Feds’ selective hearing deafening

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!

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 Feds’ aggro response suggests they’re in denial. They repeated their selective hearing on water quality science, completely ignoring the latest report’s conclusion that:

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.

11 Comments Posted

  1. Ecobro,
    I am amazed that you know the crapfarmers and try to defend their shocking practices. You say they have helped some people get into farming. They may well ruin farming for all NZ farmers. The damage to our overseas image is difficult to quantify but is likely worth millions.
    Here are some young farmers they’ve helped http://www.stuff.co.nz/2681645/Whistleblowers-ruined

    I was given a link (ecoinovation) the other day which I think was from you. Thank you, if it was you. Here’s a link for you http://www.stuff.co.nz/2684544/Rural-people-don-t-understand-role-of-urban-NZ

    Helping is definately better that prosecution. How many trees should the council plant to take the nitrate out of the waterways that ya mates have put in?

  2. ecomaori,

    don’t forget that the main customer of some of those terrible urban industrial operations is the rural sector, buying pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, and treated timber for their fencing and stockyards. Then there is the fence wire, nails, farm machinery,…


  3. I went to Selwyn Huts and Coes Ford yesterday… (entrance of the Selwyn river to Lake Ellesmere / Te Waihora) which is a major spawning ground for fish.

    Signs up everywhere saying the Water Quality is too bad, no swimming.

    There is _nothing_ upstream of that but grassland farms and mountains. The water quality should be superb.

  4. Watkins biggest customers would be…?

    govt could help with more funding for fencing and planting for our water ways ect provide work for unemployed

    This idea , I think, is part of the New Green Deal.

    Helping is better than persecution.

  5. you cannot compare industrial waste to farm waste eg watkins chemical plant all the toxins in urban waste cause damage for hundreds off years while farm waste cause a alge bloom it is the usual pick on the minority farmers but they provide our exports i could bag cities but i do not think it is going to help our environment i personal no the crafers they are humble people who started farming from the bottom an have worked hard to get where they are now an have help start a lot off dairyfarmers in nz why are the district council and media targeting them they pay rates and get minmal serves the councils and govt could help with more funding for fencing and planting for our water ways ect provide work for unemployed i could go on an on who can stand up an say they dont damage our environment helping is beter than persocution

  6. …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.

    Deepening the rift has been their MO for years and will be so long as rural areas are the exclusive power base of the National Party.

  7. Whenever Federated Farmers stamp their mud-encrusted hoof like this, we must drive them back into their corner. That’s how you deal with stroppy ungulates (sounds like ingrates).

    kiore, human sewage works are marvels of biotechnology

    They may well be, but whenever they utilise water as their method of transport, they fail to be best practice. No sewerage should go to water. All should go to land.

  8. Sewage leaks from cities are a problem, but they are problems of management. In general, human sewage works are marvels of biotechnology, that can clean water to almost drinking water quality standard. I take my students to the municipal sewage works as part of their waste water course, and I am always impressed with the professionalism of the engineers involved.

    In contrast, farm effluent is often just sprayed onto land, and left to percolate into the water. Reid’s piggery for example has 10,000 pigs in intensive conditions. They all have A* holes, and together they produce as much sewage as a town of 16,000 people. But unlike municipal sewage it is not treated. They have just been prosecuted by the regional council for spewing essentially raw sewage into waterways. At a resource consent hearing the Reid’s manager admitted to violating several resource consent conditions, but the Regional Council still gave him a fresh consent.

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