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NRT: Pillaging the Rakaia

Written By: - Date published: 12:14 pm, February 7th, 2013 - 35 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, local government, water - Tags: , , ,

No Right Turn with the latest on National’s ongoing annexation of Canterbury.

Pillaging the Rakaia

National’s dictatorship in Canterbury has delivered for its cronies again, amending the Rakaia River Water Conservation Order to allow Lake Coleridge to be drained for irrigation. While the government is spinning this as having no effect on the river, the reality is rather different. According to Trustpower it will roughly double the number of days the Rakaia is below its minimum flow. But a bunch of farmers will be able to use that water for private profit, without paying a cent for it (except, I suppose, in donations to the National Party who gave them this gift). Meanwhile, those downstream will pay with less (and dirtier) water, and (ironically) a greater risk of flooding at the river’s mouth.

This is what the dictatorship is for: to allow the pillaging of Canterbury’s most valuable natural resource, its water, for the private profit of a few, with the costs dumped on the many. We should not tolerate it. And when democracy is finally restored in Canterbury, we should reverse it and force the farmers to pay for the water they use.


35 comments on “NRT: Pillaging the Rakaia”

  1. Ennui in Requiem 1

    There is a bird that is unique that breeds ONLY on the South Island braided river beds. It is the only bird in the world whose beak bends to one side. This is the Wrybill Plover.

    These little characters are highly endangered, their numbers threatened by environmental change. In short they need a clear square kilometer of shingle on the river bed in order to nest. That means no broom / lupins etc which in turn encourage introduced predators. To keep these areas clear a MINIMUM flow regime is required, which is one reason why the Rakaia had a Conservation Order.

    With other very committed people we fought a fight in the 70s and 80s against these same freeloading farmers to save the Rakaia. A generation later and it is all in shreds, no democratic process involved. Every National MP plus their supporters can now add to their CV a very particular skill: extinction specialist..

    When these cretins die their gravestones should record, “I knew lots about economics, and lots about destroying my childrens future”.

    • Murray Olsen 1.1

      I’m not sure they know much that’s factual about economics at all. I agree with you on destroying the future.

      • mike 1.1.1

        Quite right Murray. Maintaining a healthy environment is good economics. All this lot know ‘lots about’ is how to divert what belongs to all of us into the pockets of their mates. And don’t be fooled into believing these mates are ‘farmers’ ‘cockies’ or any gumbooted worker, no these mates are suited wealthy corporates who live in cities and own this land. The National Party are their bum boys.

  2. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 2

    I heard on Radionz this morning about the difficulties that conservationists and non-vandals have in nz and some of their triumphs.
    10-11am: Feature interview – Botanist and conservationist Sir Alan Mark

    I have a lovely, old aerial photo taken of the Canterbury Plains near harvest time, patches of green yellow etc, all squared off. Now as one flies over there are the ubiquitious circles of green with the travelling irrigators circling and flinging precious water into the air as if it isn’t precious. While we go after these ‘cash crops of dairy’ we aren’t growing our own wheat and basic foods. But there is money for the big boys, dairy are the new deer. (Remember when all the wealthy went into deer farming.) And the taint in our milk product from nitrogen inhibitor is just the start of the decline of our brand under the factory farming techniques of wealthy men and women who’ve got control of our main assets.

    I bought some Otago apricots in Nelson the other day. The desire for water for electricity has destroyed another food – of apricots – rich in Vitamin A. Milk itself is expensive for us as a food.
    Perhaps we will be buying it in from China soon, where some deal will be struck up to bring in some cheap finely engineered milk now that we don’t try and supply anything for ourselves

  3. Erentz 3

    So what I find very strange about this whole situation is that while I can understand on a national level no one is reporting these abuses or the general disrespect/uselessness of brownlee sticking his nose into everything. But surely at a local level 80+ percent of chch hates these guys by now? Yet they don’t seem to, which basically makes me pretty depressed about NZs political situation since if you can’t even shift the attitudes of people on the receiving end, what can you do.

    • fatty 3.1

      But surely at a local level 80+ percent of chch hates these guys by now? Yet they don’t seem to, which basically makes me pretty depressed about NZs political situation since if you can’t even shift the attitudes of people on the receiving end, what can you do.

