Fight over irrigation scheme fallout
Thu, 24 Jan 2013 5:21a.m.
Farmers are welcoming the Government's $400 million irrigation project, but the Green Party is warning it will mean more intensive farming and even more river pollution.
Primary Industries Minister David Carter announced on Wednesday the May budget will allocate $80m start-up funding for the project.
A Government-owned company will be set up to attract private investment for regional water infrastructure development.
That development will include how rainfall is capture and stored for dry summer periods, and improving productivity of land with better, more reliable water access.
More efficient use of water will also reduce leaching of nutrients from land to neighbouring waterways.
Federated Farmers applauded the announcement - and says environmentalists should too.
President Bruce Wills says pasture at his Hawke's Bay farm is brown, after no significant rainfall since mid-December.
"It highlights the big two opportunities we have with water storage: the economic and the environmental," he said.
"Farms like mine have dams but they can only last so long. In winter, when you see our rivers over capacity, you ask why this cannot be stored for use when we hit a dry spell like now."
He says a distribution price for farmers means the scheme will be a hand up, rather than a hand-out.
However, Green Party water spokeswoman Eugenie Sage says with 52 percent of rivers already unfit for swimming, irrigation schemes will only make the situation worse.
"More irrigation and more intensive agriculture, with increased stocking and more fertiliser, will result in greater water pollution," she said.
"And at the same time the Government is subsidising irrigation it is reducing the ability of the Department of Conservation and community organisations to advocate for healthy rivers - it has slashed funding and weakened water conservation orders."
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25/01/2013 2:56:23 a.m.
Who controls the majority of the water in NZ?
The electricity companies do! and once they're sold then will be split so that farmers will pay twice for what they receive now.
So i say let the government do it,after all then farmers will only have themselves to blame for the extra costs associated with this scheme and the financial burdens that will go with it.Serves em right.
As for @Ben there is so much land owned by Maori croppable but unable to due to govt restrictions.
Could this be because if maori were to also crop and farm prices would drop?
Ask yourself,what would NZ have to gain if Maori became financially indpendant?
Finally sadly but the environment in NZ now is second fiddle to profits of the rich,they'll make their money and the environment be damned and is a major reason why NZ no longer is an active participant in the kyoto treaty which somehow doesn't surprise me a bit.
24/01/2013 6:11:57 p.m.
@Aaronc. As a farmer I can totally disagree with you. I am NOT a dairy farmer, but farm several crops. My main product is wheat. It does not go offshore but to the mill that makes the flour that makes your morning croissants, toast, cakes, etc. I also grow potatos. They also don't go offshore, but become the chips you eat. Other farmers around me grow barley and hops that go into the beer you enjoy. Then there are the horticulture farmers that grow your lettuce, beetroot, onions, silverbeet, tomatoes, etc. So while you are stuffing yourself on the things we grow year round while you hibernate in your cosy little town or city, just remember that without us farmers you just might be in a bit of strife. So don't speak out until your mouth is not full of the food we produce.
24/01/2013 8:32:33 a.m.
Ben NZ doesn't farm for itself it farms for profit. If we were being reasonable about our expectations we wouldnt have such serious side effects. It's the farmers fault and here we are encouraging them.
24/01/2013 6:53:05 a.m.
Maybe the Greens need a few basic lessons in feeding a nation. First, food = plants. Second plants need water. Third, more people = more food required. Fourth, more food required = more water. However, maybe the Greens have progressed so far they don't require food in their new God-like state. Or, their goal is to turn Kiwis into a new group of starving hunter/gatherers grubbing in pristine brown desert.
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