Fonterra’s fencing rule a step in the right direction

I want to congratulate Fonterra for announcing that all waterways on Fonterra farms must be fenced within 18 months as condition of supply. This is a positive step in addressing our declining water quality.

Previously Fonterra farmers were encouraged to fence off their waterways as part of the voluntary Clean Streams Accord. But it’s great to see Fonterra acknowledging voluntary measures don’t work for everyone. Some people require rules with consequences for non-compliance to convince them to do the right thing.

Fencing cows out of streams improves water quality by limiting river bank erosion which leads to sediment getting into waterways. Sediment is bad for rivers because it clogs up the spaces in between rocks where fish and insects live, and introduces phosphorous into the rivers which can lead to toxic algae growth.

However, fencing does not address the problem of nitrogen seeping into groundwater. Nitrogen − along with phosphorous − causes the growth of algae and the loss of freshwater habitat.

In order to control the amount of nitrogen in the groundwater it’s necessary to control the amount of nitrogen-based fertiliser going on the land and also stocking intensities. The Green Party would do this with a National Environmental Standard for Intensive Agriculture, which is part of our plan to make our rivers and lakes clean enough to swim in again.

Clean rivers and lakes was a priority for the Green Party for the general election campaign, and it continues to be a priority as we seek to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government.

While it is great that Fonterra has taken this positive step of mandatory fencing of waterways, we need a comprehensive plan that addresses other sources of pollution.

18 thoughts on “Fonterra’s fencing rule a step in the right direction

  1. [frog: Deleted. I am not about to let a thread start by someone Godwinning the first comment. Be warned, pmofnz.]

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  2. A pat on the back for Russel for being positive about this development.

    Continual negativity just polarises the situation and entrenches positions. Carrot and stick is always going to wrok better than stick.

    Good luck in getting some further advancements written into your MoU.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3 (0)

  3. Good stuff.

    I noticed quite a few farms around Glenbrook and the lower Waikato river flats already have fences around the waterways plus many are planted with flaxes and other plants that no doubt soak up the runoff.

    Maybe a public works scheme to plant the fenced off waterways could be an initiative?

    Anybody who wants a day work hops on the work scheme bus at the local post office (or WINZ office), does a days organised planting and returns later that day to a wad of cash (tax paid of course).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 (+3)

  4. Instead of the polluting farmers being held to account, Gerrit thinks the taxpayer should pay for the improvement of privately owned farmlands by getting the unemployed to work for the dole. While the farmer’s pay on average less tax than a couple of elderly pensioners, the right wing want us to fund the improvement of farms.

    Shouldn’t it be the farmer’s who pay to fence and plant out their properties to ensure that waterways don’t become even more polluted? If the government and Regional Councils were doing their jobs, 90% of our lowland waterways wouldn’t be too polluted to swim in, we wouldn’t be expected to pay for mitigating the environmental damage farming has caused and we could truly claim to be 100% pure clean and green.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9 (-6)

  5. Jeez, Todd look at what I said and not what you read into every post.

    I never said the unemployed should be forced to work for the dole. Only IF someone WANTS to work should they not be retained from taking up the offer?

    Heck it is not hard to modify (increase) the earning made before loosing the dole if on a work scheme.

    And did I say anything about subsidising the farmer?

    No, if a farmers wants to plant a conservation strip along a stream then he would be asked to buy the plants (naturally the government buying in bulk would get a pretty good discount) and contribute towards the cost of the labour.

    I guess you would rather have people, who want to work, sitting on their behinds while a farmers takes 10 years to plant a conservation strip.

    Notice that the deal with Fonterra is for fencing only. Those with vision can see further enhancement by planting flaxes, etc.

    Looks like ALL you see is left and right wing stuff instead of what is possible.

    Sad

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1 (+8)

  6. @Gerrit 4:26 PM

    Jackal, Gerrit nowhere suggested it should be work-for-dole. If he had, I would oppose it as you have. But if the people doing the work are paid a proper wage, I think it is a good idea.

