Farmers need to stop blame shifting and take responsibility for their part in the pollution of our waterways and local government needs to be held accountable.
The common denominator in all the pollution we have is big business. These are the culprits that local and central government need to focus on.
Sure farmers have been investing in riparian strips and fencing which has helped ease the leaching on our waterways but it is not the complete answer.
With intensified farming has come increased fertiliser application, increased feeding of palm kernel, increased animal numbers.
With the increased fertiliser comes a high increase in nitrates, phosphates, cadmium and zinc, along with high copper from palm kernel. There are 20 farms in the Waikato that have toxic levels of cadmium. The increased cadmium is also having an effect on waterfowl and eels.
Now add this to the increased animal numbers and irrigation to water the paddocks and crops and you have a huge increase in the leaching off the paddocks and into the waterways.
Riparian strips do not work with this increase. The land cannot handle this increase in water which takes the nitrates, phosphates and heavy metals down into the aquifers and into the waterways.
You won’t hear the farmers talking about this because they are deflecting to real issues back to the urban argument.
Yes local government must up their game as with the huge increases in immigration have brought in more people so the urban pollution increases. Local Councils need to focus on urban businesses as well and stop the dumping of chemical and industrial waste into the ditches and streams flowing through our urban communities.
Graham Carter President New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers
The Taupo Councils have dealt with this increase and so can other councils.
Contact: Graham Carter president NZFFA phone 021 02600437