Category Archives: Press Releases

The latest press releases for the Federation of Freshwater Anglers

“State Control” of 1080 an Arrogant Move

A national outdoors forum, the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) has hit out at the Minister for the Environment’s announcement that local regional councils will no longer vet the use of 1080 and that the only power to do so, will be with central government.
Co-chairman of CORANZ, conservationist and author Bill Benfield said it gave government extreme sole power to spread 1080 and brodifacoum.
“Basically it’s government wanting to ram-rod anything about poison chemicals through.”
He said  the move diminished people’s right to protest at the use of these chemicals in the environment.
The move by government was to arrogantly effectively impose state control and was echoing the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s call for more 1080.
“To put things in true perspective, the PCE’s doctorate is in public policy, basically an administrator’s qualifications – not environmental,” said Bill Benfield.
Meanwhile  the Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust (SHOT) reacted too calling the move by Minister for the environment Nick Smith as “blindly arrogant”. SHOT convenor Laurie Collins who had many years in the use of poisons among them the first trials in the late 1950s, with 1080 in the Caples Valley at Lake Wakatipu, warned that while 1080 received most publicity due to the aerial broadcasting over thousands of acres and was a potent poison, brodifacoum was even more dangerous.
“It should not be forgotten Nick Smith and his colleague Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry were guilty of topdressing the public’s lands with 1080. It’s public property they are mistreating. The public deserve the right to have a say,” he said.
He said hunters had first hand, long term experience of the mountains and bush.
“They know and understand the ecosystem and see the damage done by 1080 with birds like moreporks, keas, falcons and others annihilated,” said Laurie Collins. “Besides 1080 and brodifacoum are shockingly cruel poisons taking days and days to kill. No creature deserves that callous treatment.”
He said the case for 1080 was unsound, often backed by commissioned, paid biassed science.
Many countries ban 1080.

Freshwater Management – Is it a farce?

Freshwater Management – Is it a farce? Should we expect more from our Politicians??

The Governments recent water reform package raises many questions, but they mostly come back to the honesty and integrity of the politicians involved, most notably Nick Smith!

Why cause this confusion over the swimmable standard? He’s even managed to confuse the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Wright, who said the changes in water quality measurement were… “very confusing”. Is it that he thinks we the public are just stupid? Or is it that once you start down a track of misinforming and generally deceptive behaviour, that you become caught up in it and have to keep going in order to maintain those earlier myths you have propagated?

Plenty of others are commenting about the current water reform package, if you remain unsure about these checkout page A38 & A39 of the Clean Water doc to see the old and new standards side by side.

I want to draw attention to another of the misleading initiative that Nick Smith has been involved in which is the Canterbury Water Management Strategy which has been implemented by the Ecan Commissioners appointed by Nick Smith after he sacked the elected Council.

North Ashburton River rated as ‘good’ for swimming

Our local Ashburton Zone Committee is advertising for a new member to provide refreshment to the committee. Accordingly ‘The zone committees are made up of people with a passion for their local area and respect for their knowledge has become a firm principle of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. Allowing communities to guide our water management work gives local people genuine power. We listen to communities’ opinions and provide opportunities to discuss issues while exploring potential solutions together’

Reading through the list of current committee members I noted their interests as being mostly agricultural, irrigation or connect to such in some way, with a lone Forest and Bird member. I understand the Ashburton Council appointee is also a retired farmer.

So rather than community members the committee is made up predominantly of industry insiders who have a vested interest in water for industry purposes in the main;

Wondering how they manage to engage in the debate with so many conflicts of interest I continued to read down the page. It talks about conflict of interest: ‘Committee members must be careful that they maintain a clear separation between their personal interests and their duties as a Committee member etc etc

Still I wondered how some of these people could be involved – then right at the bottom of the page;

Usually the Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968 would apply, requiring Committee members to declare any potential conflict of interest where they might personally benefit from a decision of the Committee.

However the Auditor General has issued a declaration that allows zone Committee members to discuss and vote on all matters related to the development of implementation programmes to achieve the targets and goals set out in the CWMS. This ruling has been made to allow members to take part in all discussions, in order that all the views and different perspectives of the members are part of balanced decision-making on any issue.

Members of Zone Committees have been appointed from various sectors to ensure a balance across all main stakeholder interests. It is likely that at times some members may have a personal interest in an issue before the Committee. The Auditor General’s declaration allows those members to take part in the discussion and vote on these issues, in order not to impede the work being done by the Committee and because the work is in the wider interests of the people of the area.

So what does all this mean? Like many others I was concerned that the CWMS is a farce – well the above is the proof of that – We have irrigation interests, dairy interests and Federated Farmers all involved and making the recommendations about what our districts water management needs are!! They have been given the freedom to do so by firstly being selected to the zone committees and then by having the normal conflict of interest safeguards removed, so the process has no integrity…

It’s no wonder the Selwyn River and its likes are so degraded…

And this brings us back to the point I want to make – are these the standards that we as New Zealanders are happy to accept from our politicians? Did we the people ever give Nick Smith the mandate to act in this way?

My answer is no, I don’t accept this, and nor do I believe we as New Zealanders should accept this. So I am calling for better standards, and I am calling out Nick Smith – he should resign immediately.

Monday, 27 February 2017, 10:34 am
Press Release: Future Rivers

Central and local government corruption

By Graham Carter

The National Party subverted democracy by sacking the elected ECAN Councillors and replaced them with Commissioners, to facilitate the grab for water and growth of industrialized dairying in Canterbury. They also made sure that minimal compliance work was done to enforce consent requirements and water takes etc. In Canterbury in 2016, there were 376 complaints to E-Can and zero prosecutions. Continue reading Central and local government corruption

Councils and farmers should cop the blame over water quality

By Graham Carter

Recent articles discussing our dying rivers and lakes, followed by a story about the dirty Selwyn River in North Canterbury and the news that a complaint against Greenpeace’s anti-dairying advertising was not upheld clearly point out the main offenders regarding our dirty rivers and streams.

The dairy industry through its various industry media releases have been bleating that it’s not just dairying which is quite correct, but they are the main offending group.

It must be very upsetting to dairying families to read and hear all this and feel the hatred directed at them. However while it’s good to blame the good ol farmer it’s not entirely their fault.

I believe that blame equally lies with our Regional Councils, Fertilizer companies and Fonterra. Continue reading Councils and farmers should cop the blame over water quality

Federation Says “Whoa” to Smith’s RMA Hurry

federation-says-whoa-to-smiths-rma-hurry

A dead trout in a dry Canterbury river bed – stark testimony to government’s folly.

by James Speedy

The NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers has put a hand brake on Minister for the Environment Nick Smith’s wish to hurry changes to the Resource Management Act through. In a letter to the Christchurch-based “The Press” Nick Smith argued he was a not hurrying the proposed bill of changes through Parliament. But the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers was not impressed with the minister’s denials. Continue reading Federation Says “Whoa” to Smith’s RMA Hurry

The Right to Know, the Right to Say.

Opinion by Ken Sims

As the furore of the proposed Taupo Carp Farm dies down, with that particular battle seemingly won, it is perhaps timely to reflect on what we can learn from it and similar issues around the country at the moment.

Firstly, it is important to note that while this battle against carp farms may have been won, the war continues. There is the small matter of the existing farms in Nelson and the threats they pose, along with the ludicrously unsafe transportation of these fish around the country, based on the contentious and unproven assumption that it is ‘safe’. There is more yet to come on this issue, and if we are certain of anything, it is that someone somewhere is sooner or later going to have another crack at it.

There are two other important lessons to take from this issue. Firstly, it got as far as it did, because it ‘flew under the radar’. Hello! The ‘scientific evidence’ for concluding this was both safe and desirable was presented by a commercial company who would benefit financially from supplying the fish! As a ‘business proposal’ only one well embellished side was presented to decision making bodies. They not only enthusiastically embraced it, they made the conscious decision not to tell anyone about it. The consent for this was granted on a ‘non-notified’ basis. This was after both DOC and F&G NZ had given it the ‘thumbs up’, again without bothering to ask or notify their public stakeholders. It strains one’s credulity to think that none of these organisations would have thought that the public, particularly the angling public, wouldn’t have had an interest or opinion about the merits or otherwise of the case, so you are left with the abiding impression that they just didn’t give a damn.

Secondly, even when it was forced out into the open, it was only overturned, because of extremely vocal and sustained pressure from individuals and the public, mainly anglers. It failed only because one of the commercial stakeholders recognised that it was completely contrary to both public opinion and the commercial image that company wanted to project. This in turn forced the company setting up the project to realise that they had also failed to recognise this. But what about the other stakeholders in this project? Let’s start at the top and work down.  Communications from Louise Upston, the local National MP revealed that she not only supported the project, but that she was unaware and unconcerned about opposition to it from her constituents and the rest of the public. DOC’s Minister Maggie Barry assured parliament that the project was completely safe and a great potential asset to Taupo. Who was she listening to? Certainly not the public, or those within the scientific community who were voicing their concerns about it. The District Council, by their own admission, heard and saw only a one-sided business case – growth, employment, money. And despite living beside the country’s most iconic lake, that apparently was enough. Once again, the conscious decision not to seek consent, demonstrates both how out of touch and unconcerned they were with their constituents views. Finally, it was endorsed by Fish & Game NZ. An organisation entirely funded by hunters and anglers to protect the recreational fishery. Were their constituents even alerted or notified about this decision, let alone asked what they thought of it? No, they were not.

Emerging Trend

Given all of that, along with the Ministry of Primary Industries agenda to encourage and support regional freshwater aquaculture, what would be the chances of carp farms popping up somewhere else pretty soon? It would seem pretty darn high. And what are the chances of hearing about it in time to influence the decision one way or another? It would seem pretty darn low.

This appears to be part of an emerging trend that can be seen in many other issues that directly affect anglers. Let’s do a quick, and by no means complete, roundup.

Recently we were treated to the unseemly sight of Nick Smith swimming in the Manawatu River to celebrate a new action plan by the Manawatu River Leaders Accord. So were they celebrating the completion of the old plan? No, a lot of that had been put in the ‘too hard basket’, so a new plan was required. Has the overall water quality in the river improved? Not according to monitoring on the LAWA site. But surely, 98 environmental farm plans have been completed. True, but the majority of them don’t comply with either the One Plan or National Standards, and have been approved anyway. Of course, it would have been much more impressive if Nick Smith had swum below the PNCC sewage outfall, after the Regional and City Councils did a ‘sweetheart’ deal to circumvent the Environment Court and put off requiring the City Council to do something about it polluting the river.

In Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa, plans to destroy local rivers and fisheries with irrigation dams, continue unabated, despite them being neither environmentally and financially viable. Understandably, farmers don’t want to pay for them, and you might think that would be an end to the matter – but no, regional and national government think they are a great idea, so currently the taxpayers and ratepayers are forking out, whether they know it, want it, like it or not. In Hawkes Bay, ratepayers have been told that not only are they paying to pollute their own rivers, but that they have to pay again on top of that to protect those rivers from the pollution they are paying for – a situation so ludicrous that even George Orwell couldn’t have dreamed it up.

Canterbury Woes

They are of course trying to emulate Canterbury, where intensive agriculture on inappropriate land is both drying up whole rivers and their aquifers, and polluting them to the point where fisheries have become unsustainable and even human health is being impacted. Recently North Canterbury Fish & Game have had to close lowland fisheries to try and preserve what stock remains, as pollution levels are preventing spawning and recruitment from further up the rivers. Of course, Canterbury does have the advantage of not being a regional democracy, its Regional Council having been replaced by Environment Minister Nick Smith with appointed ‘puppet’ commissioners, so it doesn’t have to worry about what the public think.

The recent Choose Clean Water NZ campaign toured the country on a limited itinerary, talking to ordinary New Zealanders about their expectations and aspirations for our rivers and lakes. The overwhelming response was that (1) they expected rivers and lakes to be swimmable without making you ill, (2) they felt loss, anger and disempowerment over the current polluted and over-extracted state of our waterways, and (3) they felt ignored or threatened by the authorities that were supposed to protect our waterways, and the industries that were polluting them. The immediate, off-hand and dismissive response from Environment Minister Nick Smith to the suggestion of ‘swimmable’ waterways was that it was ‘impractical’.

It is pretty easy to see a common thread running through these and similar issues. Public input into environmental decisions, even by anglers over public waterways, is being actively discouraged, and when they are made, actively ignored (unless supported by a commercial imperative). Arguably, democracy is not functioning as it should.

Worsening Trend.

And given the trend, it is highly likely that the commercial exploitation and erosion of democracy will get worse. Much worse. What began with the first National reform of the RMA, which negated some environmental protections in favour of ‘economic development’, is set to be amplified by the second such reform currently before parliament. The first has resulted in this ludicrous situation where regional authorities are trying to be both protector and exploiter of the environment, and forming private business companies that work in secrecy, are not accountable and which often advocate the opposite of what councils are trying to achieve. This favouring of business exploitation above environmental protection would be magnified under the second reform, giving Ministers widespread powers to override and direct Council decisions. We can see this sort of system already trialled in Canterbury. The proposal has already been criticised by Fish & Game NZ, the NZ Law Society and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. It is currently open for submissions. Have you had your say?

With winter approaching, it is easy to see long dark shadows falling over our lands and waterways. But if Taupo teaches us anything, it is that even when regulation fails and consultation is ignored, you can still make a difference. If enough people stand up, shout and draw a line in the sand, saying ‘this is not acceptable to me’, they can be heard and listened to. But you have to be prepared to stand up and be held accountable for what you value and believe in. Don’t automatically assume that those you think should be representing your interests will be. The alternative is to bend over and take what you are given.

Ken Sims

NZFFA

25/3/16