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The Greens’ awesome water policy

Written By: - Date published: 10:42 am, August 22nd, 2011 - 75 comments
Categories: farming, sustainability, tourism - Tags:

The Greens want to charge 10 cents per tonne of water used by farmers. Use the revenue to restore our rivers and lakes. Even Actoid types can support this: internalise externalities, use price mechanisms to encourage efficient use of resources. Naturally, the farmers don’t want to pay. Funny how ‘wealth creators’ never want to pay their fair share.

The Greens reckon it’ll raise $500 million a year. That’ll employ a lot of those 58,000 young people who are doing nothing. Get them doing something useful. Repairing our environment.

Our rivers are a disgrace, and the tourists are noticing. Time to clean up our act the Green way.


75 comments on “The Greens’ awesome water policy”

  1. alex 1

    Damn right it is. About time someone took responsibility for our water. After all, its only the lifeblood of… all life on earth.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Makes perfect sense and I can see this as being a policy Labour would go ahead with if they were to form a coalition.

  3. This policy is terrible, very uneven and unfair. Most irrigation by far is done in the South Island. Should South Island farmers be taxed to clean up North island waterways?

    Should responsible farmers be taxed to clean up bad farmer’s messes?

    • Blighty 3.1

      should users of a public resource have to compensate the rest of the public from whom it has been expropriated?

      You’re a rightie. Free water is classic tragedy of the commons. Establishing cost and private rights is the way to deal with it, isn’t it?

    • vto 3.2

      Technicalities Pete, which can be tidied later.

      Bottom line is that farmers need to clean up the waterways that they have destroyed. That is fair isn’t it?

      Hands up who else gets to dump their rubbish in the public estate …..

      • Pete george 3.2.1

        Yes, it’s fair that farmers who pollute should clean up waterways.
        It’s not fair that those farmers who happen to use irrigation should have to pay for it.

        Besides the overall unfairness it gives some farmers major unfairness over other farmers.

        Take farm in Ida Valley for example, irrigation is essential (and expensive), there’s virtually no waterways to pollute.

        • Afewknowthetruth

          Irrigation uses fossil fuel energy (which we are running out of) and causes climate change.

          Short term thinking which suits those who exploit for their owen gain, as with everything you ever say.

          • John D

            Irrigation uses fossil fuel energy (which we are running out of) and causes climate change.

            Actually , CO2 “causes climate change”, not fossil fuels (according to the great men at the IPCC.)

            An average human being produces around 1kg of CO2 a day. CO2 by breathing is classified as “pollution” according to Wikipedia.

            [I have a very low tolerance for this kind of idiot trolling. There is of course a natural carbon cycle, of which the human breath is one tiny, tiny fraction of, in which CO2 entering the atmosphere from many sources, is very closely balanced by CO2 being removed from the atmosphere by other sinks.

            Humans have upset this balanced cycle by digging up carbon that has been deeply buried for tens of millions of years.. and releasing large amounts of it as CO2 into the atmosphere in very short time frame. Explosively fast in geological time frames. This excess CO2 production overwhelms the natural CO2 sinks causing an imbalance… which is why the CO2 content of the atmosphere is reliably measured as increasing about 2ppm per year.

            Now all this is basic, basic stuff. And yet this astoundingly stupid comment of yours flies in the face of it. It’s not so much wrong… as utterly disqualifies you from ever commenting of the AGW issue ever again. …RL]

            • John D

              I have a very low tolerance for this kind of idiot trolling.

              Wikipedia classifies breathing as pollution. Look it up – “air pollution”

              Then, when you have finishes accusing me of “trolling”, explain to me why NZ wants to introduce ruminant methane into the ETS, when ruminant methane is also a tiny proportion of global methane emissions.

              The world’s biggest emitter of biogenic methane is termites.

              [lprent: If this was explained to you then you will ignore it. I’m getting rather tired of answering and getting your usual inability to even think about the answers. I’m starting to regard you as being a simple waste of bandwidth who runs diversions. This is also off topic ]

            • lprent

              You’re just using one of your usual idiotic strings of strained logic.

