Federated Farmers is hitting back at environmental lobbyists blaming the farming community for the gastro outbreak in Hastings.
Over 4000 people have fallen ill with the waterborne bug in Havelock North, after E. coli was found to be in the local water supply.
Since then, some groups have blamed wandering stock and farming practices for the outbreak.
President Dr William Rolleston says since the saga, farming practices have been unjustifiably put as the root of the cause by some groups.
“They’ve exploited this to push their agenda, and I think that’s disappointing. I think what we were trying to do is alert the public to think about the messages they are getting,” he said.
Dr Rolleston says most farmers are actively trying to prevent situations like this occurring.
“You can’t do it all in one go – so that is actually a work in progress. You’re never going to eliminate a phytograph of cattle standing in a river,” he said.
“[If you wanted to], you’d have to sensor waterways in New Zealand, or eliminate agriculture in great tracks of land in the high country.”
Dr Rolleston says there is no silver bullet for to stop occasional outbreaks – and sometimes the system fails us.
The fact that we’re all on the same page, the intent to improve our waterways by limiting stock access isn’t relevant here. The fact is that Havelock North water is still being chlorinated because the contamination hasn’t stopped.
People are looking for answers, naturally.
And the fact is that the Tukituki river forms part of the water that flows on, over and through the catchment area.
So anything that enters that river is in play. Including what comes off farms along the way.