Dairy compliance message is failing

Bay of Plenty Regional Council recently expressed their concern that some dairy operators are still not getting the message that it’s not okay to pollute NZ’s waterways with effluent.

There have been eight prosecutions in the past year in the Bay of Plenty regarding breaches of dairy effluent disposal rules and conditions. This is eight too many.

Meanwhile in the Waikato, an Otorohanga farmer has been fined almost $50,000 for two deliberate breaches of effluent rules in March and November 2010.

The Green Party has a plan to clean up our lakes and rivers. We would provide better support to regional councils to work with farmers to ensure that they have all the tools they need to comply with rules and regulations. We would also enable and encourage dairy companies to impose harsher financial penalties upon operators who break the rules.

We need to send the message loudly and clearly: No one has the right to gain personal profit by destroying the common good, that is our precious rivers and lakes.

40 Comments Posted

  1. Dairy farmers are doing what the economic system, banks and government are telling them to do. They are, by and large, not bad, evil or worthy of bashing. They are not the chief culprits. Intensive dairy is awful, and a blight on our land, but it would be wise to remember the parties that encourage that treatment of the land.

    Timmy, SSB, Kiwibj et.al… You need to understand that in the LONG run the intensive dairy efforts are not sustainable, because they are subsidized but not properly paid for. We are exporting a lot more work than we’re given credit for, and the accounting done by Mother Nature always balances in the end.

    If we did this right we WOULD be exporting somewhat less, getting decent prices for it, getting real work back in return and not paying foreign banks for debt service. In the long run we’d be richer as a country on less money. The problem for intensive dairying is not that it is dairying, it is that it is intensive. The energy inputs are much greater, and subsidized in a number of ways. If they were not the activity would NOT look so economically attractive as to get you involved in it.

    This country is set up, and I don’t think it is entirely accidental, to be a primary producer of foodstuffs for the world – AND NOTHING ELSE. That makes farming the top of the food chain in terms of production… they are the natural meat of the banking sector as a result. Anyone who wants to do something else is best advised to piss-off to Singapore or somewhere were there is manufacturing to support the R&D.

    Blaming farmers is usually wrong, they did not invent the environment they are in… it is a product of political and economic forces they can’t control. Except for voting National in and making things much much worse.

    National is good at burying costs… but the undead come back in a generation and add to the troubles of THAT time.

    The Green goal is sustainability, and running on debt is not sustainable.

    Not for a nation and not for a farm. Is it not the need to pay the BANK that makes the intensive farming look so good? If you didn’t have that over your head, could you farm LESS intensively and have less stress about it?


  2. Kerry says “Borrowing for election bribes …”

    That’s a funny claim for an election that’s been noted at different to normal, because there’s been no extra additional money from govt for election bribes.

    Unlike Labour and Greens.

  3. AND we are not racking up debt now!

    Borrowing for election bribes that do nothing for our future.
    So the wealthy can have holidays in Hawaii.

    The same as Muldoon for social welfare for sheep.

  4. We did not try them in the 70’s.

    We were dumped out of being a captive commodity supplier and market for substandard and overpriced manufactured goods from the UK.

    The same deal that National wants to lock us into again, just with different countries.

    The UK and USA did when they had their most prosperous and successful decades ever.

  5. Kerry – sorry – I forgot that to puchce things from overseas we then had to rack up massive ammount of debt to the point of bankruptcy

    (govt debt 95% of GDP compared to 30% now)

  6. Kwerry says “Then in most cases the real effect, of paying more initially for NZ goods, is that most of us will be better off.”

    Or much worse off, with much more expensive goods, lack of availability, lack of foreign exchange, and rampant inflation at 17% … just like when we tried your policies in the 1970s.

  7. It may be nominally 20 to 30% more.
    You add in the costs of generating the export income or borrowing to get the money to pay for imports as well as the lost tax income and wages. Then in most cases the real effect, of paying more initially for NZ goods, is that most of us will be better off.

  8. Kerry – so you think it’s worth paying 30-40% more because something is made in NZ?.

    If you have a choice of foreign petrol for $2.10 /l and NZ petrol at 2.80/l, which would you choose?

  9. Since when was I against tax breaks for attracting local business. I was against gerrymandering Labour laws and competing simply on being the cheapest. Quite different.

    Learn to read!

    Keeping jobs and income within NZ for manufacturing may well benefit us much more than spending the money on imports. Remembering for imports, we have to borrow offshore and the income never returns.

    The 125 mill stays in NZ and is returned as income spent here, taxes and business profits.

  10. Kerry says “The 125 Million will support much more than 60 jobs and restart a manufacturing base which we need for the future, as well as decreasing some major social costs.”

    So you’re for a $125 million subsidy to save 60 engineering jobs on a short term contract.

