Could be birds not cows

E.coli has been found in the swimming holes in the Taieri River.

. . . Council director of engineering, hazards and science Gavin Palmer says staff have tracked the river through nearby farms looking for the source of the contamination but haven’t found any cause of the e.coli.

Further inspections and water quality testing are planned this week. . .

Cows are usually the first to be blamed for poor water quality and sometimes there is just cause for that, but that’s not always the case.

High levels of E.coli in the Kakanui River last summer were blamed on cattle but it turned out the culprits were seagulls.

A large colony nesting upriver from popular swimming spots – and the intake for the water scheme which supplies the district’s homes – was fouling the water.

But because some are a protected species no action was taken.

35 Responses to Could be birds not cows

  1. robertguyton says:

    E.coli contamination in the river?
    Is there a Fonterra factory upstream?
    Could be birds.
    Could be cows.
    Could be people.


  2. robertguyton says:

    Creamery Road … I see…


  3. The Editors of Garden Variety says:

    I agree, it could have been spread by another species.


  4. GP says:

    It didn’t stop the greens putting out a press release blaming dairy farmers for the E. coli, despite the fact that the ORC hadn’t yet found the source of the contamination.


  5. Richard says:

    I swam as a child in the Taieri River.many times and did not suffer any contamination. Perhaps I ingested contaminants- E.coli and other bacteria. If so, I was grateful when I traveled overseas because my constitution could cope with different food and water.


  6. robertguyton says:

    GP – you are not telling the truth. The Green Party press release does not mention dairy farming at all. If you can quote to support your claim, please do.

    From the Green Party press release:

    ““An ORC report from 2012 identified a lack of stock exclusion, dead stock in waterways and irrigation runoff as causes of water quality issues in the Upper Taieri river.”

    What part of that do you take issue with?

    E.coli are easy to identify. It’s the other more dangerous pathogens, more difficult/expensive to identify that accompany them that are the real concern.
    On a political level, it’s mis-truths, like those from GP, that muddy the water.


  7. TraceyS says:

    “More intensive farming…as is happening in Otago’s Upper Taieri River” said Green Party water spokesperson Eugenie Sage.


  8. robertguyton says:

    No mention of dairying there at all. GP was not telling the truth. The Green Party did not “blame dairy farmers”.


  9. robertguyton says:

    It probably was dairying though, given the findings of the 2012 ORC report. I note Ele didn’t say that dairying was exonerated, she instead proposed that it could be birds. It’s an theory she’s posted several times before, whenever it was suggested that dairying had polluted a river.


  10. farmerbraun says:

    Perhaps Eugenie meant to say “intensive livestock farming” . . . which is unlikely to be, but could be , sheep.


  11. farmerbraun says:

    “It’s an theory she’s posted several times before, . . .”

    Possibly because it is well known that ducks etc, are great at raising the coliform levels in waterways, especially if there are lots of trees providing good waterfowl habitat.


  12. robertguyton says:

    They are, Farmerbraun.
    So are cows, according to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.
    I don’t think she mentioned birds much in her recent report, did she?


  13. TraceyS says:

    Green Party’s press releases, keyword “farming”:

    The Green Party has nothing good to say about livestock farming, Farmerbraun.


  14. farmerbraun says:

    “The Green Party has nothing good to say about livestock farming, ”

    That could be a part of the problem. There are plenty of examples of responsible , low-impact livestock farming in NZ. Perhaps the Green party could take it upon itself to offer praise and encouragement to those livestock farmers who do a good job.
    Leave it to the Regional Councils to sort out the cowboys who flout environmental law.

    But there is probably very little political capital (read votes) to be gained from pointing out that the majority of livestock farmers are not vandals , or greedy ignorant pigs.

    You have to play to the gallery in politics, and the Green Party gallery is not big on science.


  15. farmerbraun says:

    “I don’t think she mentioned birds much in her recent report, did she?”

    No , I don’t think she did. Her report was mostly about the nitrogen and phosphorus, which are the pollutants of most concern.
    I see that Maori interests do not accept the Commissioner’s contention that all dairy expansion is a bad thing for the environment.
    Obviously , it is the way that dairying is done that is the issue ; not whether a farm has dairy cows or beef cows.
    Sustainable dairying may look very different from the current high-impact , seasonal , milk-solids production model that the tilted playing field (courtesy of the DIRA) encourages.

    The Commissioner did not address the question of what a sustainable dairy industry might look like , and how its impacts might be markedly less.


  16. robertguyton says:

    Tracey is making un-true statements now (what is it about dairying that makes right-wingers make stuff up? David Farrar, blog-hero of the Right, claimed repeatedly that the Greens were calling for dairy cows to be shot en masse, another blatant lie – seems some people here bought it though!). I direct the mistaken and misguided Tracey to the series of positive stories the Greens did on farming, including dairying, several years ago. I forget the name, but Dave Kennedy might notice this discussion and help Tracey right her wrong.


  17. robertguyton says:

    farmerbraun – you too are making incorrect claims, out of ignorance, I’m guessing. The Greens use of science is as great, if not greater than that of the other political parties. Where they call on scientific data to describe the effects of coal mining and burning on the atmosphere, for example, National’s Gerry Brownlee simply calls coal “sexy”, then chants “dig, baby dig”.
    You’ve quoted/repeated Tracey’s un-true claim about the Green’s statements about livestock farming and by doing so, show that you are not applying rational analysis to the issue, but are simply relying on emotion; Tracey’s and your own, to argue your prejudices. To pretend that the Green Party MPs think of or describe New Zealand farmers as “vandals” and “greedy ignorant pigs” says a lot more about you than anything else.


  18. Paranormal says:

    That would be your green ‘consensus’ science thing then RG. You know the one that’s all about politics and not about real science.


  19. TraceyS says:

    The Green Party released a statement regarding the negative state of the Taieri River – pointing a finger at farming, not dairy farming, but “intensive” farming generally.

    So why not one, last November, regarding the state of the Shag River? See

    Balance please. That’s not too much to ask. I am talking about press releases here, not a handful of aging examples hidden away on some corner of a website where most of the public will never seek to venture.


  20. farmerbraun says:

    Wow! It appears that you didn’t read a word of what i said, or you at least did not comprehend.
    So . . . again ;-
    ” the Green Party gallery is not big on science.”

    The subject of that sentence is the Green Party gallery i.e. the Green Party audience , those to whom it is trying to appeal. You addressed the use of science by the Green party , which I take to be the party itself. So wires were crossed there.

    Next . . .your refutation of the statement :-
    “The Green Party has nothing good to say about livestock farming, ”.

    All that you had to do there was produce the things which the Green Party has said are good about livestock farming.
    I haven’t heard those utterances from the Green Party ; can you offer examples? It is possible that I have missed them.

    And lastly , I said :-

    ” But there is probably very little political capital (read votes) to be gained from pointing out that the majority of livestock farmers are not vandals , or greedy ignorant pigs.

    That says NOTHING about what the Green Party may or may not think. It is about what the electorate wants to hear, [there is probably very little political capital (read votes) to be gained ] , and , the truth that “the majority of livestock farmers are NOT vandals , or greedy ignorant pigs. ”

    So basically your reply addressed things that I did not say.


  21. farmerbraun says:

    So let’s leave the accusations and talk about what needs to be done , because everybody agrees that change for the better is needed.

    Here is what Gareth Morgan and Geoff Simmons had to say recently :-

    ” What we would say is (that) the market structures around dairying are . . . driving that quest for more cows – a level playing- field would sort that (out) , and while on-farm investment would become less attractive, downstream investment would take up any slack.”

    What would a level playing- field look like?
    The repeal of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act might be a necessary precondition to the establishment of the type of alternative dairy manufacturing which avoids the ill effects of the present model.

    An alternative approach would be to deal with the distortions inherent in the Fonterra Milk Pricing Manual (which is no longer followed by Fonterra anyway).
    A removal of the distortions would enable new dairy manufacturers to obtain raw milk at somewhere close to its true value, and would inevitably raise the value of dairy company shares , and also dramatically increase the dividends from ownership of those shares.

    The whole concept of “added-value” in dairying needs to be re-examined in an open and honest way.
    In truth , every thing the industry does , beginning with the refrigeration of the raw milk on the farm , is adding value to a highly perishable product which has no immediate market in this country , or even across the Tasman.

    The way that “added-value” is currently defined by the Fonterra Milk Pricing Manual is a very long way from reality.


  22. TraceyS says:

    A random sample of Green Party Press release titles, all relating to livestock farming:

    “Caged finfish farming threatens the Hauraki Gulf”
    “New study reveals cruelty of chicken farming”
    “Organic farming is the clean green solution to pesticide residues”
    “MAF puts farming lobby ahead of human health”
    “Cruel “factory farming” must end, Greens Say”
    “Kedgley launches speaking tour against battery farming”
    “Factory dairy farming arrives in New Zealand”
    “Dairy farming putting water quality at risk”
    “Dairy payout an opportunity to future-proof farming”
    “Farming must clean up its act”
    “Bellamys must set example over factory farming”
    “Fonterra actions against dairy farming polluters welcomed”
    ” ‘Dirty’ minority in Waikato flout good farming practice”
    “Fonterra misleading farmers on palm kernel claims”
    “Clean green advantage in danger”


  23. robertguyton says:

    Your ‘random samples’ say nothing. What maleficence do you assign to “Organic farming is the clean green solution to pesticide residues” or “Fonterra actions against dairy farming polluters welcomed”???
    Fonterra? Are they the new econo-terrorists??

    Good grief. Talk about scaremongering – Scarey Greens, Devil-Beast Greens. You’re as silly as John Key.


  24. robertguyton says:

    Now we are in agreement, farmerbraun. I’ve been sending out the very Morgan quote you used here to the councillors of Environment Southland to help ensure that they too, see what solutions and explanations are being offered outside of the usual scaremongering (see earlier contributions from Tracey and GP)>


  25. Paranormal says:

    Well done again RG – picking two out of fifteen headlines. A summary of headlines that indicate an anti farming bias from your party.


  26. robertguyton says:

    Nonsense, paranormal. Your anti-Green bias is blinding you to the facts of the discussion. I’m concerned though, that Fonterra are being painted as anti-dairying. They are often criticising highlighting the problems dairying causes to the environment. I’m concerned too, that the issue of the birds and the blame Ele believes they must shoulder, for the E.coli in the Taieri, despite the findings of the ORC. Farmerbraun and I seem to be the only realists here.


  27. TraceyS says:

    Kudos to Nandor Tanczos who in 2007 said in a press release:

    “Fonterra’s lift in the forecast payout for the season to $6.90 is a major opportunity to future-proof New Zealand farming, says the Green Party.

    “Business is booming for the dairy industry, and the high payout forecast means a chance to invest in the long term sustainability of the industry,” says Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos.

    “There has been a lot of work gone into riparian protection, nutrient budgeting, better effluent management and the like over recent years and that is to be welcomed. In particular riparian protection through fencing, bridging and culverts has made good progress.

    “However, we also know that there are high levels of non-compliance with discharge consents, and effluent management is a crucial area in addressing water quality.

    “In addition, while the 2007 targets for riparian fencing, bridging and culverts have been met, there is still work to be done excluding stock with waterways. Nutrient management is also still an issue for some.”

    Isn’t this exactly what has happened?


  28. robertguyton says:

    But the birds! Won’t somebody think of the birds???

    It’s curious that farmerbraun, quite rightly in my opinion, isn’t pursuing the bird option, but is instead describing the problems within the dairy industry that so often result in pollution of the waterways? Tracey too, seems determined to focus on dairying.
    Seems Ele’s red-herring hasn’t done its job.
    Why GP and Tracey felt compelled to involve the Green Party in the discussing is anyone’s guess. Could it be that every other party is so mesmerized by dairy’s economic benefit that they’re blind to the harms it causes? Perhaps National, Labour, New Zealand First, United Future, The Maori Party, and Colin Craaaaaaaaigs’ Conservatives are so consumed by greed they daren’t speak out.


  29. jabba says:

    and where is Nandor now .. driven out by the socialists in the Green Party I suspect


  30. robertguyton says:

    Here comes Jabba with a witless non-idea!
    Nandor has done what the best politicians do when they realize that the real ‘place of change’ is in small communities (grass-roots, flax-roots, call it what you will) – he’s gone back to his and is creating change of the positive sort, untroubled by the likes of Jabba and making real change, useful change, change that’s supported by real people. He’s also become the chair (I think) of the permaculture organization here in New Zealand. Again, something real and useful. He’s a visionary guy, that Nandor.


  31. jabba says:

    so when will the other Gween MPs have the same realisation bOb .. correct me if I’m wrong (I’m sure you will), but most of them have never had a real job either and yet they tell the Govt how to run the country … I mean the Gweens are experts in money policy .. REALLY?


  32. farmerbraun says:

    The regional councils have a very specific job to do under the RMA and progress is steady now after a very slow start caused in part by the fact that agriculture was initially given a free pass under the RMA to maintain the status quo. The economic reasons for that initial free pass can readily stand scrutiny, and I think the importance of agriculture to the economy has only increased since then.

    But the level playing -field can only come about when the exemption from the competition provisions of the Commerce Act, that was granted to the dairy industry in the DIRA, is removed.
    The reality is that the provisions in the DIRA which were inserted to give lip service to the concept of competition, viz the requirement for Fonterra to supply raw milk to new entrants at a default raw milk price, have been completely subverted by Fonterra’s bizarre definition of added -value , and the consequent distortion of the true value of that raw milk that is contained in the Fonterra Milk Price Manual.

    No regional council will be able to address this fundamental problem.
    Instead the councils are reduced to fighting a rear-guard action as the environmental effects of this drive for more and more cows becomes apparent.
    Exacerbating factors to the pollution which results from increased numbers of cows within catchments, are the increase in supplement use , increased nitrogen fertiliser, PKE, and dairy support, and irrigation (on some soil types) , all of which allow greater numbers of cows to be kept on smaller areas, with the obvious consequence of increased leaching losses through the soil profile.

    Is it time to start talking about re-design of the dairy industry?


  33. GP says:

    Firstly, apologies in that other post for saying dairy farming, I meant intensive farming, I was writing that comment at work while trying to do seven things at once.

    What compelled me to involve the greens in this discussion was that the party was jumping on the bandwagon and blaming farmers for the e coli levels in the river before the ORC had even established what the cause of the contamination was in the first place.
    And that in my opinion isn’t fair.


  34. robertguyton says:

    That is a very wise and reasonable position to take, farmerbraun.

    Good luck.


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