              The emission of any substance in excess of the ability of natural systems to process it causing a buildup in sort or long timescales is pollution. Humans breathing doesn’t apply because there simply are not enough humans to make a difference. Burning fossil fuels causing a rapid increase in CO2 in the atmosphere does apply.

              Pollution is also an intellectual concept relative to us (the tree falling question). The biosphere would just adapt (eventually) just as it did when the poison of free oxygen happened, when the magnetic fields flip with the ingress of increased solar radiation, etc. But I have noticed that scientific morons like yourself tend to lack a sense of proportion when it comes to timescales or philosophy.

              • John D

                But I have noticed that scientific morons like yourself tend to lack a sense of proportion when it comes to timescales or philosophy.

                What a delightful little shit you are lprent.

                So, perhaps you’d like to answer my question about ruminant methane, or is it below your lofty intellect to engage with me?

                • lprent

                  I already did. I can’t actually help it if you’re too scientifically ignorant to understand the answer.

                  Based on previous instances of your ‘questions’ when answered at child level you will just ignore the answer. Perhaps you should look at your own previous behavior to understand why you get such reactions.

                  In the meantime I’m going to treat you like the dumbarse you are and give you answers that require you to think (rather than simply repeating some waffle you read elsewhere and regurgitate here). Perhaps we can find out if such a miracle is in fact possible.

                  But this is off topic for this post.

                  • John D


                    I seem to remember some time ago, you claimed that methane is 70 times more powerful as a GHG than CO2 and that it is increasing exponentially.

                    In fact, a small amount of research indicates that methane levels are actually hardly increasing at all. Furthermore, the “official” calculation that methane is 21 times more “powerful” than CO2 as a GHG is also very dubious.

                    Never mind. I am sure you had a busy day and dealing with these “illiterate trolls” must be so tiresome.

                    [lprent: You mean this full answer here explaining exactly why afewknowthetruth was wrong? As I said earlier – you have a problem with reading answers (it is right above your comment), relevant timescales, and that you have no basic knowledge of science to allow you to understand the answers.]

              • RedLogix

                JohnD’s is a one-topic troll. Now fair enough if he was a half-way decent one, but all we actually get are re-gurgitated blobs of half-digested nonsense he’s read elsewhere, or whenever he attempts something off his own bat, the result is risible drivel as above.

                The Standard has given this fool plenty of oxygen over a long period of time. My feeling is either he shows some attempt at lifting his game, or his opportunities to comment here on this topic are pulled back.

                Alternatively do we keep him on as a sort of ‘village idiot’?

                So, perhaps you’d like to answer my question about ruminant methane, or is it below your lofty intellect to engage with me?

                Flatly no. Because he never ever makes an honest attempt to answer anything himself.

                • lprent

                  I’d agree. My toleration if running out fast, especially when he jumps into a topic like this and deliberately tries to twist it around to something completely different (as I discovered reading down the comment stream).

          • grumpy

            What “fossil fuel” does irrigation use? There is the very odd case that burns diesel but most (esp. South Island) is Hydro – a natural resource.

            • RedLogix

              Most irrigation depends on pumping to a greater or lesser degree.

              And whether the pump is driven a diesel or electric motor, both essentially consume fossil fuels either directly as diesel, or coal indirectly via the national grid.

              • grumpy

                How does pumping in the South Island use fossil fuel? Irrigation normally occurs in summer when peak load is lowest.

                • RedLogix

                  I’d agree that in the specific case of NZ that the fossil fuel contribution of irrigation is probably pretty low.. but not neglible either. I’d be surprised if NZ grid ever reaches 100% renewables…. although it’s possible I guess. The spot market does dip to some very low prices at times but not always during summer either.

                  But globally AFFKT was making the point that irrigation is a significant consumer of fossil fuel, with much of the supply coming from coal and gas thermal generators.

