Archives for posts with tag: dairying

The government is considering banning farming from near major rivers. Great news! Except it’s not the government of clean, green, 100% Pure New Zealand – it’s China:

Mr Chen said the Chinese government is considering banning or restricting farming along China’s major rivers – as the effects of pollution are too severe. He said farming was a major cause of pollution and the pollution downstream effect was particularly exaggerated.

This government’s attitude to the environment seems to be completely ass-backwards; massive expansion of dairying, sold on the back of our “pure” reputation to a country that is more worried about water pollution than we are.


One of the pleasures of the Press on Friday’s is the regular farming section. Sometimes in the farming section, they have sections which are demarcated as paid advertorials; yesterday, there was one paid for by the irrigation lobby. Here are a list of facts that the irrigation lobby want you to know:

  • Canterbury farmers have added the equivalent of the area of Lake Taupo in irrigated farmland in the last five years
  • the area of irrigated land is up to 445,000ha, up 60,000 hectares since 2007
  • This is almost five times greater than the next province, Otago, which has 94,000ha
  • Canterbury accounted for 60 percent of total expansion in irrigation between June 2007 and June 2012
  • Canterbury accounts for 62 percent of New Zealand’s irrigated farmland
  • The jump in irrigated farmland has largely occurred to support further expansion in dairying (no shit)
  • the national herd increased nearly 20 percent, from 5.3 million animals in 2007 to 6.4 million in 2012
  • Canterbury again led the surge, with the province adding 445,000 extra dairy cattle over 5 years, to push it’s total to 1.2 million (that is 244 new cows going onto farms in Canterbury EVERY DAY for 5 years!)

This is the Rorschach test of John Key’s New Zealand: some people will look at those numbers and see progress, while others will feel a deep nausea. Over half of the period that these figures come from was during the era of the “dysfunctional council at ECan” – though that doesn’t seem to have slowed dairy expansion. It’s also worth considering that the state-funded irrigation schemes to be funded from the “future investment fund” – i.e. the money from asset sales – have yet to start yet.