the removal of stock from natural wetlands.

The choice of phrase is unfortunate.  It was previously used by Don Brash who in 2005 famously said that the country’s anti nuclear law would be gone by lunchtime if National was elected into power.  Thankfully National was not and the law remains.  John Key thought it wiser to leave it alone.

There were some problems with the implementation of the rules in Southland where the perceived requirement to get a resource consent for winter grazing where plugging occurred was thought to be excessive.  But a quick change to the rules has addressed this problem.

The rules have been supported by Fonterra and the process of formulating the rules has been going on for years and was started by National.  This is petty politics and National is pandering to its base.

It is clear what would happen if National gained power.  They would buckle to farming pressure and change the rules to allow the trashing of our waterways to continue.  The Government’s intent to have clean water and swimmable rivers would be gone by lunchtime.

40 comments on “If National wins the hope for clean water and swimmable rivers will be gone by lunchtime ”

  1. vto 1

    The history of New Zealands primary sector:

    Keep taking the kauri forest until stopped by others before all taken

    Keep taking the seals until stopped by others before all taken

    Keep taking the whales until stopped by others before all taken

    Keep taking all the hoki until stopped by others before all taken

    Keep taking all the west coast bush until stopped by others before all taken

    Keep taking all the rivers until stopped by others before all taken

    National represents the primary sector. They have no history in saving anything – their history is solely one of take… take take take

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    pugging

  3. Macro 3

    She was sick of these people “bossing everyone else around”.

    Yeah. Judith wants to boss everyone around.

  4. Robert Guyton 4

    The Southland Federated Farmers president led the charge, calling for Southland farmers to ignore the law requiring them to protect the environment during the winter time. Collins doubled-down.

    • Stephen D 4.1

      The townie that I am asks, if the ground gets so badly pugged up during winter, is it suitable land for cattle farming?

      • Robert Guyton 4.1.1

        That's the very question, Stephen. Hoofed animals in a high-rainfall, soft-soil environment inevitably equals degradation, imo.

        • RosieLee 4.1.1.1

          Especially when the land is way overstocked to factory farming levels. Just like the Waikato.

        • Stephen D 4.1.1.2

          Thanks Robert, and excuse my ignorance, but who authorises dairy farming in Southland and the Mackenzie Basin?

          • Robert Guyton 4.1.1.2.1

            Their associated regional councils and the councillors who sit on those, the majority of whom are farmers. Despite the best efforts of some individual councillors, lax rules are set, imo. smiley Central Governments too, set rules, some appropriately, some not so much.

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    Not much hope of a river cleanup under what the coalition passed unfortunately.

    The government needs to set a credible nitrate level that will penalize overstocking and nitrogenous fertiliser use in areas where streams or groundwater are contaminated.

    Industry practice has outpaced regulation – there is a feedlot near Timaru complete with manure lakes now. It is a serial breacher of even the weak regulations we have at present, and, like Comalco, is likely at some point to offload its pollution burden to a shell company, or go bankrupt, leaving the toxic burden to ratepayers and the state.

    If the legalize cannabis referendum goes through, one useful consequence might be to redirect police resources presently dealing with that plant, to enforcing environmental regulations that councils, concerned not to antagonize voters, have tended to neglect.

    • Robert Guyton 5.1

      Or mean cow-country converted to cannabis cultivation.

      • Stuart Munro 5.1.1

        Well not all of it – but according to a mate (long buried alas) it's a gross feeder – just the think to suck up excess nitrates before they reach the creek.

        Paul was a great bloke – his epitaph by the Waitati library reads "Give a man a pile of rubbish and he will build you a castle.” Last time I checked his stone wall was still there too – the council wouldn't permit it, so he put an axle through it and claimed it was a vehicle. What kind of vehicle, the council wanted to know? "It's a time machine he said – come back in a hundred years and it will still be there.”

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      is likely at some point to offload its pollution burden to a shell company, or go bankrupt, leaving the toxic burden to ratepayers and the state.

      Inevitable that it will do that. Profit comes at a huge expense usually paid for by the community.

