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The Last of the Summer Wine?

By   /  March 15, 2013  /  4 Comments

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“surely these past few months have been a dramatic reminder of the need for the Government to increase its focus and planning of our future water use requirements (both domestic as well as commercial) and water-ways protection.”

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So it appears that Wellington has potentially less than three weeks of water left. Can you believe it? This is Wellington. Not the Far North or the Canterbury Plains! Wellington.

There is no doubt that over the last three months we have experienced an amazing summer in the North Island (unless you are a farmer of course), the likes of which I can’t remember experiencing before in my lifetime. Well I experienced it when I lived in Australia a few years ago, a dry and parched land by nature, but not here in New Zealand.

So is it a one off event, part of the cyclical nature of weather patterns, or a foretaste of a drier, harsher future for this country under climate change?

Only time will tell.

But whatever the answer is to that question, shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to prepare for the worse case environmental scenario? Particularly seeing that with the recent demise of vast parts of the New Zealand manufacturing sector, primary production appears to be held out as the mainstay of our economic future. Well what does that economic future look like if drought becomes a regular phenomenon in large parts of our agricultural hinterlands?

You have to be worried when even our Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, someone not prone to over-reaction or rash comments, states that the Government can’t guarantee future financial support to farmers if drought becomes a regular occurrence.

Whatever the outcome of this summer, surely these past few months have been a dramatic reminder of the need for the Government to increase its focus and planning of our future water use requirements (both domestic as well as commercial) and water-ways protection.

As the National Secretary of the NZ Dairy Workers Union, a union whose members’ economic wellbeing relies upon a healthy and productive primary sector, I urge the Government and all businesses to see this summer as a warning and to intensify the transition of our economy from one based upon fossil fuels to one centred around sustainable and renewable energy sources that do not cause long-term damage to the environment.

Not to do so could be economically disastrous for all New Zealanders – not just our farmers.

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  1. Angus McConnell says:

    Mate I like the title not sure about the taste of drought though? or the irony that its bumper year for wine not milk.

  2. Bertie says:

    If you believe the diatribe that Bill English won’t come to the rescue of future drought stricken farmers your a mug. English would have been smirking when he said that. He would come to their aid quicker than dealing to your Union if you went on strike. 

    I get your point regarding climate change but the former is dribble mate!

  3. Geoff Lye says:

    Well if dairying keeps draining the canterbury plains and the rivers run as dry as what the selwyn is at the moment then even christchurch city is going to be in the crap.

    Hence why national took over environment canterbury to jack up the water supply so conversationists didnt take over and stuff it up.

    Well theroosters coming home to roost and dairying is sucking the canterbury plains dry fast.

    Nationals john carter from ashburton has his head in the sand pretending its not happening.

    Democracy in canterbury has been taken over by big business full stop.

  4. Athena says:

    Have Fonterra or Fed Farmers done any planning for the probable increase in fuel costs? Their industry relies on cheap diesel to run all those milk tankers as well as cheap access to water. Seems NZ has put all our eggs in the dairy basket, an industry which is very dependent on external inputs over which it has minimal control.

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