New York Times on Shit in Our Rivers

The Minister of Tourism probably needs to think this through. Bad publicity in the NY Times may be the result of some hippies putting out press releases but when the metrics are half our rivers are unsafe to swim in we have a serious problem.

Last month, the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment released a survey showing that more than half of the country’s freshwater recreational sites were unsafe to swim in. Fecal contamination of waterways, caused largely by dairy farming — the source of 13.9 billion New Zealand dollars, or $10 billion, in annual exports, nearly a quarter of New Zealand’s total — was widespread.

The survey showed that people who swam in those rivers were at a high risk of illness, including serious diseases like giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis and campylobacteriosis. The waterways were the cause of 18,000 to 34,000 cases of waterborne disease each year.

Dairy farmers should pay the costs they incur, including the cost of their pollution. A free right to pollute is just another subsidy, and this blog hates both subsidies and governments that promote socialism by giving business hand outs.

  • maninblack

    The dairy farmers are just not paying the full cost of their milk production.
    Imagine if a large factory just dumped its waste in a river- there would be mass uproar.. so why should it be any different for farmers?

    • Whafe

      Hear you, but it seems a good many councils are dumping not completely treated waste into rivers….

      • http://www.whaleoil.co.nz Whaleoil

        Get them too…it simply isn;t good enough to be dumping shit int he rivers, be it townie shit or cow shit

        • Mediaan

          Agree. But when you talk to the waste people, they know little about safe disposal methods for various kinds of waste.

    • Travis Poulson

      Factories do, dairy factories, meat works, local council sewerage systems, the pulp and paper mills in Kawerau, hell you can even see the water change colour on google earth as it goes past them.

    • NoVictim

      Farmers dont, “just dump their waste in the river”!!

    • Agent BallSack

      Factories do unfortunately, think Exide and hundreds of other multinationals out there.

  • Mohawk Genocide

    The notion that the body politic can give people a “right to pollute” is vanity and fiction.

    • Mediaan

      Okay, so you are going to drop your personal waste in a bucket and see it is safely buried from now on? Because the local council where you are is almost sure to be dropping it, merely filtered, in a natural environment water body like a river.

      Let us know how you get on, checking it out.

      • Mohawk Genocide

        No, councils use oxidation ponds before the fluid is returned to the environment.

        • Callum

          No they all don’t. Some may do but there a very wide range of levels of treatment throughout NZ, that is before you get to what happens in a rain event when the system passes capacity (to give you a hint, lots of untreated waste straight into rivers and oceans).

          • Mohawk Genocide

            O.K. So how do we find a solution to the problem? Environmental degradation isn’t limited to polluted waterways.

          • wiltinpenis

            Teach people to be tidy and have respect for where they are and where they want to see the future; It’s easy. Yeah right! would be the common call – therefore, the notion needs all of us to help.

          • parorchestia

            I don’t know. I thought regulations were in place to force better waste and sewage treatment. I know that my rates in the Mackenzie and Christchurch go for that and we have good systems in place. But I am horrified at what I see in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmy, etc etc. How can they escape yet the communities I belong to not?? But now we have an undemocratic regional council I expect the place to go to Hell in the name of economic expediency.

  • In Vino Veritas

    Yup, and Mike Joy, along with the Eugenie Sage, Green party spokes person, who both contributed (or did they initiate it?) to this article are trying to destroy NZ as a destination. I’m sure all tourist operators in NZ will be pleased with their comments and contributions.
    Well done people, particularly Sage, who’s party claim’s they have financial answers to the economy.

    • Phar Lap

      Not forgetting the yankee enemy within name of Genter,a wetback greenie who spends most of her time in USA.Was spotted in Boston a few weeks ago.Probably spreading her poison,if some of he comments in Parliament last week are anything to go by.

    • Mediaan

      There is some big interest group pushing Eugenie Sage forward all the time. She is quite thick, but gets promoted vigorously. They must have big plans for her.

