Govt aims to have 90% of rivers and waterways swimmable by 2040, Environment Minister Smith says; Farmers are ready for the challenge - Primary Industries Minister Guy

Govt aims to have 90% of rivers and waterways swimmable by 2040, Environment Minister Smith says; Farmers are ready for the challenge - Primary Industries Minister Guy

A new government drive for 90% of New Zealand rivers and lakes to meet swimmable water quality standards will see farmers required to install 56,000km of extra fencing - enough to circle the globe one-and-a-half times.

Environment Minister Nick Smith and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced Thursday the new goals for clean waterways, which are estimated to cost the government, farmers and councils $2 billion over the next 23 years.

New regulations specifically to exclude stock from waterways are expected to see costs of $367m, Smith said. The rules progressively apply to dairy, pig, dairy support, beef and deer farms from this year to 2030 relative to the steepness of the country, he said.

Read the Ministry for the Environment's draft regulatory impacts assessment of the regulations here.

In the document, officials say the stock exclusion option chosen has a lower cost-benefit ratio than other options considered, but that it would deliver the greatest environmental effectiveness. Total benefits are estimated at $983m, the Ministry for the Environment document shows.

The option chosen imposes the highest cost on farmers of all options. The document noted the burden the requirements will place on farmers: "For example, phasing in fencing and reticulation requirements for beef cattle over 10 years will result in costs of $5,391 per year and represent around 9 percent of the industry's five-year average profit."

The government's 'swimmable' target is based on meeting the water quality standard at least 80% of the time, in line with European and US definitions, Smith said. Currently 72% of rivers and lakes by length meet this definition, he said.

Read the announcement from Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy below:

New freshwater reforms will result in 56,000 km more fences protecting New Zealand waterways from stock – enough to go round the world one and a half times, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The new rules on stock exclusion are part of the Government’s plans announced today setting a target for 90% of rivers and lakes to be swimmable by 2040.

“Farmers have made huge progress in recent years to improve their environmental practices and this will be another important step forward. Dairy farmers have already voluntarily fenced off over 24,000km of waterways,” says Mr Guy.

“We know that stock standing in or regularly crossing waterways can do significant damage. While dairy farmers have voluntarily fenced off around 96% of their waterways, we want to extend this to other types of farms as well.

“The proposed national regulation would ensure that dairy cattle, beef cattle, pigs and deer are kept out of waterways.

“We need to ensure the changes are practical for farmers, so the exclusions would be implemented in a staged process starting this year through to 2030, depending on the stock type and land slope.

“There are long term benefits for the primary industries and wider economy from these reforms. Overseas markets and consumers increasingly demand a strong environmental performance over and above regulatory requirements. In this context, protecting New Zealand’s natural advantage has never been more important.

“No single organisation or group is solely responsible for improving our water quality. Meeting the target will take a collective effort, but the primary industries have a key contribution to make.

“In the meantime, the Ministry for Primary Industries continues to work with the primary sectors to invest in good ideas which promote environmental best practice. One example is the Farm Systems Change program, which identifies high performing farms and uses farmers’ networks to spread their knowledge.

“Another is a major programme under the Primary Growth Partnership, called Transforming the Dairy Value Chain. Under this programme effluent management systems have been improved, and every region now has a riparian planting guideline developed in conjunction with regional councils.

“As a Government we are committed to growing the primary industries at the same time as improving water quality. Water storage schemes like Central Plains Water and the Waimea Community Dam help in this by taking pressure off groundwater sources and maintaining summer river flows, delivering both economic and environmental benefits.

“We also know that science will play a major role in improving our freshwater. The ‘Our Land and Water’ National Science Challenge is investing $96.9 million over 10 years into this, hosted by AgResearch and involving six other Crown research institutes.

To read the proposals, and find out how to have your say, visit www.mfe.govt.nz

Read the announcement from Environment Minister Nick Smith below:

The Government today announced a target of 90 per cent of New Zealand’s lakes and rivers meeting swimmable water quality standards by 2040, alongside releasing new policy, regulations, information maps and funding to help achieve the new goal.

“This ambitious plan to improve the water quality in our lakes and rivers recognises that New Zealanders expect to be able to take a dip in their local river or lake without getting a nasty bug,” Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“The plan is backed up by national regulations requiring stock to be fenced out of waterways, new national policy requirements on regional councils to strengthen their plan rules on issues such as sewage discharges and planting riparian margins, a new Freshwater Improvement Fund and new maps that clearly identify where improvements are needed.

“This 90 per cent goal by 2040 is challenging and is estimated to cost the Government, farmers and councils $2 billion over the next 23 years. It will make us a world leader in water quality standards for swimming, and that’s important for New Zealand’s growing tourism industry. It will return our rivers and lakes to a standard not seen in 50 years while recognising that our frequent major rainfalls mean a 100 per cent standard is not realistic.”