          • RWNJ

            I don’t believe you understand the first thing about irrigation or farming in general, the only fossil fuel use in irrigation (at least in my experience) is used to power the pumps, this is essentially the equivalent of running a tractor overnight (again this is just in my case living on a 600 cow dairy farm) and any emissions would be absolutely negligible.

          • Pete George

            Irrigation uses fossil fuel energy (which we are running out of) and causes climate change.

            A lot of irrigation is via gravity.

            In any case irrigation grows stuff that should counteract the amounts of fuel that are used.

          • Bazar

            “Irrigation uses fossil fuel energy (which we are running out of) and causes climate change.

            Short term thinking which suits those who exploit for their owen gain, as with everything you ever say.”

            I’d say its a vast improvement over something like that statement, which shows no thinking at all!

            Your statement supports a water tax, because the farmers often use fuel with it as well.
            So rather then suggesting we increase the already existing tax on fuel, you attempt to justify the water tax.

            I think we need to have a water tax, but i want one that is fair gives the best matching tax:pollution ratio.

            And i suspect that just measuring the water via irrigation will have little actual relevance to how much pollution is produced. More so in areas where there is minimal irrigation but normal amounts of production/pollution

      • DavidW 3.2.2

        Every smoker who throws a butt out their car window or into the gutter actually is a polluter worthy of equal disdain from those who really care. Go look in Auckland Harbour some time. There is certainly a “care for the environment” message needed but latying it all at the feet of one group is a nonsense.
        But I suppose having a go at smokers would be picking on the downtrodded wealth consumers so isn’t worthy of being part of an “awesome” policy.

        • Colonial Viper

          Every smoker who throws a butt out their car window or into the gutter actually is a polluter worthy of equal disdain from those who really care.

          I fail to see how discharging tonnes of animal effluent from a farm compares to discarding 50g worth of cigarette butts.

          Nice try though.

  4. RWNJ 4

    This policy seems absolutely ridiculous, if you want to stop the small percentage of farmers who dirty waterways why not fine them for it? Taxing everyone for all the water they use, even water used for things like irrigation and animal drinking water is illogical.

    • Afewknowthetruth 4.1

      Yet urban ratepayers are ‘taxed’ for the water they use and have to pay for its treatment.

      Everyone who uses a motorised vehicle is ‘taxed’ the same annual fee (according to vehicle class), irrespective of the amount they it.

      Nothing in life is fair. That applies especially to the next generation, whose planet is rapidly being destroyed via ‘development’.

    • Shane Gallagher 4.2

      Water is a common good/resource. It belongs to everyone. If you want to use something that belongs to me to make a profit then you have to pay for it. Simple.

    • vto 4.3

      “This policy seems absolutely ridiculous, if you want to stop the small percentage of farmers who dirty waterways why not fine them for it? Taxing everyone for all the water they use, even water used for things like irrigation and animal drinking water is illogical.”

      This policy seems absolutely ridiculous, if you want to stop the small percentage of youth beneficiaries who illegally buy fags and booze why not fine them for it? Requiring everyone to use a card for the food and consumables used for things like eating and clothing is illogical.

    • weka 4.4

      “if you want to stop the small percentage of farmers who dirty waterways why not fine them for it?”
      Because the Regional Councils, who should be doing the fining, aren’t. Fear of losing votes I suppose.
      Besides it’s not a small percentage.

  5. fatty 5

    when did the term ‘wealth creators’ come about?
    is this a fox news slogan that has become popular here?
    its a nasty piece of work

  6. RWNJ 6

    All these comments about irrelevant labels is kind of annoying me. I seriously hope labour would not be foolish enough to take this policy seriously if they were in a coalition with the greens.
    Penalising farmers who use water to create productive, useful land as well as using it to ensure basic living conditions for livestock is ridiculous.
    All the tax does is give farmers incentive to use less water, which essentially means if any raw sewerage is leaked it will be more concentrated than if more water were used.
    The law should ensure that farmers cannot pollute waterways with untreated sewerage apart from in extreme situations(flooding, earthquakes etc) and any who breach that should be liable but this tax will not help.