    The degradation of our waterways is not entirely the fault of the dairy farmers. They have been encouraged by a deliberate policy of inadequate regulation by successive governments into the shoddy practices that pollute our waterways.

    If we want to encourage farmers to rectify that, I think a Government partnering with farmers to share the costs is the way to go. I don’t think treating them as an intractable enemy who will never change their practices is the way to progress this. I want to encourage good sustainable farming practice, while at the same time embarrassing and penalising only those farmers, who I suspect are a small minority, who are ideologically resistant to change.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 (+5)

  7. Gerrit

    You say that I read too much into your argument and then confirm that you want the government to subsidize the plants through bulk purchasing and subsidize the labour costs?

    No, if a farmers wants to plant a conservation strip along a stream then he would be asked to buy the plants (naturally the government buying in bulk would get a pretty good discount) and contribute towards the cost of the labour.

    The government should not be a negotiator between the farmers and plant supplier so that the farmer can cut costs. If the farmers fail to do the work… the government should step in and send the entire bill to the farmer without any discount. It’s the free market after all.

    The government should be making money off the deal. Likewise there should be no subsidies for labour costs because the farmer is profiting from that work with their businesses remaining sustainable and improvements adding capital.

    I guess you would rather have people, who want to work, sitting on their behinds while a farmers takes 10 years to plant a conservation strip.

    Not at all. I would rather the farmers picked up all the costs because they are the ones profiting from the current environmental destruction. Why should my tax money go to subsidize some cow cocky to improve their properties? The Councils and government should be enforcing the rules, not making the public pay twice while the farmers laugh all the way to the bank.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4 (-3)

  8. Currently ALL the farmers has to do is fence and let the weeds grow. We can do better and a PPP beween farmers and the government can help this along.

    Yep the farmers can club together and bulk buy plants, no need for the government to do it. They can also employ local contractors to do the planting.

    Most local farmers and growers in the wider Pukekohe area use contractor who get their imported temporary labour from Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands, Philipines, Vietnam, etc, etc.

    By intituting a government ORGANISED programme we would get NZL people back into volunteering for work.

    Free market will employ foreign temporary workers.

    But Todd, just think of the opportunity. You can strart your own planting company, employ NZL staff and save the rivers!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 (+5)

  9. Gerrit

    By intituting a government ORGANISED programme we would get NZL people back into volunteering for work.

    So now your “pay them a proper wage” turns into “we can get volunteers to do it?

    You’r right to a degree… the free market will not fix the problem. We cannot rely on the farmers to do the right thing and the Councils and government seem unable to comprehend that they need to do something to fix our polluted waterways. So basically it’s blackmail… if you want clean waterways, pay to improve our privately owned properties.

    But Todd, just think of the opportunity. You can strart your own planting company, employ NZL staff and save the rivers!

    Got some capital for that Gerrit? Because only a mug would start a business under such a climate and a modal dependent on so many variables.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 (-2)

  10. Todd,

    You really do need everything spelt out for you.

    Volunteering for PAID work. That was after ALL my argument. Those happy to work can VOLUNTEER for paid work.

    It is not a “work for the dole” option.

    Happy?

    Todd has no capital. How much do you need?

    Come up with proposal and lets see if we can get you a start up.

    Got collateral – either property or forward orders for work?

    How about starting out like many of self employed, with virtually nothing but the sweat on the brow.

    My greatest inspirations came from two people, both immigrants. One a Samoan man who walked around the heighbourhood with his lawnmover and chainsaw doing garden maintenance work.

    Before long he had a truck, a dozen or so lawnmowers and chainsaws, plus a very merry band of men to do the work.

    Second was a german immigrant who bought himself an old farm tractor and trailer. No matter what the weather he drove around the factories in Wiri picking up factory rubbish (by hand) and drove it to the Whitford tip for disposal. Before long he had a truck with a tail lift, then bin trucks, later he sold out to Waste Managment and retired.

    Wonder if you will get to the enterpreneur stage.

    Get a spade and start doing the rounds, you might just make it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 (+3)

  11. Toad

    I want to encourage good sustainable farming practice, while at the same time embarrassing and penalising only those farmers, who I suspect are a small minority, who are ideologically resistant to change.