The target covers the length of rivers over 0.4m deep and the perimeters of lakes greater than 1.5km, which total 54,000km. The plan is about improving the frequency that we can swim in our lakes and rivers, noting that even our cleanest rivers breach swimming water quality standards during storms.

The swimmable target is based on meeting the water quality standard at least 80 per cent of the time, in line with European and US definitions. Currently 72 per cent by length meet this definition, and the target is to increase that to 90 per cent by 2040. This means an additional 10,000km of swimmable rivers and lakes by 2040, or 400km per year.

“The maps I am releasing today provide the most comprehensive and consistent information on water quality for swimming of New Zealand’s rivers and lakes ever published. These will help focus councils and communities on improving their local water quality, as well as help people make decisions about where they can safely swim. The maps are connected to the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa website that provides real-time information on water quality, which is particularly relevant for the fair and intermittent categories.

“The challenge of improving water quality varies significantly across New Zealand. This plan requires improvements in water quality across all regions and all categories. The target not only requires an improvement in areas that are swimmable, ie into the fair category, but also rivers and lakes being moved from fair to good, and good to excellent. Regional targets to achieve the national goals are to be worked through with regional councils by March 2018. Some regional targets will need to be greater than the 90 per cent and others, where it is more difficult to achieve, will be less.

The National Policy Statement (NPS) for Freshwater Management is being strengthened to support the new 90 per cent by 2040 swimmability target, as well as changes to address the issues of ecological health and nutrients by:

replacing “wadeable” with “swimmable”

adding macroinvertebrate monitoring for ecological health

strengthening references to “Te Mana o te Wai”

clarifying the consideration of economic opportunities

requiring instream limits for nitrogen and phosphorus

clarifying inclusion of coastal lakes and lagoons

clarifying the policy on exceptions

strengthening the requirement for monitoring and improving quality.

“The new regulations on excluding stock from waterways are an important part of this plan to improve water quality. The rules progressively apply to dairy, pig, dairy support, beef and deer farms from this year to 2030 relative to the steepness of the country, at an expected cost of $367 million,” Dr Smith says.

“We are today opening bids for the new $100m Freshwater Improvement Fund and announcing the eligibility and assessment criteria, which closes on 13 April. This comes on top of the $350m already committed by the government, of which more than $140m has been spent on specific river and lake clean-ups.

“This is the third phase of the Government’s work programme to improve New Zealand freshwater management and builds on the NPS introduced in 2011 and the National Objectives Framework in 2014. I commend and acknowledge the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group and the Land and Water Forum, who have worked tirelessly in assisting with these policy developments.”

The detail of the NPS and Stock Exclusion Regulations are open for consultation until 28 April 2017.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

73 Comments

Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).
12
up

Green Party response:

New Zealanders who want swimmable lakes and rivers have been let down by the Government’s freshwater announcement today, which does nothing but shift the goalposts, the Green Party said.

In an announcement expected to require stronger standards for freshwater bodies, the Prime Minister has simply re-labelled the standards, so that what was once only safe for wading is now to be considered safe for swimming.

“The Prime Minister thinks he can pull a fast one on New Zealanders by just shifting the goalposts and calling what was ‘wadeable’ now ‘swimmable’,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

“New Zealanders asked for rivers clean enough to swim in, not a re-branded version of ‘dirty’.

“There is nothing in today’s announcement that will stop the pollution of our rivers from dirty dairying, or the damaging effects of irrigation.

“By saying that a river with a grade of ‘excellent’ can be so polluted that 1 person in 20 gets sick from a waterborne disease, Bill English is deceiving our kids and grandkids, who are missing out on clean rivers.

“Bill English can dress up these changes as conceding to New Zealanders’ demands for clean water, but he’s just shifted the goalposts.

“Bill English is afraid to make the hard calls that are needed to clean up our rivers. We aren’t.

“The Green Party has the solutions that will clean up our rivers and make them safe for swimming again; no more new dairy farms, better urban design and ending subsidies for irrigation are just a few that will protect and improve the health of our rivers,” said Ms Delahunty.

Specifically it seems that part of the plan involves changing the standard for 'Excellent' swimmability from 260 parts of E coli per 100ml 540 parts per 100 ml.

So yeah, we're not going to make the rivers cleaner, we're just advocating more E coli in your diet.

"Excellent" excrement.

Was I hearing it correctly when a commentator said that at the level of 540 you had a 1 in 20 chance of becoming ill?

Well...that's swimmable, I guess?

I guess National's just progressing from telling young Kiwis to eat sh*t to telling all Kiwis to eat sh*t?

Yes Chris-M that's right, I heard the same statement on National Radio this morning.1;20!
Some one should look at the WHO levels and then tell us its safe!it beggars belief the garbage we are listening too from this Government. see link its about 250 pages but critically they state no E Coli should b e present in driniking water full stop.You can't swim and not swallow any water by accident!
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/gdwqvol32ed.pdf

Good.

"$2 billion over the next 23 years" chicken feed...

