$100 million for cleaner waterways

September 3rd, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

has announced:

A re-elected National-led Government will spend $100 million over 10 years to buy and retire selected areas of farmland next to important waterways to create an environmental buffer that helps improve quality.

National will also introduce a mandatory requirement to exclude dairy cattle from waterways.

National’s Spokeswoman, Amy Adams, and Primary Industries spokesman Nathan Guy made the announcement at the Waituna Lagoon in Southland with Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Key today.

“New Zealand’s freshwater makes us an incredibly lucky country. We have over 400,000 kilometres of rivers and more than 4,000 lakes,” Ms Adams says.

“New Zealand’s water is among the very best in the world and we want to keep it that way. These are the next steps in our considered and sensible plan to continual improvements in freshwater quality.

“We are particularly committed to improving the quality of our freshwater and have made a number of key decisions that previous governments have put in the too-hard basket.

“This Government has introduced national standards for freshwater to safeguard it for future generations,” Ms Adams says. “That new framework will give communities around the country the tools to maintain and improve the quality of their lakes and rivers.

“To continue this progress, the next National-led Government will invest $100 million over 10 years to further enhance the quality of freshwater through a targeted fund to buy and retire areas of farmland next to waterways.

This seems like a moderate sensible policy. We all want cleaner waterways, but the extreme solutions of the Greens would see our national dairy herd reduce by at least 20%, with a corresponding fall in exports and incomes.

National will also introduce a requirement to exclude dairy cattle from waterways by 1 July 2017, and will work with industry to exclude other cattle from waterways over time on intensively farmed lowland properties, says Ms Adams.

“National is committed to building a stronger economy, particularly in our regions. We are also determined to improve the quality of our environment at the same time, and we are confident we can achieve both.”

Mr Guy says dairy farmers have done a fantastic job addressing some of the key environmental issues they face, and they have fenced over 23,000 kilometres of waterways – over 90 per cent of all dairy farm waterways.

“This is an incredible undertaking to do voluntarily. At the end of the day, farmers are environmentalists; they want to leave their land in a better state for their children, and their grandchildren.

Farmers are not the enemy.

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36 Responses to “$100 million for cleaner waterways”

  1. mjw (401 comments) says:

    Is there no limit to the National Party’s subsidies of farming?

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  2. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    Farmers are not the enemy.

    Well they are if they earn more than a beneficiary…. We simply can’t have this situation where working people are better off than dole bludgers. Who will vote for Labour & the Green’s if work is better paid than welfare ?

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  3. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    Farmers are not the enemy

    100% correct. But the Gween Taliban here would want us to think otherwise.

    Kiwis need to remember the NZ farmer is the backbone of this country because they generate (via Fonterra etc) a massively disproportional amount of foreign currency. Instead of trying to kill off our agriculture based economy, politicians on the left should be looking for ways to actively create growth in agriculture based exports, to take advantage of the fact every single country in the world needs to feed its population and we can produce more than we can consume domestically.

    Whilst cleansing waterways should always be an agenda item, it beggars belief there are morons in our midst who want to handbrake the economy by mandating a 20% reduction in the national herd.

    Economic sabotage Gween Party style. No thanks.

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  4. Distilled essence of NZ (85 comments) says:

    Another National Party policy flip flop.

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  5. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    mjw: how is it a subsidy? Unless they buy the land for more than it is worth, there is no subsidy.

    This is a good policy. Most of the problem occurs in relatively small areas with high run-off and proximity to a river. Dairy cattle will be compulsorily excluded, and sensitive areas can be turned into buffers.

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  6. alloytoo (582 comments) says:

    Another sensible middle of the road policy.

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  7. kowtow (8,945 comments) says:

    “Mr Guy says dairy farmers have done a fantastic job addressing some of the key environmental issues they face, and they have fenced over 23,000 kilometres of waterways – over 90 per cent of all dairy farm waterways.”

    So for the sake of only another 10 % which presumably with a bit of effort could also have been voluntarily fenced we’re (taxpayers) spending another 100 million? Doesn’t make much sense to me. Other than National being able to claim some kind of “environmental” credentials. I Doubt it will persuade any Green voters to switch to National though.

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  8. mjw (401 comments) says:

    queenstfarmer – the government will pay to mitigate farmers pollution==. Probably paying too much for the land, and then paying for fencing and riparian planting. These are costs of agriculture. But the millionaire farmers will get them for free, paid by the taxes of the middle class and the poor.

    That’s Planet Key for you.

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  9. tvb (4,556 comments) says:

    This is classic national party middle of the road approach to a problem and is why they are so popular in New Zealand.

