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Watershit Down

Written By: - Date published: 7:37 pm, August 22nd, 2016 - 121 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, cost of living, disaster, Economy, Environment, farming, health and safety, sustainability, water - Tags: , , ,

The Government has bowed to public pressure and announced what they claim is a “wide reaching” inquiry into how Havelock North and other parts of Central Hawkes Bay lost their once safe water supply.

One small problem, however. Cabinet has decided that the inquiry should not, under any circumstances, look at the possibility that farming is to blame.

Got that? It’s wide ranging, but only in a narrow and tightly defined way. Key burbled his way through one of his worst ever interviews on RNZ this morning, trying to make this whitewash sound substantive.  He really is sounding like a pisstake of himself these days.

The terms of reference include this judicial choke collar:

Exclusions from inquiry and scope of recommendations.
The Inquiry is not to inquire into, determine, or report in an interim or final way, or otherwise
prejudice any of the following matters: a) Questions of civil , criminal, or disciplinary liability; and
b. the structural arrangements for local government.
Ah, yes. The structure of local government. Readers with long memories will recall the National government reigned in local government shortly after being elected in 2008, insisting that councils stick to the basics of local service delivery.  We know how bad that has been for Auckland, but the anti-social results have mostly hidden in the provinces. And this enquiry is determined to keep it that way.

Could it be that National have made the cynical calculation that letting down the people of the CHB, and other provincial areas, is less risky than making farmers accountable for their poisoning their neighbours?

Just how far will National let intensive farming water shit down?

In the meantime, perhaps Hastings should bite the bullet and consider twinning with Flint, Michigan?

The two cities have got a lot in common these days.

 

121 comments on “Watershit Down ”

  1. Sacha 1

    No doubt in my mind that any inquiry will be weak. Second point, well made. Your first is not based on what you have quoted. Got more?

    • Muttonbird 2.1

      He said students he had sent to the area had come back having seen dead animals on riverbanks and asked not to be sent to sample streams so badly affected again.

      We have the highest level of many of these waterborne gastrointestinal diseases in the OECD.

      😯

      I think it’s nearly universal around freshwater scientists at least that water quality in New Zealand has been declining for upwards of 25 years.

      Wait for it…

      …Labour did it too.

      Dr Death is obviously a left wing agitator and can expect his funding to be cut in the very near future. Wrong kind of science, you see.

      • mauī 2.1.1

        Look for every scientist I can give you another one with a differing opinion. You say Dr Death, I say Dr Joy.. oops actually nope, give me another Dr’s name.

    • mauī 2.2

      Scary shit.

      I would be equally concerned with the many chemicals in their vinyards and orchards, because none of those will be removed by their water treatment either.

      • Herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, nematode-icides, molluscicides, rodenticides – if it lives, farmers (townspeople too) will have a chemical to kill it. These biocides, call them antibiotics as they are each of them, anti-life, are invisible to the eye and therefore, apparently, of no concern.
        Carcinogenic , endocrine disrupting and everywhere.

  2. vto 4

    You have 1 minute starting from now …..

    Name the rivers of Hawkes Bay which have clean water

    • NZJester 4.1

      That is like asking what is the answer to 0 times 5.
      Both questions have the exact same answer!

  3. Ian 5

    There is something very fishy going on in the bay.The source of such widespread contamination should be obvious ,but isn’t.
    Deliberate contamination by persons unknown can not be discounted ,particularly with all the angst being stirred up by the dodgy socialist dam.

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 6

    “The Rebstock Inquiry into Havelock North water quality issues has concluded that residents who drank poison made bad choices, and that the obvious solution is to lower the top tax rate and slash government spending.”

    • Pat 6.1

      lol +1

    • Sabine 6.2

      and we have to pay her at least 2000$ a day to come to that conclusion. Any less then that and the Lady will not get out of bed.

    • In Vino 6.3

      Nice, OAB.

    • North 6.4

      Very good OAB. Problem is many a true thing is said in jest.

      What concerns me otherwise is that Key, whom it generally suits however shockingly to claim no knowledge of anything, is prepared at this early stage to imply sufficient knowledge as to float the possibility of prosecution/s.

      There’s probably a small category of expendable fall guys already earmarked. I mean it’s not as though there’s no Key/National Party form in meddling with the operational role of prosecuting agencies. Think Bradley Ambrose and the Teapot Tapes, Williamson and the Chinese magnate’s domestic assault/s matter.

      All that’s missing is a glib ‘report’ over the name of some “distinguished, retired civil servant”. Dame Margaret Bazley would be ideal. Doesn’t matter if ultimately it all comes to nothing. Suffice that at this stage the narrative is left to waft around in the public arena.

