WRC Effluent Control
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 1:56PM
Bill Barclay

For shear bureaucratic double talk, the following extracts from the WRC "Your Waikato" TYP hand-out in letter boxes today takes some beating:

Managing land and water is one of the biggest challenges facing Waikato Regional Council. Significant intensification of land use for dairy farming in the Waikato has brought major economic benefits, but has put pressure on soil and water.

More intensive farming’s reliance on fertilisers to support higher levels of pasture growth and more cows may contribute to higher nutrient levels in waterways.

"Between the 1990s and 2007 nitrogen use on dairy farms increased seven-fold. Nitrogen leaching on dairy, sheep and beef farms increased 25 per cent between 1997 and 2002. A larger regional herd size also contributes to more nitrogen leaching to waterways due to extra stock urine. Intensively farmed areas can also suffer from excessive soil fertility and compaction. Intensification of land use for dairy farming in the Waikato has brought major economic benefits, but has put pressure on soil and water. The council will support farmers to meet their obligations in new policies to protect and restore the Waikato River. The focus will be on the whole upper Waikato River catchment for the first few years, but work will also be required throughout the Waikato catchment and elsewhere in the region.

Farmers and industry need to understand the environmental effects of farming activities, relevant rules and legal requirements and practical options to comply with the rules. New work proposed includes nutrient management courses for farm management consultants, support for the stock truck effluent campaign, development of HortNZ’s environmental quality management system and for national nutrient management standards, and an effluent accreditation scheme".

These extracts have only been altered in terms of the order in which they appear.

It is the old story - "education before prosecution". They just will not exercise the powers they have to alter farmer behaviour where total defiance of the law is taking place. The continued farmer influence over decision making within WRC continues unabated, and Fonterra sanctions are as ineffective as they were ever meant to be.

Neither they, nor the current central government recognise, nor deal with the over-riding and continuing problems associated with over-stocking, and intensification continues on its merry way because it "good for the economy". Well I beg to differ - it is an inevitable long term disaster engendered through shear greed, and corporate hegemony. Long claimed love and respect for the land is nothing more than a cynical cover for stuffing the land with ever higher numbers of cows, and the results are there for all to see. 

Federated Farmers spokes-people are reduced to increasingly plaintive appeals to the ignorant that  "town discharges are equally to blame". Pure B/S - nothing more nor less! Towns continue to tighten discharge standards in compliance with the law (note the current installation of ultra-violet final stage treatment in Thames)  while farming effluent, and nitrogen discharges in particular continue to increase exponentially. 

When will someone - anyone take leadership on this issue? Even the Greens appear reluctant to take it head-on.  




Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (http://billbarclay.co.nz/).
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