Federated Farmers response:

The pressure is now on all Kiwis to step up in the nationwide challenge to continue to improve the quality of our freshwater, Federated Farmers says.

The government’s release today of the next step in its plans to improve New Zealand’s freshwater show a willingness to engage the entire community in the process.

"And this is essential to the success of what is a practical, but also quite ambitious proposal," Federated Farmers water spokesperson Chris Allen says.

Some of the highlights for Feds include:

-The swimability target of 90% by 2040 - this is a ‘stretch goal’ but very early feedback suggests freshwater in some regions can be improved and restored in relatively short timeframes.

"This is all entirely doable, if everyone plays their part. Farmers have been encouraged by the results they’ve seen in their own catchments, from their own efforts.

"Now we need better science and monitoring processes to really nail what we need to work on, where we do it and how," Chris says.

-Stock exclusion regulations - this is a key area for New Zealand’s hill and high country farmers.

"The solutions proposed in this area need to be practical. Federated Farmers will make this a focus of the submissions we will be making on this policy.

"This is a critical area for us to get right."

-The provision of the $100 million fund for the Freshwater Improvement Fund will be a great asset to the improvement of freshwater.

"This is an excellent addition to the national capacity to work on freshwater improvement.

"We’d like to see this funding channeled into some significant scientific research and innovation to boost our ability to achieve the targets the government, and our communities, will set.

"Overall, this is a pragmatic and useful next step for freshwater in New Zealand," Chris says.

The swimability target of 90% by 2040 is a ‘stretch goal’! How much time does Federated Farmers need? Not in our lifetime....

Forest and Bird response:

Forest & Bird has condemned the government’s new water quality standards, warning New Zealanders that they lock in current levels of water pollution and allow for a 5-fold increase in the chance of getting sick from swimming in a river.  

“Despite an explicit assurance from Minister Smith that the new water standards would provide for human and ecosystem health, he has failed to deliver on either of these things,” says Forest & Bird CEO Kevin Hague.

Contrary to the overwhelming public concern for the state of New Zealand’s rivers and lakes, the government's announcement today does not require any improvement to our water quality, except for the very worst rivers.
 
“If your local river is polluted now, the government does not require that its water quality is improved to a standard that is safe for people and the ecosystem that it should support. Instead, all they propose is that the current situation is maintained,” says Mr Hague.

“In fact, they’ve gone further and reduced swimmability standards. Until now, the standard for our cleanest rivers allowed a one in a hundred chance of getting sick. Now, the proposal is that you will have a one in twenty chance of getting sick – and that’s their top standard.
  
“This means that if a school class visits one of our rivers, at least one child is likely to come back sick from polluted water. What parent will be willing to take that chance?” says Mr Hague.

The Land and Water Forum, of which Forest & Bird is a part, made consensus recommendations last August to the government on the issues of human and ecological health, and these have been largely ignored.

Forest & Bird will therefore be considering at the earliest opportunity whether there is any point in continuing to commit time and resources to the Land and Water Forum.

Alex
You are obviously dairy phobic
Go to Queenstown in the last ten years the population has gone up 4 fold God knows how many extra tourist
They are only now up grading sewerage the Clutha River is a sewer from Queenstown Cromwell Alexandra only a couple of dairy farms in the whole catchment
Otago Regional Council permitted Dunedin City 2 years of raw sewerage to be pumped off the main beach into the Pacific
You are pathetically myopic

Frank, on the contrary, I think the costs that are going to be imposed on farmers here are outrageous.

I'm all for clean rivers and more fencing of waters (but sensible fencing - not four metres either side a drain, allowing for bramble and big loss of productive land). But if govt is going to impose new restrictions on farmers here like this, then govt should fund the whole cost.

Farmers have been through the ringer in recent years, having to increase production because the NZ$ has stayed stubbornly high due to inbound flows of money because we can't fund NZ banks locally and there's so much demand for residential property lending in Auckland. They've worked bloody hard to keep the regional economy going during the recession. And now suddenly they're being whacked with this.

Farmers are also vilified in the mainstream press as causing all the problems we have. They're some of the biggest proponents for clean water that I know. Especially if you get your water from a bore on your own farm...

This just screams to me like National trying to get one alongside the Greens in an election year.

You watch the 6pm news tonight - it'll all be about people complaining that they've shifted the goalposts on what a 'swimmable' river is. That's fine - I understand that, but there'll be little or no attention to the financial costs imposed on farmers who are only now starting to come out of years of hardship.

Cheers

I suspect farmers will never incur the costs, Alex - that's why the targets are being pushed out in time and the standard relaxed - to allow time for NZ to respond to disruptive technologies;

http://pureadvantage.org/news/2016/11/29/lament-nz-farm/

An example of the folly, the OIO said this with respect to the Hunter Valley sale approval;

In its decision, the OIO said the buyer would continue to farm sheep and cattle on the property and intended to invest capital in the farm to significantly enhance its production.

Whereas the criteria ought to be for the retirement of agricultural intensity on sensitive land... particularly where a pastoral lease is concerned :-)!!!

Spend the capital on regenerating native flora and fauna for goodness sake. It seems so simple to me - let overseas capital be used to improve, not further degrade, our environment. As the present criteria stands, we are forcing overseas owners to continue down the same path that the current owners of the lease have stated (as did the advertising for the property) is uneconomic. How dumb are we?

The OIO is a complete joke, just a rubber stamping office, aren't sales to foreigners supposed to provide more jobs and stuff for NZers, this is clearly utter BS, although my understanding is the property is just leased, actually crown owned. Correct me if I am wrong.

Thanks Kate - this came up at Landcorp's Select Committee appearance the other week - they were asked whether they were worried about the rise of "Frankenstein meat and milk" and replied they were actively looking at the potential impact etc. It's been on my list to find some further reading on this as I'm keen to look into it, so cheers.

Great topic. Another burgeoning industry it seems to me we ought to be looking to become world leaders in is medicinal cannabis finished product production - surely it's the value-add industry of our dreams! If Suzanne Aubert could fund the work of her orphanages with all manner of herbal cannabis products back in the 1800s - surely cannabis must be the crop of NZs future;

http://www.druglawed.com/

New Zealand's full of cannabis-growing expertise, and people who have lovingly developed strains over the decades. At the mo a lot of this hard-won skill is being sidelined as P takes over. Let's harness it for good.

Get on with it and legalise all drugs. The war on drugs is an ass, costing us a god damned fortune and achieves zilch. The move to meth is symptomatc of effective cannbis policing, thus supply and price issues pushing users to this dangerous offshore based product.

Think of all the health benefits this grower produced;

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11806333&r...

Meantime, folks approved for Sativex use face costs of $20,000+ per annum;
http://www.leafscience.com/2014/01/28/cannabis-spray-legal-expensive-new...

And no doubt Pharmac will eventually pick up the tab. We must be nuts.

Another one for you, Alex;

http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/89750791/the-thorny-politics-of-swimm...

Curiouser and curiouser.

You are forgetting that the Government are actually the tax payers. So you and me. Yet this is now largely a user pays country. The farmers have been doing it for themselves, to make money, like any other business in NZ. Maybe farmers have had it tougher, but so have many other businesses. I mean your average NZ tax payer doesn't benefit from dairy success via cheap milk and products, instead we can pay more than overseas, even though freight is added onto the overseas price. Maybe the country does better with more money flowing in. However the reserve bank has tried to make it easier for the farmers, by trying to weaken the NZ dollar and lowering the interest rates, which has only hurt those people saving. We also got rid of the fart tax, which would have added on a lot of cost.

The water quality stats show that Waikato, Taranaki, Canterbury, and Southland have the worst water. i.e. The big 4 dairy areas.

But I know how Interest people love evidence. So...
1 dairy cow produces the equivalent Coliform bacteria of 28.2 humans.

There are approximately 5mil dairy cows in NZ, so the equivalent waste of 141mil humans.

As you like Otago.
Otago has 250k dairy cows (7mil human equivalent)
compared to an actual human population of 220k.

I am pretty sure that there are not 7mil freedom campers dumping in the rivers around otago.

So I am guessing Dairy is the problem.

the equivalent of 28.2 humans - interesting (wouldn't mind a link to the source if you have one). I guess you'd then disagree with Malcolm Lumsden who says that his cow Daisy is less polluting over the course of her lifetime than a human, given a human lives 11 times longer than a cow.

Someones math must be wrong :-).

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11789175

Source if you are interested is www.ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca/research/documents/fleming_huvsanim0107.PDF

Cows numbers sourced from DairyNZ.

This document only looks at fecal waste - i.e. not the related fertilization, land management, general rubbish, and toxins generated by humans.

In essence we are more wasteful, but less toxic (presumably because we dilute our waste more when we create it i.e. flush the toilet)

As for daisy, it would depend on a whole host of factors. But in short I would say Yes, I disagree.

Daisy produces far less waste over the course of her lifetime than a human. But her waste is discharged directly into an ecosystem that has no means of naturally fighting it.

Our waste is not great, but at least it is generally treated and discharged into the Ocean (as we congregate near the coast) rather than Dairy, which is tends to be at the start of a Freshwater catchment area.

So I would say we (at least our fecal waste) has less downstream impact on the freshwater ecosystem.

Either way, I feel that we should all be doing more. None of us can live without freshwater. It is the very essence of life. So to me Swimmable just doesn't cut it. The minimum standard should be drinkable. This seems even more apparent when you consider that most of the water in the South originates from snowfall/glacial melt which generally is considered some of the purest water going.

La la land.
Daisy crap goes onto pasture out in the sunshine and fresh air where it is naturally broken down and recycled with a very small amount of e-coli getting past this natural breakdown. As opposed to humans, do you honestly believe that sewage treatment is actually effective, heck a bit of rain and heaps doesn't even get to the minimum treatment. And all those nutrients flushed directly into the ecosystem at one point. Discharged into the ocean? Out of site out of mind yes?
About your only correct bit was the less impact on fresh water bit, only because it's mostly discharged into salt water.

