Complaints - Please scroll to the bottom of the page
« Kirikiri Bridge Upgrade | Main | "In The Thick Of It" »

An Insidious Pre-emptive Strike By the Feds

The “Sea Change Plan Out Soon” article that appeared in yesterday’s edition of the Waikato Times under Gerald Piddock’s by-line may have been a Federated Farmers generated pre-emptive strike designed to massage public opinion before the release of the actual Plan later this year, over which farming interests undoubtedly had substantial influence.

But I don’t believe for one moment that the other interests represented on the Stakeholder Working Group would have allowed the Feds to gain the influence over the content of the Plan indicated in this article. After all, these other groups include iwi, commercial and recreational fishers, local government, DoC, as well as farmers (through Federated Farmers representatives) whose basic intent from day one appeared to be to deflect blame from their farming practices, and minimise future effort on their part to clean up their act.

The tripe promulgated by Dirk Sieling and Conall Buchanan in this article may give rise to great concern amongst those who seek to get the Gulf into a better place so that it is able to be preserved in the best interests of all.

The kicker is contained a short way into the article when Sieling is quoted as saying that:

"Because we have been working on it for nearly three years, and it is full of give and take and compromise between one another, that it is very important that it is not ‘get pulled apart’ by the agencies.”

In other words - they want it implemented “in full rather than just bits of it."

What they are realy saying is “Trust us – we know what we are doing.” Well that substantially depends on what is in the Plan, and there is certainly no reason why it should not be subjected to thorough and critical examination by all those affected, and not simply left to the Working Group who may have been unduly influenced by the powerful farming lobby and accordingly allowed the wording of the final draft to be unduly influenced.

When you hear Sieling claim that any new rules “needed to based on sound science." and Buchanan state that “Monitoring in the gulf showed nutrients could be causing some problems in the future, but significant further research was required to understand that’” then you know that a gross ‘white-wash’ is under way.

To suggest that sufficient research has not already been done is a complete contradiction of statements by the Commissioner for the Environment – Dr Jan Wright, and virtually every other scientific observer. The Feds are terrified of the views and research of Dr Mike Joy – the pre-eminent researcher in the field getting wider currency.

Sieling confines his suggestions to the old ‘fencing off waterways’ saw that we all know is a simplistic, inexpensive but almost totally ineffective solution in the overall scheme of things, as the be-all, and end-all of actions needed by farmers. Well fences do not prevent long-tern nitrogen leaching into waterways, and that is the long and short of it. I know from past discussions with Dirk that he kids himself that nitrogen feeds plankton that feed the mussels - convenient!

Both he and Buchanan recognise that sediment is the “greatest danger to the Gulf, “ but again Sieling seems to believe that “a lot of the load is historic that is constantly stirred up.” Neither he or Buchanan will acknowledge that the sedimentation is in any way the fault of farming practices, and they suggest “minimal” changes to these practices as being necessary in order to comply with the likely new rules."

What this article tells us is that farming leaders are still in a state of denial, and unwilling to accept that any radical change is necessary from within their industry. Maintaining the economic viability of dairying is paramount in reaching whatever objectives are seen as necessary to maintain the status quo  in the Gulf.

Well if that is the best that they can do, all I can say is that the development of the Spatial Plan has been a colossal waste of time, energy and money. The Fed view may be important, but it should not be paramount as Sieling and Buchanan appear to believe. And I hope that the Report when it emerges is examined very closely to see that that this is not the case.


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>