    • John D 6.1

      Labour have already decided to “punish” the farmers by introducing methane from farm animals into the ETS.

      The chances of these morons getting into power anytime in the next decade are virtually zero.

      [lprent: Too much diversion trolling. 2 week ban. The topic has nothing to do with methane – it is to do with water. If you want to raise a different topic – then do so in OpenMike.]

    • RWNJ, as I understand the biophysical process, irrigation accelarates nutrient pollution of waterways by flushing nutrients (usually artificially applied) into the water table. If that is the case, it makes sense to apply a tax on such water use in order to address rates of pollution of waterways.

      I’m happy to be corrected. 

      • grumpy 6.2.1

        Nutrient levels are highly monitored.

        In my case, as at 1st Sept, I need to measure water levels in the production bore, as well as levels in a bore to the first aquifer (stream link). I need to have the first aquifer water and farm soil tested for Nitrates and provide a fertilser budget which needs to be approved by ECAN.

        As well as this, to get the original consent, both another bore at the production aquifer (with 1km) and an adjacent bore in the higher aquifer need to be monitored to ensure no aquifer linkage. This test takes 24 hrs over 7 days at full discharge and also monitors the effect on the closest waterways.

        I don’t think there is a wide understanding of just how stringent ECAN’s current regime is.

      • RWNJ 6.2.2

        Nutrient pollution is honestly an entire other issue, every farmer who wishes to make a decent return uses fertilisers in some form and virtually every single way of applying these fertilisers is going to effect waterways.
        Taxing water is not however going to stop farmers using nutrients to enhance land as the majority of fertilisers are already truck or air dropped which will also effect waterways.

  7. Bored 7

    RWNJ and Pete G, I hear screams of it is not fair to some farmers and that why not fine offenders? I hear fine them and see the results despite the ability to fine being there, unused. What I don’t hear is denial that there is a problem.

    I have fished streams throughout the Manawatu system for years and seen the degradation due to more intensive land use, in particular dairying. I have seen the same in Canterbury and Southland. What I can say is that different farmers do it differently, some fence and plant the stream margins, others flush without any thought. Some are responsible, others are not, some pollute despite fines which they either dont pay, or treat as a prefered cost.

    The question for you two is not “is there a problem” but “how would you address this problem”? I would like to hear your suggestions because whilst I support the outcome this policy aims at I would love to hear some and see some commitment to realistically achieving the same result through policies the Nats support. Lets hear it please.

  8. queenstfarmer 8

    I support the idea of user pays for a scarce resource, but I’m not sure this policy isn’t too blunt a tool. Land use varies massively. Most farmers are responsible with their water use and run-off control. As usual, it’s the few who ruin it for the many. There would be better results from a strong, targetted attack on the troublesome minority, with real heavy penalties (not this wet bus ticket stuff) for repeat offenders.

    For example, I am not actually a farmer but I have a block of land in the Coromandel with a stream running through it. With some help from Environment Waikato’s “clean streams” programme, I have cleaned it right up, fenced it off from neighbouring stock, and planted heaps of natives. Our upstreams neighbours followed our example and now the entire stream is beautifully clean (the EW lady was most impressed). It looks great and a number of other people in the area have done the same.

    But down the road (not bordering our stream, thankfully) is a real “cowboy” type who doesn’t manage his runoff at all. Surely he should be targeted, rather than spreading the bueracracy across the group of responsible users further up the road.

    • vto 8.1

      Yes well said. I suspect such a policy of the Greens is too blunt and large ($500million is quite a chunk to pull out of any NZ industry). Perhaps a combination of a smaller version of the Greens policy plus some heavy targeting of those worst affected areas and worst offenders.

      In addition, if someone pays for something it implies a form of ownership (as does water trading etc) and water is something that should be part of the commons. No person should be able to own our water in any form. At the most they would own a right to use it for certain controlled purposes and timeframes only.

