Has Horizons Council been hijacked by dairy farmers?

Geoff SimmonsEnvironment6 Comments

The Morgan Foundation is committed to swimmable rivers, because that is what the vast majority of Kiwis say they want. Of course if a local community decides they don’t want that, it is up to them. But communities shouldn’t have water pollution forced upon them.

We’ve previously talked about how the rights to use and pollute fresh water are being distributed in some parts of the country, and how that can have a big impact on different land users. We’ve also talked about how Government and Councils have started with the best of intentions, but eventually ended up bowing to the wishes of the big polluters, rather than backing the wishes of the community for swimmable rivers.

In this Face to Face we talk to farmer Andrew Day about his experiences with the One Plan in the Horizons area. His story is eye-opening, and shows how important it is for people to engage in Regional Council elections if they care about our rivers and lakes.

This interview helps explain the background to why Fish and Game and the Environmental Defence Society have today filed proceedings against the Horizons Council, for not implementing their own plan to clean up rivers and lakes in the region.


Has Horizons Council been hijacked by dairy farmers? was last modified: September 14th, 2016 by Geoff Simmons
About the Author

Geoff Simmons

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Geoff Simmons is an economist working for the Morgan Foundation. Geoff has an Honours degree from Auckland University and over ten years experience working for NZ Treasury and as a manager in the UK civil service. Geoff has co-authored three books alongside Gareth.

6 Comments on “Has Horizons Council been hijacked by dairy farmers?”

  1. Bizarre logic these councils and government run. Doesnt every constituent just want clean rivers? When did any constituent vote for only wadeable rivers?

    Either stop polluting or stop your business. I pay these idiots rates that tell farmers they can continue to pollute our rivers that it seems we will never be able to swim in.

    The concept of wealth is messed up. Youd think one of the benefits of being a rockstar economy is youd be able to swim in the river down the road. So really theyre saying our economy is so bad that we have to let farmers pollute our rivers to make ends meet.

    Sounds like 3rd world to me!!!!

    1. Agree. 3rd world indeed.
      Today another person seriously ill in coma after getting sick from drinking contaminated _drinking_ water in Hawke’s Bay after how many dozens/hundreds got sick?

  2. I remember when I was a kid I used to waterski at the Main Highway bridge in Foxton ,on the Manawatu When the old Catchment Board ran things
    Now you wouldnt want to wade in it. So now we have Horizons and the Regional council talking about what they do for the water quality It seems to me that is all they do. Talk, and spend money on I dont know what. They cant even enforce the farmers to fence off waterways
    As with most councils there is the backhanders to stop anything that may cost a bit of money, from the perpetrators of the problem

  3. Not widely understood by even those of us living in the Horizons region is the fact that outside the Manawatu the One Plan has yet to be implemented. This means for example that there are no catchments in the Tongariro National Park that are regulated. This leads to the situation where the District Council, Ruapehu is making submissions to Horizons to improve the water quality of the Makotuku River – the one that suffered the diesel spill in 2013 in order to improve the quality of the drinking water for the town of Raetihi whose supply is taken from the river. However nothing can be done because to make improvement to the Makotuku it would first require a plan change of the One Plan. Instead the District Council has secured funding from Central Government of $1.5 million for a new filtration plant. There are times when you simply can’t make it up..

  4. This situation is in my view, not unusual and highlights the weakness in the implementation of the RMA. The people who make the policies and set the priorities for the Regional Councils ie. the the Regional Councillors are the very people who have the vested interests to make sure they’re able to keep polluting like they always have. The policies, plans, priorities, implementation and operation of the RMA has to be “walled off” from Councillors influence. If this cannot be done then the RMA should not be the responsibility of the Regional Council but some other body that is not controlled by or is less likely to succumb to local pressure.

  5. There’s one way to clean up the dairy industry. House the cows, collect all that polluting effluent and convert it to energy in the form of biogas and useable liquid fertiliser.

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