NZFFA Exec member John Collins hosted Adrienne Lomax of the Waiora Ellesmere Trust (WET) at a meeting of the Christchurch Fishing and Casting Club recently.
Her presentation was a good reminder to me that in engaging the issues that really affect fishing and fishing clubs we too often feel that we are forced into an aggressive-defensive situation shrouded in frustration.
How we are dealing with what happened to the former world class fishery of the Selwyn River, and about to happen to a river near you, is a classic example of adversarial “frustrationology” in practice. We hope to bring about enough political pressure, by beating enough drums, to force change by legislative means. We may well succeed but look at the video on the links supplied by Adrienne and reflect.
If you do nothing else this week that somebody like me has suggested; then make it this viewing.
Hart’s Creek is the major tributary of the lake at the southern end. If the links don’t work the just search You tube.
Here’s a link to the Harts Creek video – happy for you to share with anyone who may be interested. If you want to download it, the button is in the top right hand corner of the page. It’s a very big file in MP4 format and will play in windows media player or similar.
The video is also on YouTube and the link is on our website http://www.wet.org.nz/resources/videos/
Contact Adrienne Lomax, Waihora Ellesmere Trust General Manager, 021 052 9720
The current debate about charging for water should not open the door to tradeable water rights says a national trout anglers organisation. The NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers has opposed the right of water use holders to sell those rights, a system not unlike sea fisheries quotas.
Ken Sims of the Manawatu and spokesman for the Federation said tradeable fish quotas had resulted in the resource being dominated by big corporate companies who buy up rights thus aggregating quota.
“In a relatively short time it becomes monopolised by the big corporations,” he said. “This monopoly is reflected in the undue excessive political pressure that corporates put on government both ministries and ministers.”
Ken Sims said water was essentially a public resource. He rejected the immediate past prime minister John Key’s opinion that water belong to no one. “It’s public property irrespective of wealth, ethnic background or social class. New Zealand is an egalitarian country and water reflects that,” he said.
He pointed to the fact that in some overseas countries, recreational groups have had to ‘buy back’ water rights from corporations, just to ensure that natural ecosystems and flows were maintained.
The New Zealand public, and recreational waterway users, see the trade in water rights, as already occurs in some South Island areas, as just another example of the agricultural industry ‘thumbing its nose’ at the public’s ownership.
“This has to stop” Ken Sims said. “It’s public water. If you don’t want what you have been allocated, then leave the stuff where you found it”.
Laws should be implemented to prevent the direct “wheeling and dealing” of water rights by prohibiting trading in it, he added.
I was invited by the 7 Rivers Project group to speak to those who assembled (and on camera) at Coe’s Ford before their hikoi along the Selwyn’s empty river bed. I instead nominated Alan Strong. He is from a family who have had a crib in the Selwyn Huts “for ever”. He is an engineer and recently co-opted F&G Councillor. His life time of history on that river was ammunition enough to counter the party line, and some deliberate mis-information, from Fed Farmers and ECAN.
He delivered what I had hoped Colin could do when I asked him earlier, as Colin also had a history on the river; unlike me.
The plight of the Selwyn River has captured the public’s (and the news media’s) attention. It is the end point toward which every river in Aotearoa is heading unless things change drastically – see the article posted by Ian today.
This hikoi was followed by a public meeting at Lincoln. 150 attended, F&G councillors, farmers, environmental group reps, locals, etc, but no visible reporters, Alan was on the panel and was again impressive. Sadly the meeting did not pass a resolution but the sentiment was very strong about the loss of a river.
There are different ways to skin a cat and Alan has summarized these in the attached paper. Even if the Selwyn River means nothing to you it could be the “Sharpville massacre” equivalent in the public’s fight/crusade to regain our rivers.
I am still active in trying to get a Chch Eco-hub established. It has real potential to put pressure on politicians, local and national, to wake up over water issues.
As the chair on One Voice Te Reo Kotahi (OVTRK = 140 small NGOs and community groups) I get regular meetings, at least quarterly, with local senior staff of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, ECAN, all three local Councils, the Urban Development Strategy group, CDHB and Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. Although we primarily facilitate communication between these organizations and the 140 groups on our register the organizing group members are able to raise water issues every single time. It is part of a squeaky wheel gets oiled approach.
We cannot count on a revolution and, as yet, we have no guarantee that a change of government will solve our issues. Many of these issues developed under the last Green/Labour/NZ First administration..
As they say in Thailand. The only way to eat an elephant is one mouthful at a time.
Reflect on Alan Strong’s paper and consider whether in is happening in a river near you!
The paper sets out some of the main impacts on the lake as of last year. The main lake issue is the lack of in-flow (ditto for spawning). This leads to a lack of “flushing” of the lake and a build up of a fairly toxic mix of phosphates and nitrates; toxic that is to all but the lethal algal blooms. Of particular significance is the lake level. I have an article coming up in the next NZFFA newsletter on the Canterbury situation in terms of river, and the lake, volumes. On the date that I researched the volumes the mean lake level was just 0.52m. Remember this is NZ’s 5th largest lake!!!!
The eel numbers are just a fraction of what they were but over-fishing has also contributed to this. The eels were sent off to Holland and Germany willy nilly and, of course they were free to the harvesting folk, just like our water is to the bottlers. I have/had photos taken in 1971 of the night time migration over the bar at Taumutu at full moon in Feb and March – a hundred thousand a night – but that is just a memory. After the Selwyn, Irwell etc dried up so did their habitat. The lake was just a gathering place prior to migration. There is a wonderful old movie available through the National Film library (hopefully on disc now) called “Eel history was a mystery”. It shows the eel harvesting at Birdling’s Flat in the 1930s and 40s. What I saw at Taumutu in the 70s was similar.
Yes!! We are heading the same way as the USA. The Grand Canyon was carved out by the mighty Colorado River. It has ceased however to reach the sea for over 20 years in recent times as the result of over exploitation for irrigation. At least the US Federal government stopped funding irrigation projects in the 1970s.
Please find our January 2017 newsletter “In The Loop” HERE
An idea has arisen from me receiving a photo of cattle trampling river banks and wading into the Tutaki Stream and talking to anglers and the sense nothing comes of it.
If you are fishing and see effluent, sediment, rubbish, stock or anything in or on the banks of rivers where it should not be, please take a photo, make a note of the name of the river, the address of the farm (or the Fonterra number if applicable), the time and date and send this to me. I am hopeful of reaching an agreement with DairyNZ and Fonterra that the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers will supply them with photos and details of any such poor practices IN RETURN for them visiting the farm, ensuring the farmer stops such practice AND agreeing a penalty regime that could include stopping milk supply. In return for this I am suggesting the NZFFA will give Dairy NZ/Fonterra first go at sorting it, as a preference to drumming up negative publicity on continued poor farming practice. If I feel this is working then I am keen to see if we can extend this approach to Beef & Lamb NZ.
We all want the same thing, fresh water and this might help a little to get us there.
Apologies for the lateness in posting, but our latest newsletter is HERE
Here’s some drone footage of “cross-blading” or “in-channel river management” in the Ruamahanga River by Greater Wellington Regional Council. As you can imagine this regular event destroys all aquatic fauna and flora and reduces an ecosystem to a lifeless drain. Well done GWRC!
Tasman District Council seem hell bent on ripping out and poisoning crack willow and replacing it with expensive rock walls. This destroys fish habitat in what few remaining fisheries are left in the region. Stop and think, there are alternatives…Please watch this VIDEO which explains things.