Got sent this e-mail by a reader. I have not fact checked it myself, but it seems to be accurate, and is a useful counter to the hysteria over water quality.
Are the Greens telling you the Truth?
1. A recent OECD survey measured the cleanliness of all major rivers that flow through farmland in OECD countries. Of the three New Zealand rivers measured, where did the Clutha, Waitaki and Waikato, respectively, place?
a) 87th, 89th and 90th
b) 42nd, 58th and 76th
c) 1st, 2nd and 4th
Answer: Of all major rivers in the developed world that flow through farmland, the OECD found Clutha rated 1st, the Waitaki 2nd and the Waikato 4th for cleanliness.
2. Compared with other developed countries’ major rivers, the OECD study found New Zealand’s three longest rivers contained what levels of nitrates and total phosphorous, respectively?
a) very high and relatively high
b) relatively high and high
c) very low and relatively low
Answer: Our three longest rivers were found to have very low levels of nitrates, and relatively low levels of total phosphorus.
3. The latest Commission for the Environment report said what percentage of New Zealand rivers are getting cleaner?
Answer: 90% of our rivers are getting cleaner. There are river care and land care groups on all main and many small rivers across New Zealand. They’re spending millions of dollars to improve water quality. They include farmers, Fonterra, Dairy NZ, NZ Beef and Lamb, Landcare NZ, Federated Farmers, Iwi, fertilizer companies, universities, and regional councils.
4. How did the Greens interpret the Commissioner for the Environment’s report?
a) They told the truth and congratulated farmers on the 90%.
b) The lied and said only 50% of rivers were getting cleaner.
c) They lied and said water quality was getting worse.
Answer: Russel Norman lied and said water quality was getting worse, when the Commissioner for the Environment said 90% of rivers were getting cleaner overall.
5. How many of New Zealand’s 1000 rivers did the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment classify very poor for cleanliness?
Answer: Only 17 of our 1000 rivers are still rated very poor for cleanliness. But the Commissioner for the Environment reports that each one is getting cleaner.
6. Compared with the OECD average of 11%, what percentage of available fresh water does New Zealand use?
Answer: We use only 1.2% of our available fresh water. That’s nearly the lowest in the OECD. South Korea uses 43%. (North Korea’s not saying.)
7. How many kilometres of rivers and streams have farmers so far fenced off?
a) 20,000 km
b) 30,000 km
c) 45,000 km
Answer: Farmers have so far fenced off 45,000 km of rivers and streams (note: the 20,000 km being quoted by National is Fonterra farmers only), as well as doing a great deal of planting alongside waterways.
8. What percentage of New Zealand dairy-farm rivers have farmers so far fenced off?
Answer: Farmers have so far fenced off 90% of New Zealand rivers that run through farmland.
9. What has made farmers fence off so many rivers at their own expense?
a) Government regulation
b) Local and regional council regulation
c) Their concern as practical environmentalists
Answer: As dairy farm income has risen, farmers have been able to afford to help clean up our rivers, and are doing more fencing and planting all the time.
10. How do the Greens plan to reward farmers for their voluntary efforts?
a) Tax them less
b) Tax them the same
c) Tax them more
Answer: The Green want to tax farmers more, making it harder for them to continue their fencing and planting.
11. How much are farming-related groups spending per year to solve the leaching problem?
a) $2.5 million
b) $12.5 million
c) $25 million
Answer: Over $25 million per year is going into research to solve the leaching problem. The effort is constrained only by the number of available scientists.
12. Where are New Zealand’s worst affected stretches of rivers:
a) downstream from farms
b) downstream from towns
c) downstream from Green Party offices.
Answer: Our worst-affected stretches of river are downstream from urban, not rural, areas.
13. What is the Greens’ solution to improving river water quality?
a) Recognise that farmers are practical environmentalists, and encourage them to finish their fencing and planting.
b) Provide state assistance to help speed up the process
c) Ban all new dairy farm conversions
Answer: The Greens have said they want to cap dairy farming at its current level.
14. What will be the result of the Greens stopping new dairy farming?
a) More export income
b) Better schools, better hospitals – and a cleaner environment
c) The loss of precious new export income that would allow us to afford better hospitals, better schools, and a cleaner environment
Answer: The loss of precious new export income that would allow us to afford better hospitals, better schools – and a cleaner environment.
15. With their very public “dirty dairying” campaign, the Greens have:-
a) helpfully improved New Zealand’s international reputation
b) made no difference to New Zealand’s international reputation
c) deliberately sabotaged New Zealand’s international reputation
Answer: By loudly exaggerating problems with our clean, green image, the Greens have deliberately sabotaged New Zealand’s international reputation.
THE GREENS DON’T CARE ABOUT SABOTAGING NEW ZEALAND.
To say that farmers pull their weight for New Zealand is a massive understatement. Together these 60,000 hardworking and innovative men and women earn 52% of our export income.