      Meanwhile, these people will all be talking about personal responsibility as they avoid taking any responsibility at all.

      one useful consequence might be to redirect police resources presently dealing with that plant, to enforcing environmental regulations that councils, concerned not to antagonize voters, have tended to neglect.

      It would be good to have the police investigating something that's actually dangerous.

  6. Ad 6

    National are not going to win those desperately needed fresh votes with this move.

    It's not as if they were going to lose Southland.

  7. tc 7

    The choice of phrase from the odious Bennett is deliberate imo.

    Remind the rural folk who supports them stem the crushing tide.

    • In Vino 7.1

      Isn't Bennett supposed to be part of the 'strong team'?

      That's twice now that the party has had to back-peddle after a dopey statement of his. I seem to recall him making a statement that encouraged panic buying during early levels of first lockdown. Probably thought it clever to encourage problems for the Govt…

      Strong team? Tui moment.

  8. esoteric pineapples 8

    "They would buckle to farming pressure" – I don't think it would even be a case of "buckling" since they are the political wing of the farming industry

  9. Reality 9

    What a stupid statement by David Bennett to appease Southland farmers, with Collins sitting smugly beside him. He looked and sounded stupid. Talking of "bossing" – a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    There has been loads of publicity about our polluted waterways and in particular young people who are very environmentally aware are the ones in the future who will have to deal with this. Will they vote National?

  10. Shanreagh 10

    Lazy farmers after the big buck. Of course they could provide hard standing or they could provide shelter but guess what that does? It takes $$$$ from the wrong (ie their) side of the ledger. Some of these Southland farmers are cashing in on the saying of 'all grass wintering' which was only attributable in the olden days to sheep. So Southland was the home of all grass stock systems for sheep. The growth of dairying in Sthld has put pressure on all manner of things, water supplies being another. It has brought socio changes as well. There are all manner of portable houses plonked down with no attempt at landscaping or having suitable grounds around the houses. Existing houses have had fences and gardens ripped out, some gardens were notable & well planted over generations, so cows can graze right up to the decks/verandahs. I kid you not. I say sometimes only partly sarcastically, if they could fed out on/from the decks of their homes they would. Hedges and shelter belts removed so the big irrigators can move around to get rid of the by-products of having to use lots of water for hygiene.

    Factory farming to contribute to the exporting of commodities at its best.

    It does not have to be like this

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/country/416143/regenerative-agriculture-how-a-dairy-farmer-learned-to-trust-his-instincts

    • Robert Guyton 10.1

      It's a very bleak outlook from inside some of those "plonked" houses, Shanreagh! The suicide rate is high in the farming community, we are told, and I suspect the "scorched" landscapes contribute to feelings of despair, especially for partners bound to those houses while the other mucks in on farm.

      • Shanreagh 10.1.1

        Many partners would be working on these farms as well. I can see why the curtains are never drawn back perhaps looking out onto this bleak landscape. Children grow up playing in curtained rooms.

        The plonked houses are not designed for farm living conditions, have inadequate porches, accessible from the outside toilets and bathrooms, lack storage. Many of these factory farms rely on imported labour who find these living conditions to be a big step up from the living conditions they had in their home countries eg Philippines but are they attractive enough to encourage younger folk resident here in NZ to pursue a career in farming?

        As a generalisation rurally based councils are really not up to speed with the intrinsic value of landscape per se, or the big picture, judging by this and also what has happened in the Mackenzie basin to destroy tussock landscapes to chase the $$$$$.

        All grass wintering systems is the phrase used in the days when Southland sheep farms & pastures were the envy of many other farmers in other districts. Still need supplementary feeding but sheep could be in pastures that grew grass and not wall to wall mud.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      It does not have to be like this

      It should not be like this.

      Damaging industries need regulation so as to minimise the damage that they do. Unfortunately, we've had several centuries where farming wasn't considered damaging but having a native forest was.

      Its the economy

      As the saying goes but most have never really understood that the native forest is part of the economy and that we need its services more than we need that of the farm.

