Tumultuous week on NZ’s water front

By Daniel Collins 19/03/2010

When it rains, it pours.

A lot happened in the last two days on New Zealand’s water front. For those on a blogging diet, here’s a fat-free summary. More to follow later.

  • A report on voluntary efforts to improve on-farm water management shows these efforts continue to fail, and in some ways getting worse. Agriculture Minister David Carter:

    ’The data from this year’s snapshot tells a totally unacceptable story of effluent management. Regardless of whether this is because farmers don’t have the right tools, don’t know how to comply, or simply don’t care, behaviour has to change.’

  • Proposals to house 18,000 dairy cows in cubicles in the MacKenzie Country have been dropped, due to rising costs, while the farm investors aim to educate politicians and publics. Southdown Holdings director Richard Peacocke:

    “The irony of our situation is that stable-style farming is the way of the future if New Zealand is committed to environmentally sustainable farming.”

  • Labour MP Brendan Burns asserted that former National MP and Prime Minister, Dame Jenny Shipley, has already been settled on to take over ECan’s water governance on Monday. Minister for the Environment, Dr Nick Smith, denies this claim.
  • ECan Chair, Alec Neill, has decried the non-compliance of territorial authorities in terms of their resource consents:

    ’Territorial authorities have called for the scrapping of Environment Canterbury and have suggested this would somehow improve water management.”

    ’The territorial authority major non-compliance figures show they have some way to go to get their own houses in order.  It is not acceptable for Canterbury’s local bodies with a legislative RMA role to have ongoing issues of major non-compliance.”

  • And ending on a high note, the Northland drought has actually benefited local grape growers, leading to more favourful albeit smaller grapes.