      Good to see the Greens ramping up this issue though. Keep at it – it is too important to leave to the farmers, who have proved themselves incapable of doing the right thing (as would any group of people in similar circumstances)

    • RedLogix 8.2

      Sincere congratulations on that stream work QSF. Credit where it is due.

    • Bored 8.3

      Good work QSF, I too think the problem may be too ill suited to market signals. I have long supported the concept of paying farmers and other land holders for guardianship, and proper land use policies.

      For example I would like to see a long term bond market in native reforesting, with the government guaranteeing the bonds for the life cycle of the trees, which in the case of totara etc might be 100 years. Its sort of watching your “gold” grow.

      I would also like to see some fencing off and planting of streamside land paid for by compensation through tax, or Crown Land swaps etc. In short I would like to see all parties have a stake in making conservation a profitable exercise.

      • queenstfarmer 8.3.1

        A carrot and stick approach is needed. It is a significant investment to fence off waterways and replant trees. But if you do it once, right, the benefits can last for literally decades.

        One way of making it “user pays” might be for councils to give a modest rates rebate on land that has been clean-streamed, and reallocating the cost across the other land owners. That way, if half the people bounding a stream have chosen to do so, the cost (and thus incentive) goes on the remaining owners to do the same. After all there isn’t much use in cleaning up a portion of the river when the same muck flows through it from upstream.

    • mik e 8.4

      Your right unfortunately Qstf .Tax polluters farmers are already being taxed on the Canterbury plains for water . but instead of the present regime of fines their should be mandatory fencing, meridian strips, and sumps to allow water to be purified using hay bails in sumps on the lowest parts of farms .We on the left must have workable policy.40% of farmers really care about their environment because they Know that if they look after their land and water because that is their future !the next 40% are neither here or there they will do the absolute minimum.then there is the last 20% they are the ones that need to be brought into line and so far the punishment regime doesn’t seem to be working so like in England the local regional council should just jump in fix the problem ands send them the bill.

      • queenstfarmer 8.4.1

        Agree. It’s like dog control laws – I don’t understand why successive Govts haven’t just got tough with the small minority causing 99% of the problems.

      • Bored 8.4.2

        I like the idea of Councils jumping to and doing the work then sending the bill. They need some good legislative and court backing but its a fine idea.

  9. Afewknowthetruth 9

    Replying to grumpy.

    Depending on lake levels etc. NZ generates between 40% and 60% of its electrical energy via hydro. A large portion of the other 60-40% is generated by the burning of fossil fuels, i.e. generating electricity consumes finite fossil fuels and generates CO2, as per the simple equation

    CH4 + 4O2 > CO2 + 2 H2O

    (yes there is some geothermal and some wind, both of which small compared to hydro and fossil fuel. Interstingly, the new Stratford power station is fossil-thermal ).

    In terms of absolute emissions NZ contributes little. But in terms of per capita emissions NZ has a record which is little short of appalling and NZ is doing nothing about it.

    And there is another issue not mentioned: nothing in the present industrialised farming system is by any stretch of the imagination sustainable in the long term. Apart from theier dependence on fossil fuels, the bulk of NZ farming sytems are totally dependent on application of synthetic fertilisers, urea, phosphate etc, which are at, or very close to peak, after which they go into decline).

    The only real question is this: will the industrial system fall over (due to worldwide economic collapse and depletion) before it renders most of the Earth uninhabitable for humans (via out-of-control CO2 emissions or triggering a ‘methane burp’ from the sea floor or the permafrost ) ?

    It would be good of some of the ‘trolls’ actually read and understood what is here:


    That is probably too much to ask for.

    • mik e 9.1

      The renewable generation of electricity figure is between 60% and &05 depending on rainfall Afew

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        The last figure I saw was around 70%. NZ could do much better though if it set its mind to it. 80% should be achieveable in just a couple of years. 90% a few years after that.

    • grumpy 9.2

      So, I take it you agree that irrigating in Canterbury during summer does not use fossil fuels?

