User pays or council plays?

Environment Southland’s Long Term Community Plan proposes imposing a dairy differnetial of $1.08 million to finance more compliance staff, monitoring programmes, stock effluent disposal sites, land sustainability programmes and a new regional discharge plan.

Is this user pays or an attempt to get dairy farmers to finance more than their fair share of the council’s  expansion?

Federated Farmers’ submission says many of its dairy members felt the rate was the regional council’s way of expanding its programmes while insulating the general ratepayer against the effects of an increased rate take.

DairyNZ recommends a partnership between the council and the dairy industry to resolve resource management issues.

That would provide the council with resources from DairyNZ’s own science, local farmer knowledge and dairy industry policy staff, its submission says.

Dairy farmers must pay their fair share of the costs associated with the environmental impact of their business but this looks like the council is playing a growing game and wants farmers to pay for it.

DairyNZ’s proposal would get the results without the need for the regional council to expand its empire at farmers’ expense.

4 Responses to User pays or council plays?

  1. Ed Snack says:

    I think that gets a “Yeah, right” response HP. Unless independently policed, some dairy farmers will do exactly they’ve been doing for ages, dumping their muck and expecting someone else to clean up and pay for it.

    True, some make considerable effort and really work to clean up, and some don’t and won’t. Unless you make it compulsory and bring in real penalties against non-compliance, no overall progress will be made.

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  2. homepaddock says:

    Ed – it is compulsory to dispose of effluent responsibly, not allow cattle near waterways etc and there are real penalties for non-compliance – including court convictions and fines.

    But there’s a difference between management and protection of the environment and empire building.

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  3. Ed Snack says:

    HP, sure it’s compulsory, now tell me, every dairy farmer does so, ne c’est pas ? There’s always a conflict, farmers will prattle on about “empire building”, but, in the oft quoted words “they would say that, wouldn’t they” (slightly misquoted, I know.

    HP, it’s not that farmers are worse than anyone else, but that they are exactly like everyone else in general. You, and they, are arguing for their own benefit, and so for that matter are the councils. Bottom line though, is the pollution and environmental damage being reduced sufficiently, and that’s a value judgment as well.

    If it’s not obvious, my comments are that you indulge in sectorial self interest like all interest groups, just don’t pretend otherwise. I don’t find that your blog comes over particularly hypocritical at all, but you have a point of view (to which you are entirely entitled) that I thought worth noting.

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  4. homepaddock says:

    Ed – unfortunately every farmer doesn’t but councils have the power to enforce compliance.

    I’m not arguing that what the council wants to do isn’t necessary, just that co-operation with DairyNZ might get the same, or better, result at a lower cost.

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