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It’s past time to be bold about water

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, February 25th, 2017 - 147 comments
Categories: capitalism, disaster, Economy, election 2017, Environment, farming, greens, labour, maori party, water - Tags: , ,

In the wake of the debacle that is the National Government’s new ‘water quality’ policy how about we look at what should be done.

First up, change the government. It’s blatantly obvious that not only will National never do the right thing, but they are in fact taking the piss. So it’s worth voting on the left on water alone. Best case scenario is a strong Labour/Green coalition government with enough Green MPs to bring about real change in policy. I hope both parties campaign hard on water over the next 7 months.

We can see Labour and the Greens have some initial overlap already. This from Green MP Catherine Delahunty,

David and I were in agreement that there we must change the standards for freshwater to be genuinely swimmable. We agree that we need a price on the commercial use of water, urgently.

Great to see an intentional indication of where the two parties already agree. The Greens naturally enough have a stronger stance,

… we have to abandon a corporate agriculture that is trashing our waterways and that Fonterra, the Government, Councils and the irrigation companies do not have a mandate from the people of this country for business as usual. The Regional Councils are developing complex long-term plans to mitigate the pollution of freshwater but unless they help change the system the diffuse pollution of rivers and lakes will continue.

Green Party solutions,

  • making rivers swimmable by changing the NPS (National Policy Statement Freshwater),
  • setting strong limits for discharges of nitrogen,
  • putting a price on the commercial use of water,
  • no more dairy conversions,
  • a moratorium on bottled water consents,
  • a levy on polluters used for riparian fencing and planting,
  • reducing cow numbers across the country.
  • step up on urban pollution as well
  • design wetlands for stormwater
  • reduce urban pollution via better clean energy public transport
  • have better wastewater systems that use plants to clean waste
  • take some of the chemicals that contaminate sewage out of products we use daily.

That’s a range of cutting edge solutions on saving our water that are still doable for the mainstream. For two mainstream political parties I think it’s worthy and worthwhile supporting as a starting point.

And it’s not enough. It’s still adapting around a fundamentally unsustainable death cult that says the growth economy is what sustains us, instead of seeing the economy as something that arises from and is utterly dependent upon the natural world. National are hell bent on maximum extraction before collapse. The mainstream culture is still trying to balance having rivers to swim in but let’s do the least amount in order to have that, because, the economy. Note that Delahunty uses the word mitigate in reference to Regional Council long term plans. That means limit the damage we are going to keep doing or that we can’t control under the current and intended systems we have. The Greens are taking a bold stand to do better than that, and we need change within the culture (that’s us) to support them.

A while back I put up a post about water and cultural values, which I will quote the last part of below. If we truly want to get this right then we have to make the decision to value water in its own right, not just as a resource for us to manage. We will also have to make the choice to prioritise water over money. Water is life. This is the fight that’s coming down hard and fast on the planet as whole, it’s what’s been happening at Standing Rock, it’s why people are risking prison to resist. We have to make the connections between the growth economy, capitalism, bottled water, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the looming water wars, drought, climate change, climate change wars, industrial dairying, disease, species extinction, ecological collapse, and our deep desire to be able to swim in our own goddam rivers, and know that they are all the same thing and that it just has to stop. Water is both the front line and the rallying cry.

I don’t expect Labour or the Greens to push this more than they are, because their job is bring government policy into being that the mainstream can align with. But there is no reason that we cannot lead the way from outside of parliament.

From the post on Water and Cultural Values,

There is something very wrong with this picture. It’s the cultural values that see water primarily as a resource to be managed, whether that’s for commerce or recreation. Waterways have no intrinsic value. Water is there for our use and if we manage it right then all will be well, as if we have ever been smart enough to know how to manage it right. But a culture that doesn’t expect to drink from the rivers will also not look after them to a standard that supports the ecosystem that the water itself is dependent on. Water is life not just because we need to drink it, but because everything we have depends on the environment we live in being healthy and sustaining itself over time. The Standard commentor Roy Cartland,

Wade-able, swimmable, drinkable: these are all standards lower than what most fish can survive at. Just because an adult human can drink it, does not mean an ecosystem can survive in it. We need higher standards than any party is promoting.

(I got all that and more from Mike Joy’s lecture.)

Let’s look at a different set of values. The Māori Party alone say fresh water should be safe to drink, swim in, and gather kai from. In their policy on water they frame it as a taonga.

Water – Te Mana o Te Wai

The Māori Party established Te Mana o Te Wai – the health and well-being of our water – as a driving policy for freshwater management. The three elements of Te Mana o Te Wai are:

te hauora o te wai – the health and mauri (quality and vitality) of water

te hauora o taiao – the health and mauri of the environment and

te hauora o te tangata – the health and mauri of the people.

The Māori Party want to “ensure that Te Mana o Te Wai remains as the overarching objective for freshwater management”.

Leaving aside issues of the Māori Party’s dilemma in supporting National (please, not in this conversation*), what would it look like if NZ decided that the mana of the water was the guiding principle not just for all decisions but for the very relationship we have with water itself?


* seriously, no gratuitous Māori Party-bashing. If you think you can make an argument about the Māori Party’s usefulness in this debate make sure you back it up from their policy and actual voting record and relate your comment back to the post, but really I’d much prefer it if people took the post seriously and looked at the cultural values being expressed. Generic comments about the Māori Party as National Party stooges will be shifted and likely result in a ban on the basis of derailment.

147 comments on “It’s past time to be bold about water ”

  1. greg 1

    stop the dairy industry externalizing the costs of the pollution to society . destroying the environment is just bad economics. dairy industry need to start accounting for the total cost. its totally wrong to expect society to tolerate the destruction of the environment in the interests of the few

  2. It’s not that they’re taking the piss, it’s that this is an election year, water quality is going to be a big election issue, they need to be able to present themselves as doing something to address that issue, but they also need to be careful to not actually do anything to address it because farmers are a big part of their constituency.

    So their latest announcement isn’t some kind of joke, it’s actually a finely-tuned response to what for them is a difficult situation. Even the worst people on the planet have reasons for the things they do.

    But yeah, bottom line is nothing gets done unless we change the government. Anyone voting National or its support parties this year is voting for more shit in our rivers.

  3. Cinny 3

    Good to see Rachel calling out Nickoff on this issue. Proud of her, all the best Rach.

