Tuesday, December 08, 2009

More on industrial dairying

Prime Minister John Key went on record today as opposing plans for industrial dairying in the Mackenzie Country. Unfortunately, being a hands-off government (and one which works for farmers, no less), I don't really expect them to do anything about it. If we want to stop it, we need to submit on the resource consents. The Greens now have a submission guide up here, and a map of the affected areas here. Its apparent from the latter that this is going to dramatically change the Mackenzie Basin. That beautiful dry, desolate landscape we love will be gone for good.

Meanwhile, the Timaru Herald has been covering this story since June. Reading back, they have some interesting stuff about the possibility of a drylands reserve to preserve at least some of the landscape (an idea which seems to have gone nowhere), and a large feature piece on the issue. The latter includes some wacky claims by farmers that irrigation willhelp the environment by allowing them to make a living and thus "protect the land" (by destroying it). Its the typical conflation of private economic benefit with environmental benefit (also seen in debates over sustainability, which business tries to hijack to mean their sustainability rather than the planet's), and it shows that at the least they need a dictionary. But if the land is as uneconomic as they say, it would clearly be better if they turned over their pastoral leases to DoC so it could be managed for the benefit of all New Zealanders, rather than ruined for the private profit of a few.