Federated Farmers should let sleeping dogs lie


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.


– Newshub

  • rantykiwi

    FF have never really been the sharpest tool in the shed – this is about par for the course from them.

  • John

    Auckland sucks its water out of the Waikato. All around New Zealand towns are supplied from rivers with agricultural activity upstream.

    If a bore can allow contamination in from a stream it is not a secure bore.

    If it is not a secure bore supply there is law that sets out appropriate treatment. It is the Health Act.

    Blaming mushroom growers and farmers appears to be an attempt by the council there to divert the real offender. This has been picked up by those wishing to promote improved rivers and water ways. While I am keen to see improvements in the quality of our rivers and streams, I think people need to know that in this case treatment, or lack of, needs to be where attention should be focused.

    I am really interested to see the council down in Havelock North talk about creating new bores. The existing ones, with treatment are just fine, this suggests to me the council beurocracy has a strong green loby in it. Its sad the at they don’t appear to have people who have looked at the case studies of towns without chlorine – now they have added a new one.

    • Nechtan

      Yes, it is a councils responsibility to ensure the drinking water it supplies is safe to drink. End of story.
      Seeking to shift the blame or muddy the waters (no pun intended) suggests the council has dropped the ball.

  • Big_Al

    I don’t blame Federated Farmers for being upset that the Environmentalists and ill informed morons that are blaming the farmers for causing this gastric problem.
    Farming in this region, as in most of NZ, has not changed for many years and this problem has only just arisen. The exact cause has not yet been identified and may never be. All else is just pure speculation as there are so many scenarios that can lead to this contamination, and having spent many years in the water treatment industry, i have seen it all before. Prevention is the best cure and from what i have been told the water supply was not being chlorinated. Had it been, then this situation probably would’nt have occured or been as severe. Hopefully lessons have been learned from all of this.

  • Second time around

    A swimmable river may still contain 500 times the E coli count that is permissible for drinkable water. Water for wading is worse. Bore water should not come directly from a river. Singapore routinely cleans its sewage to drinkable standard: it is not the source of the water but the unwillingness to clean it that is the problem.

  • cows4me

    I have one river that borders the property and several small streams that flow through the property. All the streams are fence off in some way but the river is a totally different issue, it is unfenced and will remain so. In their drive to appease hysterical townies and squealing melons Fonterra and the country’s regional councils have introduced a blanket law that all waterways should be fenced off. And like all sweeping laws that are introduced before been thought out properly this law is an arse. Many rivers flood regularly and change course often, I have a river that can shift a 100 meters in a big rain event. What was once a fence line could now have 20 or so meters of land before the river or the fence line is now on the other side of the river. I’ve fenced various sections five times only to see trees and fences washed away, I won’t be doing anymore, I can’t afford to nor can I spare the time. I’ve told the council and they pretend they can’t see anything. I suspect large parts of rural NZ face the same problems. The secret for keeping stock out of the water isn’t fences anyway but well maintained troughs so the stock have ample water. Stock won’t go in the water if they are use to using troughs and are not grazed to tightly. This mass hysteria about stock in rivers is simply hysteria, the greatest effect on rivers is nutrient runoff.

    • Nechtan

      Cows its bollocks, look at any river that flows through (or anywhere near) an urban area and compare the upstream water with the down stream.

    • sandalwood789

      I hear you, Cows.

      What about mobile electric fences? Do they work in keeping stock away from waterways? They’d certainly seem to be cheaper than permanent fencing. Maybe they can be part of the solution.

      • cows4me

        Can be done but it’s a pain in the arse. Imagine trying to put up a fence every time you need to graze along side a river that winds like a snake. Plus if the river floods all that is gone too.

    • Kiwi As

      By adding more troughs, you’re going to be overrun with lefty liberal bureaucrats, so high voltage Gallaghers will need to be invested in !!!
      There’s always a consequence of a consequence eh ??

  • Jerseyman

    Some years ago, when visiting Auckland relatives I was treated to a jet-skiing experience by a cousin. We launched in the river just below the Mercer Bridge and after getting used to falling off and climbing back on I followed him downstream a little way and then into a nice smooth backwater area. There was a herd of cows feeding along the bank and suddenly I realised that not only was the water smooth but it was also a green-brown colour and rather thick. We were riding through the farm run-off outlet and extra care was taken to ride safely out of the muck without any mishaps.

  • JC

    From my perspective… who *needs* it to be farming that caused the problem?

    Well, the activists who don’t want water chlorinated or the antiflouride mob..

    Local authorities and activists who want a big dam upstream don’t want any talk about nutrient load on the river system.

    And the Greens need a political hit on farming.

    Who else?