    Nelson Labour candidate Rachel Boyack calls out Nick Smith on river quality report

    Will be interested to find where this story features in the print issue of the Nelson Mail, print version comes out after lunch today.
    Nelson voters need educating, Nickoff has been brain washing them for years.
    I’ve got my own plan for educating the nelson public 😀 and it’s going to be AWESOME 😀

  4. Antoine 4

    What would a Labour-led government do about freshwater?


    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      Why don’t you go to their website and ask them? Too lazy?

      As a habitual National dupe, what have you ever done about freshwater? That’s right: you’ve voted for a party that shits in the water.

      • Antoine 4.1.1

        I didnt ask about the Labour policy or the Green policy; I want to know what a Labour-NZ First-Green government would actually do.

        Or are you saying that a Labour-led government would aim to follow Labour’s policies, irrespective of what the Greens and NZ First think on the issue?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          More than the National Party. Read their (G/L/NZF) policies.

          • Antoine

            Which is the one that’s actually going to be adopted? I won’t bother with the other two.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              What do you care? It’s quite clear you are here to ask bad faith questions and you will carry on voting for more shit anyway.

              • Antoine

                Well, I’m not changing my vote over this unless someone can show me how a Labour-led government will improve the situation.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Then keep on voting for shit. Your call.

                • weka

                  “Well, I’m not changing my vote over this unless someone can show me how a Labour-led government will improve the situation.”

                  I also find this line disingenuous. Obviously no-one can predict the exact make up of a left-wing govt water policy, because we have no idea who that govt will be made up of, or what numbers.

                  However we do know what the baseline for the party that will lead a left govt is. I put a bit in the post, and Jenny has posted more in the comments. So at a minimum I expect a left wing govt to use the water standards that Labour is referring to.

                  Go look them up if you want the actual detail. Myself, I think that it’s blatantly obvious that a change in govt will lead to an improvement in water. So obvious that it’s hard to see what your are trying to do here.

                  • weka

                    btw, it’s nobody’s job here to educate you. You can ask questions because there are lots of knowledgeable people here, but when you start asking repeatedly in a way that suggests you’re not willing to do your own homework, people will get antsy. You’ll get more respect if you look it up yourself and report back.

                    • Antoine

                      > You’ll get more respect if you look it up yourself and report back.

                      I can look up all 3 policies, or I could if Labour’s one was publically available (as far as I can tell it’s not), but that still won’t answer the question of which one is actually going to happen.


                    • weka

                      which puts you in the same boat as every other voter in NZ. I don’t see the problem tbh.

                  • Antoine

                    It’s my nature. I see a problem, it seems concerning, I’d like to know what the proposal is for dealing with it. If you can’t tell me what the proposal is, you can’t expect me to be much impressed.

                    [now you look like you are trolling. I don’t give a shit if you are impressed or not. What I care about is whether you want to discuss the post or not. You are looking more like you want to run a derailment line of “I’m going to vote National because I don’t like MMP”. You’ve asked your question, it’s been answered, move on or risk being moderated.- weka]

                    • Antoine


                      Let me make up for my transgressions by posting some actual information – the NZ First environment policy. It is here http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/environment_and_conservation.

                      Note it does specifically provide for subsidising dams for irrigation schemes.


                    • Wayne

                      NZ First is not going to allow Green Party policy destroy the livelihoods of many of their supporters. Many come from the rural sector, or are in jobs supported by the rural sector.

                      So if there is a Labour /NZ First/Green govt, most of the Green policies set out in the article, at least as they relate to farming, will not happen.

                      The Grens will get most of their urban policies (but not the ban on new roads), and they would also get an expanded campaign for more stream margin planting. In fact that might tie into a job creation scheme.

                      But in any event Winston can just as easily go with the Nats as he can with Labour/Greens. It will depend on the final balance in the parliament and the nature of the deal he is offered.

                      It is already quite clear that Bill English does not come with the issues that John Key had with Winston, so the picture on the right is different to what it was in 2016.

                    • weka

                      That’s close to how I see it too. The left needs to be under no illusions that if NZF get to be kingmaker we can easily end up with a 4th National govt.

                      The main bit I disagree with is Wayne’s implication that Green Party want to destroy jobs (a fairly typical RW spin), or that the Green’s policies will destroy jobs, or that Green policies will leave many rural people unemployed. Might want to put up a citation there Wayne to back up what you are trying to say.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Wayne will find zero evidence for his lies.

                    • KJT

                      Funny thing is that deterioration of the environment is going to DESTROY all jobs. Dairying in particular, is very dependent on quality water supplies.

                      The Greens destroying jobs is an oft repeated meme that NACT, and Labour, like to use. In fact there are more potential jobs in a sustainable economy. In some countries jobs in sustainable energy have overtaken those in hydrocarbons.
                      Not in New Zealand, due to Nationals inability to see more than a year into the future.

                      There has been plenty of discussion within the Greens about how to destock,, and sustainable farming, without destroying farmers in the process.
                      One of the options is funding farming into more sustainable and value added farming, which will benefit farming families in the long term. Another is getting land prices back to a level where farmers can afford to look after resources.

                      Meanwhile NACT are still spending on “buggy whip makers”.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Leaving aside Antoine’s snide bad faith (I wonder if he and other National Party avatars realise how utterly transparent they are) it’s a valid question.

                    From the NZ1st policy statement

                    Water is a common good and cannot be owned by any person or by the Crown.

                    Any such rights residing in any person must be established under the common law through existing legal processes.
                    Priorities for granting water rights must place public benefit before private benefit.
                    Requirements for domestic supply of water must prevail over all other takes and uses.
                    The current first in – first served approach for commercial water rights must be abandoned in favour of a strategic approach which places national needs in order of priority for the granting of water rights.
                    Requirements for the use of water for industrial purposes, electricity generation or agricultural irrigation (including forestry) must only be met to the extent that both the requirements of the RMA are met and sustainable agricultural outcomes are also met, including optimisation of water use efficiency.
                    Rights to take and use water are available only to New Zealand people (citizens and permanent residents) and New Zealand owned companies, and must not be alienated to overseas persons or interests whether directly or indirectly.
                    Water must not be taxed or subjected to any charge beyond the recovery of capital, and the operational costs (including a fair rate of return) of taking storing and reticulating it for the uses intended.
                    The special character of New Zealand’s remaining wild and scenic rivers must be protected by clearly identifying and listing them and by adopting specific policies for this purpose..

                    Plus a dogwhistle or two.

                    The Greens:

                    1. Establishing a protected rivers network to permanently safeguard our most precious rivers similar to the permanent protection given to national parks.