      What do you want us to do…Labour voted to give Gerry the Hutt the power to shit all over us. The East is forgotten by all and turning into a ghetto. North south and west of Chch has become richer as those that can move there do.
      Chch protested against the Ecan takeover and nothing happened. We protested the corporate wank fest which created the plans for our ‘new city’. Our Mayor is a dickwad in the mold of John Key.
      Mana don’t show up cause Chch like old white dudes.
      Greens chase the yuppie vote in the West of Chch.
      Labour are Labour…they assume if National screw someone over, those victims will then vote for Labour. The Nats will probably take the city again in 2014. Rebuilding will begin in mid 2013 and Nats will have quite a profile in Chch then. 2014 will see the lowest voter turnout because we are sick of protesting and have nobody to vote for. My guess is the East will go to Labour and the rest to the Nats*

      If you look at the so called recovery of Chch, it has been used as a political tool.
      Following the immediate disaster recovery stage, the clearing of the CBD has been going at a snails pace to subdue unemployment. The main rebuilding will be done to synchronise with National’s 2014 election – expect to see major projects being completed a few months before the election. The new plan for the city took all the desires of the people (except low cost housing in the city centre) and screwed them so that they became vehicles for big businesses. The call for more green space resulted in a horrid green belt which drives up land prices and excludes small businesses. The new arts precinct sits next to the casino. The stadium will be on the east side – stadiums often create an environment where crime increases. ..and who the fuck asked for a convention centre?
      We are going to be asked to sell the city’s assets to pay for this robbery.

      Some things are improving, some are getting worse. The things that are improving have not come from the government, nor from other political parties. Those in power, those in opposition, those at a local level and those at a national level have fucked us. Its not fair to expect us to keep being politically active when there is nobody there to represent us. The people of Chch are victims of disaster capitalism…the problem with that kind of oppression is that the more political you get, the more you suffer
      Christchurch is tired, the more we try the more we lose.
      Wake us up when a political party wants to help us.

      *lianne dalziel has been great

      • Alinsky 3.1.1

        People said much the same things when I was traveling through Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Palestine, and Syria.

        That can’t happen here.

      • halfcrown 3.1.2

        Of course non of this is reported on the MSM. More important things to report. Take this mornings news for example, more important things like saturation cover of the “state” funeral of Paul Holmes, and is the sister to the female who married William, here or not here to compete in the South Island coast to coast race. Who the F**k cares.

      • tracey 3.1.3

        if lianne runs for mayor it will be a landslide

  4. vto 4




    Selfish and greedy


    Eaters of the seed potato

    Trashers of the future

    Takers from the children to follow

    Killers of species

    there is nothing good to say about Canterbury farmers doing this

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Or the government supporting them in doing this.

      • vto 4.1.1

        Yes I thought about adding that but by leaving it as just the farmers it actually exposes the true culprits – those who in fact do the stealing and shafting and who work and are driven by greed.

        It is the farmers who keep asking for this and getting their politicians to steal it for them. The politicians are equally disgusting but the focus must go on the farmers themselves. Personally preferably.

        You know, this Central Palins Water scheme has not that many farmers who will benefit. It may be worth naming them. Putting their identity up in lights and asking them to personally answer the issues.

        If these farmers had any backbone they would stand up. Bet they dont – yellow cowards

        I spit on them – pitoooey.

        • Colonial Weka

          I think it’s worth separating out the farmers that support the scheme and those that don’t.

          • uke


            There are non-intensive dairy farmers out there whose farms are just as productive as the intensive kind. Difference being they farm in high-rainful areas (and don’t need to take water from rivers; lakes; aquifers); and they are good farmers.

            • Colonial Weka

              And here’s an idea. Maybe farm appropriately to the land and the climate. Why the need for irrigation now when there have been farms there for 150 years?

              • tracey

                have the farms been converted to dairy? That’s a small part of the problem. Farmers who switched to dairy on land subject to droughts.

                I also agree that many farmers are responsible in how they farm their land. BUT with all things it’s the lowest denominator that is focused upon… like the many farmers I know who rail upon ALL the bludgers on benefits… the danger of low level thinking abounds

    • framu 4.2

      “Eaters of the seed potato”

      is that a VTO original? – (i like it, just never heard it before)

    • geoff 4.3

      Go Captain Haddock!

  5. MrSmith 5

    Peter will be along shortly with some more apologies I expect……….

  6. vto 6

    This should be reversed by the next government.

    Any good reason why a Labour-Green-etc government would not reverse it?

    Play their dirty fucking game straight back at them.

  7. ianmac 7

    There is no serious credible research on the quantity of the underground supply, nor of the replenishment rate. Criminal to go ahead without that knowledge.
    The Christchurch City water supply is artesian and it is largely unknown just what effect that diminishing the flow of the Waimakariri River or the Ragitata will have.
    The irrigated water will be free to farmers and is a gigantic subsidy. (Carter reckons “…but they have to buy expensive irrigators!”)
    During a drought the needs for irrigation will steal waterflows to below minimum needed to sustain healthy river life, therefore destroying trout and salmon populations.

