A correspondent to the Otago Daily Times, rev Steve O’Connor, (not online) asks:
Is it stupid to try to clean up our rivers and lakes inside a generation? Is it stupid to aspire to having all rivers and lakes swimmable, fishable and suitable for food gathering? Is it stupid to have regulatory safeguards and charge a little bit for large water takes for irrigation? . . .
We don’t have to choose between a thriving primary industry and clean water. We can have both. . .
To which Ian Mackenzie, a Federated Farmers board member responds:
The question Rev Steve O’Connor should be asking is how much he is prepared to pay in extra rates to clean up the Leith to swimming standards? that is to the standards of Moana Pool.
At the moment, run-off from the streets of Dunedin contaminates the Leith to about four times the acceptable level of E. Coli for safe swimming.
That has nothing to do with farming but it is he and the greater population of North Dunedin who are responsible.
I can now swim safely in the creek that flows through my farm because for years we have been investing in stock exclusion and riparian planting to ensure good water quality .
What did the rev O’Connor’s boss say about ‘he who is without sin’?
It is possible to have a thriving primary industry and clean water.
It is also possible to have clean water in urban areas but it will take time and money to achieve the high standard required for food gathering and swimming in many places.
How do the urban people so keen to have farmers – who by and large are already doing their bit to clean up the waterways they border – pay more, feel about paying to clean up waterways in their towns and cities?