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

Gordon Campbell:
On The Team Behind Trump's Throne

Forget the Putin factor. Daily, the team of charlatans, bigots and stunningly ignorant crackpots that Trump is appointing to head key federal agencies is just as alarming. These are positions with vast power and budgetary discretion over policies that stand to affect tens of millions of vulnerable Americans. Sad! More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English, Abroad

If David Cameron was the closest thing John Key had to a political mentor, their successors also share a whole lot in common. Theresa May and Bill English were both propelled into the top jobs as the result of unexpected resignations, and without much in the way of credible competition from their colleagues... More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Labour Bill To Override Safety Act For Mine Entry

“Bill English has been hiding behind the legal excuse that any attempt to re-enter the mine to recover the bodies might place the mine’s owner, Solid Energy Limited, and its directors in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Populism And Labour 2017

For many people on the centre-left, populism is a dirty word, and a shorthand for the politics of bigotry. In this country, it has tended to be equated with the angry legions of New Zealand First. Who knew they were not just a reactionary spasm, but the wave of the future? More>>

Oxfam: 30% Of NZ Owns Less Wealth Than Our Two Richest Men

The research also reveals that the richest one per cent have 20 per cent of the wealth in New Zealand, while 90 per cent of the population owns less than half of the nation’s wealth. The research forms part of a global report released to coincide with this week’s annual meeting of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More>>

ALSO:

Hospitals: Resident Doctors Set To Strike Again

Despite discussions between the DHBs and NZRDA over safer hours for resident doctors progressing during the last week, the strike planned for next week appears set to proceed. More>>

ALSO:

Not So Super Fund: More Burning Ethical Questions For Steven Joyce

Greens: Radio New Zealand reported this morning that the New Zealand Superfund has $77 million invested in 47 coal companies that the Norwegian Government’s Pension Fund – the largest sovereign fund in the world – has blacklisted. More>>

Activism: Greenpeace Intercepts World’s Biggest Seismic Oil Ship

Greenpeace crew have made contact with the world’s biggest seismic oil ship after travelling 50 nautical miles on two rigid-hulled inflatables off the coast of Wairarapa... Greenpeace radioed the master of the Amazon Warrior to deliver an open letter of protest signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Why Tax Cuts In 2017 Would Be A (Proven) Bad Idea

Ever since the world fell prey to the mullahs of the free market in the 1980s, no amount of real world evidence has managed dispel one key tenet of their economic faith. Namely, the idea that if you cut income taxes and taxes on small business, a wave of individual enterprise and entrepreneurial energy will thus be unleashed, profits will rise and – hey bingo! – the tax cuts will soon be paying for themselves ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news