    Not only Canterbury people should care. Who is next?

  8. National’s strategy for economic growth amounts to a ‘step change’ in the rate of exploitation of natural resources supplemented by ‘irrigating’ the private sector with the privatisation of public assets at regular intervals.

    It also has the handy side-effect of requiring the further disempowering of ordinary people’s democratic impulses in order to put the great economic strategy into effect.

    Questions about what kind of growth – and what extent of growth – we might all like are completely off the agenda. Supposedly one vote in three years is all that’s needed to satiate our – anorexic – appetite for democracy. (In fact, Key is in favour of a four year term, so there’s no clear and present danger of us gorging ourselves on democracy pie.)

    And, in other news from Christchurch, Brownlee has had a ‘secret meeting’ with the Council as he thinks they should not be working on their ten year work plan, so they’re looking at a ‘workaround’ of the Local Government Act that requires them to develop one.

    As Eugenie Sage says in the link, it’s another little bit of democratic participation that will go by the wayside – irrespective of Parker’s promise that the community will still be involved.

    Just how uninformed and gullible does this government think Cantabrians are?

    • Alinsky 8.1

      Definition: “step change”

      Intermittent rape as opposed to gang rape.

    • vto 8.2

      Yes of course puddleglum. If any compromise reduces the democratic input of residents to the next ten years or some other timeframe then it may be that the gloves really start coming off.

      It would be handy wouldn’t it, for this government, if the public were kept out. It would mean things like asset sales could be slipped in with limited scope for opposition.

      Given the incredibly untrustworthy nature of the Key government this must be taken as the starting position. They have destroyed any benefit of the doubt. They are treacherous.

    • tracey 8.3

      I heard Brownlee was turning up unexpectedly… but really arent these guys calendars organised months and months in advance? So it wasn’t a last minute decision, he was always going, he just decided to make it an ambush on council?

  9. MrSmith 9

    ChCh is suffering from the ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ syndrome at the moment, most people up north will be wondering why they aren’t rioting in the streets.

    Well some of you will have seen the picture of the rat with it’s head caught in a trap, and someone standing behind the rat holding it’s tail high in the air, the caption saying “everyone wants to screw you when your down!”

    The National party logo.

    • Alinsky 9.1

      I have visited and lived in countries and watched sometimes violent civil disobedience. Twice I recall arriving as a visitor in cities (Chicago and LA) and feeling the tension in the air. A few weeks later I was gone and huge riots broke out. I thought, “No surprise. Even a stranger like me could feel this coming.”

      I am always glad to come home to peaceful NZ. But another side of me wonders if all this “peacefulness” is healthy. Like the spouse who never protests being beaten up. Like the CHC blogger here who said they have given up protesting.

  10. Alinsky 10


    If you are so angry about politicians riding roughshod over you, why are so few of you supporting curbing parliament’s dictatorial powers with binding veto referendums?

    Are you the spouse who will not take steps to stop the bullying?

    Is complaining within your comfort zone and forcing changes is not?

  11. tracey 11

    I have friends and family in Christchurch, many who voted for Bob and the Nats. What I would call conservative NZ. Was down doing a mass visit two weeks ago and got around most of them. All but one are appalled at how things are going, none will vote for Bob again and only 1 would vote for National again.

    I don’t know that they have been abandoned by the rest of us. But this government has a policy of divide and conquer… it’s present in their refusal to speak with the Maori Council, preferring to deal with individual iwi, and it was present in the formation of Auckland Council, now moving to a city near you.

    The Nats will focus on the name calling of the Greens to plant the ancient meme of funny money hippies and loonies… leaving disaffected people nowhere to go with their vote.

    • Scintilla 11.1

      @ Tracey

      I’ve been mulling over the divide and conquer thing for quite a while – why that tactic has so much staying power and what are the most effective responses?

      I’d like to think the ‘funnymoney hippiesandloonies’ was rapidly losing potency, I certainly think it will over the longer term. New Zealanders have a new respect for the land since Christchurch, we no longer feel quite as secure. Makes all those other issues that depend on nature’s bounty more real. Every time there’s an earthquake, the old mountains start rumbling, your garden starts going crazy and flowers when it shouldn’t and more glaciers melt and alpine spheres retreat, we register a little more anxiety – it’s cumulative.

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