  11. Shanreagh 11

    Just tried to edit to provide another comment about the workers from the Phillipines…often the spouses provide wonderful care and support to our older folk in the towns in the dairying areas. Another job that is important and should be available to younger folk if they wanted to work there in rural towns. But again an industry with unattractive working conditions eg some have crazy shiftwork systems and poor pay especially lacking in travel time payments etc.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      Another job that is important and should be available to younger folk if they wanted to work there in rural towns.

      • I'm amazed that anybody wants to live there. Dirty, smelly and with a serious lack of basic services.
      • As more machinery is brought into farming there will be less people working there and so there is a decreasing choice to work there
      • Shanreagh 11.1.1

        It used to be more honourable than it is now and was a pathway for young people who wanted to go farming to work on dairy farms then sharemilk at various percentages and then get their own dairy farm. Now we have company farms, with company ethics. Huge buying up and aggregating of 'suitable' dairy land in Southland.

        Some of the places in the newer dairying areas are dreadful. Effluent is sprayed onto land that has a high water table or is so water logged because of climatic conditions. I will never forget travelling by bus through the Mackenzie country where cattle were being so-called (very incompetently) break fed close to the road. One of the little irrigation what-sies that sit like little toadstools in the paddocks, had been knocked over, presumably through pressure of stock, and the effluent was running free across the paddocks and down the fenceline into a handy creek. The bus went over the bridge over the creek and we could all see the creek was no longer pristine.

        These people are 'cowboys' in the very worst sense of the word.

        Farmers generally need to 'own' these colleagues and call them out.

        Again as has been said already

        'pigs will fly' before we see that happening in any but a wet bus ticket way.

        Such farmers have been given a boost by a silly ill-thought out policy from National. Let's hope it backfires big time and that Safe can get these appalling pictures into all the papers and on social media.

  12. Hunter Thompson II 12

    If the government put as much time and money into preserving our "100% Pure" environment as it did into propping up the economy, we would all be a lot better off.

    So too would future generations.

    Pigs will sprout wings before that happens.

  13. Shanreagh 13

    "They' never learn. Dairy farmers around Lumsden & Mossburn in this case are raising the ire of those concern with over stocking, cattle being held in inhumane conditions. The treatment of sentient beings such as cows is appalling. How can it be good for any animal to spend days in wall to wall mud and forced to give birth in those conditions as well. Many farmers who are good stock people know when their animals are to give birth and move them, but not this person. Calving is a means to an end, to get the cows in milk and not valued for its own sake, bobby calves, the unwanted products of calving are often also treated very cruelly.

    Hopefully the farmer owning these cattle will be held to account. Sheer greed.

    Some graphic and sad pictures here below.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/122578744/appalling-footage-shows-cows-calving-in-mud-in-southland

  14. Ken 14

    It's far more likely that after the election, Judith will be "gone by lunchtime".

  15. PsyclingLeft.Always 15

    But Jacquie Dean! Nat "Enviro Carer"….(NOT)

    And there was this : )….

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacqui_Dean#Dihydrogen_monoxide_hoax

    All that supposed blue/green shite. Is just that. Waterways filled with cow shite/nitrates….

    • Ken 15.1

      The only thing "blue green" about the Nats will be the toxic algae that would overrun our waterways if they had their way.

  16. Austringer 16

    the blum is October, October, of all our years months October, has most October recorded history, good and bad.

  17. Austringer 17

    Long time been crying foul our rivers, one Green cat listened, he now gone to the Birds.

    There was once a musician called Alex Harvey, he invented his alter ego Vambo, who had Ten RULES second, Don!t Piss in your Water.
    Now without sounding daft, the Methane dispensers have been shitting with the Chemical induced land Fertiliser for the past 15 or so years so much that the Methane Dispenser OUT NUMBER the sheep on the land in this land of ours, unbelievable but true, and not only their shit but also the same chemical feed in the land they fodder off like them flows from the land into our rivers, 15 years its taken exploitive greed for short term profit to pollute our rivers, and if some fool says Five Ten years will clean them what fool believes that, it will take our Children!s children!s GENERATION TO BE ABLE TO SWIM FREE IN OUR RIVERS WITHOUT FEAR OF HEALTH HARM. That we used to.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago