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.