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  • Andrew von Dadelszen


Farmers have faced a decade of vitriol from a media frenzy of deception and miscomprehension of the issues around water quality and nutrient loss (too often called ‘dirty dairying’). Both Central and Local Government are quick to blame farmers, when much of the true responsibility should be laid fairly at our Urban dwellers.

Farmers have individually spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on riparian fencing and planting to improve water quality, while city and district councils have tended to sit on their hands when it comes to overflowing waste and stormwater issues.

Yes, we need to call out any dairy polluters. I have recently received a Bay of Plenty Regional Council 2017/2018 monitoring report “Compliance snapshot Report – Dairy effluent” which shows that only 74% of farms checked at their first visit complied with their consent conditions. 14% of farms (38 out of 271 inspected) had serious non-compliance noted at their first visit. For me, this is totally unacceptable, and this group is letting down the 86% of dairy farmers that are working hard to ensure sustainability in farming. Be sure, I will ensure that this is rectified.

BUT, it is time for our major cities (and in particular but not exclusively Auckland) to step up and address this issue with genuine vigour. For too long our urban infrastructure (storm and wastewater pipes) has been neglected to the stage that the system can now be considered completely broken, and all because of the cost to the ratepayers that elect their decision-makers.

Agriculture has to do better, but our urban authorities have not only to do much better – but they also have to take responsibility for this issue. And Central Government has to champion, and help fund this if necessary.

It is no longer acceptable for this ‘clean-green country’ to espouse its 100% Pure image, unless we all take responsibility for this. Closing Auckland beaches regularly, because of sewerage overflow into our waterways must stop. This is more important than Auckland getting trams!

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