                    2. Setting robust water quality standards that ensure rivers are clean and healthy enough for swimming

                    3. Keeping our wild rivers wild by not building any new dams on them.


                    We will introduce a revised NPS on water quality based on the principles of the Sheppard version. That means:

                    Clean rivers and lakes will not be allowed to get dirty;

                    Dirty rivers and lakes will be cleaned up over a generation; and

                    Increases in intensity of land use will be controlled rather than permitted as of right.

                    Improvements to farm practice will be required to offset the additional environmental burden caused by more livestock, fertiliser and effluent.

                    (cf: Jenny Kirk @

                    1. The policies are not as disparate as Antoine pretends to care they are. There is plenty of common ground.
                    2. Who will judge which rivers are “precious”? Certainly not the fauna that rely on the remainder.
                    3. The RMA is already in place. Once the National Party stains have been wiped off, it provides a good starting point. There is plenty of institutional expertise available already.

                    This is do-able, but first, just as with housing, wages, Climatology, human rights and the rule of law, corruption, fraud, and education, the National Party has to be removed from government.

    • Cinny 4.2

      Just did a quick google for you A. Turns out their policy is about clean water without ‘moving the goal posts’.


      • Antoine 4.2.1

        It’s kind of underwhelming. Long-term aspirational targets plus a charge on irrigation.

        Also where is the policy? This is just a press release, not the policy itself, which I can’t find.


        • weka

          Labour removed all their 2014 election policy off their website recently as part of the the election year. They decided that after the last election all policy would be reviewed and reintroduced. That’s the process they are in now.

          • Antoine

            Oh well, wake me up when they have some policy in the area, then


            [how about I just ban you site-wide until Monday instead? Don’t troll my posts again. – weka]

        • weka

          “It’s kind of underwhelming.”

          Then vote for the Greens. Because Labour’s position is miles better than Nationals, but if we want to see real change we need maximum Green MPs in parliament.

          • Antoine

            > Labour’s position is miles better than Nationals

            Is it really? Nothing in Labour’s press release gives me confidence that they would clean up our waterways. Aspirational standards and an irrigation tax, as I said below.

            > if we want to see real change we need maximum Green MPs in parliament

            Has Labour indicated that it will adopt Green policy increasingly, as the Green voting strength increases?


            • weka

              At a very basic level the more MPs a coalition partner has, the more clout it has, both in parliament and in policy development/implementation. That’s how it’s supposed to work. We’ve just forgotten because National aren’t really a coalition govt, they’re a FPP mentality govt with a few add ons to give them the legitimate numbers.

              “Is it really? Nothing in Labour’s press release gives me confidence that they would clean up our waterways. Aspirational standards and an irrigation tax, as I said below.”

              Yeah, but I don’t see anything from you that suggests water is something you would change your vote over.

              “aspirational standards”, lol, from someone who votes for the party that made vacuous an art form.

            • Jenny Kirk

              Some specific actions Labour will take in government.

              Freshwater: We will introduce a revised NPS on water quality based on the principles of the Sheppard version. That means:

              Clean rivers and lakes will not be allowed to get dirty;

              Dirty rivers and lakes will be cleaned up over a generation; and

              Increases in intensity of land use will be controlled rather than permitted as of right.

              Improvements to farm practice will be required to offset the additional environmental burden caused by more livestock, fertiliser and effluent.

              All the above are quotes from a speech given by Labour MP David Parker in Christchurch on 5 May 2014.
              Nothing has changed – this continues to be Labour’s policy on fresh water.

  5. Jenny Kirk 5

    Totally agree with the post, Weka, and for the record this is what Labour is saying :

    Eight years ago National spiked the National Policy Statement recommended by former head Environment Court Judge Sheppard after the full RMA process. The core provision of that NPS was that increases in farming intensity (more livestock, irrigation or fertiliser per hectare) would no longer be permitted.
    For eight years, they have overseen increasing pollution of our rivers, adopting the pathetic “wadeable” standard while allowing river pollution to get worse.

    Labour will re-issue the NPS without the trickery. We will return to the principles of the Sheppard NPS. We will enforce the existing swimmable standard, not National’s dirty substitute.

    It is a birthright to be able to swim in our rivers and Labour will reverse the damage wrought under National,” says David Parker

    – Media release NZLP 21/2/2017


    Labour Leader Andrew Little says the new policy is “a jaw-dropping display of political hypocrisy which picked up on what Labour had promised in 2008. National has simply wasted nine years of dithering ……and our waterways have got dirtier”.

    – Stuff 23/2/2017

    Meanwhile up the north here (Kaipara and Whangarei rohe) we have had one Maori man who, with a growing number of volunteers, has spent the last few years kayaking up and down the rivers and streams documenting and taking photos of cattle in rivers – and asking the Northland Regional Council to take action. Slowly making an impact – but like the govt the NRC has put a 20 year deadline on farmers to fence their properties from the water – and that is far too long a time span. They need to be doing it now. (To be fair, a few farmers ARE doing it – but not enough).

    Millan Ruka has spent his retirement savings, and his retirement time, on doing this work, and he and his friends are starting to make an impact, but not yet enough to really get the NRC moving quickly.

    I pehea ngā maunga, awa, koawaawa i pāorooro ai?

    ‘In what way do the rivers, streams and mountains echo?’ The meaning of this whakatauki runs deep, linking people to the land, the water and to each other. The echoes and vibrations of sound reach afar symbolising our whakapapa links to one and other via the natural environment.

    – Copied from Te Uriroroi Hapu Environmental Management Plan


    So – although local Maori in the north are really concerned about the state of their waterways, and working at getting much better freshwater quality, I – personally – am not at all sure that the Maori Party has yet picked up on their own policy for water and have not yet seen any evidence that they are intent on doing so.

    Their words are great, but action would be even better.

    [links and formatting tidied up so its easier to read – weka]

    • Antoine 5.1

      Where can I see the Sheppard NPS? Or, what are its principles that Labour proposes to readopt?

      Does it really say that no increase in farming will be permitted (as you quote above)? If so, is that Labour’s proposal?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1



        Bad faith commenter misrepresents policy position. Probably deliberately.

  6. Ian 6

    So reducing my theoretical nitrate leaching 35 percent by 2025 is not doing anything?
    I get the impression with this hit job on farming that nothing we do to improve the environment will get any recognition.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      Can’t you tell the difference between yourself – a self-aggrandising fatmouth – and farmers as a group? Get a clue: even your reps pay lip service to the problem.

