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

 

CPAG: Government Spends Over $100K Pursuing Beneficiary

For the past fifteen years, Kathryn, now in her fifties and living alone with chronic ill health on a benefit, has been challenging the decision by the MSD that she has to pay back $117,000. She has no assets or savings and cannot afford to pay for fresh food or therapy that would improve her health. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: National’s Cuts Shave $100K Off KiwiSaver By Retirement

New analysis shows National’s constant cuts to KiwiSaver will reduce the average worker’s retirement savings by $100,000 over their working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says... Since coming to office it has made five separate cuts to the scheme." More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: Transport Operators Switch From SuperGold To AT HOP Cards

Seniors using Auckland’s public transport will need to use their AT HOP cards from today but Auckland Transport has requested its operators to show understanding for those customers yet to complete the switch from SuperGold cards. More>>

ALSO:

Crime Stats: Burglary Up 11.9%

“While burglary rates are still below that of recent years, there has been an increase of more than 10 per cent over the past 12 months, which is of concern to Police and something we are determined to tackle,” says Police Commissioner Mike Bush. More>>

ALSO:

Help: Lifeline Aotearoa Fighting For Survival

Lifeline Aotearoa has announced it only has enough money to run for one more year. By 30 June 2017, all available sustainability reserves and funds from a new mortgage on its Auckland property will be exhausted. More>>

ALSO:

Overseas Investment: Auditor-General To Examine OIO

The Auditor-General is to examine how the Overseas Investment Office collects and manages information following a request from the parliament's finance and expenditure committee. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English Living In Denial

The working poor have been a direct byproduct of the economic policies in vogue for the past 30 years or more, all over the Western world... That anger was evident in the Brexit vote, and it underlies the support for Donald Trump in the United States. More>>

ALSO:

Final Reading Of Parental Leave Bill: Families With New Babies Victims Of Veto

“For the first time ever, a Bill will have a third reading debate and no vote will be taken at the end because the National Government has used its veto – an extreme measure against families,” says the Bill’s sponsor, Labour MP Sue Moroney. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news