Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Irrigation industry pushes pollution subsidy

May 28, 2014 – Media release for immediate release

Irrigation industry pushes pollution subsidy – Fish & Game NZ

Fish & Game says Irrigation NZ’s scaremongering about nitrogen leaching limits should be seen for what it is – a push for a pollution subsidy.

The irrigation industry already reaps massive taxpayer-funded hand outs for infrastructure development and free water, says Fish & Game chief executive Bryce Johnson, now the sector is telling the public they are going to have to suck up the social, financial and environmental costs of more pollution in their waterways.

“That’s a slap in the face to the 93% of Kiwis who, we know from research, want our waterways to be safe for swimming, fishing and food gathering.

“Irrigation NZ is claiming that to have an economy based on intensive agriculture, which goes hand-in-hand with irrigation development, we have to have toxic rivers and unsafe drinking water. This is the reality in parts of Canterbury – the most heavily irrigated region in the country – and Southland. It’s almost like they’re saying, ‘What’s a little pollution between friends if it makes us rich’.

“I seriously wonder whether Fonterra and Dairy NZ subscribe to Irrigation NZ’s extreme stance calling for Kiwis to accept more pollution in their rivers and drinking water supplies. Perhaps they could tell us?

“The fact is, Irrigation NZ’s ‘either/or’ argument is a myth. We can have a healthy economy and a healthy environment. All the evidence, and the reality on the ground, is that farmers can be profitable and productive while significantly reducing their environmental impact. In some instances they can reduce their nitrogen leaching by up to 40% or more with no or little impact on their profitability.*

“Heading in this direction is New Zealand’s only strategic future.”

It should be noted that the same silly arguments as those being touted by Irrigation NZ were thrown around in the wake of the Horizons Regional Council One Plan ruling, none of which came to fruition, Mr Johnson points out.

Regardless of the Board of Inquiry’s (BOI) draft ruling on nitrogen limits, the economics around the proposed Ruataniwha dam and water supply to farmers have been dodgy from the outset.

“Agriculture industry experts have crunched the numbers and these clearly show a negative return on investment to farmers. This will be compounded by the recently forecast reduced dairy pay-out. Little wonder no one wants to buy in,” says Mr Johnson.

“But it begs the question: Why are Irrigation NZ and others trying so hard to ram this project through with no reference to environmental limits when all it will do is burden farmers with more debt? If farmers aren’t going to benefit, and the Tukituki River will certainly suffer, whose interests are the pro-dam lobby really serving?”

Mr Johnson says it is good that Irrigation NZ has pointed out the poor state of water quality in some regions in New Zealand, noting that it is a legacy of unconstrained agriculture and exactly what the BOI limits were set to address.

*Following are just a few examples of research into profitability impact associated with nitrogen leaching reductions:

1. A report by Dairy NZ (Cost benefit and Economic Impact Analysis of the Horizons One Plan, A report prepared for Dairy NZ and Horizons Regional Council by Nimmo Bell, October 2013) into the economic impacts of the One Plan farming rules, which essentially represents a worse-case scenario, concluded that farmers could on average reduce their leaching by 20% and increase profitability by 2%.

2. Scott Farm in the Waikato leaching 50% less than the regional average while maintaining profitability.

3. Lincoln university dairy farm 20% reduction in N leaching while maintaining profitability.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Housing Issues: Homelessness On The Horizon For Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers who have held down jobs and contributed to the well-being of New Zealand through their taxes may yet become homeless in late middle age or early retirement without urgent Government action, says The Salvation Army. More>>


Treasury Has Doubts On Christchurch Rebuild And... Auditor-General Follows Up On EQC

Despite the improvements made, EQC could still learn better from complaints and improve its customer focus and interactions... Although the programme is nearing completion, EQC needs to provide the best service possible for the home owners whose homes are still to be repaired. More>>


Man Who Banned 'Into The River' Out The Door: Appointments To The Film And Literature Board Of Review

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has announced seven appointments to the Film and Literature Board of Review... “The new members of the Board... will provide a strong mix of skills and experience to help the Board carry out its functions, while representing a cross-section of society.” More>>


Climate Marches: New Zealanders March For Solutions Not Pollution

Ahead of the UN Climate Summit in Paris more than 15,000 New Zealanders have taken part in the Peoples Climate march in Auckland, kicking off the largest climate mobilisation the world has ever seen... More>>


Labour: Little Announces New Shadow Cabinet

“Labour had an impressive intake of fresh faces after last year’s election and newest MPs have now had a year to show what they’re made of. This reshuffle rewards hard work and continues my drive to renew our Caucus line up." More>>


Because Reasons: Someone Reckons David Seymour Is Politician Of The Year

Trans Tasman's 11th annual Roll Call has thrown a curve ball this year, ignoring the likes of John Key, Bill English, and Winston Peters to pick its politician of the year from the ranks of the new generation. More>>


Whaling: NZ Deeply Disappointed By Japan's Decision

“New Zealand is strongly opposed to whaling in the Southern Ocean. We call on Japan to take heed of the 2014 International Court of Justice decision and international scientific advice concerning their whaling activities.” More>>


Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news