And frankly, they’re hurting at the torrent of unjustified criticism from the Greens that they don’t care about our rivers.
They want you to know the facts.
There are river care and land care groups on all main and many small rivers across New Zealand. They’re spending millions of dollars to improve water quality.
These groups include farmers, Fonterra, Dairy NZ, NZ Beef and Lamb, Landcare NZ, Federated Farmers, iwi, fertilizer companies, universities, and regional councils.
The Greens’ unfair “dirty dairying” campaign has done much to sabotage New Zealand’s international reputation. You have to wonder whether these people are New Zealanders first, or more committed to the Socialist International goal of bringing down capitalism.
The fact is, thousands of New Zealand farmers are heavily committed financially and ethically to making our rivers cleaner. (A commitment which started long before the “dirty dairying” campaign.)
THE DOWNSIDE OF A HUGE UPSIDE
So why do we have this problem with our rivers? It goes back to the early days of our farming and industry. The upside of those pioneering efforts was that farmers gave New Zealanders the highest standard of living in the world.The downside was that, with no practical alternatives, they had to use the rivers as a means of disposal. Everyone accepted that. There was little or no dissent.
Then in the 1960s, attitudes changed. And work began on cleaning up.
We’re happy to acknowledge that the Green movement was a part of that attitude shift. We respect the Greens as environmental watchdogs. But their solution to every problem is more state control. Their latest list of policies reveals them to be more concerned with socialist redistribution than about the environment.
FARMERS MADE US A RICH COUNTRY, NOT THE STATE.
We remind you who built the farming industry on which New Zealanders still depend for their high standard of living. It wasn’t the state. That’s why we say innovative, commonsense farmers have a better record of fixing environmental problems related to farming than heavy-handed bureaucrats from Wellington.
These are just a very few of the many waterways that have community groups working hard to clean them up:
Ngongotaha Stream, Bay of Plenty. This stream is benefitting from restoration work that began decades ago. A whole-of-catchment plan led to 90% of the river’s banks being fenced and replanted. Result: much less sediment entering the stream, less particulate nitrogen and phosphorous – and less E coli.
Watercress Creek, Tasman. A Fonterra-financed farm river plan is reaping big benefits. The creek is now fully fenced and the Fonterra factory’s waste no longer overflows into it. Council, schools, communities and farmers are all beavering away replanting.
Rai River, Marlborough. At one time, during the dairy season there were three million cow crossings a day in this catchment. After 20 years of huge expenditure on bridges and culverts, the number of cows in the water at any one time is close to zero. Result: E coli levels are way down.
Shag River, Otago. Various farmer organizations and the regional council shared with farmers information about best practice. Farmers then invested heavily in reticulated water, fencing and new practices. Result: an impressive drop in E coli levels.
Please don’t misunderstand us. We applaud the Greens for alerting us to problems. We just have a big problem with their heavy-handed state solutions.
MORE FACTS ABOUT HOW WE’RE IMPROVING OUR WATER QUALITY
There are three sources of pollution in waterways: pathogens (faeces), sediment (erosion) and nutrients (mainly phosphates and nitrogen).
Every year the pathogens and sediment problems have got better. And we’re now seeing a reduction in phosphates thanks to the efforts of farmers, the government, regional councils and other groups.
Only nitrogen now needs to be beaten and we’re on track to knock it out too as millions are poured into research and development.
Something you should know when you hear the word nitrogen. Nitrogen occurs naturally in waterways – if it didn’t we’d have a much bigger problem. Life in the water would die.
Rivers can handle quite heavy loads of nitrogen. There’s no real problem until blooms appear. That’s a rare occurrence in New Zealand’s 1000 rivers.
NIWA’s Dr Davies-Colley had this to say about our improving water quality:
- “The fact that some heavily polluted rivers – mostly in dairying areas – have turned the corner in recent years gives us cause for optimism for the future.”
“A relatively few urban- and mine-affected rivers in New Zealand probably have the worst water quality because of mobilisation of toxic contaminants such as heavy metals as well as severe habitat modification.”
TO STOP THE GREENS,
YOU MUST STOP LABOUR.
If you party vote Labour and the Left wins, in a couple of weeks 30% of the Cunliffe cabinet will be Green. Russel Norman and Metiria Turei will be Joint Deputy Prime Ministers. Ex-communist Norman is going to be driving a hard bargain to get his hands on the Finance portfolio. We’ll have up to seven Green ministers.
Is that what you want?
If not, there’s only one thing you can do about it. Don’t vote Labour because Labour means 30% Greens.
Authorised by: John Third for The Opinion, 61 Ironside Road, Johnsonville.
I don’t agree with all the rhetoric in the e-mail, but I do absolutely agree with the salient points about how the Greens are misleading over the issue, and that their policy to cap the number of cows in New Zealand is the wrong one.