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  10. Redbaiter (10,443 comments) says:

    Other than National being able to claim some kind of “environmental” credentials. I Doubt it will persuade any Green voters to switch to National though.

    .

    Same old surrender to the left. They don’t have the cojones or the ability to confront the tide of green bullshit that is swamping this country. And Nick Smith and his Bluegreens are white anting the Nats as well.

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  11. Richard (885 comments) says:

    mjw- ” ..paid by the taxes of the middle class and the poor.”

    I didn’t know Farmers don’t pay tax? Not even GST? Wow. Has anyone told them they don’t have to pay?

    What Nationals policy is- is a small return of some of the literally billions of dollars agriculture pays in taxes to the Crown which will achieve a worthy environmental goal for the country as a whole. If this is Planet Key- give me more.

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  12. rouppe (983 comments) says:

    Why just dairy cattle? Beef cattle’s shit is just as dirty as a dairy cow’s

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  13. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    mjw: the plan doesn’t “pay farmers to mitigate”. It is to buy land. The fact that it has the effect of mitigating environmental issues is the point.

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  14. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    rouppe: dairy farming is much more intensive, requires a lot more pumping/spraying of fertiliser, than beef farming. If you have ever been on a dairy farm vs a beef farm, you will see the difference fairly quickly.

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  15. insider (845 comments) says:

    $10m a year is about 250ha or one and a half dairy farms a year. Maybe they’ll use lower cost options than outright purchase to get more reach. Not sure we want the government owning even more land

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  16. MT_Tinman (3,322 comments) says:

    A re-elected National Government will spend $100,000,000 giving cockies living near streams a retirement present.

    I will part vote ACT – at least they’ll try and reduce spending of my money.

    National are now unlikely to get my electorate vote (there is no ACT candidate)

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  17. tvb (4,556 comments) says:

    The $100 million. Dairy Farmers have to meet environmental standards as part of their milk supply agreements.

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  18. waikatogirl (940 comments) says:

    There are farmers who are leading the way on sustainably managing and definitely improving waterways. One has significantly reduced the leaching of nitrogen into the lakes on his farm, and increased the good microbial life. I know for a fact that Russell Greenie Norman has visited this farm but has never promoted the work. You would think he would be shouting the farmers methods to everyone who will listen. Is that because Russell believes even sustainable farming is BAD and doesn’t play in with his political gains?

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  19. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    tvb

    Dairy Farmers have to meet environmental standards as part of their milk supply agreements.

    Don’t tell everyone – a central plank of the Green parties public deception (other than claiming socialism works) is that dairy farming is evil and completely uncontrolled. If information like this gets into the public arena then they will go bat shit crazy and have you hacked for pointing this out.

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  20. DJP6-25 (1,390 comments) says:

    A pragmatic environmental policy. It’d be a waste of time expecting something like that from the Watermelons.

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  21. MT_Tinman (3,322 comments) says:

    waikatogirl (42 comments) says:
    September 3rd, 2014 at 3:39 pm
    Is that because Russell believes even sustainable farming is BAD and doesn’t play in with his political gains?

    It’s because Russel is an unrepentant communist and wants to destroy NZ so he can reinvent it the communist way.

    He told me himself he has no “green” credentials or leanings, he’s simply political.

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  22. Southern Raider (1,777 comments) says:

    Brilliant policy. I posted a few weeks ago that National could steal a march on the Greens by sorting out a proper clean waterways policy that balances industry with the environment.

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  23. georgebolwing (1,011 comments) says:

    As always, the devil will be in the detail, which in this case will be the price to be paid for the land.

    Used for dairy farming, the land will have a (higher) value than if it were used as a buffer. I assume that the Government will be paying the current owners the higher value, but will record the value of the assets in the Crown accounts at its value as a buffer. The difference will represent the subsidy to the farmer, compared to a rule that said that the farmer must remove some land from production.

    As a rule, the New Zealand Government does not provide compensation if it changes a regulation that reduces the value of an asset. The best historic example was when licences for taxis where removed overnight, meaning that people who had recently purchased such licences suffered a massive loss in value.

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  24. dubya (245 comments) says:

    “The dairy sector has done a tremendous job on a voluntary basis to date but we think it’s now the time to move that to a mandatory requirement by 2017.” – Amy Adams.

    See I just don’t get that logic. But then, I’m an ACT voter.

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  25. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    This will be a blow to the Green’s – It’s possibly the only policy they have which is squarely in the environmental issues folder rather than the socialist failed ideology of tax and spend folder.