      • In Vino Veritas

        Forest & Bird. Need I say more. The worst thing about her, is that she is actually an accredited RMA Commissioner. With bias spilling out her ears, nose and mouth, how does that work?

  • tspoon

    Clearly this blog also has a strong dislike for fact. From the website of the taranaki regional council:
    “The Ministry for the Environment grades are based mainly on the hypothetical risks arising from how the surrounding land is used, rather than actual monitoring results, says the Council’s Director-Environment Quality, Gary Bedford. In other words, it is essentially a desktop exercise that should in no case be used where an actual, properly conducted measurement programme exists, such as in Taranaki.
    · For the past two summers, water quality at popular freshwater bathing spots has been the best in a decade.
    · At the 16 freshwater bathing sites monitored during summer 2011-2012, only 22 of 207 samples exceeded the national “action” guideline for bathing water bacterial contamination – the lowest level of non-compliance for 11 years.
    · Of the 22 samples that exceeded the guideline, 19 were from just three sites – Lake Rotomanu, Waiwhakaiho River near Lake Rotomanu, and Te Henui Stream mouth – where wildfowl are the major source of contamination.
    · Coastal bathing monitoring results are consistently better than the national average. In 2011-2012, more than 94% of samples were within national guidelines for bacteria levels.”
    In other words, in one of the countries most intensively farmed provinces, water quality continues to improve. Unfortunately, in taranaki, dairy farmers pay, not only to meet environmental standards and have compliance proven by measurement, but for central government pinheads to release reports that are more full of effluent than the average cowshed mid-milking. These reports then get ‘churned’ and ‘repeated’ at points north and south, by people who should know better.

  • disqus_DCq7uxUFCc

    Can I take a shit in the local farmers sink to even things up a bit ?

    • parorchestia

      If you belong to that 90% of communities with inadequate sewage treatment then you already do.

  • http://barnsleybill.blogspot.com barnsleybill

    Knowing a bit more about this topic than our intemperate host I shall comment.
    Councils and urban areas are the big problem.
    Farmers and in particular those farmers who squeeze milk from bovine animals are made to jump through increasingly smaller hoops to be allowed to ply their trade.
    The effluent systems are becoming increasingly complex and expensive to install, maintain and operate. The fencing laws are getting tighter and tighter.
    In the mean time every town along the Waikato from Taupo to Pukekohe discharges partially treated sludge into the river and I have seen no evidence to suggest it is not the same in all our rivers that run through or near a town.
    Blaming farmers only covers a very small part of the problem. And the greens are not going to blame townies. Only people who know nothing of the land vote green. Not too many meat eating export earners voting for the commie and anarchist led marketing idea that we laughingly call a green movement in this country.

    • Travis Poulson

      I’m not making excuses, but sometimes the pollution can be accidental, for example a travelling irrigator in a paddock that has tile drains in it which drain into waterways. More so a problem during wet spells when the effluent goes straight through the soil instead of being absorbed by the soil and grass. Negligent, but not deliberate. Having said that, in many cases in the past it has been common practice pumping directly into a creek near the cowshed.
      We used to farm across the river from an arrogant arsehole that thought it was his god given right to have his stock roaming freely up and down the riverbed. Mother nature paid him back, in the form of a flood that took out his crops and some of his fencing.

    • NoVictim

      I Agree, not much of a fuss being made of the fact that the New Plymouth district council is dumping tonnes of raw untreated sewerage from its carousel treatment plant straight into the sea at the moment, all they have to do is give a warning not too swim or collect seafood. Yet they will give large fine to any farmer (as they should) that pollutes.

      • In Vino Veritas

        Yes NoVictim, it’s hypocrisy. After all, Russell Norman and other Green Party politicians aren’t fined for polluting the atmosphere every time they open their mouths.

    • Pokerface

      A lot of truth in that, Barnsley. I used to swim in the Wanganui (stick the “H” where the sun don’t shine) bridge to bridge race, many years ago. It had to be cancelled because we were batting turds out of the way. They weren’t cow turds. I believe it has improved since then?

