Thursday, June 19, 2008

Filthy farmers

Last night, Campbell Live screened a story about an illegal dump in the Wairarapa: large quantities of household and farm waste, including hazardous substances, dumped in a stream flowing into the Pahaoa river near Martinborough. That's disgusting enough, but it's worse: the person apparently responsible is someone who should know better: South Wairarapa District Councillor Julie Riddell. So we have a person responsible for setting policy and enforcing the law flagrantly violating both. A decent representative would resign when caught out like this, but I'm not holding my breath.

As the Greens point out, this is a fairly common practice by New Zealand farmers, and its one that has to stop. We control waste for a very good reason: to prevent it from poisoning us and spreading disease. But farmers just don't seem to care. If they don't, then we need to start making them care, by enforcing the law and vigorously prosecuting those who violate it. But given the way those responsible for enforcement - district councils - are so dominated by farmers, again I'm not holding my breath.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to ask Councillor Riddell about her dump and whether she is going to clean it up, you can email her here.

Update: Frogblog reports they're doing something about it:

A few hours after Campbell Live’s segment a 20 tonne digger and truck arrived at the farm and both are cleaning the creek up. Funny how the world works.
So, farmers will act if publicly shamed. Something to remember for the future.