Greenpeace gets it wrong again

Greenpeace had another misguided protest yesterday:

Federated Farmers is surprised at the misguided protest by Greenpeace outside Wellington ACC offices this morning.

“It’s disappointing to see Greenpeace opposing a scheme that has gone through a lengthily process and has stringent environmental conditions attached to it,”says Federated Farmers water spokesperson Chris Allen.

“Greenpeace are demonstrating their anti-irrigation views and seem to oppose anything that gives New Zealand farmers climate resilience.”

Mr Allen says stored water gives communities the opportunity to develop good economic and environmental outcomes and that Greenpeace action is a misguided publicity stunt.

“Greenpeace are barking up the wrong tree with dairy effluent – as those using the stored water will be doing so within strict resource consents conditions that have been through a very rigorous process.”

Mr Allen says that ACC have not been confirmed as an investor for the scheme and that out of 196 farms signed up so far, only one is a new dairy conversion.

Hawkes Bay has good soils and a moderate climate. Add reliable water to the mix and landowners will have lots of options only one of which is dairying.

However, it’s not what farmers do with the water but the impact it will have which matters. Stringent conditions in the irrigation scheme’s resource consent will protect the water and soil whatever is grown with it.

“The rural community will either remain as they are and use the irrigation as a form of resilience against dry periods or introduce some new higher value opportunities of cropping or vegetable products in their systems,” he says.

“The entire Hawkes Bay region will benefit by way of improved access to drinking and stock water to  recreational opportunities. The Tukituki Plan Change six was developed independently of Hawkes Bay Regional Council by a Board of Inquiry and put through various tests of the High Court.”

Federated Farmers would rather see Greenpeace support by advocating to Government the forward thinking opportunities to the TukiTuki region – that reliable water will bring if climate change effects the catchments rainfall.

Greenpeace has got it wrong again. Irrigation used carefully enhances the environment and also bring social and economic benefits.

21 Responses to Greenpeace gets it wrong again

  1. Dave Kennedy says:

    I don’t think they have got it wrong, Ele. You are only presenting a one sided view.

    According to Waikato farm consultant Dr Alison Dewes:

    “The model’s changed four times in the last few years. The latest version says the leaching from irrigated farms with coarse or stony soils – which is 70 per cent of Canterbury – is twice what they thought it was. Yet they can’t stop CPW now because it’s already got its consent. And so has the Rangitata Diversion Race, and the Barhill Chertsey Irrigation scheme.”

    “The horses have been allowed to bolt and cannot be called back. And Dewes says the CPW situation seems especially crazy as its 60,000ha block between the Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers already exceeds the nutrient pollution limits agreed as part of the irrigation-enabling Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS).”

    Professor David Hamilton has described irrigation decisions as essentially political ones where the science has been ignored.

    There are two sides to every story and it is useful to have these presented.

  2. Dave Kennedy says:

    This article presents two sides of the irrigation debate and I guess it depends on ones values and perspectives to which side resonates most.

    I do think the “guilty secret” title was apt because there is a lot of spin around when it comes to irrigation.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/71734277/nz-irrigation-and-its-guilty-secrets.html

  3. Mr E says:

    Dave,

    What do Canterbury irrigation schemes established decades ago have to do with the Ruataniwha scheme?

    Are all irrigation opportunities the same?

    Are all politicians the same?

  4. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, I was referring to Ele’s last statement that referred to irrigation schemes in general:
    “Irrigation used carefully enhances the environment and also bring social and economic benefits.”

    There are lots of concerns over the fraught Ruataniwha scheme as well with cost blowouts:
    http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/ruataniwha-water-scheme-costs-spirals-2016041309#axzz47jeia6y4

    Interestingly the economic and environmental issues around the dam even concerns Cameron Slater who is not usually one to stand up for the environment:
    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2016/03/why-the-ruataniwha-dam-is-poked/

    Professor Hamilton’s description of the process shows it is not robust in an environmental sense and generally becomes highly politicised:

    ” University of Waikato ecologist Professor David Hamilton says the Government claims its consensus approach to irrigation decisions is striking a fair balance between environmental and economic goals. However you can judge the reality of that from how the science was treated in last year’s National Policy Statement (NPS) for Freshwater Management. ”

    ” Yes, 60 water researchers started the ball rolling with their recommendations, says Hamilton. “But that went to a science review panel. From the science review panel, it went to a stakeholder review panel. From the stakeholder review panel, it went to an economic analysis at Treasury before it got to a political decision.” ”

    I think it is good to provide another side to the irrigation debate.

    Are all irrigation opportunities the same?
    Obviously not as all catchments have different challenges and natural elements and economic factors to consider. What is important is good process and the history of the Ruataniwha Dam has been dogged by poor process and bad economics.

    Do you have a different view to the Professor and Slater?

  5. Mr E says:

    Dave,

    So the answer is no – Irrigation schemes are all different. Judging the value of the Ruatuniwha scheme based on the RDR – is silly.

    I am surprised you are citing Slater. It seems a little hypocritical when you have criticised others for doing the same.

    I think every irrigation scheme needs to be considered on its merits. I think the Ruataniwha scheme has been considered in a reasoned process and the democratically elected members are still supporting it.

    I am not sure why you are concerned.

    PS I have no issue with the remarks Hamilton made. They seem factual and I support the process that occurred. If we relied on science making decisions for communities, what a bizarre world we could live in. I doubt you would be very happy. GM crops would be everywhere.

  6. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, my linking to Slater was an example of how widespread the concerns were around the process used.

    There is clearly still reasonable concerns around the dam regarding the robust nature of the decision making process:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/70515732/hundreds-pack-public-meeting-on-ruataniwha-dam-plan

    As someone how does have an environmental focus I find this initiative to get around the existing environmental rules particularly galling:
    “A revised decision from the board of inquiry considering the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme relaxes water quality conditions that were previously regarded as unworkable. It gives irrigators 15 years to find ways to manage nitrogen levels in the Tukituki River to very low levels.”
    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/ruataniwha-irrigation-scheme-gets-15-years-sort-water-quality-bd-172174

    As I said much depends on ones values on what would be considered acceptable. It is clear that the environmental concerns have been brushed aside, as with other irrigation schemes, and the economic interests of some are being favoured over others.

    “I think every irrigation scheme needs to be considered on its merits.”
    You have made it clear the merits that you give priority to Mr E and I have a different perspective. I think it is perfectly reasonable to present both sides and others can judge for themselves the strength of each case. Your blind trust in the “democratically elected” members seems a little misguided, perhaps you have other information that I haven’t seen?

    It would be nice to have an actual exchange of information rather than accusations of hypocrisy and random cartoons. It just comes across as a little infantile😉

  7. Dave Kennedy says:

    Oops “As someone ‘who’ does have an environmental focus…”

  8. Mr E says:

    Dave,

    “my linking to Slater was an example of how widespread the concerns were”

    Slater is a measure of widespread views? What are his views of the Green Party? What are his views of you and the NZEI?
    Whatever they are I am sure they are widespread…. Such is your logic.

    I am sure there are some concerns about the Ruataniwha dam. It is undoubtedly unavoidable.

    But those involved have followed a due process and elected representatives are supportive. What more could one expect?

    I am fascinated that you quote environmental restrictions, then claim environmental concerns have been brushed aside. You see the stupidity in that don’t you? Clearly environmental concerns have been considered and restrictions applied.

    You claim I have made merits clear… I haven’t at all. So I’ll call you out. What are these merits that I have made clear?

    I reckon you are just back to low grade politics. Pretending to know people’s thoughts.

    “Your blind trust in the “democratically elected” members”

    But it isn’t only elected members involved is it. Hundreds if not thousands have had input. Experts, environmentalists, farmers, many have had input to come to a compromise.

    But not all will be happy, particularly those with extremist views. The type that celebrate extreme and possibly illegal protest methods.

  9. Paranormal says:

    Gotta larf. Greenpeace put their waste in front of the wrong building. I wonder how they disposed of their waste after the protest?

  10. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Slater is a measure of widespread views?”
    No, he is an example of one element of the widespread views. We have scientists, economists, farm advisors and even some farmers who see the dam as essentially flawed. Cameron Slater is a shock jock blogger (Key’s description) and even he thinks the dam is “poked”.

    “But those involved have followed a due process”
    That also includes flouting existing environmental regulations as good process.

    “Clearly environmental concerns have been considered and restrictions applied.”
    15 years to attempt to manage a nitrogen issue that is already a problem and will be even more difficult to resolve with greater intensification. What will happen when we get to 2030 and levels are still too high?
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/277176/dam's-viability-challenged-after-inquiry-report

    “You claim I have made merits clear… I haven’t at all.”
    Yes you have, you have supported the process (which includes allowing 15 years to manage the nitrogen). You clearly think that the decision allowing an expansion of dairying with clear environmental risks is fine. If you think otherwise, you are welcome to say so.

    As I have already stated this may fit your idea of a good result, but obviously not for me.

    “Hundreds if not thousands have had input. Experts, environmentalists, farmers, many have had input.”
    You do realise in the select committee process that there can be thousands of submissions against a proposed bill and only a few supporting it and the Government can still decide to push it through with a 61-60 vote majority.

    Just because thousands have had input doesn’t mean that the consultation has been properly processed. Will the weighting fall in favour of an industry or the environment?
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/301451/scientists-damn-water-storage-claims

    “But not all will be happy, particularly those with extremist views”
    Please state what these extreme views are? I gathered that Greenpeace were concerned that under the existing circumstances nitrogen levels are already over the limits and the greater intensification supported by the dam will most like increase them even more. That was from an interview with one of the young protestors. It is actually what I believe too, are you calling this extreme?

    Not quite, Paranormal, some ACC staff still work there and it was partly symbolic because it is still thought of as the ACC building.

    Your question is an interesting one, perhaps you could ask them.

  11. Mr E says:

    Dave,

    “No, he is an example of one element of the widespread views.”

    That is a tough indicment on the Green party, NZEI and yourself. oh well, chin up.

    “We have scientists, economists, farm advisors ”

    Who is the Farm advisor that is against the dam?
    Who is the economist that is against the dam?

    Can your reference their anti Ruataniwha dam comments?

    Your scientists are against all dams because of the effects of the past. That is like banning electric cars because you are against the combustion engine. That is stupid. All dams should be weighed up on their merits, vs costs. Otherwise you are relying on emotion based on the past rather than considered the science of the actual opportunity.

    Am I surprise you and Slater are relying on the emotion of the issue rather than the underpinning science? No.

    “That also includes flouting existing environmental regulations as good process.”

    No it doesn’t – Currently most of the catchment is 0.8 mg/l for Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen. (DIN). Water quality will be measured each year and needs to fall below 0.8mg/L by 2030.

    DIN is a combination of Nitrate, Nitrite and Ammonia. Currently the National bottom line of Nitrate alone is 6.9mg/L. A DIN of 0.8mg/L is an extremely tough standard to meet. Behaviours that lead to more N in the catchment are clearly not permitted.

    “Yes you have, you have supported the process”

    Yes you have, you have supported the process (which includes allowing 15 years to manage the nitrogen).

    You are confusing the process for the outcomes of the process. Seems like a rookie mistake.

    “You clearly think that the decision allowing an expansion of dairying with clear environmental risks is fine.”

    Irrigation does not equal dairying. That is a silly assumption. If dairy conversion results in environmental degradation, then this is the behaviour that should be restricted. All irrigation users should not suffer if Dairy farmers in the region are getting it wrong.

    That is like kicking James Shaw out of Parliament for Ron Marks swearing.

    “You do realise in the select committee process that there can be thousands of submissions against a proposed bill and only a few supporting it and the Government can still decide to push it through with a 61-60 vote majority.”

    Central government is different to Regional councils. The RMA requires councils to reasonably consider submissions.

    “Just because thousands have had input doesn’t mean that the consultation has been properly processed. Will the weighting fall in favour of an industry or the environment?”

    Why does it have to be one or the other. Usually it is a delicate balance. That is why Councils are so important.

    Are you suggesting HBRC have it wrong and should be replaced by commissioners? Gosh!

    “Please state what these extreme views are?”

    “It is actually what I believe too, are you calling this extreme?”

    It is extreme to ignore all the benefits irrigation will bring, to the economy and to the environment and only consider Nitrogen which has strict limits and monitoring requirements. Yes – that is extreme.

    DIN of 0.8mg/l is a low level, and the consent requires it to be monitored yearly and be under 0.8mg/l by 2030. That is a tough expectation. Farmers in the area won’t be able to get anywhere near the DIN of 6.9mg/l that threatens fish or Nitrate of 11.3mg/l dangerous to humans.

  12. Dave Kennedy says:

    “DIN of 0.8mg/l is a low level, and the consent requires it to be monitored yearly and be under 0.8mg/l by 2030. That is a tough expectation.”
    Then perhaps now that the costs are ballooning towards the $1 billion mark that the value in the scheme is limited, Mr E, it does all sound rather desperate now. I rarely support anything that Slater says but his description does appear to fit (“poked”).
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/301334/dam's-cost-jumps-to-more-than-$900m

    Oh dear Mr E, the process is more than just a list of steps, so much depends on good faith and intent if the outcome is to be trusted. I explained how the Government abuses the select committee process when it allows it to occur then takes no notice of what is presented, the outcome is often predetermined.

    You may remember the EPA’s approval of Anadarko’s response plan in the event of an offshore spill. The EPA was the body that had the responsibility of approving any drilling activity and assessing environmental risk. Due diligence for them only involved reading the summary of the documents provided.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11163074

    You may also remember that when the government announced its $13 billion Roads of National Significance programme, none of the projects had any cost benefit analysis. To ensure that they all passed such an analysis an element called “Government Priorities” was inserted to weight the outcome. Even then some failed and many barely scraped through.

    So you can glibly say that there is good process established so therefore we should accept the outcome, but that is plainly naive when the process often becomes a rubber stamping situation where the end result was already determined.

    HBRIC continues to have it’s plans challenged:
    http://www.baybuzz.co.nz/archives/8357/

  13. Dave Kennedy says:

    Another reason why we won’t need to have extensive irrigation schemes. Organic farming requires less intensive practices and there are now huge economic reasons why more farmers should convert:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/79699575/fonterra-announces-920-price-for-organic-farmers

  14. Mr E says:

    So you are against the Ruataniwha dam and irrigation in general because of Anadarko, Fonterra, and roads.

    That makes sense.

  15. farmerbraun says:

    “Irrigation does not equal dairying. ”

    True. Neither does dairying equal irrigation.

    And dams do not equal (solely) irrigation.

    Those who oppose dams need to say what their real objection is.

  16. Dave I suspect you are concerned about climate change and the potential impact on food supply. So why on earth are you against irrigation? It’s got to be one of the best single investments in climate change adaptation.

  17. Dave Kennedy says:

    James, There are few cases where has positive results, generally irrigation causes degradation and actually reduces the productivity of an area in the long term. In New Zealand’s case schemes have seriously depleted aquifers and natural river systems and the intensification it supports results in much higher levels of pollution.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_irrigation

    We should learn the lessons that have been learned elsewhere in the world. You must have heard about what has happened to the Murray River?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_River

  18. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Those who oppose dams need to say what their real objection is.”
    1) Increased irrigation naturally intensifies land use and in the case of the Ruataniwha catchment nitrogen levels are already exceeding the current limits. It is more likely that levels will increase further if the scheme goes ahead.
    2) Irrigation schemes tend to impact negatively on natural water systems and reduce river flows.
    3) Irrigation is being supported through Government subsidies and that will only benefit a privileged few. This Government is looking at spending close to $1 billion on irrigation for an industry that is already $38 billion in debt. The external costs of dairying that are being picked up by the taxpayer are also substantial. The cost benefit analysis doesn’t stack up.

  19. Dave Kennedy says:

    There would be much greater returns if the Government invested in supporting a shift to organic production.
    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/fonterra-forecasts-63-surge-2017-organic-milk-payout-b-188695

  20. Mr E says:

    In other words, there is no credible objection to the Ruataniwha scheme. The objection is to irrigation in general, which is based on past concerns.

    The Ruataniwha scheme does not allow increases in N levels. It requires N levels to improve, to a level miles below the Government bottom line – a safe for fish bottom line.

    Those committing to irrigation are in effect saying – we will intensify sustainably.

    Then there are the other benefits, including improving the reliability of river flows, which reduces the risk of cyanobacteria.

    Daves opposition seems to be one where he does not trust those involved to achieve what they say they can. And a lack of trust that the Council will hold those accountable to consents.

  21. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, if you read any of my more recent links you would be aware that I am not writing just the views of Dave Kennedy. I am reflecting a broad spectrum of views, many far better informed than myself, who express concerns. The Farmers union is currently the most vocal supporter and I haven’t read many other groups who are other than local Government and national MPs.

    I would question whether local government are actually supporting the scheme because of long term commercial and environmental benefits (the evidence is shaky) or the $80+ million of government money that will be poured into the construction.

    I would be good to have some more evidence from yourself in support of the scheme. One of the real tests of long-term viability is the interest of private investors to commit funds. Most have run a mile and it seems public money will be needed to get it off the ground and even that has been a struggle:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/hawkes-bay-today/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503462&objectid=11586346

    I linked to Cameron Slater before because he demonstrates the wide cross-section of political backgrounds that oppose the dam and it is interesting what he says here about the Council’s approach and the process used:

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2016/04/bullying-from-the-dodgy-council-is-the-real-reason-the-dodgy-socialist-dam-is-poked/#more-245754

    He is actually saying similar things to others, but he expresses it all a little more bluntly. As you know i generally disagree with him but in this case he is spot on…do you think he is wrong?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: