Rural effluent delivery | The Jackal

14 Dec 2011

Rural effluent delivery

Last Saturday, Rural Delivery reported that Taranaki farmers were already fencing around waterways before the Clean Streams Accord was introduced in 2003 and according to the Taranaki Regional Councils Director of Operations, Rob Phillips, the water quality in the area was "pretty good." Apparently there was a rigorous testing regime that ensured clean waterways. Yeah right!

Rural Delivery sung the praises of the industry with enough propaganda to make Goebbels cry. The misinformation from Director of Dairy NZ, Tim Mackle, who talked about a farmers warrant of fitness and code of compliance was particularly deplorable! Together they painted a rosy picture that everything was hunky dory in the world of dairy farming.

Today, Idiot/Savant blew their bullshit out of the water:

Farmers lie about dirty dairying
Every year, MAF produces an annual snapshot of progress (collected here), and every year it shows that farmers are slowly but surely fencing their waterways, complying with the RMA, and setting nutrient budgets. So we don't have a problem, right?
Wrong. That report is based on what farmers tell Fonterra assessors every year. And it turns out that they lie, overstating their compliance on excluding stock from waterways by 50%:
The Clean Streams Accord’s Snapshot of Progress claims that 84 percent of Fonterra dairy farms have fully fenced off all Accord-type waterways. However a technical report by MAF, also released today, reports that just 42 percent of farms had achieved complete stock exclusion from Accord waterways.(Link added) 
Which neatly explains why, despite annual snapshots showing regular progress, our lakes and streams get dirtier and dirtier. Our farmers are not committed to resolving this problem. They just tell the assessors whatever they want to hear, and continue on behaving in their old, polluting ways. Fonterra gets greenwash headlines, the government gets to pretend there is no problem, farmers make money at the expense of the rest of us... and our environment continues to be destroyed.

Back in May Tim Mackle said that the pollution in the Waituna Lagoon was not a result of effluent runoff from farms, totally ignoring the analysis done as part of the National Rivers Water Quality Network programme by the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Science (Niwa) that showed diffuse pollution from land use (farming) is overwhelmingly the main cause of water quality degradation.

Keep in mind that dairy farmer's pay on average less tax than a couple of old age pensioners when you consider that the plants for remedial measures are being provided by the council. Since 1996 1.9 million free plants were provided to farmers in Taranaki. At an average cost of $2.50 per plant that works out to be $4.75 million of rates going directly to improving the privately owned properties of dairy farmers... and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Despite the evidence being clear that farmers are to blame for 90% of waterways being unsafe to swim in, the Minister of Agriculture, David Carter effectively said that the tax payer will be footing the bill because it's a "national good."

It would be in the national interest that our waterways are cleaned up, but the cost for that clean up should not be fobbed off onto the general public... especially considering the tax avoidance farmers are currently engaging in.

The public is not discounted for that loss of clean water by cheaper milk prices... making the current situation a complete con job.