      During periods of relatively low demand (summer) means thermal generation is minimised, and anyway, North South flow on the DC link is minimal in summer so thermal cannot be argued as being needed to compensate.

  10. Ianupnorth 10

    The reality is that all that will happen is farmers will add on the cost of the water to the consumer and we will all end up paying their water bill. It seems at the outset a great idea, but it won’t really work.
    (As I have said before I know farmers who already have 20m outdoor swimming pools that are ‘reservoirs’ and are tax deductable – they will just fiddle it – again!)

    • RWNJ 10.1

      This is a horribly illogical statement, for a start farmers don’t set meat, wool or dairy prices. You also presume that farmers don’t have an interest in keeping the environment that they too have to inhabit in good condition. Also you stereotype every farmer based off of one example.
      This tax is a perfect example of treating everyone like criminals rather than treating the criminals like criminals.

      • vto 10.1.1

        Oh, you mean like the Nats policy of requiring every youth beneficiary to carry a payment card in order to punish the few who use money for booze and fags.

        Just trying to get your policy-making logic straight. Which it aint.

        • RWNJ

          I don’t remember saying i was a national supporter and even if i was i don’t remember agreeing with that policy. I have a friend who was on the youth benefit up until turning 18 and i know that introducing a system like that changes nothing and just reduces freedom for welfare recipients.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.2

        A tax is not a fraking punishment.

        In this case it is being levied to recognise the use and value of a natural resource of the commons, for private industry profits.

        The Green’s policy may require some fine tuning but it is a damn fine policy.

        Not sure why Right Wingers who love markets so much have a problem with the setting of price signals to drive desired behaviour (conservation of fresh water).

        • RWNJ

          I fail to see how taking money off of farmers is not a punishment, the tax is also completely unworkable and illogical. Do you tax farmers who create dams themselves and take no water out of public waterways?
          As for the private industry profits argument have you ever heard of income tax? If water is causing farmers to make more money they will pay more tax already…
          I also see an argument about rates, which is also pretty illogical as farmers already pay far higher rates than urban home owners simply due to the higher value of their land. They also receive far less for their rates considering that many don’t receive water, sewerage systems or any degree of public transport.

          • Colonial Viper

            Dude the farmers use a limited resource from the commons to make their money, in using it that resource is often degraded. But you don’t want charges applied. How is that considered reasonable? Expecting something for nothing I call that.

            So a tax set at a fair rate is a fair way of recognising the resource use and the resource degradation.

            which is also pretty illogical as farmers already pay far higher rates than urban home owners simply due to the higher value of their land.


            A lot of local authorities have waivers giving large farms discounts of their rates.

            Its quite possible for a $3M farm to pay less rates than a $1M town property.

            Now, given that a farm is a business it would be more valid to compare the rates paid on a $3M farm to a $3M retail premises or offices.

            Guess what, the farmer pays very very little rates when you make the correct comparison.

            • RWNJ

              You ignore the point that you have no way of knowing if the water used was a common resource, many farms have literally dozens of privately owned dams used to fill troughs and irrigate which would all be taxed under this law.
              Many farmers also have to apply for and pay for water rights in areas where the water is limited (usually heavily farmed areas such as South Canterbury) so the idea that farmers are stealing a limited resource is also rather idiotic as in the areas where water is limited they already pay for it.
              As for the rates all i know is what my family pays and considering what we receive from our rates(virtually nothing outside of use of a public library) paying literally tens of thousands of dollars seems excessive.

              • RWNJ

                I misworded this a bit. All farmers have to apply for water rights but in some areas the granting of these rights is already heavily limited.

              • ak

                As for the rates all i know is what my family pays and considering what we receive from our rates(virtually nothing outside of use of a public library)

                Do us a favour, RW, look up how much your council spends on rural roads every year, divide it by the number of rural ratepayers and get back to us if you’ve got a leg to stand on (keep a chair handy).

                And of course farm rates are a legitimate business expense for tax-decuctible purposes, unlike urban residential.

        • mik e

          CV I’m not a right winger by along way .But just about all the irrigation for dairy farmers happens on the Canterbury plains they are already paying for their water rights . It would be unfair to tax them only and not Southland,Waikato,,Taranaki the West Coast. if we on the left want farmer buy in on this one the tax has to be fair.Regional councils are not tackling the problem and should adopt a more proactive way of doing things like in england where their councils pay half the bill for fencing off streams,if we on the left want to get back onto the govt benches we have to be reasonable. Those farmers have heaps more resources than we do and they will use them to keep us of the govt benches at all costs if we come up with unfair policy

          • Colonial Viper

            Thanks for the detail. I didn’t know about the Canterbury situation.

            I agree that the left need to approach the rural sector with a far more nuanced viewpoint and I could do with a bit of that too. Smashing at farmers as being tax bludgers etc does not do Labour and the Greens any good.

            There are plenty of good news stories out there where farmers are making excellent, environmentally sound decisions. That is what we need to encourage. And it won’t happen if the left act all tone deaf towards the rural electorates.

  11. MrSmith 11

    Go the Greens, they are on a roll at the moment, doing the hard yards with Great common sense solid policy. Solutions to problems, including how they intend to pay for them and as usual the farmers are crying “short arms deep pockets”, bloody beneficiaries the lot of them. 

    • Blue 11.1

      Not many beneficiaries feed the country Mr Smith, do they? Pretty sure the Greens don’t either. Some respect for the job they do would be in order.

      • Colonial Viper 11.1.1

        Speaking of feeding the country, how about getting us some milk people can afford. You know, milk which isn’t more expensive than you can get it in other western countries.

        Some respect for the job they do would be in order.

        It would help if some farmers didn’t constantly take the piss. You know, owning multimillion dollar farms, applying for community services cards and then sending their kids to uni claiming student allowances because they fall under taxable income thresholds.

      • MrSmith 11.1.2

        They’re beneficiaries alright Blue, farmers are allowed to pollute our environment with impunity, they pay little or no tax, while making outrages capitol-gains on their properties, all the while holding there hand out every time it rains to hard or doesn’t rain, this is the definition of a beneficiary in my book.

        • Blue

          I disagree, a beneficiary has no job and no (legal) income and is someone who through the generosity of the tax payer and the state is able to survive until they get a job, generally or in some cases maintain their chosen lifestyle. Farmers are businesses, they employ directly and indirectly fellow New Zealanders, they work hard, work very long days and contribute to the economic robustness of this country. They are the very antithesis of a beneficiary. Huge difference. As you strike me as a bit of an “indoors boy” I will allow this lack of comprehension on your part.

          • MrSmith

            Well sorry to disappoint you then Blue I have worked bloody hard outside with my hands all my life.

            The market economy doesn’t work without a pool of unemployed Blue, so like a lot of the benie bashers you have know idea what you are talking about, you’re just another National party cheer leader I suspect, do a little reading instead of swollowing the chap and spin coming form the Nac’t hook line and sinker.

  12. Afewknowthetruth 12

    No I do not agree.

    Irrigation does consume fossil fuels and does result in increased CO2 emissions.

    The construction and operation of hydro dams is dependent on fossil fuels. The production of concrete generates huge amounts of CO2.

    Pipework is made from oil and is installed using oil powered machinery.

    Of course there are lots of other activities that consume more fossil fuel and gerenate more pollution that irrigating but there is absilutely no getting away from the fact that any kind of industrial activity uses up finite resources and degrades the general environment.

    Whatever crop or dairy product that is produced on irrigated land is harvested’processed/transported using fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are embedded in practically everything in an industrialised economy. That’s why all of it is unsustainable.

    The ‘Titanic’ is slowly going under and it makes no difference how much ‘the crew’ or ‘the passengers’ squeal.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      The other thing is that irrigation increases pasture production limits, making it worthwhile for more fertiliser to be used, making it worthwhile for more cows to be kept per hectare of dairy farm, etc.