"Daisy crap goes onto pasture out in the sunshine and fresh air where it is naturally broken down and recycled with a very small amount of e-coli getting past this natural breakdown. "

Natural Breakdown? NZ has no natural species that can breakdown large amounts of bovine manure.

Also, its not just the crap that is causing the issue, it is the addition of intensive fertilizing regimes.

Maybe you have another theory why it is the Dairy regions with the worst water?

I'm with you on that one redcows - my non-scientist interpretation of what I've read is that inadequate waste treatment systems by councils are more a contributor to e-coli freshwater pollution (and this would be more the case if we excluded stock from waterways). Certainly in the Manawatu the Regional Council has been far too slow to force district/city councils to fix/upgrade their aging infrastructure.

Daisy on the other hand is largely responsible for our freshwater nitrogen problem, is that right? In other words, her pees are more a threat to ecosystem health than her poos? :-).

I'd hate to think whats running off our potato fields at present as they try to control the potato psyllid
http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/life-style/5409621/Dangerous-new-...
https://www.syngenta.co.nz/product/crop-protection/insecticide/avid

the problem is far wider than blaming farmers though - its aggregate human demands on a finite system ie population (ie all those city folk everywhere...). All the townies consume stuff ... which comes from somewhere ...
And its not about NZ having a low population because we use all resources to supply a global market (as do most countries) - hence our dairy cow load is equivalent to millions more humans living here.
The problem is (simply) human population overshoot ... the only simple solution is massive population decrease, which nature is in the process of sorting out for us.

Absolutely.

But we have to start somewhere.

theres a gap in peoples thinking ..

how many outraged townies vote/call for continued economic growth (which has to deplete/degrade resources somwhere because it has to involve consumption) while on the same breath want less impact on resources ... its illogical.
Like greens wanting to move off Oil ... without working through the implications of no food supply.

Tourism and education sectors are significant and growing foreign exchange earners, with less impact on natural resources - but requiring greater investment in built and human resources. To my mind we should be gearing up in those sectors and gearing down (de-intensifying) animal protein agriculture.

Education is basically reliant on the pathway to residency - how sustainable is that? And while tourism is great to have, it is a low wage, low productivity sector where a large part of the work force are themselves tourists on working holiday visas. I don't see that as a great future unless we aspire to be like Fiji.

It is a valid point that presently the education market growth relies to a great degree on the pathway to residency. This is because the focus of that growth is on very low-quality/low-end education courses. However, we have much world leading, high end education and educational research; and the world has a growing market for such high end educational offerings. Our focus should be on this market - and to do that, we have to first get rid of our low-end market, as it is harming our overall global reputation.

Yes, tourism has its fair share of low wage employment but you have to get past that as the only stat to focus on. Tourism is particularly good with respect to small business opportunities/growth - look at what Ngai Tahu has done in that sector on the South Island - look at the success of this small business operation;

http://www.hobbitontours.com/

and this, and this;

https://www.sanctuarymountain.co.nz/
http://www.visitzealandia.com/

Our natural environment and our endemic species have so much more to contribute to our scenery - which is what draws most tourists here. They are the value-add products of our tourism market. If we had a strategic focus to combine these environmental initiatives with research/educational initiatives -

for example a world class marine biology institute alongside/affiliated to this tourism venture;
http://www.southerndiscoveries.co.nz/milford-sound/milford-discovery-cen...

We'd likely attract many of the world's best post-graduate students in that field to our shores to study marine science and our endemic biodiversity in that area.

All that is needed is an imagination that imagines more than the next cow.

Sorry - doesnt work like that. You cant isolate a sector.
Tourism is the spending of surplus earned by a tourist in their day job (which inevitably traces back to resources...)... savings are just energy coupons
Education is now basically a debt ponzi... it solves higher unemployment (by keeping people out of the workforce) while over educating too many people ... but it sure helps keep debt growing
The debt needs to be serviced and paid back by the "burning" of real resources.

Labour Party response:

In a jaw dropping display of political hypocrisy the Government has announced a fresh water policy that was promised by Labour in 2008, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.

“Today’s promise to have a swimmable water standard by 2040 is a belated acknowledgement that they have polluted our rivers for nine years . Labour’s 2008 policy was to stop waterways getting dirtier, with any dirty rivers to be cleaned up to a swimmable standard over a generation starting immediately.

“National has simply wasted nine years by dithering over wadeable versus swimmable standards and our waterways have got dirtier.

“This is another stuff up by Nick Smith who caved into farming interests and adopted a wadeable standard when he knew this would not solve the crisis facing our waterways.

“This was the same Nick Smith who in 2006 promised all rivers would be swimmable by 2030. In 2008 he had the gall to criticise Labour’s plan as too little too late.