    C’mon Toad… even you know the softly softly approach isn’t going to work. Embarrassing farmers doesn’t work either because many farmers only care about money. The Councils and government aren’t penalizing the farmers who breach conditions to anywhere near the extent required to deter further pollution. The National government intends to reduce the RMA while 90% of our low-land waterways are too polluted to swim in. That percentage gives you an indication of how many farmers don’t give a fuck.

    Gerrit

    Todd has no capital.

    What makes you think that?

    How much do you need?

    I’m not looking to start a horticultural business.

    Come up with proposal and lets see if we can get you a start up.

    As above.

    Got collateral – either property or forward orders for work?

    So you want me to put up the house to start a horticulteral business from scratch to plant out farmers waterways at cost without any guarantee the expenditure will be recouped? You’re even more insane than I first thought Gerrit.

    How about starting out like many of self employed, with virtually nothing but the sweat on the brow.

    What makes you think I haven’t “started out”?

    Wonder if you will get to the enterpreneur stage.

    Wonder if you will ever stop being an arrogant dick?

    Get a spade and start doing the rounds, you might just make it.

    I’ve got several spades already. Unlike National, I don’t use them to dig New Zealand into a hole.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4 (-4)

  12. @Jackal 7:13 PM

    C’mon Toad… even you know the softly softly approach isn’t going to work. Embarrassing farmers doesn’t work either because many farmers only care about money.

    Hey, Jackal, I’m not talking about the Government that is about to be formed, because the Greens have been locked out of that.

    I am talking about the one that could be formed in 2014, potentially with the Greens as a lead party, given their rise and Labour’s current troubles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  13. Good stuff Fonterra. Nice to hear something good coming from them for a change.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 (+4)

  14. Todd,

    So you want me to put up the house to start a horticulteral business from scratch to plant out farmers waterways at cost without any guarantee the expenditure will be recouped? You’re even more insane than I first thought Gerrit.

    As I thought, not an enterpreneurial bone in your body. Not a risk taker nor one with self belief in achievement.

    Luckily for you there are plenty who will risk everything so that they can provide jobs, pay taxes, provide the goods and services you like to moan about. Doing it without the certainty of future income.

    No I dont think you will ever achieve except the moaning minny status you have attained here. You will never enjoy the motivation of not knowing how much income you will have next month and the thrill to overcome the fear on not having a steady income that people on wages or salaries take for granted.

    Not the satisfaction of achieving growth and creating jobs. Call me an INSANE DICK, I dont care because in my mind you are a sideline mudflinger whose words are meaningless. You have no substance to make your words meaningfull.

    You are risk adverse but happy to make use of the goods and services provided by the risk takers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  15. good stuff fonterra.but what about urban pollution of waterways.the leith in dunedin and heathcote,avon and styx rivers in christchurch are some of the most poluted in new zealand.thats not even taking into account the dumping of sewage into river after the earthquake.interesting they are all high in phosphates and nitrogen.these river deserve to be cleaned up as well

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  16. What is Fonterra defining as a stream nowadays? Hopefully Fonterra factors in watercourses smaller than ‘as wide as a stride and as deep as a redband’?
    In Central Hawke’s Bay you can see smaller streams drying up before your eyes as stock graze right up to the edge the volume is reducing and so is the water head! The wetlands supporting these streams are not fenced off and are also suffering the same fate – drying out! This applies to sheep n beef also. Heretaunga Plains are suffering the same fate through horticulture in viticulture. The capillaries are all but gone – let’s hope some veins can remain! Not just talking summer-dry ephemeral …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 (-1)

  17. I stayed on a farm 600 acres in Oxfordshire in 1973 Mixed cropping and dairy repacement. The UK goverment at that time required protection of waterways from effluent by fencing, small berms, and the the planting of a variety of plant species along the edges of the rivers and streams. Testing of the water was carried out by goverment inspectors. The manager of the farm didnt see it as an imposition. Are we that slow at getting the picture!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

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