Greens wonky maths

We all want clean rivers, no argument there, but the Green’s plan for charging is fiscally unsustainable:

Alexandra-based Ibbotson Cooney accountant George Collier said the Greens’ policy was “crazy”, while Central Otago Mayor and irrigation scheme manager Tony Lepper described it as “a joke”.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman launched the three-part policy, aimed at cleaning up the country’s rivers and lakes, on Sunday.

A “fair charge” for irrigation water would cut the overuse of water, he said.

A charge of 10c per 1000 litres would raise $370 million-$570 million a year, which would be used to support river clean-up projects.

Mr Lepper is manager of the Earnscleugh Irrigation Scheme, one of about a dozen irrigation schemes in Central Otago.

The Earnscleugh scheme supplies 110 landowners and covers 1100ha. Irrigators are charged about $51 per hectare a year.

“With the addition of other small charges, our income is $65,000 per annum, and with this we run a fantastic co-operative irrigation scheme that is of tremendous benefit to the Central Otago economy,” he said.

“Under the Greens’ new policy and proposed rate of 10c per 1000 litres, we would have to fund an additional $1.76 million a year, from our landowners.

“You do not have to be a genius to work out what this would do to the viability of our local horticulture and farming businesses.”

Mr Collier said a charge for irrigation water would effectively shut down irrigation schemes except for the odd dairy operation.

“Boosting the unemployment rate would be one significant end result of that particular policy.”

So most horticulture and farming businesses except for the ones that the Green’s are really after would disappear. The Green’s hate dairying and yet their policy is only affordable by dairy farmers to the exclusion of all others. Way to go Greens!

I think the Greens actually want all farms to go out of business. It is part of their great leap backwards plan for society.


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  • Stuart

    That’s just stupid. The Greens don’t want farms to go out of business, or to put society backwards. They’re the only party seriously looking at long-term solutions. What’s unsustainable is the way we’re treating our rivers – if we don’t clean them up, we won’t be able to farm the way we do. We need to clean our rivers up so we can farm sustainably, and enjoy a clean country.
    If the math is wrong (which I don’t think it is) then that can be debated in the house and improved upon, but the sentiment surely isn’t.

  • bunswalla

    By Mr Lepper’s calculations of an additional $1.76m on top of the current water charges of $56,100 (1100ha x $51/ha), the 110 landowners in his little slice of paradise are collectively using eighteen billion, one hundred and sixty-one million litres of water a year. That’s 18,161,000,000 litres of water. Every year. Seems a lot.

  • Gary

    Bunswalla, are you doing the maths for the Green Party? It would seem so as you imply 18 billion litres is a lot over a year. One cumec is 1000 litres per second, which equates to 86.4 million litres per day. If you have a 5 month irrigation season, that equals about 13 billion litres per season. Most community-type schemes will be several cumecs.

    As a comparison, the Waitaki river has more than 8 trillion litres go down it each year – that is a 8,000 billion…. I know it is a different catchment, but numbers can seem large unless you put them in perspective. And perspective is so often lacking in the Green’s maths.