“National has buried its head in the sand for nine years and now surprise, surprise with just 200 days to go the election, the penny has dropped for Nick Smith. However,under this Government’s track record promising swimmable water by 2040 is never never land,” says Andrew Little.

This is not a 'cost'. This is an investment in both tourism and a farming. Why do peole pay more for coke than they do for home brand cola? Same applies to NZ inc products. Its about time this is recognised as being a marketing and environmental neccesity...not an unwanted 'cost'.

Farmers the bulwark between we hapless city folk and NZs ruination ! - give me a break.

Their speculation elevates rural land prices to levels that they know will produce marginal returns on capital, confident that one day capital gain windfalls will fall into their laps. Phased in riparian planting and other measures may stress highly geared operations short term but for many established places it will be , at worst, a haircut, probably slight, on their eventual big tax free cheque when they sell. Capital values will gradually adjust to reflect the required spend, just as it does for properties with issues such as wilding pines, hieracium etc.

Manufacturers and other exchange rate sensitive businesses are also doing it tough. Farmers ain't the only ones sweating it.

NZ's environment is going down the gurgler despite the excellent work lots of cockies are doing to halt the decline. With considerable success in some areas. But still plenty of old fashioned exploiters who need the cattle prod before they will do the right thing by us all.

And will also force mega rich yanks and others hoovering up our land for their bolt holes, to do the right thing. Coming generations may not own their own country but at least they'll be able to swim in its rivers.

Have a listen to DR Mike Joy... and then understand what a load of crock this announcment is.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=201834360

Everybody has an agenda in this issue - farmers want to protect their livelihood. National want to keep a small but loyal voter bloc happy, protect the export earning potential of the country intact and try to appease the masses. Greens and Labour are trying to grab votes. Mike Joy has a stated aim of trying to rid the world of livestock farming.

Rubbish on your statement that Mike Joy has a stated aim of trying to rid the world of livestock farming

See this where he states his own view:

http://www.ruralnewsgroup.co.nz/rural-news/rural-general-news/dr-joy-or-...

"The solution is to stop intensification now and to look at alternative systems including once a day milking, cow houses, stand-off pads and reduced fertiliser use to reduce inputs. There are plenty of examples of farmers performing profitability without intensive systems, he says."

Actually Kate, on The Country radio show last year, Mike Joy said he wanted animal products out of the human food chain by 2040, and that was why he spoke out on water issues. (incidentally, in the same interview he blamed intensive dairy farming for the Hastings water problems).
You can find the audio or read the associated Herald article by googling Mike Joy - meat-free NZ.

Here's the audio, Doris;

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=...

You are repeating a simplistic "headline grab" espoused by the radio announcer, not Mike Joy. The point Mike makes is that by 2050, the world will no longer feed the world's population on an animal-based protein food production model - it simply won't be possible for reasons of climate change, the energy-intense nature of this food production, etc. regardless of the environmental effects of this production that we are experiencing now.

That headline statement about "out of the food chain" was the way the interviewer framed it - Mike actually corrected him saying that NZ might be a "special case" - in that as an economy we might be able to continue to service the then much smaller niche market for high end animal-based proteins (a luxury market) - but the world will have shifted to other than animal based proteins. This reflects the disruptive technologies as discussed here;

http://pureadvantage.org/news/2016/11/29/lament-nz-farm/

And as for our own food chain (in respect of drinking water), he states we "have to get cows away from rivers".

The discussion cannot be condensed down to a headline - there are many different issues encapsulated in that particular passage.

I think Doris is worried about Daisy? She has no future, but is in denial.

United Future response:

UnitedFuture leader, Hon Peter Dunne is welcoming today’s announcement on new freshwater standards that endorses UnitedFuture’s environmental vision.

“At its core, UnitedFuture is about ensuring a better future for all New Zealand.

“That means we need to be looking out for future generations while ensuring New Zealanders today can have maximum enjoyment of our unique environment,” said Mr Dunne.

“I am pleased to see the Minister for the Environment taking a step towards helping secure that vision, not only by ensuring that our water ways are future-proofed for all New Zealander’s, but also engaging constructively with UnitedFuture’s policy to push for sensible and practical steps to clean up our water ways.

“Last year, UnitedFuture released an environmental package that outlined six steps for future-proofing New Zealand’s environment so that it could be enjoyed by current and future generations with a focus on riparian planting to help secure our water ways as part of that package.

“I now welcome its inclusion into the Government’s freshwater plan,” said Mr Dunne.

The plan announced today by Minister Nick Smith seeks to make 90 percent of our rivers swimmable by 2040, the announcement signalled a new national policy requirement on regional councils to strengthen regional efforts on riparian planting amongst other things.

“Our natural environment and ecosystems are outstanding and they deserve policies that will guarantee their future preservation so that we, and those who inherit it, can experience and enjoy them.

“I welcome this policy as a good first step towards that vision and as a progressive example of a Government willing to adopt constructive ideas like riparian planting.

"Today’s announcement highlights just how valuable these policies can be to maintain our outstanding natural environment,” Mr Dunne said.

Peter Dunne who?

Mop on head, bowtie on neck.

The 'Party of One' rooster crows again.
Where is my hatchet?

Unfortunately much of the run-off just goes under the fences, into the creeks,maybe you need to "Build The Wall!!"

Horticulture NZ:

Horticulture New Zealand welcomes today’s Clean Water launch by the Government, says chief executive Mike Chapman.

"Water is, of course, the lifeblood of horticulture and our commercial growers have been innovating for some time with environmentally sustainable ways of growing healthy, fresh food for all New Zealanders," Mr Chapman says.

"Growers implement a number of techniques to protect waterways near their properties. These including riparian planting and management adjacent to waterways and silt traps to collect run-off caused by rain and stop anything entering nearby waterways.

"Riparian planting has many benefits, particularly to water quality, but it is also very expensive and growers bear the cost of that.

"It is great to see the Government opening applications for the $100 million Freshwater Improvement Fund, and we will certainly be looking at projects that could be part of that to create more and better ways to protect waterways near growing land.

"But it is also important to note that water quality in New Zealand is not solely the domain of people in the primary industries or rural land owners. The bulk of New Zealanders live in cities and they both use a lot of water and create a lot of waste water. So instead of always pointing the finger at those outside the cities, urban dwellers might want to consider what their contribution to clean water in New Zealand might be to help our growers continue to feed them healthy food in an environmentally sustainable way."

Israel recycle 80% of their grey water. Maybe a junket of many burecrats visiting Uncle Benjamin would be a start on Aucklands wastewater issues.

but how to fly there without upsetting mcullys sheep farmer friends
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11806036

Auckland now pipes drinking water from the Waikato river,
I have seen what is pumped into the river from Mangatawhiri dairy farms, and it was pitch black, YUK
I have also seen what comes out at the water treatment plant at karapiro again YUK
I see plenty of people swimming in the Waikato river, I guess ignorance is bliss

https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/Environment/Natural-resources/Water/Ri...

I live north Waikato sharetrader, and hundreds of people use the river for swimming, water sports and whitebaiting. I've never heard of anyone getting sick.

As for Auckland's water, I was told by an engineer that the Waikato river water is better quality than one of the Hunua dams they use. Not that it matters, modern water treatment plants can make anything potable.

there is a grandfather clause that allows farms to discharge into the Waikato untreated runoff, its a pity I cant post pictures if you could see it with you own eyes you would very much change your mind on swimming north of Hamilton.
the link from the Waikato is interesting in that it leaves taupo nearly pure and by the waipa is even worse 320 at whatawhata

https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/Environment/Natural-resources/Water/Ri...

hi alex any response from david Seymour and gareth morgan and the maori party

Seymour = "Too far, they are unfairly punishing farmers"
Morgan = "We should tax someone, that will fix it"
Maori Party = "At the moment we have a bit of internal disagreement. We will have a hui and get back to you"

Here's an idea, what about we measure water "swimability" by how long it takes the average human to dissolve in it?

Careful, Nick Smith has that in the wings for the next round of shifting the goalposts.

At the current rate by 2040 we won't even have lookability. Even being within visual range and you will be getting sick.

Many of us have welcomed globalisation and are enjoying the fruits of trading in properties, cheap chinese imports , strong tourism and jobs but with it must come downsides, We ahave allowed foreign ownership and the rise of corporate farming and population growth putting pressure on infrastructure.. By 2040 we could have a population of 12 million? does anyone really believe that our rivers will be cleaner by then?

Boomer sell-outs gotta sell, bro

Definitely not, and if our population is 12 million I will be well pleased to not live long enough to see it

Here's more from Nick Smith this morning:

Claims by some organisations that the Government’s proposed standards for improving water quality are lower and accept a higher chance of infection are incorrect, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“The 2003 Ministry of Health guideline of not swimming when the level exceeds 540 E. coli/100ml remains. The 2014 NPS included in bold the statement that this is the ‘minimum acceptable state’ for swimming and it remains so.

“The confusing feature of the 2014 table is that it mixes the concepts of swimmability and wadeability. The 260, 540 and 1000 E. coli/100ml annual medians are all in respect of the wadeable standard. The new attribute state table applies only to swimmability and focuses on the proportion of time a water body exceeds the 540 E. coli/100ml standard, with A (blue) exceeding this less than 5 per cent of the time, B (green) between 5 and 10 percent of the time and C (yellow) 10 to 20 per cent of the time. The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) website further clarifies that to meet the A, B and C attribute states, the annual median needs to be less than 130 E. coli/100ml. This means the infection rate for more than half of the time would be less than one in 1000.

“A good example to illustrate the better approach of the new table is the Hutt River below Silverstream, for which we have E. coli data for the past decade. It has an annual median E. coli of 100/100ml yet it exceeded the 540 E. coli/100ml 15 per cent of the time. The 2014 NPS that focussed on wadeability would have assigned it an A attribute state but gave no information on its swimmabilty. The 2017 NPS that is focussed on swimmability gives it a C attribute state. The new approach is consistent with the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website that today and for more than the last month has described this spot as swimmable.

“It is grossly incorrect to claim that a swimmer in the Hutt River (classed as C/yellow), would have a one in 20 chance of becoming unwell. The river has less than 130 E. coli/100ml for more than half the time, when the infection rate is less than 1:1000. It is only on those occurrences 15 per cent of the time when it exceeds 540 E. coli/100ml that the chance of infection gets to 1:20. I am also advised that the Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Health joint guidelines were deliberately precautionary.

“There are three good reasons for the new and more sophisticated NPS table being proposed on Human Health for Recreation. The first is that the focus is on swimmability rather than wadeability. The second is that it connects with the real-time information available on the LAWA website on where people can swim. The third advantage is that it is consistent with the international risk levels for swimming accepted by the World Health Organisation, the European Union and the United States.

* More information on the detail of the water quality categories is available at: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/fresh-water/freshwater-management-reforms/water-quality-swimming-maps/developing-water-quality

A classic let's argue the finer detail of the science - when the biggest issue to my mind is 2040 when Nick will be 75 years old BTW - and no defined staged requirements for these nationwide regulatory improvement to occur.

who's going to get the short straw?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJE7uJyHJ3k

Despite the cynical political opportunism aspect, it is still an aspirational target that is long overdue and a good piece of work from Smith.

An increasing number of progressive farmers embrace protection of waterways but many dinosaurs still exist who see land as just a financial commodity to be worked as hard as possible to extract the last cent of production. These relics of a previous exploitative era have not worked out there has been a shift in attitude among city folk. An increasing number of Kiwis now view the land as belonging to us all, in an environmental sense, with Farmers the custodians. Gone are the days when farmland was exclusively private property that cockies could do what they liked with, unchallenged, and you townies mind your own business.

I'm a boomer and spend a bit of time on the land with similar age mates. All of us have over the last decade significantly shifted our views and are now opposed to land uses that pollute heavily. One of us even recently potted a farmer who had modified and degraded a stream bed on some remote public land. No way he'd have blown the whistle like that, 20 years ago.

Fed Farmers appear to have sensed the mood shift and are positively engaging with the public and getting the message across to its members.

I am so glad we are rushing into this problem, so the crap will be fixed by 2040, though the crap will have expanded by then to feed and keep our 'Illustrious" Mr Smith (Housing and Ecoli Minister...to boot)..and his cohorts, in swimming pools, not unclean swimming rivers., for us mere mortals and tourists to use.

Tourists can read you know....and this "Clean and Green Country" had better get into action much faster than it has indicated, before it loses all credence in its Mantra.

Swallowing water is necessary for our well being.. If the well has crap in it....Well think again...

All Tourists will remember is the trip to the Doctor.....especially if the pass it on....on the Plane.

Then they will tell their rich mates, what a crap hole NZ is....not what one sees in the Movies.

Spoiling ones Country, is a negative. Plus paying for people to ruin it, running it into the ground is just preposterous. Feed back and flow through, should be as high as humanly possible...and well contained..."CLEANLY.".

Yes Minister...Or we will all be up crap creek, and all the rich peoples Houses., Hotels and Motels, etc.....we rely on... will be as sick as the next mans.

Set the Bar High....and get on with it...Mr Smith...or out you go...next election.

Has fencing waterways improved water quality? Because the biggest polluters ( dairy farmers) already have their waterways fenced. so why isn't the problem fixed? Because the real problem is that these big corporate dairy farms by rivers are irrigating and there is constant flushing of nutrients. So why does anyone think that fencing of hill country with much lower stocking rates will make one iota of a difference (except for bankrupting more small businesses) To me this proposal is a load of nonsense that is designed by National to make the townies feel happier in election year.

What about Cattle Rights, that's what I want to know? It's completely unfair that cattle can no longer stand in a nice cool lake or river on a hot day. One of the great joys of cattle everywhere has been taken away by a bunch of mean spirited, selfie obsessed, virtue signalling townies who have absolutely no idea what it's like being a cow nowadays.

Time was when being a milch cow was highly respectable and appreciated by all, quietly getting on with the never ending task of keeping the grass under control and making milk. A cow chewing the cud was a byword for contentment. Alas no more, it's all about completely useless but supposedly cute kittens, conveniently viewed on screen so you don't have to deal with the shit, or drown them cos they just keep breeding, not to mention their appalling habits of torturing any small animals they catch and then leaving them on the doormat.

I'm with you Tim, a handful of farmers doing %80 of the damage and we all have to share the pain just for some PR spin b/s, in a desperate attempt to make it look like something is being done while in reality the same old farmers are doing the same old crap.
I have seen the Regional council map with places over limits and it was all large feedlots or intensive dairy, everywhere else was below limits.