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Farmers muddy the waters for Rotorua festival

Farmers muddy the waters for Rotorua festival

Without wishing to wallow in the absurdity of what some people are willing to pay for, farmers are bemused by plans by Rotorua to import mud from Korea.

In particular, farmers in the deep south who are up to the tops of their Red Bands in the stuff after recent flooding are offering to supply the North Island city with as much mud as they want.

According to news reports, organisers of Rotorua’s Mudtopia Festival intend using $90,000 of ratepayers’ and taxpayers’ money to bring in five tonnes of South Korean mud powder. The idea is that those who buy tickets to the December festival can indulge in the "muddy madness" of an "epic Mud Arena, the Mud Games zone, and chilling out in front of the Mud Stage".

A Rotorua Lakes Council spokesman explained the difference between Rotorua and Korea mud was "ours is geothermal and theirs is more cooling".

There’s no desire to muddy relations with their townie counterparts, but farmers cleaning up in Canterbury, Otago and Southland after the latest winter storm are confident their mud is suitably cold.

Southland Federated Farmers President Allan Baird said "we could see our way to supply all the mud they’re looking for.

"In fact, we’ll do it for $70,000."

One other sticking point for farmers with this deal is the possibility of a biosecurity risk from the importation of the dried mud product.

"We have to take every precaution at the border. I hope the Rotorua people are confident they’ve sourced pure, bug-free mud, like the kind we have here in the south," Allan said.

And just so environmental groups don’t end up sticking it to the Rotorua festival folk "when all the mud washes off those Rotorua bodies", farmers have some considerable expertise in ensuring sediment doesn’t end up in waterways.


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