John Key didn’t much like being confronted with the facts on our dirty water, so he cynically attempted to trivialise the science as “one person’s opinion”. He sat there on international TV and tried to pretend that everything is just fine, when it isn’t.
No surprise to find this attitude mimicked in National’s policy on water. They are trying to pretend that they’re doing something when they aren’t. I’m going to quote the whole of I/S’s post at No Right Turn on this:
National’s incoherent fresh water policy
The government is hyping its new fresh water policy today. From the PR, you’d think they’d committed to cleaning up our lakes, rivers and streams, and ending dirty dairying forever. The reality is rather different. The key instrument – a new National Policy Statement on fresh water [PDF] merely requires regional councils to change their policies to set maximum limits on water takes, establish cleanup targets for polluted waterways, and end overallocation. That’s a good start, the minimum necessary really, but there’s no urgency in this process. The deadline for implementing the NPS – that is, for establishing the policies, rather than cleaning up the actual waterways – is 2030. So, in 20 years, every council will have set targets. Woop-de-fucking-dooh.
Meanwhile, to “balance” this underwhelming “commitment” to clean water, the government is pumping $35 million into subsidising irrigation. Which means effectively pumping $35 million into producing cowshit, which will go straight into the same waterways they supposedly want to clean up. Its not just incoherent – its directly undermining the policy they’ve just established.
But the important thing is that they can claim they are Doing Something about fresh water. Not right now, and not effectively, but they get the headline now, and no-one will pay attention to the nasty details. Again, its the triumph of PR over policy. But that’s National is all about.
The Nats won’t get away with this will they? Surely our media watchdog will see through the spin? Hah hah:
Fonterra welcomes water pledge
Giant dairy co-operative Fonterra is welcoming the Government’s announcement it will put $35 million into an “irrigation acceleration fund”, saying water can be turned into wealth. …
He [a Fonterra rep] acknowledged community concerns about declining water quality and the need to address “legacy issues” of pollution. “We acknowledge that dairy’s continued rights to water access are dependent on responsible use and efforts to address water quality,” Mr Wickham said. But Fonterra also called for the Government to set national environmental standards and a national water strategy to accompany its new policy statement on freshwater management.
The national policy statement – which required individual regional councils to set standards – should be closely aligned to a national water strategy sitting alongside environmental standards which provide the necessary national consistency in target setting for water quality.
Yeah, they’re going to get away with it all right. Fixing dirty water would mean the Nats reining in their farming mates. Not going to happen. Instead we’ll get nonsense policy, and nonsense reporting, and more shit in our water.