      • Ian 6.1.1

        No need to carry on like an unpaid whore .what’s your problem?why are you so offensive??

        • weka

          Presumably an unpaid whore would have a legitimate grievance. Is that what you are suggesting for OAB?

          He’s always like that, and sometimes we’re a bit sensitive to trolling here. Your comments are often too brief to fully understand your point so it’s natural that people will add their interpretation to them. OAB tends to the humiliation as tool end of the political spectrum.

          • Ian

            If you want real people to engage and have a good yak that prik needs to go

            [have a read of the Policy and About. You are free to not like any commenter, and to criticise their politics or even behaviour, but there’s a line when it comes to telling the authors how to run the site – weka]

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Why am I so offensive? Perhaps, just maybe, when you tell lies about a “hit job on farming”, you are being offensive, aggressive even. I suggest that you stop lying and smearing and whining and pretending that having to obey the law is such an unconscionable burden, and see if you get a better response.

    • KJT 6.2

      Farming. Dairy in particular, have already been mentioned here for their stellar improvements in waterway fencing and effluent management.
      Unfortunately the intensification of dairying continues to offset mitigation efforts.

      I don’t think further conversions are good for existing farmers anyway.
      We are already the worlds largest dairy exporter. From what i see flooding the market even more is going to result in even lower returns.

      Destocking and lowering the costs of inputs may well make farmers better off, long term. As will New Zealanders being able to afford our own farm products.

      • Ian 6.2.1

        Please supply the financial budgets supporting your hypothesis and you will make a fortune on the back of all the super rich farmers that are following your words of wisdom.

        • weka

          I think the point is to get past the whole super rich thing.

          One of the biggest challenges is that too many farms carry too much debt. In that sense I see banks, farm advisors and the govt as culpable as the actual farmers. The whole set up around selling too, it really locks farmers into some pretty weird systems that are all about the dosh and not about the land or even the farmer necessarily. We’re a long way from home now.

    • weka 6.3

      “So reducing my theoretical nitrate leaching 35 percent by 2025 is not doing anything?
      I get the impression with this hit job on farming that nothing we do to improve the environment will get any recognition.”

      See this is a really good example of what the problem is. Reducing nitrate leachate needs to be done first in relation to existing rates and the catchment’s ability to manage that, not some random %, but ultimately looking at nitrates in isolation just keeps us in the ‘what can we get away with’ band, and that’s not going to be enough.

      So yeah, if that’s the position you are taking then you won’t get the recognition you want. Farmers let this situation get out of control as much as everyone else. If you manage the land then there is an additional onus on you as caretaker.

    • McFlock 6.4

      Didn’t you claim yesterday that you were a farmer who left the waterways around you “pristine”?

      35% of 0 is zero.

      • Ian 6.4.1

        The river on my boundary has trace levels of nitrate. I don’t know why I am required to lower nitrate leaching by 35 percent. Some pinhead bureaucrats have drawn a line on a map. One size fits all.

        • weka

          Are you a member of Federated Farmers?

          • Ian

            I am a member in the sense that I pay them an annual subscription. I don’t interact with them in any other way unless I need a hand to negotiate with those that are out to get me
            I have found over time that I am my best advocate

            • weka

              My suggestion then is that if you are unhappy with stupid regs from the Regional Council is that Federated Farmers are the ones to hold accountable.

              • Ian

                The feds are just another cog in the wheel.they had minimal input into the regulations .the ecan agenda was allways the only show in town. If you want to come and visit my wetland and share my passion for the natural environment I would be honoured to show you around

                • weka

                  What sort of farm is it?

                  Federated Farmers are hugely influential on what happens with regulations in NZ, including at the council level. I’m more familiar with the ORC, but what it looks like to me is that we would have had far better protections, regulatory and enforcement, if it weren’t for lobbying against that from the farming communities. So if the regs have ended up weird, that’s a big factor IMO.

                  Harder to tell with Ecan I guess given the govt fired the people that were elected to protect the water.

                  I am curious about why you have a problem with the push for better regulations if you are already on board with the need for things like wetlands.

                  • Ian

                    I don’t have any issue with better regulations. I do have an issue with so called experts that did a land based degree and worked a few weeks on a farm and think they know it all.Even though it was 30 years ago
                    Is my old mate Peter Bodecker still working at Otago Regional Council ?

                    • weka

                      “I do have an issue with so called experts that did a land based degree and worked a few weeks on a farm and think they know it all.”

                      Who is that?

                    • lprent []

                      Me. It was a bit more than a few weeks.

                      My parents had a 88 acre hill farm at Puhio that I worked on for most weekends and holidays from 1975-1978. I then spent 6 months working on a town supply at Alfriston, followed by a 5 months at Kinloch station before going to university. I continued to spend a lot of time working on farms and various other types of out door recreation. At least up until the net became interesting.

                      Like the factory work from 1974, the army from 1977 and the bar work from 1979 – the idea was to figure out what I was good at and what I wanted to do (or not do). Like everything that I do, I tend to go into it at depth – a lot of depth.

                    • weka

                      I reckon having teens and young adults work on the land would be one of the better moves we could make at this point. With jobs assigned based on suitability, and not with the aim of making them all farmers, but just to give them a good grounding in what that part of NZ is all about.

                    • Ian []

                      This current anti farmer Pol gram by labour and their green party partners against the farming community is an absolute disgrace. It is becoming very clear and understandable why Donald Trump got elected as the potus.

                    • lprent []

                      Why? All they are saying is that farmers should not need to not pollute to produce. Especially not polluting all our fresh water.

                      Hell – even Federated Farmers says that. http://www.fedfarm.org.nz/FFPublic/Policy/National/Water.aspx

                      Federated Farmers acknowledge that farming has an impact on the environment but it is also part of the solution. It is working closely with primary sector organisations to support the development and uptake of initiatives to improve the efficiency of resource use and to minimise run-off and leaching from farmland. Over the last decade, significant progress has been made across all farming sectors: in addition to major investments in research and extension activities, a number of sectors have implemented audited self-management systems.

                      Federated Farmers emphasises that industry leadership, rather than regulation by arbitrary numbers, will deliver water-efficient and nutrient-efficient farming systems that enhance ecological and recreational values.

                      The only real problem is that the water quality levels in most farming areas over the last decade are still getting worse not better. That is a direct result of deliberate intensification that is obviating anything that farmers are managing to achieve. If farming cannot regulate itself to produce better results when it comes to water, then they will be regulated.