    • parorchestia

      Ducks – don’t forget the ducks. They are major suppliers of E.coli in many waters.

  • blazer

    why does this blog leader have a Kiwibank account then?

    • Petal

      Breakfast first, then comment.

      • Travis Poulson

        Actually I wish him and Mohawk Genocide would take their meds before checking the blog. Believing that aliens walk among us is just plain fucked in the head. If he were one of them I’d probably believe it, but other than that….

        • Mohawk Genocide

          You could always refuse to comment on the video evidence with the excuse that it was “poorly edited and blurry”. Fangs, claws, and pointy-ears, oh my.

          • Travis Poulson

            You showed me an edited video, it wasn’t evidence. The evidence was in the link to the original footage. I think you’re just trolling now, nobody in their right mind would believe that video.

            Shapeshifters….seriously….snap out of it, joke is over.

          • In Vino Veritas

            No!! Did I miss an alien invasion Travis? Please tell me blazer was involved!!

          • Travis Poulson

            No you didn’t miss the invasion IVV, according to Mo Gen they are still among us.

          • In Vino Veritas

            Bah ha hah!! Is Penny Bright involved in the conspiracy I wonder?

          • Mohawk Genocide

            The fact that it was edited doesn’t stop it from being evidence. I know that it is extraordinary, but so is the fact the the US government refuses to address the issue of eyewitness testimony concerning related phenomena (Phoenix Lights etc) .

            Shapeshifters (also called dopplegangers) are part of this planet’s religious and cultural history.

  • Tony

    Am I the only person who thinks that this piece in the NYT is a little strange? The NYT, hopelessly liberal, should have much more to worry about than little old NZ. Who is planting anti-NZ stories and why? It seems to be more than just hippy-press releases.

    • Agent BallSack

      Not to forget the Hudson River which actually runs through New York State as being one of the most polluted waterways in the world. But hey, thats okay because we’re American and we can destroy what we like in the name of progress.

      Hudson River

    • Mediaan

      Forest and Bird are. Check out the meeting held recently to rouse up members to seed bad NZ publicity like this. It was advertised by a story, about 15cms or more, in the local Fairfax paper here.

      • Mediaan

        The bigger picture is, a Labour and Green Aligned Lobby has been trying to destroy NZ prosperity, so the National Government will not be re-elected. This is one in a string of environmental hits from people who do not really love New Zealand.

        The truth is standing here, to see, to smell. We all experience it. Tourists who come here won’t be fooled.

    • parorchestia

      It’s because of our China connection and our independence (like the use of PHARMAC – hated by pharmaceuticals, loved by us.). They (the US) will try to woo us away and shame us away.

  • busman

    There is no such things as dirty rivers in NZ

    • Callum

      You know that large conservation estate all over NZ? Well I heard a rumour wild animals shit in the waterways, better go remove all the wildlife.
      Bad farmers are a minority, the bigger problem is self righteous pricks who live in cities that ignore their own shit being dumped into rivers and oceans. Funnily enough the city based ratepayers never want to pay for the level of treatment for their own shit that they demand from others.

      • busman

        i disagree callum , i fish many many rivers in NZ and from what i actually see the clean farmers are the minority , you know rumours are just that rumours ! you really need to get out there and see for yourself .
        City based ratepayers never want to pay for their own shit ! really where are these cities you state ?? i dont know any person who is not happy to pay for this to be done .

        • Callum

          Have a look at Palmerston North, dumping shit into the river. Gisborne, fancy new system that still pumps out into the ocean. Ratepayers were up in arms about the costs of a totally land based treatment systems and cried poor.

          • busman

            Point taken , at least palmerston north is now working hard to rectify this as for gisborne this is no good , hopefully going forward they will sort this out

          • Callum

            You will also find a lot of councils are sneaking a portion of city waste water treatment costs into general rates so big landowners (farmers) end up subsidising the city ratepayers to dispose of residents shit while having to pay directly for their own on site disposal.

