Friday, October 19, 2012

Gareth Morgan on dirty farmers

Gareth Morgan takes a blast today at polluting farmers - and at Federated Farmers for protecting them. Talking about the recent Environment Court victory over the Horizons Regional Council One Plan, he notes:

The vast majority of farmers are environmentally responsible and many are passionate about not despoiling waterways in any way. This is a victory for them and round condemnation of the ignorant rump in that fraternity who arrogantly think they have some sort of birthright to generate wealth for themselves off the back of environmental destruction.

The requirement to restrict excessive runoff of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous is no different to requiring a manufacturer to limit the polluting consequences of any process. Nature has an amazing ability to absorb what we throw at her but it certainly isn’t infinite.

Further, the natural injustice that arises when one person’s economic advantage is secured at the expense of damaging the property of others, is one too often government’s turn a blind eye to.

All of which makes the indignant reaction of Federated Farmers to the Environment Court decision disappointing, reminiscent of the dark days when the outfit was led by ACT myopic, Don Nicholson. I thought this lobby group had grown up a bit under Bruce Wills. It needs to.

He goes on to call Federated Farmers "chief apologist for... a retarded attitude", and call for progressive farmers to leave and form their own lobby group to avoid "being tarred with the brush of environmental retards". And he's right. If farmers are as clean as they say, let them prove it. Until then, they'll continue to be judged by the words of their elected spokesmen.