    But you’re against a similar subsidy that saved 3000 NZ jobs on the Hobbit

    (Actually it wasn’t similar. Because the Hobbit subsidy was a tax break, so not a single dollar of taxpayer money is actually spent – compared to a cash subsidy of $125m, costing the total income tax paid by nearly 30,000 minimum wage workers)

  11. No I don’t Photo.

    I say that if capitalists were consistent they would let businesses who can’t pay their costs fail. No flood relief for farmers or bank bailouts.

    No going to the socialists for help every time they stuff up.

    Otherwise they should admit that they need the rest of us.
    And stop trying to wriggle out of contributing.

    My opinion, as you would know if you have been reading my posts fully, is that we should quantify the real costs and decide if we want to, say, support farming to the level that we can have no other productive industry in NZ.

    Like killing our export manufacturing while chasing illusory free trade agreements for agriculture.

    The 125 Million will support much more than 60 jobs and restart a manufacturing base which we need for the future, as well as decreasing some major social costs.

    I am against asset sales because I have seen the costs of them spreadsheeted.

    National has that information and they are lying to us.

    We would have to be totally daft to sell off power suppliers.

  12. Kerry – make your mind up.

    You often say let farms and businesses fail if they can’t make a profit without subsidies.

    Then you argue to give a $125 million taxpayer subsidy to keep just 60 jobs making rail wagons.

  13. The highest amount was 30k?

    The lowest amount i have paid, while in employment paying PAYE, since I was 19, in inflation adjusted dollars equivalent, is $30 000.

    I am not against profit, I ran my own business for 15 years.

    If a farm cannot make a decent profit, after paying fair prices for their inputs and with the subsidies and support NZ farming gets, is it really a viable and economically contributing enterprise?

    I have many farming relations. They think paying income tax is optional.

  14. To Kerry and Toad, if you guys know a way for me to make a profit,I know that’s a dirty word for you people, and not pay income tax please tell me and my accountant. I have been farming full time for over twenty years and have paid income tax every year. The hightest amount was $30,000. How much you pay? What I think you are refering to is the low dairy farming tax amounts. I am not a dairy farmer but I have spoken to my neighbours and relative who are. They wouldn’t tell exactly how much they pay but six figures was mentioned. Labour deliberately chose a low income year after a good one. This can often result in a income tax credit for over payed provisional tax the year before. Many wage earners don’t understand this. Lies damn lies and statistics.

  15. Timmy, I think most of us do acknowledge that there are good dairy farmers/farms out there.
    No doubt about the fact that Fonterra is a successful company financially – but I’m not sure that this translates to being good for everyone in the country necessarily. The price of milk springs to mind.
    “Lastly farmers pay more in GST and employees PAYE than most people pay in all their taxes put together.”
    Dairy farmers tax payments were in the local paper recently – I couldn’t believe how little they paid.
    I’m with you mate – a bit of give and take is where we should be heading.
    Milk is the product of some of this country’s best soils, water, technology and human resources and should be a great advertisement for us all.

  16. Kiwibj1 – you’re right. his 2.3 billion litres and your 400 million litres of water take do sound like a lot of water. You are probably not the only ones taking water in your area and may not be the biggest operators around either.
    Do you not think that if rate payers in town have to pay to use water(4 times the proposed 10 cents/1000 litres in the case of Hastings) then it’s only fair that commercial users get to pay as well?

  17. I must say I’m absolutely sick of dairy farmer bashing. Yes we know there are a few bad eggs out there but for goodness sake they are in the vast minority. Where would this country be now if we didn’t have our dairy exports? How many jobs does this industry create both directly and indirectly? We are about to hit a recession not seen in a long long time and we are going to compete globally because we don’t rely on export of oil which is, as we know, running out and milk will not run out. Do you realize how much profit there really is in dairy? Farmers DO NOT have millions sitting in the bank doing nothing OK, every time an expense comes up farmers must borrow. Big expenses come up out of the blue all the time, sometimes from fines, but more often from something which has gone wrong (as happens constantly on farms.) If an effluent system breaks down, farmers must borrow money to get it fixed, if underground water moves in a big earthquake, farmers must borrow money to first find that water and then to tap a well into it. I’m all for a greener NZ but there needs to be a bit of give and take. Hold farmers to account by all means but please do understand that when it’s said “Dairy makes billions for this country” it’s not all sitting in farmer’s bank accounts, it’s being spent on research to improve efficiencies and at the local New World and Hammer Hardware etc. Lastly farmers pay more in GST and employees PAYE than most people pay in all their taxes put together.

  18. @Kerry Thomas 6:44 PM

    A farmer who pays income taxes? Better sack your accountant.

    Pity I can’t give that comment more than one up-tick, KJT.

  19. A farmer who pays income taxes? Better sack your accountant.

    Didn’t notice much gratitude from farmers the last time we paid out to help farmers because of drought, flooding, rain frost etc.

