Bluegreen for good growth

The left like to think they have a mortgage on green issues.

They don’t, and most of their policies to protect and enhance the environment come at considerable cost to the economy.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

It is possible to have sound environmental policies which don’t handicap the economy, and  to have sound economic policies which don’t come at the cost of the environment.

Photo: Now here's a real plan for our economy.

Good economic policies enable better environmental ones – cleaning up past mistakes and maintaining high standards comes at a cost.

By worlds standards New Zealand’s water quality is high, but there is still a lot of room for improvement in many places.

In light of that, the announcement of  an extra $1.2 million to help communities clean-up waterways is very welcome.

The Government is investing a further $2.1 million to help communities improve New Zealand’s freshwater quality, Environment Minister Amy Adams has announced.

Ms Adams made the announcement at the Bluegreens Forum in Kaikoura today.

“This further investment adds to the Government’s strong commitment to improving the quality of our freshwater, as we develop a package of cohesive reform and clean-ups that will lead to the more productive and sustainable use of our freshwater resource within a generation,” Ms Adams says.

The Government’s freshwater reform programme includes a National Objectives Framework, national bottom lines for freshwater, collaborative planning processes, better water accounting, and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to clean-up historical contamination of our iconic waterways.

“I know that many New Zealanders want to play an active part in improving the quality of the water in our local lakes and rivers.

“To encourage this, today I am announcing the Government is allocating $1.1 million to a fund to support local water quality initiatives that support the freshwater reforms.

“These projects will involve the community, raise awareness and strengthen collaboration.”

Further information, including how to apply for the funding, will be announced shortly.

“As well as helping people take action to improve freshwater quality, we also need to make sure the activity is achieving results.

“So, a further $1 million will be targeted at enhancing the monitoring of freshwater quality in New Zealand.

“A large network of sites is currently used for assessing the state of our rivers. These sites were established for a variety of reasons, but the data collected is not necessarily representative of the whole country.

“This money will be used to improve the effectiveness of the monitoring, enabling more representative and precise reporting on the state of New Zealand’s freshwater.

“This will also support the National-led Government’s environmental reporting framework which will enhance New Zealanders’ understanding about the state of our environment.

“New Zealand is in the middle of ambitious freshwater management reforms and this money will support regional councils to involve their communities in taking action.

“At the same time we are ensuring that good information is available to shape the decisions that communities need to make about water quality in their region.”

Photo: Investing a further $2.1 million in community freshwater action

10 Responses to Bluegreen for good growth

  1. Bulaman says:

    Plant more trees!

  2. Dave Kennedy says:

    Sadly far more is being spent on increasing farming intensification that mitigating the effects. The bottom line for freshwater management is that water quality shouldn’t get worse when things are already pretty dire. There are also too many opportunities for water quality to fall if the economic arguments to do so are accepted by affected communities (I can imagine the pressure applied to allow this to happen).

    While many communities, regional councils and farmers are actually doing some great things it is still not enough to really turn things around very quickly. The current rate of eutrophication of many of our estuaries (the nurseries of our fishing industry) is a major concern. This is a case of too little too late 😦

  3. TraceyS says:

    No, Bulaman @9:14 am, “plant more trees” is apparently not the way to go!

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/294803/owner-sore-about-order-axe-270000-trees

    Gorse being preferable to productive tree species, despite;

    “…under controlled conditions more nitrate was leached from sites under gorse, than from sites under other species. For example, nitrate-N concentrations from the gorse area averaged 5 g/m3 whereas nitrate from Radiata pine averaged 0.006 g/m3.”

    (https://crops.confex.com/crops/wc2006/techprogram/P18979.HTM)

    Landscape trumps leachate. At least in this example.

  4. TraceyS says:

    Sadly, Dave @11:50am, there is so much hand-wringing by those who have only an academic, not innate, sense of what to do about it.

  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, This government governs based on supposedly innate understandings on what they should do. The economy, education and dairy expansion are all being progressed with little reference to evidence and research. Evidence comes from practical applications and results and I’m sure there are many who have an innate ability to chose good pathways, but I have little faith in this government to do so.

    It was a pity this early research was ignored when the dairy boom began:
    http://www.dairynz.co.nz/file/fileid/27185

    More research:

    http://www.dairyingfortomorrow.com/cds/Understanding%20Dairy%20Catchments/PDFs/Monaghan%202007.pdf

    There are also proven alternatives to current practice and DairyNZ is actually doing some great work in this area, but it needs greater investment: http://www.dairynz.co.nz/page/pageid/2145862286/Organic_Dairying
    Using more sustainable methods (biological farming and natural farming too) just makes environmental and economic sense.
    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/organic-industry-blooming-report-123334

    I don’t think you will find me hand wringing, it achieves nothing. Our scientists, DairyNZ and global markets should guide future development and we need all to work collaboratively with farmers to achieve the best results for all of us.

  6. TraceyS says:

    The ones with innate knowledge have their feet in gumboots, Dave, not under a desk. People who have been reading the land, not books, all their lives.

    Your attitude reminds me of the ‘Saturday Smiles’ clip yesterday except the ‘sheep’ you want to herd are the farmers.

    Ask yourself why that will not work.

  7. JC says:

    Dave @ 5.38pm

    Your first cite is nearly 20 years old and dated.

    Your second cite is 8 years old and fails to recognise the now 100% compliance achieved in the Bog Burn catchment

    http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/land/water-quality-selected-dairying-farming-catchments/html/page4.html

    Your enthusiasm for organic dairying is fine, but at a small fraction of 1% of total dairy production is in dream country for many years to come.

    JC

  8. jabba says:

    Dave .. has this Nat lead Govt achieved any, ANY, positive results for NZ since 2008 .. ANYTHING Dave?

  9. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I think that you will find the best agricultural researchers wear gumboots and the best research is done in collaboration with others in gumboots. Just like those who understand education are those who actually work with children. You seem to have a rather interesting view of what research involves. Most farmers I know have an academic qualification.

    JC, my point in putting forward the older research was to show a lag between research and action. Obviously I would prefer all farming to be largely organic but I am aware of the practicalities which is why I also support biological and natural farming practices. The fact that only 1% (your figure) is currently organic puts us well behind Europe and is very concerning. We are missing out on growth markets.

    Jabba this government have actually done a number of positive things that I have recognized at different times, however the negatives often outweigh the positives. The ‘balance’ is almost always wrong. Q&A (TV1) was interesting today, most of the panel supported Russel’s views on economic management and were concerned with Bill’s lack of inspiration. http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2014/03/q-norman-vs-english.html

  10. Gravedodger says:

    Dave K, organic farming, if embraced across the productive sector would within months drastically fail to feed the world.
    Golden Rice has enormous potential yieldwise and health benefitwise, yet the extreme position of the “organic lobby” refuses to embrace it.

    The only purchasers of “organic produce” are those who can afford it, the poorest will die of starvation if total rejection of GM and GE is permitted.

    Almost all those I have encountered in over 60 years of connection to primary production are at a minimum blue green in their attitude to the environment.
    Yes there will always be problems arising and mongrels in any industry but overall we are on track to prosperity,
    Complacency is a formiddable opponent but if the Dairy Company refuses to accept product from the recalcitrent they will very soon become compliant.

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