Bludging farmers behind New Zealand’s top public concern

Rachel Young reports

Water issues are top of Kiwi minds when asked what the most important problem facing the country’s environment is.

The triennial Public Perceptions of New Zealand’s Environment: 2013 survey found water-related issues were perceived to be the most important problem facing the environment.

Respondents indicated that growth in production and consumption, as well as an intensification of activities including farming and forestry were putting increasing pressure on the environment.

Rivers, lakes, and groundwater were the worst-managed environments mainly because of negative perceptions concerning the management of farm effluent and runoff.

Until farming shoulders the true operating cost, and stops handing it off to the rest of us as a time bomb to be dealt with later, they are essentially corporate welfare recipients.  

Report co-author Ken Hughey said water was the top issue for New Zealanders.

Fifty-six per cent of respondents believed farming was the main cause of fresh water damage, compared with about 26 per cent in the 2000 survey.

“That increase has been consistent every single year,” he said. “There’s more evidence of people being concerned about issues around farming.”

Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills said there was no question farming had an impact on the environment, and in some areas the “pendulum has gone too far”.

“Farmers are absolutely stepping up to these concerns with a lot of work around finding better solutions so that we can continue farming profitably . . . But with a smaller environmental impact.”

You know that by the time Federated Farmers agrees that farmers are essentially taking the piss, that even they can no longer spin the situation.

Clean it up and shoulder the true cost  of operating your business.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.