                      This regulation is no different to any other sectors of the economy. It happens to factories, sewerage systems, runoff systems for houses and other buildings, and everything else to do with water. Why should farmers be the exempt polluters?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      anti farmer


                      I have been quoting Federated Farmers at you for a reason. In acknowledging the problems we face, are they "anti farmer"?

                      Stop whinging. Valid criticism is not an attack.

        • McFlock

          So what leeway do you have? Surely if your levels are that low then 35% would be well within the margin for error of the sampling method?

          • Ian

            You tell me. I had no input into this thing. I have just been told I have to reduce my nitrate leaching by 35 percent by 2025. I am just collecting facts and not getting too concerned about the rabid lefty bureaucrats that hate me and my family and and are trying to destroy my business. Just look at the vitriol directed at me and my family on this blog.you guys need to get out of your echoes chamber and come and visit the wetland on our Dairy farm. A cover charge will apply at my discretion

            • McFlock

              Meh. No matter. If your current leaching is tiny, even a tiny change to your land management will make the required change, it would hardly destroy your business.

              Meanwhile, the bad farmers who aren’t taking the same care that you currently are will have a more difficult job of it. But they shouldn’t be in the business if the only way they can do it is to have the rest of us put up with their pollution.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Ian @ 9:14am: reducing my theoretical nitrate leaching 35 percent by 2025 is not doing anything?

              Ian @ 11:38 pm: I have to reduce my nitrate leaching by 35 percent by 2025

              The first statement makes it sound as though Ian is doing it voluntarily. Over twelve hours later, the truth comes out: the requirement that he obey the law is a hate campaign.

              If you want to be trusted, my advice, Ian, is that you stop lying.

  7. Saarbo 7

    2 things
    1) This type of thing is happening throughout NZ, this will place a cap on Dairying.

    2) Whole provinces and most small towns in NZ rely on Dairy Farming for their existence.

    • Jenny Kirk 7.1

      Thanks for the link, Saarbo. Looks like Waikato regional council are a bit more on the ball than Northland RC.
      I’ll have a good read of this, and see if there’s anything there we can use up north when making our submissions on freshwater to the NRC. Waikato might be setting an example which the NRC could be persuaded to follow !

      • Saarbo 7.1.1

        Thanks Jenny, it was set up by a collaborative group of 24, pretty well balanced I think.

        We are in the process of setting up an Environmental Plan for our farm so that we are ready when it is implemented…it will definitely reduce contaminants into waterways quite significantly.

    • Jenny Kirk 8.1

      Yes, halfcrown, that is the sort of thing people up here are starting to realise – we don’t need this intensification of dairying if it means a dirty environment.
      Dairying could be cut back a fair bit, and our rivers separated out and cleaned up and re-vegetated – and we’d be back to a winning formula for all. But the government has to realise that too, and act on it – not put up sham ineffective so-called policies just to look good.

  8. “The Māori Party want to “ensure that Te Mana o Te Wai remains as the overarching objective for freshwater management”.”

    I like the framing here and I agree that the mana of the water is paramount – without that the mana of the people perish and the people perish too.

    for example

    Ngati Tama ki Te Waipounamu has applied directly to the Environment Minister Nick Smith for an unprecedented water conservation order for the aquifer that feeds Te Waikoropupu Springs in Golden Bay.

    Ngati Tama ki Te Waipounamu, and a Golden Bay resident Andrew Yiull, are using ‘Water Conservation Order’ provisions under the Resource Management Act to seek central Government protection of the aquifer.

    “Te Waikoropupu is known internationally, but the aquifer that supplies it, in contrast, is almost unknown,” Yiull said.

    They have applied to the Environment Minister Nick Smith. Seeking to protect the aquifer is a legal first and if successful, will create a precedent, they say.

    Yiull said they were forced to take the action due to the threat that Tasman District Council might approve more commercial and farming water allocations in Golden Bay that could affect the water clarity of the springs.


    Kaitiakitanga – what does it actually mean?

    I’ve gone through this before and imo

    kaitiakitanga is a reflection of mana. If the waterway is clean and provides abundance then visitors can be fed which increases the mana of the people and this increases the mana of the waterway – this is upwardly spiraling – more mana, more protection, more abundance, more mana etc

    If we saw waterways and water itself in this way we (and many of us already do think this) would feel shame that our waterways are so non-abundant, sick and dying – thus reflecting something about us and our mana. The exploiters don’t think this way – they see a commodity that can be exploited.

    I don’t think we will change people to see water like this until the barriers to understanding tangata whenua and the Māori worldview are listened to and understood a little. And frankly I can’t see that day being tomorrow.

    • weka 9.1

      Ae, I saw how you put it the other day, that race relations keep getting reset to zero 🙁

      When I was putting up the post last night I realised that Pākehā do have better values around water and the environment than I was giving them credit for. I might do a post on that, need to think on it some more. But I’m wondering now if those better values get subsumed (by economics) rather than them being non-existent.

      Thanks for the explanation of the relationship between kaitiakitanga and mana.

      “I don’t think we will change people to see water like this until the barriers to understanding tangata whenua and the Māori worldview are listened to and understood a little.”

      What do you think the main barriers are?

      • marty mars 9.1.1

        fear probably

        I also think many many people from every ethnicity care about the environment and water and our children and the flora and fauna – somehow we have to pull those threads out because they are imo stronger than the imposed economic and commodification matrix currently being force-fed to us. Not sure how to do it though 🙁

        • weka

          I reckon (re the threads). I’ll think on this some more. So many Pākehā have a connection with the land but the culture doesn’t enable ways to discuss that that don’t end up either being new agey or reductionist/commodified. I’m sure there is a language there somewhere, might be good to find it.

          • weka

            Do you know of anyone doing cross cultural work on this? I was hugely influenced in the 80s and 90s by Irihapeti Ramsden’s work on biculturalism. I did one of her workshops and it was very inclusive and encouraged Pākehā to see the positives of their own cultures as well as look at the difficult history in NZ. It was also helpful for me to see how she worked with Māori in a group that had more Pākehā in it. It was all about the relationship and feeding people’s sense of self, place, culture.

            Some of the decolonisation/anti-racism work from that time too, really helped me start to see that certain ways of thinking could be undone and put back together in a different way. A long ongoing process.

            I wonder if a similar process can be applied to the issue of land/water. Mostly I see Pākehā needing to decolonise, but that’s a pretty radical process and something like what Ramsden was going is probably more likely to succeed. Her work was radical too, but presented in ways that people could relate to.

            Robert, are you seeing this?