      My God Key’s a sneaky, corrupt little bastard. I say it again – never, never would any decent parent hold him up to one’s kids as a role model. As a demonstrable crook yes but never as a role model.

  5. Keith 7

    Central government to date has done nothing to assist that community and their infected drinking water. Clean water is a basic human right but the “who fucken cares” National Party are sitting on their greedy little hands doing nothing. They’re a spectacular non event which raises the question, why should Craig Foss ever be relected? A bullshit National Party cover up…I mean enquiry is pointless and is an insult.

    All I’m seeing here is National Party self preservation, as per normal, going on here! And looking after their mates.

    • Muttonbird 7.1

      Over the last few days they couldn’t have given a bigger ‘fuck you’ to the people of Havelock North.

    • NZJester 7.2

      You would think National would be wanting to look like they are doing something in this emergency as the area affected by this contamination mostly contains a large majority of well healed National voters.
      This is the same community that he visited at the start of July to a warm welcome from lots of Havelock North school children brought to see him by the local National faithful.

      Hopefully, this will cost national at the next election and Hastings will return to Labour control.

    • Kevin 7.3

      And Havelock North would be his biggest base in his electorate. Very wealthy. Thats where all the old HB money is.

    • Wensleydale 7.4

      You could replace Craig Foss with a rag tied to a pole, and I doubt anyone would notice the difference.

  6. Muttonbird 8

    But b waghorn assures us dairy farming is not to blame.

  7. Barbara Strathdee 9

    Is it time for engineers to devise a complete sewerage plan for the animals?

    The situation is not very different to the ancient mode of humans throwing their effluent from chamber pots out of the windows and onto the city streets below.

    Costly but long past time.

  8. Ad 10

    If there’s any political justice in polling terms, the Greens as the party that’s made a feature of its waterways campaigning for years, should benefit from the inquiry.

    I also have a sneaking feeling that Minister Smith in particular will use it as a reason to force the amalgamation question upon Hawkes Bay again, even after it’s been voted down. But this time he will use it a a structural capacity issue; the existing local and regional councils don’t have the scaled capacity to organize potable water successfully, therefore they should merge in order to gain greater structural water monitoring, quality and production capacity.

    This government or the next is going to have to enforce its water quality standards with a central water regulator on both quality and in price. Would be worth watching the fight from Federated Farmers on that one.

    • Pat 10.1

      “Would be worth watching the fight from Federated Farmers on that one.”

      Thats a fight likely to be more private than public and therefore unseen.

    • Macro 10.2

      I have it on good authority that the Nats will be announcing an improved waterways “policy” this week…
      Expect it to be as “overwhelming” as the preditor free policy of last month… with the same “enormous” amount of money thrown at it. This will have the effect of making them look like they really are concerned…. while at the same time doing as little as possible. It is an effort to dissuade the soft vote concerned about environment from actually voting to do something about it.
      The current murmerings of Climate Minister Bennett on cross party initiatives etc are in much the same vein. Greenwash and flannel and loads and loads of BULLSHIT – mostly into our streams and rivers and drinking water.

      • Ad 10.2.1

        Even though there has been only one fatality attributed, this could become as big as Pike River. From Pike River came a pretty comprehensive review of the health and safety legislation that is going through the works contracting and local government industries like the proverbial salts.

        The Prime Minister has already signaled that this report will report to the Governor-General directly, rather than to Cabinet or to Ministers in the first instance. This is a good signal of its seriousness.

        We should expect at minimum:
        – a review of trigger levels for Drinking Water Incident notification for example making MoH solely responsible for Notifications of any kind, and specifying Comms routes rather than stupid notices in newspapers.

        – recommendations to the Local Government legislation going through the House at the moment about Council CCOs

        – Potentially amendments to how drinking water is graded nationally. For example publication of Council drinking water standards, just as they do District Health Board performance in major newspapers according to a set of benchmarks across New Zealand. They should be required to publish say two months before an election, and with every Annual Report they do.

        and

        – Addressing liability, which will take amendments to a series of Acts. eg ACC.

        • gsays 10.2.1.1

          hi ad, re liability in the havelock water case: wouldn’t liability (in theory), sit squarely on the district council ceo?

          while i am not naive enough to believe any responsibility will fall on someone on 3-4 times average wage.

          some poor middle manager or anonomous contractor will be in the gun.

        • Macro 10.2.1.2

          I should have made myself clear Ad. I was referring in particular to the last sentence of you comment..
          “Would be worth watching the fight from Federated Farmers on that one.”
          I take it that you were referring to the continued deterioration of our water ways. Over the past month or so the Nats have been trying to take back some of the lost ground on environmental issues e.g. the predator free NZ, and Bennett’s “epiphany” wrt Climate Change and mitigation.
          There will be an announcement by National of a clean waters policy this week( so I am informed by an MP) but I expect it will be as hollow in substance as the other policy – underfunded and heavily reliant on voluntary action.

  9. vto 11

    so where do the people of Hawkes Bay get their clean water from?

    • mauī 11.1

      Off the roof.

    • b waghorn 11.2

      http://nzmiracle.com/en_US/

      They could take back the water that’s being sold from under their feet.

    • Kevin 11.3

      Aquifers.

      There are a lot of them here and the water up to now has been fantastic to drink. We have been very fortunate, but I think that is starting to change.

      I am not blaming the Council or any people in particular as I do not see how thy could have acted any faster.

      Campylobacter is not the easiest thing to detect because of the nature of how it lives in water. The easiest explanation I have received from a doctor is that it is ‘clumpy’ rather than evenly distributed which means you can take two samples from the same source and one be positive and the other negative.

      There has not been enough research done on the aquifers as to where from, how and how long it takes for water to replenish them. The extremely dry and warm winter will have had an affect underground opening up channels so water gets from it source to the aquifers a lot quicker than it would normally. Explained well here:
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/311529/illness-findings-'extremely-unlikely'-from-tukituki-council

  10. RedBaronCV 12

    Is this the sort of inquiry that you set up when you already know the answer ( and I’m assuming it is not pretty) to delay, obstruct and cover up so the answer never really comes out??

    • s y d 12.1

      its the sort of inquiry you set up so that you are able to avoid answering any questions, because you don’t want to prejudice the inquiry that you set up so that you could avoid answering any questions because you don’t want to prejudice the inquiry that you set up.

  11. vto 13

    so in new zealand we have people without homes

    and people without water

    at least it’s only the small things eh mr key, mr clever

  12. Keith 14

    Having just listened to that abomination of an interview with Key on RNZ, I was left with the horrible feeling National are going to ensure no one ever knows what has caused this disaster. Key spoke of this enquiry as if this disaster happened months ago, it was like it wasn’t still going on. His attitiude was incredibly poor.

    Although this interview was a psychology students dream case study to listen to Key doing his level best to commit to nothing, downplay anything in an oblivion of pointless words, cover for the agricultural sector and lie all at the same time to me he was a hopeless-has been-waste of oxygen.

    Clearly from Key’s attitude Dr Jonathan Coleman couldn’t give a flying shit and quit his taxpayer funded junket in Rio early to attend to this insignificant matter and clearly the useless Sam Lotu i’iga was as much out of his depth as he was with Serco. Not that Key cared anyway, he’s comfortable!

    What we have here is another National Party revisit to the golden age of Victorian England. Not only do we have beggars, homeless, whole families living in a single room but we now also have business polluting with total impunity, safe in the knowledge their good friends in government will let it carry on uninterrupted. It may not have the chimneys but the water contamination created by effluent is rather familiar.

  13. Wayne 15

    Looking at the terms of inquiry, it actually looks quite comprehensive, and in fact will cover many of the issues raised by many of the comments.
    It will be independent, as these kinds of inquiries invariably are.
    After all everyone wants their council water supply to be safe for drinking. No-one in New Zealand sees it as negotiable.
    It is simply not a party political issue. All politicians have to be able to guarantee it as a basic civil duty of govt, expected even of small local authorities.
    As Nick Smith said it simply should not happen in a first world country.

    • Muttonbird 15.1

      It’s interesting that the first response by the current government, government supporters, and indeed former National government ministers, is to nationalise bad news while at the same time implying the blame lies fully with the local council. The idea being to dilute early any suggestion that central government policy is associated with this incident in particular and the wider issue of water quality in New Zealand.

    • DoublePlusGood 15.2

      4,000 people got sick and there’s no possible way in which political parties could do anything to improve the situation? Get real.
      And why must we have massive inquiries before we do anything in this country? Politicians are in parliament to do things for the people, not sit on their arse waiting for watered down recommendations that they can ignore.

    • Chris 15.3

      “After all everyone wants their council water supply to be safe for drinking. No-one in New Zealand sees it as negotiable.”

      Neo-liberals thrive on conflict and controversy and dissent because they can always claim they’ll be the fixers of all the problems (which is why they manufacture problems in the first place). Yule and his right wing mates mightn’t have manufactured this problem, but Yule is certainly doing his darnedest to make political capital out if it. Only trouble with Yule is that he’s pro GM-free so makes voting for him too real an option. A bitter pill to swallow.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.4

      In a first world country, we wouldn’t expect to see high rates of preventable, poverty-related infectious diseases, nor a government that thinks “wadeable” is a brighter future, yet here you are.

      You also appear to think “quite comprehensive”, covering “many of the issues” will prevent people from noticing the terms of reference, and what they exclude.

  14. North 16

    Jeez thanks (Freudian) Wayne…….”It will be independent, as these kinds of inquiries invariably are.”

    Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah!

    Piss off Wayne…….your studied insouciance powered up with a little bit of righteousness is insulting. Get a Tui’s down ya’ spittley gate and stop bullshitting!

    • Wayne 16.1

      To be honest I don’t even begin to understand an attitude that automatically assumes such an inquiry will not be independent.

      Presumably most of the posters would also believe that our courts are not independent, that our democracy is not representative, that elections are not free and fair and that New Zealand is fundamentally corrupt (notwithstanding all international measures say otherwise).

      In contrast for me I automatically assume our courts and judges are independent, that we are are a first world democracy and that New Zealand is one of the least corrupt countries in the world. No amount of insults will make me think otherwise.

      By the way Andrew Little said on RNZ this morning that the terms of reference were wide enough to cover the full range of concerns. But I guess that just makes him a lickspittle.

      • vto 16.1.1

        To be honest I don’t even begin to understand a large group of people who think it is ok to pollute all waterways to a level that allows ‘wading’ only.

        short term and brainless

        what about your grand children Wayne?

      • marty mars 16.1.2

        I think your first paragraph was good and when you starting presuming, not so good. I hear you say rah the government yet this post is on the major outbreak that debilitated a community. And we know also about the homelessness and 3rd world poverty and diseases and desperation. And YOU just wash it away with, ‘ everything is really good, stop moaning, the govt is cool”,

        The disconnect with reality is yours wayne – and to query the bonafides of a reluctant govt enquiry is actually a moderate response. The extreme response is to pretend it is all sweet and attack the questioner, like you did.

        • Wayne 16.1.2.1

          We (Councils) seem to have been able to provide safe drinking water across the whole country till now, including in the poorest part of New Zealand, which is Northland.

          Havelock is actually quite a prosperous place, so blaming the current disaster on “3rd world poverty, diseases and desperation” seems pretty unlikely.

          In any event my post was about the independence of the inquiry. There is a view among many of the posters here, that by definition such an inquiry cannot possibly be independent. And that defending the independence of the such inquiries is seen as an “extreme response.”

          As I said, I just don’t get that attitude, but it seems to be the norm of many Standardnistas.

      • Philj 16.1.3

        Wayne,
        ‘One of the least corrupt countries’ . The measure often quoted is of the PERCEPTION of corruption, not of corruption itself.

  15. RedLogix 17

    I’ll tell you the core of the problem right now. Most small councils do not have the size and finances to employ and retain the specialist technical staff they need across a range of areas.

    While there are many well meaning, capable and dedicated staff working for these councils … almost always there is not enough of them and they don’t have access to the capital, resources or training they need to keep on top of the demands of the role. Especially in water supply.

    I’ll absolutely bet my left nut this is what has happened here. If I spend a couple of months padding this conclusion out and printing it up with some fancy fonts … can I have my $2000 per day now please?

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      I’ll tell you the core of the problem right now. Most small councils do not have the size and finances to employ and retain the specialist technical staff they need across a range of areas.

      The case for amalgamation 😛

      • miravox 17.1.1

        “The case for amalgamation “

        Or simply councils sharing specialists from a central group?

        • RJL 17.1.1.1

          @miravox

          Great idea.

          We could pay a tithe or tax to some sort of central national level organisation responsible for large-scale infrastructure. This organisation could employ specialists who could assist the regions; we could group the specialists into departments or ministries. And we could all vote periodically on the leadership of this central organisation of specialists.

          • miravox 17.1.1.1.1

            no, no, no… I get what you’re saying, but no. Politicians and policy advisors aren’t specialist technical staff.

            I was thinking along the lines of the marine pollution response centre in Te Atatu that provides Tier 3 response for councils, while councils have trained people responsible for dealing with the smaller events.

            If as RL says, council can’t afford the expertise to manage water then maybe a central group of scientists, auditors, and engineering advisors could manage top level needs for a number of councils rather than each council employing their own. And no, again, I don’t mean consultants – specialist technical and scientific staff who manage the on-the-ground staff and advise on how to do this thing from in terms of engineering and safety.

            • dukeofurl 17.1.1.1.1.1

              Im thinking he was being ‘ironic’

            • RJL 17.1.1.1.1.2

              @miravox “Politicians and policy advisors aren’t specialist technical staff.”

              Sure, but this hypothetical national-level, central government could employ actual technical staff too, and provide that as a resource to the regions. Traditionally, that’s what the more practical Ministries and Departments are for: doing necessary stuff that is uneconomic / impractical to do on a piecemeal regional basis.

              Like you say Marine Pollution Response is an example; that’s, not a Ministry, but part of Maritime NZ, which is a crown entity.

    • vto 17.2

      No redlogix, the core of the problem is shit in the water.. the issue you refer to is one that arises after the fact of shit in the water..

    • weka 17.3

      I also don’t think this is the core if the problem. Land use is, or even beyond that it’s our fundamental relationship with the land that we think it is for using.

      If we were managing land in a healthy sustainable way then the level of expertise in councils would be fine. Yes we can upgrade council staff and infrastructure at cost to be better but really what we are saying then is go ahead farmers and industrialists keep polluting and we will sort it out. Better use of money and resources is better land management and ecosystem restoration.

      • RedLogix 17.3.1

        @vto and weka

        Council should have had the technical horsepower and clout to have anticipated, monitored, planned for and mitigated this risk decades ago.

        Council is the primary body responsible for managing land use and water quality. Yes weka is right that we are over-extending the environment … but getting back to a healthy sustainable use still demands leadership and action from Council staff. And that won’t happen by magic unless they are supported to do it well.

        And the idea of councils being able to share specialist expertise, best practice and auditing is a good one, although always a bit fraught in reality to allocate demand on resource.

        • weka 17.3.1.1

          “Council should have had the technical horsepower and clout to have anticipated, monitored, planned for and mitigated this risk decades ago.”

          If by that you mean that councils should have put a limit on the intensification of farming and agriculture decades ago, I agree. However as far as I can tell, the problem there is almost entirely who gets elected to regional councils. Pretty hard for any council to do the right thing when the elected representatives are stacked with Fed Farmers.

          Everything else is increasing levels of ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

  16. righy right 18

    with dairy farming debt 56 billion in debt farmers will externalize pollution costs to tax and rate payers farmers took the profits and leave the rest of us with the shit .

  17. vto 19

    what is the closest river to Hawkes Bay with clean water?

    Anybody know? Is it up the coast towards and past Gissy? Is it inland to Taupo? Or is it south through the Waiararapa?

    Where is the nearest clean river?

    .. so depressing

    • Paul 19.1

      Where’s the nearest place without factory farming techniques?

      • vto 19.1.1

        South Westland …

        • Paul 19.1.1.1

          Clean Green New Zealand.
          What a joke.

          • Philj 19.1.1.1.1

            NZ 100% Pure BS. Or in this case bovine..
            Where are our scientists giving us the information rather than the PR spin from pollies and bureaucrats?

        • weka 19.1.1.2

          South Westland? Sorry,

          http://www.nzfarms.co.nz/2679670

          • vto 19.1.1.2.1

            hmmm yes, and the locals in them parts have noticed waterway deterioration too …..

            Maybe deep south westland then …. don’t think cows or other intensive farming go further south than Whataroa .. maybe a herd or two

            • weka 19.1.1.2.1.1

              Probably, athough the conventional farming further down isn’t doing the land too many favours either.

            • Andre 19.1.1.2.1.2

              I was under the impression that giardia is now a risk pretty much everywhere in New Zealand. Because deer and other animals can carry it.

              Just been on the road from Haast to Fox Glacier. Yes, there’s paddocks with cows in them alongside the road. Didn’t check their undersides so maybe not dairy. It didn’t look intensive, but still as weka says, not doing the land any favours.

              BTW, who took away most of the glacier and what have they done with it? Hadn’t been there for 10-odd years, jeez it’s a shocker!

              • Graeme

                Fly over the McKenzie or Upper Clutha and all the centre pivots stand out. Some, but not all have become milking platforms of unknown profitability. All on very free draining gravels, you can’t really call them soils.

                • weka

                  Dry climates, I think the water doesn’t penetrate very far or fast (irrigation doesn’t go very deep, not anywhere need to aquifer depth).

                  The risk, as I understand it, its that it takes a long time for those kinds of aquifers to get polluted, so if you then need to let them clear (let’s not pretend we can do any cleaning up), there is a lag time. eg if it takes ten years for the first pollution to appear, you then have ten years of shit following on behind.

                  We need a good ecologically minded hydrologist to do some national tutorials. Still so much not being covered by the media. The impression I have is that Havelock etc are in trouble because the rivers are polluted and there is theoretically a connection between the rivers and the aquifers*. I don’t think that will happen to the same extent in Central and the McKenzie because those rivers are better protected. We’ll see though, and it’s insane that there is dairying in those climates and and geologies anyway.

                  *that’s speculation on my part based on what other people are saying. But really it looks like no-one has a clue what is going on.

                  • Graeme

                    “*that’s speculation on my part based on what other people are saying. But really it looks like no-one has a clue what is going on.”

                    More no-one want’s to have a clue about what’s going on.

                    In free draining glacial gravels like McKenzie and Upper Clutha it’s pretty much immediate from paddock back to river / lake / aquifer for any excess water that’s not taken up by plants or evaporation. The glacial gravels don’t have impervious silt layers like in alluvial deposits. They are more a random jumble of rock sizes. These are the worst possible situations for poorly controlled intensive dairy.

                    Canterbury and Hawkes Bay are alluvial (laid down by water) so have impervious silt layers that seperate and channel the aquifers. So the source of contamination could be a long way in distance and time from where it is found. It could also be spread over a very wide area.

                    See my comment below at 31 re Haumoana School. There’s two possible scenarios about what’s going on depending on if the recent rain was causal or coincidental to the contamination.

                    I’m expecting a fairly major aquifer in one of our alluvial areas to turn up fucked from either bacterial or nitrate contamination pretty soon, which will focus things a bit.

              • weka

                “who took away most of the glacier”

                We did ;-/

                Still lots of places were I drink out of rivers.

                Conventional farming harms the waterways more slowly, but compacts the ground and drops a huge amount of artificial fertiliser, and reduces biodiversity hugely. It takes more time for the damage to show.

          • Graeme 19.1.1.2.2

            Liked that link, “Motivated Vendors Say “SELL”

            Oooops

  18. righty right 20

    vote team key for explosive diarrhea

    key shit piss and swill blended in one drink vote national

  19. Paul 21

    If you looked at Fairfax Media (Stuff) or NZME (NZ Herald) this morning, you would not even know about this.

    The world’s riskiest selfie-taker and John Key and the All Blacks bug are their stories.

    The msm sucks.

    • vto 21.1

      nothing else matters in the land of the rising house price

      such a strange bunch

      i’m off to south westland

  20. vto 22

    I think we have finally caught up to the rest of the developed world

    yay

  21. The Inquiry is not to inquire into, determine, or report in an interim or final way, or otherwise
    prejudice any of the following matters: a) Questions of civil , criminal, or disciplinary liability; and
    b. the structural arrangements for local government.

    Well, that provides a pretty good indicator of what the government suspects is responsible for this: questionable actions by its members’ constituents, and the structural arrangements it put in place for local government. Which pretty much tallies with what most of us already guessed: it’s down to intensive farming and central government stripping local authorities of their powers.

  22. whispering kate 24

    I bet all the Aucklanders who are asset rich and want to get the hell out of Dodge and go to a small place in a far away province and cash up their million plus home will be having second thoughts with the falling apart water systems from farm effluent. Better to gamble with the Waikato water and hope it is sufficiently sanitized up to the gunnels. I don’t think there are many intensified dairy units close to the city of sails. The Waitakere Dams hopefully are still pristine.

    I have heard you can get UV systems for sanitizing water for residential dwellings but they are expensive, but it might be worth considering if this malaise spreads into other water systems. We are entering third world status, who would have thought it 20 years ago.

    • grumpystilskin 24.1

      I live in Auckland city and use a water filter, looked into the UV system but it’s a bit overkill @ $1600+ unless you’re rural and drinking rain/bore water.

      • whispering kate 24.1.1

        Thanks for letting me know the price, yes its expensive but if this contagion spreads with diseased drinking water I think people will think about it and find the money. Some of these bugs are pretty awful and people can become seriously ill. Happy days ahead for Central and Local Government, just think of how the hospitals would be able to cope with it if one or two town water supplies collapse at the same time. By the way I love the header on this post “Watershit Down” very clever.

        • te reo putake 24.1.1.1

          Thanks, WK. It was one of those rare times when I had the title before I’d started writing the piece. It came to me while listening to our dear leader waffling on the radio. My initial response to Key’s dribble, ‘What a load of shit’, segued pretty easily to ‘Watershit down’.

