Time For a Rethink on Water
Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at 11:08AM
Bill Barclay

Before anyone becomes too complacent about simply buying the spin of Federated Farmers and the councils - particularly regional councils, that its members have managed to control for so long, it is time to think seriously about where what has happened in Havelock North extends to vast areas of the country where intensification has not only been permitted, but heavily encouraged by Government. 

For all the diverting arguments promulgated at this election season to create doubt about origin of the problem, the fact remains that they have only emerged with intensification - nothing else comes within cooee.

It is extremely significant that a Fonterra shareholder scientist who has been at the forefront of denying that nutrients are a pollutant has recently been appointed by the Government as Chief Scientist to the Environmental Protection Agency. Boy, did that one slip under the radar, and point the truth of the claim that neither the Government nor councils are serious in their approach to dealing with water quality problems. 

Starting with Environment Canterbury with its almost totally Government controlled membership even after changes leading up to this election, almost all council appointees to boards, council controlled organisations and others responsible for granting consents for water takes are self interested and conflicted individuals who it is claimed "bring industry knowledge' to the situation - yeah, right!

The Fonterra shareholder  - Dr Jacqueline Rowath mentioned above is a classic example of someone who demands that every t is crossed and i dotted before she will accept any level of culpability for the situation we now find ourselves in - a academic who has a dairy farm on the side - perfect for establishing credibility within the industry. The presser that accompanied her appointment is an exemplar of how to use weasel words in such situations in order to keep critics at bay. Such on "open-minded" appointee is decribed in this manner:

“She has already established herself as a trusted voice for science. She has the gift of being able to speak simply, even about things that seem complicated. And she listens: she values other people’s views.”

Those of us who question, or raise concerns are automatically labeled as "traitorous," or worse. And meanwhile, our ministers smugly ignore the calls for change, and like Nick Smith claim that "safe water is too much to expect." The point is, just how do they determine when "unsafe" becomes"dangerous?" And how do they then propose to protect our "clean, green image." 

I am frankly horrified of the thought of people like Dirk Sieling with his long standing "denier" credentials getting his hands on the levers of power in the WRC along with all his other Federated Farmer mates. His primary and long admitted ambition of protecting farmer interests is about to once again spill over were he to be elected. WRC covers the most intensive dairy farming in the entire country, and it is imperative that those with a wider perspective than dairying provide a balance at the table in order to prevent any further deterioration in nutrient runoffs, and outright pollution of our environment.

I strongly believe  that of those who have put their names forward for this single seat that only Dal Minogue has the background, experience and independence to be able to bring that level of balance to the table. I may express a far more radical standpoint on these issues that Dal, but he is well aware of the issues to which i am referring, and has the ability to persuasively lead on this issue.

That is why I support him wholeheartedly in this election. 

 

 

 

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