  9. I cannot see how water quality will get better unless we address the dairy issue. And the dairy issue is directly related to promises of continued growth, jobs, development. What is Labour saying about this? What are their plans for this? If someone says they will make the water better and they are not considering these economic/progress arguments then they are kidding themselves and us. Also how does the impact of climate change affect this? Once again if someone says we will fix this without considering what effects climate change could have on the progress of the fix then, really, it is just noise.

    • weka 10.1

      Yes, Labour’s position looks to be an improvement on National’s, but it’s not nearly enough. I will be interested to see what they do when they present their new water policy.

      I think there are two broad issues here. One is what really needs to be done (te mana o te wai). The other is what can a left wing govt do, given how much dairying there is, how reliant the economy is on it, and how easy/difficult it would be to transition local economies off industrial dairying. This is why I will argue for the most Green MPs we can get. They won’t be able to work miracles, but they can change the nature of the debate.

      • marty mars 10.1.1

        Yes the tension between what really needs to be done and what can and will be done is major. Perhaps the question of our times because it relates to CC, to everything. At some point before we are all dead maybe the two will merge – probably being a bit optimistic there – if we cannot front up to reality then we will be drinking and swimming in shit until the rivers dry up in a few years.

  10. Poission 11

    Wade-able, swimmable, drinkable: these are all standards lower than what most fish can survive at. Just because an adult human can drink it, does not mean an ecosystem can survive in it. We need higher standards than any party is promoting.

    which allows for rigorous legitimate debate of products entering the ecosystems and water supply significantly more dangerous then natural bacteria.

    It’s past time to be bold about water

  11. aerobubble 12

    New Zealand clean Green closed till 2040, when we’ll have similar standars as highly over oopulated Europe. So tourists go there for now, and when we get round to it we still wont have any point of difference on river quality.

  12. AB 13

    One more suggestion.
    End the National party-generated fiction that “nobody owns water”.
    Instead say that “everybody owns water equally”. And that’s because it is part of the Commons. And that it cannot be used commercially or degraded in any way without the permission of the public and without some form of payment to the public.

  13. Anthony Rimell 14

    Excellent article Weka.

    I fully agree that robust fora like this are the places to push forward the agenda on essential discussions such as this one on water quality. Well written, passionately argued, and gushing (excuse the pun) with essential facts.

    More and more, as the right uses nonsense jargon like ‘alternative facts’ and ‘junk science’ to dismiss real concerns we need to speak up. Louder, stronger, and in multiple places.

    which leads me to my point: I encourage us all to share this article on other sites, so it doesn’t become an echo chamber of agreement among we who are already aware. Weka has written an excellent article. Now it’s our job to get the word out wider!

  14. * thinks – If the waterways of our various south-south Pacific islands were viewed as our venous system; not the veins of the land but our personal veins, carrying our personal life blood, we could effect enormous change to how we behave…
    *realises – most people don’t respect their own body’s “waterways”/venous system, dumping toxic, low-quality stuff into them without much concern…
    *concludes – there’s far to go

  15. millsy 16

    Really. How hard is it for farmers to stop trashing our waterways. Sure they may have to pass on buying the latest Hilux this year to pay for it, but there are going to have to be sacrifices made.

  16. “It’s blatantly obvious that not only will National never do the right thing, but they are in fact taking the piss.”

    Can you back up your claim of fact?

    Smith has communicated his water policy poorly, and perhaps whatever National do on water will never be enough or ‘the right thing’ for some, but there is at least partial support of what Smith has proposed. For example:

    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has labelled the government’s new water quality targets as worthy but confusing.

    Commissioner Jan Wright said there were “some good things” in the policy, including around stock exclusion.

    “The document is largely a reaction to the public outcry about wadeability being a standard for freshwater, if you recall … They have moved to a focus on swimmability. The government has taken on the message that people want to go down to a river on a hot day and jump in.

    “Another thing they’ve done in it – they’ve got a map, with a colour scheme, that grades rivers in swimmability from blue to red, where blue is excellent and red is very bad. They’ve published all of those, and that’s very transparent, and that’s going to upset some of the councils.”

    On the bad side, Dr Wright said, the changes in water quality measurement were “very confusing”.

    The 90 percent target also included many waterways that no-one would swim in anyway, including rivers in very remote or very cold places, she said.

    She said the focus should instead be on the most vulnerable, or already-polluted, areas, which tended to be closer to sea level and near where people lived.


    A better targeted approach sounds sensible – but water can be a moving target.

    A big question is whether ‘the right thing’ can be done with current levels of agricultural intensification or not. If not there could be bigger costs than the direct costs of cleaning up and fencing waterways.

    • “A big question is whether ‘the right thing’ can be done with current levels of agricultural intensification or not.”

      Question? You are still asking that question?


      • Pete George 17.1.1

        So what is your answer? And have you costed it?

        • millsy

          A lot cheaper than having people coming down with gastro, but you arent bothered with that as long as farmers can afford a new tractor next season.

          • Pete George

            You’re making things up about what I’m bothered about.

            • millsy

              Well, you seem to be OK with farmers polluting our water as long as they make money.

              • You’ve made things up again with nothing to substantiate it. Some people don’t get away with that sort of behaviour here.

                • millsy

                  Do you want famers to stop polluting our water ways? Yes or no.

                  • Yes, and not just farmers. I’ve thought this for a long time.

                    I’ve supported a lot of Green environmental policy for a long time, except that some of their solutions are impractical and unrealistic.

                    Pollution from over intensification of farming – which stared long before the current Government got into office – is a major issue but without simple and quick solutions. Resolving things is complex and will take a lot of effort and time.

                    • millsy

                      But you seem to just want to let them do it beause they want to make money. Restrictions on how much crap you want put into our rivers lead to cleaner waterways. If we didnt have those restrictions, then our waterways would be dirty, simple.

                    • “But you seem to just want to let them do it beause they want to make money.”

                      Where did you get that idea from? I don’t think I’ve said or implied anything like that, so this is just another ignorant/false accusation.

                    • Macro

                      I’ve supported a lot of Green environmental policy for a long time, except that some of their solutions are impractical and unrealistic.
                      Name one you support.
                      Name one you think is impractical.

                    • I support many environmental policies, like reducing pollution, reducing fossil fuel use and reliance, reducing agricultural intensity, using private vehicle reliance, but I don’t think the speed and degree Greens want to achieve some of these things is realistic.