      Without sufficient irrigation, the production cake would shrink (as Gail the Actuary describes it) and less fossil fuels overall would be consumed.

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  • A charge on plastic bags – debunking some myths
    The launch of my Members’ Bill last week, which would introduce a 15 cent charge on single-use plastic bags at the check-out, has generated a lot of comment on mainstream and social media. From The Paul Henry Show at the ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • National’s $1trillion property sandcastle
    The National government's failure to fix the housing crisis has seen the ballooning and unsustainable property market touch the $1 trillion mark, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. "Labour wants an economy that creates high wage work that is based ...
    2 days ago
  • Government failure on housing crisis drives Reserve Bank to add tools
    If the Government was delivering a comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis, it is unlikely that the Reserve Bank would be continuing to pursue debt to income limits for lending for housing, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    3 days ago
  • International embarrassment for NZ likely over National’s failure to protect Maui dolphin
    New Zealanders who care about Maui dolphin should prepare to feel embarrassed: the Government is about to be put to shame on the international stage for its lack of action to protect Maui’s dolphin. The International Whaling Commissions’ 66th Biennial ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    5 days ago
  • Why don’t we spend $1b to keep people out of jail, rather than spending it on keeping them in?
    Earlier this week, Corrections Minister Judith Collins announced the government’s ‘solution’ to our burgeoning prison population. It seems that most, if not all, of Bill English’s hard-won surplus is going to disappear into another round of prison-building.  That must be ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    1 week ago
  • PKE Ship Sent Packing – Not Too Soon
    It is appropriate that the palm kernel expeller (PKE) ship off Tauranga has been sent packing. For weeks I have been saying this ship needed to be sent away, but it seems as if MPI has been trying to find ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    1 week ago
  • Do you #LoveSnow?
    I was a lucky kid. When I was about five or six my mum and auntie took me up to Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu and taught me to ski. As a young kid I thought there was no bigger ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Awa Kairangi/Hutt River – Swimmable?
    On Thursday night I hosted a great swimmable rivers meeting organised by the local Greens in Heretaunga (Hutt Valley). It was great to see about 70 people attend and engage in the topic. We were welcomed by Te Atiawa representative ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    1 week ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    1 week ago
  • Barry Coates on his first weeks in Parliament
    Week one in Parliament has been quite an occasion. I would like to share the experience. I had given up on the prospect of getting into Parliament before the election and had been enjoying the diverse work I was doing ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    1 week ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    1 week ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    1 week ago
  • Vote Sooty Shearwater/Tītī for Bird of the Year
    Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) are amazing and deserve your vote in Forest and Bird’s Bird of the Year competition.  They make one of the longest known bird migrations, flying an annual round trip of 64,000 kms across the entire Pacific ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    1 week ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    1 week ago
  • Energy use going in the wrong direction
    New data out this week from Statistics NZ paints a concerning picture of energy use across the economy under this National Government. You won’t be surprised to hear that there is some seriously worrying information here about how dirty our ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    1 week ago
  • Junior Doctors go on Strike
    Thousands of junior doctors took strike action for 24 hours this week for better working conditions and safer working hours.  The Green Party supports their cause, and particularly their claims to reduce the number of days worked from up to ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    1 week ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    1 week ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Strengthening our relationship with the Rātana movement
    It was a privilege to visit Rātana Pā last week with fellow Greens’ Co-leader James Shaw, our Māori Caucus and senior staff to meet with the leaders of te iwi mōrehu, to strengthen the ties between the Green Party and ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    2 weeks ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disconnected thinking dirties the water
    Iain Rabbitts’ belief that drinking water quality, charging for water use and the land use that leads to water quality degradation should be treated separately is part of the problem we have right now in this country. The connection is ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Report back from Hands Off Our Tamariki hui
    This week I attended a hui in Otaki organised by Hands Off Our Tamariki about the proposed reforms to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act. Moana Jackson and Paora Moyle spoke.  They expressed deep, profound concern about the proposed ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago