It’s not just farmers who are facing huge costs from the government’s proposed freshwater strategy.
. . .Rural residents are showing up in their hundreds to public meetings about the scheme, despite it being the busiest time of year for them. But on the whole townies don’t seem to be so aware of the proposals, Federated Farmers environment spokesperson Chris Allen said.
“This package affects urban – our city cousins, as much as it does farmers. This is going to be huge, this is not just a farming package.
“The fact that it affects councils [means] everyone needs to understand that it’s a big undertaking and it’s going to cost a lot of money, so expect rates to go up.”
The package announced on 5 September includes plans to improve the health of waterways, such as national standards for managing stormwater and wastewater, and tighter controls on urban development. . .
What will this do to the government’s purported aim of solving the housing shortage? Tighter controls on urban development will add costs to building and reduce the supply of new houses.
Engineer and clean water advocate Greg Carlyon has previously told RNZ the changes were likely to cost “many many billions”.
These costs include those from what has to be done to meet new standards and loss of production; the army of advisors who will be needed as well as more compliance officers and council staff.
Anti-farming activists have highlighted the impact animals and chemicals can have on rural waterways. There’s been very little attention paid to urban run-off . The more concrete and tar seal, the more people and pets, and the more vehicles there are, the more run-off there will be and the more detrimental the impact on water quality.
A lot of towns and cities also have inferior sewer and stormwater systems the upgrading of which to meet the proposed standards will be very, very expensive.
We all want clean water but the answers to the questions of how clean and at what cost won’t just impact farmers. They will add constraints and costs to urban activities and increase council rates for us all.
If any candidates for council elections are promising no rates increases, ask them have they taken into account the cost of meeting the requirements of the freshwater policy and if so what services will they be cutting to ensure rates don’t rise.