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Effluent Disposal in Waikato As Bad As Ever

Regardless of the relentlessly upbeat Fonterra advertising and Federated Framers PR, the stark reminder of just where this province stands in regard to meeting effluent disposal targets is reflected in the recent WRC report to the Federated Farmers dairy section meeting in Hamilton this month.

This depressing report was summarised by Gerard Piddick in the HH  on 23 November - a most unusual occurance as generally these statistics are kept well hidden, or obfuscated by the PR. Here is the most significant finding:

"30% of 232 "high risk" Waikato farms inspected since 1 July were found to be "significantly non-compliant."

Council resource use director Chris McLay emphasised that:

"while the bulk of the regions 4,200 dairy farmns were outstanding with their compliance, there are still a minority performing poorly."

The anecdotes relating to non-complying units was simply horrifying, none of which I intend to repeat - you have probably already already read the story. What was interesting is that Chris reported that was an increasing willingness by complying farmers to 'dob-in' the slackers.

But that is not good enough on its own - the resources available to the inspectorial team simply must be upgarded to enable full inspection of all units under the slightest cloud for us to gain a full picture of just what is going on.

We all know full well the efforts by farming interests on the Council to quietly inhibit these services in the past, including the forbidding of over-flight helicopter inspections - disgraceful in light of the extent of the problem now revealed.

It is simply not acceptable for the 'powers that be' to claim majority compliance as the rationale for "no problem here - move on!" The odd court case extracting substantial fines from repeat offenders is no substitute for mass prosecutions of everyone found flouting the law. 

Here is a quote from the report that should concern everyone:

"Some farms have been visited three or four times since 1 July because issues were so serious.

The Council planned on visiting 400 of these farms before 1 July next year as well as continuing normal monitoring activities."

(Someone is fudging the figures here if I am not mistaken!)

If they were that serious, they should have all been prosecuted - only then will the resolve of WRC be recognised throughout the Region, and reasonable compliance achieved. The dairy industry has a great deal to answer for, and I for one am sick and tired of hearing the excuses on behalf of the "minority." They may be a minority, but they remain too significant in 2018.

Those who attended the Federated Farmers meeting should be seeking more action on the part of WRC, and Fonterra (and other processors) really 'cracking the whip' on 'denial of pick-up.' Pussy-footing around has gone on for far too long!




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