          • busman

            That may be so Callum but when farmers come into my town to watch a game of footy and enjoy a cpl of beers i pay for the upkeep of the road , the treatment of their shit and the disposal of their beer bottles !!
            Shall we agree to a draw !
            LOL

          • Callum

            If the same regulatory regime and fines were applied to the council as farmers (the regional council is only now taking action) then I’m pretty sure Plamerston North would be bankrupt. The answer to why it isn’t is that one farmer doesn’t make as much noise as a city of ratepayers.

            Would be interesting to apply the same penalties and actions, breach your consent and shut the system down. A city full of backed up toilets might actually get some action.

            Personally I don’t support anyone dumping into our rivers but my wife has been involved in the water testing regime and a lot of the “dirty rivers” are overhyped. Many remote rivers will breach limits during a rain event, simply because the river is stirred up. One over scale reading during a year classifies that river as dirty, even if it is perfectly safe the other 364 days. And they aren’t anywhere near a dairy farm, many don’t have any real farming impact on them at all.

          • busman

            Callum i take your point , the fact of the matter is dirty dairying exists and that a large majority of farmers do not take it seriously , the point in fact is the numbers of stream / rivers that are 1) not fenced to stop cows crapping in them 2) riparian planting that will help filter runoff , perception is a great thing and perhaps farmers need to understand this .A great example is the waiwakaiho river that runs from mt taranaki to the coast through new plymouth , this was 50 years ago a very good river to fish in and or swim in , ( no longer sadly) fencing is seriously lacking on this river ( by lacking i mean broken / poor fences) and riparian is only so so , if farmers were to actually take responsibility for correcting these actions then the world would be a far better place and farmers would get a little more respect , isn`t it their responsibility to protect rivers for future generations ?? or is it the taxpayer of NZ ??
            I am not a greenie by any stretch but i do place a very big importance on this issue for my childrens and future generations to come .
            there are hundreds more rivers in New Zealand that i could quote.
            Is it that farmers in NZ do not think it is their responsibility to do their bit ? or that someone else should pay ?? when they cream it on payouts why not put some aside to address their rresponsibilities and not perhaps invest in another farm or new car.

          • In Vino Veritas

            All very noble busman. But when fencing and filtering is done, up goes the price of milk and cheese. Just wait for the bleating of the socialists then, when the people they’ve made poor, and want to keep poor, suddenly can’t afford these things.

        • Mediaan

          Hamilton.

        • Mediaan

          Don’t forget it’s official policy of councils to tell industrial pollutant and toxic dump biggies to tip their poisons and toxic wastes into the sewage system as well.

          Like, Auckland, Watercare for example. It used to get tipped in mostly at Mount Wellington Watercare facility, when I last checked.

          But hey, no problem, because Peter Drummond was Chair of Watercare AND of Envirowaste. They own the nearest huge dump, on the Waikato River.

      • In Vino Veritas

        Quite correct Callum. Even if Aucklanders wanted to pay for their shit to be treated properly, people like say, Red Len, would use it for an insane light rail loop instead.

  • Neil

    But we’ve always had socialism – for the farmers. Even our most “right” wing governments have exempted farmers from the rules the rest of the countries industry have to follow. The worst thing is blaming new rules for the problem not the farmers themselves – whats the great “right’ phrase? Adapt in business or perish…..

    • Mediaan

      So you are suddenly in favour of non-interventionist government, Neil? Smaller gvernment, that doesn’t get involved in encouraging business and exports?
      Congratulations on the metamorphosis.

      • Neil

        Where on earth did you get the idea I was FOR government intervention?

  • Vlad

    We should invest $54million in our river cleanliness instead of spending it on a scheme to make cows fart Chanel No 5 instead of methane.

  • Whafe

    A good question for me to see answered is:
    There are for sure many great dairy farmers, however what is in the make up of dairy farmers that think that it is not their responsibility to have water ways fenced off and riparian borders sorted etd etc

70%