          It’s along time since I read Watership Down, but as I recall, the rabbit family are forced to leave their home because of a human created catastrophe. That seems pretty apt in the current circ’s.

          • Stuart Munro 24.1.1.1.1

            It’s Xenophon’s Anabasis: the leadership are dead or ineffectual – what are we going to do?

      • TC 24.1.2

        I know jaffas who have them, grumpy is on to it. Cheap insurance given what the nats have done to water across nz with its predictable decline no matter where you live.

        Get a dual micron filter (25 then a 1) setup with UV, easy to install on the inbound water only needs power for the UV light.

        Geez akl still pumps raw sewage into the waitemata. Do ya feel lucky !

        • whispering kate 24.1.2.1

          Thanks TC for that information, will get my techno other half to have a look at installing it.

    • gsays 24.2

      hi wk,
      while you may get rid of the poo pathogens with the filters, consider the abundant use of insecticides, pesticides, fert, etc that is used in the grape/orchard industries.

      while they don’t make you sick straight away, i am sure they will have their effect on the body over time.

      • dv 24.2.1

        while you may get rid of the poo pathogens with the filters, consider the abundant use of insecticides, pesticides, fert, etc that is used in the grape/orchard industries.

        If you put in large water tanks, collect from roof and then use UV system you may not need to connect to town water
        Also collect grey water for the toilet.

        That gets you access to clean fresh water.

      • whispering kate 24.2.2

        Hopefully AK is far enough away from vineyards and orchards. We had friends in Te Puke with a kiwifruit orchard and they had to leave their property for a couple of days when they had the sprayers come in with Hicane – it apparently is pretty lethal stuff. I was raised in Hawkes Bay during the 1950 and 60’s and I have often wondered what we ingested with the pretty crude types of fruit sprays they used on the orchards. We used to live on fruit which was kept at the back door in fruit cases – never washed the fruit being kids – its amazing I am still here frankly.

        We collect rain water in barrels for the garden and never use town water unless we have to outside. There are lots of ways to not draw off the town supply.

  23. save nz 25

    I suggest in the interests of trade and exports which is the Number 1 government motivator NZ we take all the money from the spying budget and defence for frigates etc, and just package up our cow pats to be used as a chemical weapon’s into some poor civilians well in the middle East, to poison the “terrorist” population. Yes not so glamorous or expensive as cluster bombs and less money for arms dealers, but boy so effective, if you want to disable the civilian population polluting their water is a good start.

    We can also then sell bottled NZ water via China to aid agencies to feel better about it all. Just $2000 to the council and an undisclosed amount to a crony and you’re in the bottled water industry in NZ. Boy the untapped (no pun intended) opportunities for some in this country!

  24. Righty right 26

    Isn’t there a risk as with any feed back loop that nitrate level will eventually contaminate the milk itself
    Then dairy industry itself is finished

  25. joe90 27

    The two cities have got a lot in common these days.

    We have rather a lot in common with this country, too.
    /

  26. Observer Tokoroa 28

    .
    .Didn’t our wonderful (even if psychologically very sick) PM offer a couple of bottles of his plonk wine to the Havelock North people who drank his water and got seriously ill? 4000 sick people. Some will have lasting serious ailments.

    I say his water, because the buck stops with the man in charge and because he has consciously allowed farmers to avoid their responsibilities and poison every bit of land they can, whilst contaminating any stream or mighty river they come across. They also avoid their duties by allowing vast quantities of dangerous long life gas into the air. Without turning a hair. The PM congratulates them for their MUCK. (Our milk already has feaces in it).

    Our farmers are among our greatest enemies. Totally irresponsible, over rewarded crooks. Smug, sneering, dangerous crooks.

    Key will hope the enquiry gets done slipshod and quick. Because if anything will destroy him and his government – it will be his unwillingness to clean up the destroyed streams and rivers. The people want clean water. They are not getting it. He has no intention of giving them clean water.

    The NZ public will not praise this dirty man we call a Prime Minister. They will mistrust him and punish him dearly.
    .

    • Garibaldi 28.1

      Wow OT ‘thems sure are fighting words’. You’re pretty brave to say that about farmers in this country. Will they take notice? No – they never do. They think they are the backbone of the country.

  27. Ralf Crown 29

    Most of the “fresh water” we flush down the toilet, shower in or water the garden with anyway, so why does it have to be drinking water, why not do like the Chinese. The water delivered in cities is not regarded as safe or clean, so Chinese buy a water purification unit that goes under the sink, three filters, reverse osmosis, an a carbon filter that need to be serviced every one to five years. Cost for the unit is NZD75, and to service it cost about 20 dollars. For those who don’t want to buy one there are clean water vending machines outside. The result is that cost of the water is only a small fraction of what Kiwis pay.

