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Normal Topic 'Shifting baselines in New Zealandís freshwater management' (Read 19106 times)
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South Flyfisher

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'Shifting baselines in New Zealandís freshwater management'
Nov 10th, 2020 at 11:57am
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I've just been scanning Mike Joy's academic paper: 'Shifting baselines in New Zealandís freshwater management'.

It's fascinating reading. His premise is that "The New Zealand government has been praised for heeding scientific advice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but when it comes to environmental protections the scientific advice seems to be negotiable. Freshwaters have been in decline for decades, despite clear science on limits needed to protect them. There are many examples of 'shifting baselines', where limits have been progressively weakened through agency regulatory capture and political expediency."

Truly frightening stuff. Did you know that "Nutrient loads in some of New Zealandís farmed catchments now rival some of the worldís most intensively used catchments, such as the Mississippi River and Yellow River."

Or that ... "In New Zealand, 85% of waterways in pasture catchments (which make up half of the countryís waterways, measured by length) now exceed nitrate-nitrogen trigger value guidelines." Yikes.

He also states that "The evidence is clear that contemporary freshwater decline has been driven by agricultural intensification, fuelled by a growing dependence on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser."

This is surely the biggest cause of the decline of our front country fisheries. And impacts our own health too. "...excess nitrogen is not just an issue for ecosystem health but also human health. Nitrate in drinking water at levels close to the nitrogen limit proposed by the STAG has been linked to colon cancer, which is disproportionately high in many parts of New Zealand."

It's taken a couple of decades to complete screw up many of our local rivers. I do wonder if they'll be restored in my lifetime, or whether it's irretrievable.

If you've got some spare time and want to have a read, the full article is  available here:

South Flyfisher
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Re: 'Shifting baselines in New Zealandís freshwater management'
Reply #1 - Nov 10th, 2020 at 4:14pm
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Followed you down to the bottom here mate - was in the car just past Taupo heading South when Nick Smith came on the radio to talk about the new water standards NZ was looking to adopt ............. when was that - last time National was in Government I suppose.

Those 'water standards' he was talking about were the European Standards which were infinitely worse than what we already had - they included a percentage of water you could look at, but not touch, water you could paddle in ........ and so forth to water in which you could fully immerse, to finally .................... water you could drink.

And there wasn't much of that.

To create wealth NZ Standards have been declining across the board - cleanliness and wealth aren't compatible - and the first thing to show the effects of our filthy habits is water - we dump 1080 in the stuff for God's sake.

We will sell our 'clean water' because no one else has any, and it will create wealth - then what is left will become an even more precious commodity and just like our fish, meat, timber, vegetables - all the stuff we grow here in NZ - we will pay through the nose for it.

There are those who want 'to clean up our act', there are equally those who want more wealth - but from my point of view the former has to eventually win as we will not be able to live in a world where wealth takes precedence.

Don't hold your breath waiting mate, when American banks take out insurance against financial loss, then ensure that loss occurs, when 70 million people voted Trump, when Nations either don't care or believe climate change is a myth and chop down the Amazon Forest to create wealth, what does that point to.

A failed experiment - only humans do this to a planet, we're not going to be here long ............

Long live wealth  Smiley

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Re: 'Shifting baselines in New Zealandís freshwater management'
Reply #2 - Nov 12th, 2020 at 6:31am
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It was the late 1970's when I first did a South Island 'roady' with my mates on our bikes: XR500's and TT500's and an RD350. Back then much of the really neat bits of highway were gravel. Apart from some farmland close to the big smokes (Greymouth, Westport and Hoki) the entire West Coast was sheep and beef.
I did that trip again a couple of months ago for work. Might have seen a couple of mobs of beefies, the rest were dairy.

Water quality has been held subservient to National wealth by both colours of Govt for many decades.  Farm business models are wedded to artificial N and intensification. Total national agricultural debt is bigger than it any time in our past. $65 Billion or some such horrific figure. Push push push the envelope.
Goodness knows how any Govt is gonna dig us out of this one. The pandemic has shown that when the shit hits the fan its the primary producers that keep the foreign capital flowing in.

But as with many facets of the modern economy, the model is broke. Just don't know when the wheels will really fall off Huh Huh Huh
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