    A builder or drain layer who asked for State help because the weather dropped his income, he had to pay tax or he had to pay for his supplies, would be laughed at.

    Farmers do it all the time.

    Perhaps you should ask if intensive farming is actually an economic land use in Canterbury?

  20. Hello hippy-dippies and beardy-weirdies you are about to get a lesson from the dark-side. The farmer who must pay $235,000 of water charges is a crop farmer. His point to Fill-in Phill ie Goff was that he will be forced to convert or sell to dairy farming to pay this huge amount, which is more than his cash surplus. Well done Greens, I didn’t realize you were promoting intensive dairy farming in Canty. The amount of water he his using may seem large, but is is all relative. Today it is raining, no shifting the irrigators today. 25mm of this mornings rain equates to 25l/m2 or 250,000l/ha or on my 150ha farm 37,500,00l, thanks mother nature. Maybe the Greens would like to charge me for this water as well. I have a small irrigated crop and sheep farm in mid-Canterbury. The proposed water charges will cost me $40,000.pa. This is on top of income tax, GST, rates, ACC, fuel taxes,vehicle taxes and future ETS and fertilser taxes. Who will I be working for? Myself or the State. If how I am farming so so bad, why are the soils improving? Why are they fill of worms and other critters? Why are there birds nesting in my paddocks? Do the Greens want Canterbury to revert back to a brown desert with a few half-staved sheep and failing crops?

  21. A deliberate breach of the rules should result in the farm being returned to the local council and the bank loans on it being annulled (It’s part of the risk of loaning money).

  22. I couldn’t agree more Janine.
    I have been trying to do the maths on his figures, based on the Green’s water charge of 10 cents/1000 litres – correct me please if I am wrong but that means he is using 2.3 billion litres of water a year using both figures as a straight conversion.
    Are his neighbours doing the same thing?
    A quick look at Hastings – using between 30-40 million litres a day at present, with a standard charge of 40 cents/1000 litres. This may be one of the cheaper rates for water around the country.

  23. if that farmer is using $234,000 worth of water then his production costs are too high and he is in the wrong kind of farming or he is doing it very badly. A good farmer farms to the conditions of their land, whether it is wet/dry, high/low or whatever. We don’t grow some things because they just don’t suit this soil and climate. If the rest of us have been subsidising his farming to that extent then he is far more expensive than any conventional beneficiary and I object to supporting him at that level.

  24. “..Why do we not ban dairy products?..”

    now there’s an idea…

    and turn the dairy-concentration camps into farms that grow real food…

    ..wouldn’t that be a healthy innovation…

    ..and if we also legalise drugs at the same time..

    ..the now useless drug squad detectives..

    ..could become cheese-squad detectives..

    ..roaming the countryside late at night..

    ..listening/searching for stray lows…


  25. I heard this morning someone on National Radio saying (question posed to Phil Goff) that charges for water would add a cost of $234,000 to their business.
    Seems incredible doesn’t it?

  26. Yes more compliance monitoring. And the Regional Councils should charge damages for cleaning up lakes and rivers not just fines. If a $12,000,000 clean up cost like at Lake Ellesmere is charged to a bunch of polluting dairy operations they may think twice about their discharges.

  27. @frog – is that previous posting from “People” computer generated spam? It is identical to SPC’s comment at 10:14pm. I saw another duplicate post recently too.


    [frog – Thanks, it’s gone. There’s been a lot recently and I’ve missed a few.]

  28. ah..!..bloody hands bob…!

    care to repeat/comment on yr comment @kiwiblog about greens winning..yr guns..

    ..and the timeframe for the loading of bullets..?


  29. Most likely result is that they’d stop being dairy farms SSB. We create a problem for ourselves with that dependency. We can do better in terms of our economy than being a primary producer and destroying our country in the long run so that some folks can have cream in their tea in the short term.


  30. So when you Nationalize all the farms Marmallard who you going to get to run them? I know why don’t we get the farmers to run them, bastards should be working for the state anyway. Perhaps you could mobilize some of your lazy arse green mates, bit of work would do them good, they obviously have plenty of time on their hands.

  31. They are going to laugh at the fines, no a responsible socialist/green government would have the power to confiscate their farms!!!!!

    And nationalize them!!!!!For the public good!!!!!

  32. I think we need a nationwide farm management standard – and where farmers say they cannot afford to comply (unable to access bank finance for the upgrade) they have access to loans.

    Regional areas should be just checking compliance.

  33. Every fresh water river and lake in Northland, anywhere near dairy farms, is now visibly too dirty to swim in.

    The ones run by Fonterra are fenced off from watercourses, (Doesn’t help prevent fertiliser runoff) but few others seem to be.

    10 years ago all but a couple of streams were clear.

    One of my kids favourite spots, Kai-Iwi lakes are now suspect.

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