Federated Farmers seemed a tad defensive yesterday. Their press release “Environmentalists ‘silence deafening’ on dirty cities” said:
Federated Farmers believes the hypocrisy of environmental lobbyists has been revealed by their silence on urban pollution.
“Yesterday, farmers learned that raw sewerage and heavy metals are being pumped into Wellington Harbour. But environmentalists like ‘hook and bullet’ have only vented their fury today, not on dirty cities as you would expect, but on the tired dirty dairying lie,” says Lachlan McKenzie, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairman.
This despite ‘environmental lobbyist’ Russel Norman’s twin press releases – on dirty dairying and Wellington Harbour!
- Fonterra must act on dirty dairying to protect New Zealand commented on another conviction for dairy pollution and the need for Fonterra to take some responsibility.
- Central govt leaving councils in the poo commented specifically on Wellington Harbour and the need for Government to take some responsibility for such urban pollution issues.
Hunting and fishing advocate, Fish and Game, commented on the dirty dairying conviction, but not on the harbour sewage. However, their mandate is over freshwater fish and gamebird habitats, so it is only logical they didn’t comment on Wellington Harbour, just as they didn’t comment on bottom trawling either.
The key findings … are that water quality is generally degraded in the selected dairy catchments, particularly with respect to faecal and nutrient contamination.
Yet dirty dairying is a lie, they claim. This, despite the evidence, despite various Ministers’ challenges to dairying to lift its environmental performance, and the National Government making reform of water management a priority because, amongst other things:
Water quality is declining in many areas, particularly in lowland rivers, streams, lakes and groundwaters, which threatens biodiversity, community and cultural values, the coastal environment, and freshwater and inshore fisheries.
‘Environmental lobbyists’ will accept criticism if we get our facts wrong or are genuinely one-eyed and anti-rural, but the fact is that we are constantly engaged in both rural and urban environmental issues, and we highlight good practice as well as bad.
It’s often acknowledged that the urban-rural divide is growing in New Zealand – e.g. in the recent climate change target meetings – but it is not helpful for the major farming lobby to seek to deepen the rift with such unreasonable attacks on those who advocate good management of public resources. Fortunately, reasoned collaboration in the Land and Water Forum, including both Fed Farmers and ‘environmental lobbyists’, are working together to find solutions to both urban and rural water issues.