Opinion by Ken Sims
The longer I observe politics in this country, the less I understand it. There is something about politics that can make apparently sane, cognizant, rational humans being behave totally irrationally, and make decisions that not only contradict what they purport to stand for, but whose consequences are known to be terrible.
When John Key’s National Government came to power, it was pretty obvious that they had already decided to sacrifice Canterbury’s waterways for industrial dairying. And through the efforts of National MPs Nick Smith and Amy Adams, that is exactly what they did.
You kind of expected that of a “it’s-a-resource-so-lets-sell-it” party feathering their own nests.
We Were Naïve
But when the Labour-led coalition was formed, some of us rather naively expected that behaviour might change. How wrong we were!
Despite the truly appalling consequences to waterway, aquifer and human health that are now becoming apparent in Canterbury, we are going hard-out to replicate that in the Mackenzie Basin, Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay. It is also occurring in the Waikato – and we are sending the consequences to Auckland for them to drink!
Now it appears that David Parker (and the whole Government to be fair) has decided that the provisions of the Resource Management Act safeguarding our waterways don’t apply to the Pukekohe and Tararua-Horowhenua regions because they are essential intensive vegetable growing areas. Despite knowing that the results of intensive horticulture are as bad if not worse than intensive dairying!
You now have the ludicrous situation where a dairy farmer or horticulture farmer in the Manawatu, if they pollute a waterway, will have the book thrown at them; but just down the road in Horowhenua, for those same farmers it is ‘yeah-nah, it’s okay, essential food production you know’.
But wait, there is more! It seems that Meridian Energy is also to be exempt from the ‘constraints’ of the RMA. That’s the same Meridian Energy that has just been ‘pinged’ for artificially fixing prices to its consumers.
I shake my head in wonder. It is madness. Is there a political party in this country willing to or capable of protecting our aquatic habitats and environments (discounting the lunatic fringe)?
There isn’t that I can see and that makes it even more important that we stand up and try.
(This was first published in the newsletter of the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers, of which Ken Sims is a life member.)