                      I supported the Green initiatives on home insulation. I also supported their Solar Homes policy announced in 2014 but I thought their priority was wrong, I asked about including energy saving through double glazing but Russel Norman responded “Can’t do everything at once. We did solar hot water, then insulation, now solar electricity. One step at a time.”

                      I think it makes more sense to save energy as much as possible, hence I think double glazing makes more sense as a priority over solar energy – especially in the south of the country where solar is less available when energy is most needed.

                    • Macro

                      So all those are practical solutions to environmental issues.
                      By the way you are incorrect wrt to solar in the south.
                      Germany in 2015 was the second highest installer of Solar after China installing 39,600 MW of capacity.
                      The Germans are no fools when it comes to energy and efficiency.
                      The Latitude of Germany is around 51 degrees North. That is closer to the North Pole than Invercargill is to the South Pole (46 degrees South).
                      You mention the fact that double glazing would be a good policy. I totally agree. However the problem – as explained by Russell – is what is achievable politically. Remember that these initiatives were brought into being through MOU’s with Labour and National – not through the process of implementing policy through being in Government. There is only so much that can be achieved through that.

                      I worked for a time for an importer of solar hot water heating systems. There are very good systems available that will work equally as well in the south of the South Island as in the North.

                  • Do you want famers to stop polluting our water ways? Yes or no.

                    What a ridiculous question. In millsy commenting, that would invite the statement “Well, you seem to be OK with people who aren’t farmers polluting our waterways as long as they make money.”

              • AB

                “our water”
                Absolutely. If they want to pollute our water to make more money, they need to:
                1.) get our permission
                2.) give us the extra money they make (or a fair proportion of it)
                i.e. they cannot wreck OUR water for THEIR profit.
                It’s our water FFS – get your greedy damn hands off it.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          If not there could be bigger costs than the direct costs of cleaning up and fencing waterways.

          You made this unsubstantiated assertion. How do you know there “could” be? Have you paid the slightest bit of attention to any facts while forming your opinion? What is your estimation of the benefits, for example.

          Hop to it. There’s lots of information available out there, as a simple Google search would have shown you if you’d ever done one, instead of pulling your opinion out of yawnz.

          • Pete George

            Don’t be pathetic.

            If dairy herd reductions were forced on farmers cutting cow numbers, say, in half, it would have major implications for rural communities and service centres, employment in the regions, there would be major flow on effects to supporting industries and regional cities, to ports, to export earnings and more.

            It doesn’t require Google to see the obvious, except perhaps for you.

            • KJT

              And maybe a few inefficient farms that are over borrowed, and too intensively reliant on high inputs, will go, making life better for those who farm for a living, not capital gains.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                That’s what the big players call “acquisition opportunities”. Petty players, not so much 😉

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              “In half”.

              They might have to convert to a different form of agriculture. Grow something other than grass! How terrible!

              It doesn’t take much to see the obvious, unless you’re a bland tiresome lazy unimaginative bore.

              • If you weren’t a bland tiresome lazy unimaginative bore you would have been able to say what could be grown in New Zealand other than grass that would mitigate the many problems a significant reduction of dairy herd numbers would cause.

                But you tend not to have any solutions so fall back on lazy attack.

            • Sacha

              Fewer cows can produce more profit. Studies have showed similar profits with smaller herds that did not require buying supplementary feed. Here’s one story: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/dairy/68144618/Rising-feed-costs-eroding-NZ-dairyings-competitive-advantage

              More importantly, the whole dairy industry needs to transition fast to exporting higher-value finished products like cheese, yoghurt, and nutraceuticals rather than cheap bulk milk powder that lets overseas companies capture most of the value chain. Govt and industry have been paying lip service but not doing enough of the actual work needed. Someone needs to crack the whip.

              • I’m aware of the studies on fewer cows being more profitable, but I don’t think that will lead to major reductions in herd sizes.

                I think that with the downturn in dairy prices some herd reductions and seeking a more profitable balance will already be happening to an extent. I’m sure that many dairy farmers will be at least looking at this. That article is from nearly two years ago.

                I don’t think transitioning to higher value products is as quick or as easy as it sounds. If it was possible and practical then it would be happening more already. But pushing for more of it makes sense.

                • Sacha

                  “If it was possible and practical then it would be happening more already.”

                  Only if you believe in the tenets of neoliberalism. Markets on their own are notorious for not acting towards overall longer-term benefit.

              • The total herd size peaked at 5,018,333 on 2014/15 and eased back to 4,997,811 in 2015/16.

                Average cows per hectare eased from a peak of 2.87 to 2.85.


                • Gristle

                  The white gold bonanza is over. Milk prices have hit a sort out equilibrium for the international export market. If the prices do go up then production from non-NZ sources can expand at least as easily as NZ production.

                  Fonterra has specialised in a race to the bottom as the company is structured to make more profit as the farm gate price drops.

                  Selling water overseas, instead of putting it through a cow and turning it into milk will, in time, exceed the revenue that can be generated from milk. (Don’t focus on getting barriers removed for milk, make sure you can export water.)

                  Most people don’t realise how much water a dairy farm uses.
                  A. 40,000 – 70,000 litres per milk – this happens twice a day.
                  B. 50 to 100 litres of water per day per cow – that’s another 30,000 to 100,000 litres per day.
                  C. Irrigation – say 1,200m3 per hectare per month. So on a 150h of irrigated farm that would be 6 million litres per day.

                  So far, this is the water consumption of a town of about 10,000 people.

                  Even if you charged farmers 1/100 of a cent per litre of water they use, then the majority of dairy farms would go broke. This indicates how dependent dairy is on exploiting the commons for free. And as is often the case if it’s free then it’s not valued and not looked after.

                  Change is coming.

                • Sacha

                  ‘Eased’ is a great choice of wording – much like media financial market reports where fortunes surge, soar, or soften – but never fall.

    • KJT 17.2

      And yet more totally useless obfuscation from Mr “have a bob each way” George.

    • weka 17.3

      “A big question is whether ‘the right thing’ can be done with current levels of agricultural intensification or not. If not there could be bigger costs than the direct costs of cleaning up and fencing waterways.”

      I’m with RG on this, Lordy to that question. If it’s genuine, then no, we can’t keep on with intensification if we want clean waterways (and by clean I mean ecologically sound). Cleaning up and fencing are mitigations. Necessary ones, but throwing down sawdust each time you spill oil eventually leads to a disaster no matter how good it looks at the time.

      In other words, there is nothing remotely sustainable about what we are doing and we will have to destock. And yes, there are bigger costs. However I don’t think anyone is saying get rid of dairy farms and let the farm workers and local economies rot. I think you will find that most people, including parties with actual environmental policies, believe that people should be taken care of too.

      • Sacha 17.3.1

        Nitrate cycles take so many decades that whatever we do has to be a long-term response. I similarly have confidence that people who are concerned about environments are also concerned about people. Always been my experience.

      • Robert Guyton 17.3.2

        That’s right, weka.

  17. millsy 18

    If farmers found keeping our waterways clean too expensive, perhaps they should you know, spend less money on smokes and alcohol 🙂

  18. It is an important point to note that this destruction of our waterways, the polluting by the dairy shit, the cutting down of anything around the waterway, the draining of wetlands – has all happened within our lifetime. Think about that. This has all happened within our lifetime. WE used to swim in the rivers and drink the water. WE used to fish and camp by the streams.

    WE are the ones to change this. WE can stop it. WE can and it starts with each of us remembering what it used to be like – not that bloody long ago.

    WE must DEMAND our rivers and waterways to be clean. This is a life or death situation. There is no second chances – it is time for action NOW!!!

    • That’s true, Marty – it’s within recall – if we let this slip, we are all screwed.

    • Sacha 19.2

      Yes, despite our PM’s obfuscation about it being a century in the making this problem has only taken a few decades at most to become obvious enough to demand action.

      • weka 19.2.1

        I’m starting to think that the people who don’t actually swim in the rivers shouldn’t get to have a say. I’m sure BE’s one of those that don’t. I wonder if the upper Oreti near BE’s home turf is still relatively clear of dairy.

  19. Jenny Kirk 20

    ActionStation and Choose Clean Water are two organisations now gearing up to make a public noise about this matter. Anyone can help them by emailing Laura at team@actionstation.org.nz>

  20. Andrea 21

    The Green statements look absolutely Fabulous!!! – on paper, as usual.

    And, as usual – they glide by the basics about WHO will be out there, literally risking life and limb, to monitor, advise, guide, resource and a whole bunch of other ‘boots on the ground’ stuff year after weary year.

    Not just the technicians and scientists – the field people who will need training in more than simply monitoring and measuring. The suppliers of plant material for riparian plantings. The abbatoirs for turning innocent creatures into dog tucker.

    And while everyone is screeching about Evil Dairy – please also call by at the processing plants for pulp, chickens, piggeries, intensive feedlots, recyclers, urban enterprises and other known polluters for a very long time indeed.

    Not to mention the filthy methods of human waste disposal – including dumps, toxic wastes, and the end results of eating – fat bergs, disposable wipes, plastic anythings, and poop. Plus those foaming cleansers that leave your house sparkling clean and your coastlines foaming in response.

    And the banks at the core of the problem. Any takers for dealing with the banks and their lending policies?

    Plus the purveyors of The Dream – you can have it ALL – and pass the costs to the speechless but definitely not helpless environment.

    Instead of ‘be bold’ – how about ‘boldly go where no one has gone before’? And widen the picture before the blind men insist they KNOW what the elephant looks like.

    Remember – we are ALL abusers of the water cycle and ALL very fond of our modern conveniences. (Double entendre intended.)

    • weka 21.1

      “And, as usual – they glide by the basics about WHO will be out there, literally risking life and limb, to monitor, advise, guide, resource and a whole bunch of other ‘boots on the ground’ stuff year after weary year.”

      It was a press release, you’re not going to get that kind of detail. How about you put up some evidence that the Greens glide past the realities. Because my own view is that they have some of the best developed policies in parliament and part of that is attention to detail. Plus they’re experts in understanding the interrelatedness of systems, which is why their policies are better read in conjunction with each other.

      Not sure what your point is tbh and I suspect you didn’t bother reading the post properly (or GP policy). Delahunty did refer to household pollutants.

      You don’t like the bold messaging, but I don’t see you offering an alternative. Lots of gliding criticism, but not a lot of substance. Those in the various environmental movements, including the Greens politically, are largely aware of all the issues you raise. So what’s your point exactly?

      “Remember – we are ALL abusers of the water cycle and ALL very fond of our modern conveniences. (Double entendre intended.)”

      Right, but the point here is that some of us want to do the right thing and some don’t. Where do you fit in that?

  21. Dragonz 22

    I do not think the dairy debate will trouble us much longer re water. As a consumer we will probably soon be able to vote with our wallets and end their exploitive times by buying a valid alternative.
    Living and working in a dairy ‘rich’ area my concern is what will happen to the workers – the owners still have the resource to exploit in other ways – sharemilkers for example do not.

    Concerning the bigger picture on water, what is so wrong with user pays? If done correctly it prevents the tragedy of the commons occurring by pricing out the commonweal resource as it is exploited.

    • weka 22.1

      My problem with user pays is it treats freshwater as a commodity and basically says that if you have enough money you can mine it.

      “Living and working in a dairy ‘rich’ area my concern is what will happen to the workers – the owners still have the resource to exploit in other ways – sharemilkers for example do not.”

      Another good reason to start transitioning off industrial dairy while we still have time.

      I can tell you this, I will never eat synthetic dairy, and I’m sure I won’t be alone, so there will still be a need for dairy farmers in NZ growing for locals. Even better if they do so regeneratively.

  22. Michael 23

    The Greens have got some good ideas about water but does anyone really believe Labour will ever let them implement them (putting aside the small matter of the two actually getting enough Party Votes to form a government)? Surely, Labour’s friends in the business community will never let such fanciful ideas as having clean water for New Zealanders to swim in, drink from and otherwise enjoy, impinge their managerial preogatives to make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, in complete disregard of externalities like polluted rivers and lakes?

    • Jenny Kirk 23.1

      Its not just the Greens who have good ideas about water, Michael – but Labour does too.
      It has no intention of not doing something proactive and immediate soon as it becomes govt – to start getting our waterways a lot cleaner – so don’t make up such ridiculous bullshit about Labour’s intentions re fresh waterways.

      ps Your comment is very typical of the lies and speculations I was told about Helen Clark by National Party supporters when she was PM – people trying out on me the potential for incorrect rumours they might float about HC. Looks like the Nats are going to try doing the same with Labour this election campaign.

      • weka 23.1.1

        Whatever Labour’s new water policy ends up being, I don’t think there is any doubt that it will be more conservative than the GP’s, and in that sense constrained by the need to look after business and jobs. Their already stated position is more conservative than the Greens’.

  23. WC1 24

    Once again Nick trys to turns fiction into fact and expects us to believe him.

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