Irrigation NZ corrects Jacinda

NZ writes:

Dear Jacinda

We note you were in the Waikato yesterday, trying to reassure farmers that Labour is not anti-farming. However during your media briefing you demonstrated how poorly informed Labour’s farming policies are.

To the camera you stated, ‘there are only 12,000 farms in NZ and the vast majority won’t be affected – we’ll only be impacting upon 2,000.’…/jacinda-ardern-in-waikato-soothe-f…

Unfortunately there’s almost 5 times more farms in NZ than this (58,000) and over 10,500 of these have a consent to take water for irrigation… so you may need to reassess the impacts of your ?

Only out by an order of 5!

The water tax will cost the average irrigated family farm (220 ha) between $24,000 and $29,000 per year ($110 – $130 per ha). This will impact greatly on farm viability, particularly for sheep and beef, arable and vegetable farmers (43% of the irrigated area).

Dairy farmers will be okay as they have reasonable profit margins (for now) but beef and sheep farmers are already struggling.

Canterbury and Otago account for over 72% of water allocated for irrigation, Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and the Wairarapa account for 14% and all other regions combined make-up the remaining 14%. However, these 5 regions have the most swimmable rivers (> 92% in each region). The least swimmable rivers are in Auckland – 62% graded as poor, Northland and Waikato (over 40% graded poor). 

Blaming poor water quality on irrigation is just nasty scapegoating. Making irrigators in rural New Zealand pay for the problems of urban pollution in Auckland is grossly unfair.

The two largest irrigation regions have water quality and abstraction limits in place. Canterbury has the Land and Water Regional Plan which requires all irrigating farmers to gain a land use consent to farm – this is in addition to their water take consent. Otago has Plan Change 6A, an effects based plan that requires any water leaving a property to meet strict water quality limits – again in addition to their water take consent.

So the water tax will do nothing for water quality but simply punish farmers for using water, regardless of the water quality in their area.


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