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  26. freemark (664 comments) says:

    From Stuff, Norman says “”The water is so degraded that the Waikato Regional Council labels the river unsatisfactory for swimming and 100 per cent of tests in the last five years for nitrogen and phosphorous show unsatisfactory levels.”
    So last month it was “dangerous”..now it’s just “unsatisfactory”.
    If the state of our Country is unsatisfactory to you Russell, I’m sure you have somewhere else to go, quite close in fact. maybe he’s not up to the swim, or the paddle…

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  27. Southern Raider (1,777 comments) says:

    I would also like to see a research fund for universities as there must also be some science on how to improve the water quality and plants that can be used to filter nitrogen

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  28. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    Southern Raider

    I’m not a Green Party supporter, I would be though if they weren’t so brazenly watermelons. The plants that should be used are the native ones that were in the rivers before we stuffed with them. Anything else is stuffing with them more. If our land usage stuffs our rivers then we’ve got no choice but to change our land usage. Restricting cattle access to rivers is well overdue.

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  29. holysheet (471 comments) says:

    Years ago there was a report that a water sample was taken from the waikato river and sent to Germany. The lab sent back a request, “which nuclear power plant was this sample taken from? ”
    The sample was taken downriver from the kinleith pulp mill at Tokoroa.
    So, all the waikato river pollution is not from the farms.

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  30. V (765 comments) says:

    Corporate Welfare.

    Farmers contaminate land and then sell it to the taxpayer to rehabilitate. Unless it is sold at an incredible discount this is simply welfare.

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  31. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    V

    Generations of farmers have contaminated the land, billions have been paid in tax during that time. The benefits to the government from generations of state controlled export policies are suddenly the current land owners problem?

    The reality is, generations have enjoyed cheap dairy, wool and meat. More recently farmers have benefited from another wave of high prices and dairy production has become much more viable. And you say it’s the current land owners problem… Go on try that policy and try to stop mass sell offs ( to foreigners ) or high priced refinancing to repair generations of damage.

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  32. V (765 comments) says:

    Cavaet emptor and due diligence when buying property I would have thought? Or do we dispense with that for more of a socialise the losses mentality?.

    The thing is it penalises the farmers who have done the decent thing, looked after the land and reinvested back into their own properties to rehabilitate land etc.

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  33. simpleton1 (243 comments) says:

    I know some lengths rivers that that twice over the the past 80 years, had all their trees cleared at major costs to land owners, councils and governments.

    The reason was nearby towns were on flood plains and so the houses were flooded. So trees were cleared and stop banks put in place. Some of the floods stayed on farm land for weeks at a time.

    Some of this riparian plantings, will gather and hold silt, and will change the flow of the rivers. This is going to come back at a major cost for some towns and farmers.
    For example, the trees planted in the wrong place, or side of the river, or forcing the river to scour/erode more on the other bank.

    I am all for some of these changes, but this knee jerk thinking and one size fits all will cause major costs and problems in the future.

    caveat emptor to those towns too,,, oh,, the council will charge the farmers as the rates are too high for the poor town house holder, as I have seen town sewerage schemes also being charged to farmers.

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  34. wiseowl (979 comments) says:

    The Minister Adams ,who wouldn’t have a clue about the environment , now admits that this subsidy will also attract similar funding from ratepayers.Yet more pressure on rates.
    This policy announcement is nothing more than an attempt to fend off the greens where they don’t have the ability to argue how stupid the greens policies are.

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  35. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    V

    So how would a farmer who bought the land 2 generations ago have known that the currently acceptable practice of stock wondering through waterways would be changed. What will stop said farming family from saying f-it and selling out to some foreign interest with capital to take the hit on reducing the grazeable land and installing extra water troughs ?

    I guess you don’t care about that unintended consequence until it happens and then the world is ending and all foreign sales get blocked by the government. Let me guess … We could run the farmers out of business and support them all on a benefit and be proud that we made the rich pricks pay !

    I don’t agree with corporate welfare. But you lefties are making a noise about farming being a family business and trying to restrict corporate interests, particularly foreign corporate interests, from owning farms.

    You can’t have it both way.

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  36. V (765 comments) says:

    So how would a farmer who bought the land 2 generations ago have known that the currently acceptable practice of stock wondering through waterways would be changed

    It’s called progress, practices change, most other companies have to deal with it.

    What will stop said farming family from saying f-it and selling out to some foreign interest with capital to take the hit on reducing the grazeable land and installing extra water troughs ?

    No problem with people selling their land, it is theirs, provided the new owners are in compliance with applicable NZ laws. Again due diligence is required because if land is found to be contaminated/unsuited to type of farming intended then there may be further capital investment required or buyer subject to loss.

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