  28. Observer Tokoroa 30

    .
    Yes Joe 90 – thanks for the reference

    . NZ Farmer.co.nz: June 23 2015 “No matter how good you are at managing your farm, simply the fact that you have the waste equivalent of 90 million humans going onto the land is inevitably going to mean that it ends up in the waterways.”

    It is a charming thought having 90 million New Zealand bums shitting into the water supply morning, noon and night.

    Only a NZ Farmer could ignore the outcome of that. Plus of course the Parliament.

    The people who govern us are:
    The Maori Party, The United Future Party, The Act Party, The National Party.

    They are responsible for looking after our Land and water. Instead of which they give millions of Dollars to the Sky City for more Poker Machines. Odd isn’t it ?

    They are a funny lot. They stink of cow stuff. All of them.

    .

    • Colin Espiner 30.1

      Hello Observer Tokoroa,

      The Government has not given one single cent to SKYCITY, either to buy poker machines or for anything else. Quite the reverse actually – we pay the Government approximately $180 million a year in tax.

      The Government did give us permission to buy some more poker machines – at our own expense – but only if we agreed to spend at least $430m building an international convention centre; which we’re now doing.

      Cheers

      Colin Espiner
      General Manager Communications
      SKYCITY Entertainment Group

  29. Graeme 31

    Haumoana School closed due to e-coli

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/311663/haumoana-school-closed-due-to-e-coli

    This is starting to look like a wide spread aquifer contamination.

    But is the contamination the result of recent heavy rain and / or point source contamination, or something wider and more ongoing and merely coincidental to the recent weather?

  30. Observer Tokoroa 32

    .
    . Hi Garibaldi Lol

    . We sooner or later have to gently tell them that they are not God’s Gift.

    . When they improve the land and decontaminate it; when they filter the cowshit on their farm and release pure water; when they apologise to the New Zealand Public for degrading our land and poisoning our precious water then they may earn a tiny bit of respect. It won’t happen quickly.

    The good news is that many people around the world have become aware that diets high in dairy are not very healthy. (After all cows have four stomachs to manage the stuff). Also there are billions of people who are allergic to the cow product.
    .
    However, there are milking animals that are far less harsh on the environment and they produce better food.
    .
    Should you get a chance, visit a South Waikato Goat farm. I have been to a wonderful farm milking 650 goats. Living inside a well appointed very large shed. The straw the goats walk and sit on is removed every few hours and repaced with fresh straw. The goats are able to go outdoors whenever they wish.

    There are 250 Kids .. romping outside – but resting indoors as they wish.

    These are happy animals. Their gaze is strong and alert. They never require Vet services. They give a great product and large financial return to the Farmer. They give wonderful food to the consumer.

    .
    .

  31. Morrissey 33

    The politicians of Hawkes Bay should know that Bear Grylls has the answer to their problem…..

    • Observer Tokoroa 33.1

      .
      . Morrissey Lol

      . We better get some Elephants. The east coast is dried out like an old bare brown coat. Better for people to die of Elephant dung than to die of starvation.

      . Has Bear tried out the human stuff? do you know?

      .

  32. smilin 34

    Why doesnt Key announce that he has appointed Mike Joy to head the inquiry
    It would be all over in a week or 10 days and cost a fraction of what hes going to pay these fuking money grubbing shits who breed in the same greed pool as him

  33. Observer Tokoroa 35

    .
    Hi Smilin

    . Yes. The whole thing could be done in an hour or two.

    1) What happened to the 4000 unlucky people in the Hawkes Bay?
    – they drank the water the farmers gave them.

    2) Why did they get sick?
    – the farmers had dumped bovine shit in the water they gave to households

    3) How much compensation will the farmers pay to each person they poisoned ?
    – none because farmers don’t care. Responsibility isn’t a word they know.

    4) Will the farmers put more shit in the water?
    – of course. They are farmers.

    .

  34. johnm 36

    Hi TRP! 🙂

    Having emigrated here from darkest outer pongolia I must object to your abuse of the beloved classic Watership Down. This book has absolutely nothing to do with the cruel exploitation of cows for dairy profit and the resulting poo the poor creatures excrete.

    • Ha! I believe that’s what’s known as an unintended consequence. Just you wait until I get stuck into otters, railway children and that silly old bear. Tears at bedtime!

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