Farming group Federated Farmers is calling for greater
accountability for local body government and for urban areas
over effluent discharge issues.
Federated Farmers' Otago provincial president Stephen
Korteweg said recent human sewage spills into Lake Wakatipu,
and lack of action against those responsible, was an example
of a double standard for dairy farmers and their urban
''We are not trying to go on a witch hunt or get offside with
our urban neighbours but there should be a level playing
The councils were all for better treatment of farming sewage
and effluent, but had a double standard when it came to urban
areas, he said.
Mr Korteweg said Federated Farmers hoped the issue would be
addressed considering farmers got a ''hard time''.
''I have never seen any council go to environment court, but
farmers go,'' Mr Korteweg said.
''It seems bizarre that one party is so differently treated
to another party,'' he said.
Federated Farmers Southland provincial president Russell
MacPherson said local councils should be subject to the same
scrutiny as farms.
''If town and country had the same level of scrutiny then the
national conversation, I feel, would be much better,'' he
Even-handed scrutiny would better connect farmers and
councils. Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) chief
executive Adam Feeley said in comparison to farmers managing
one farm, the QLDC managed about 400km of pipes in a system
used by about 29,000 residents and about 2.7 million visitors
per year, and could not control all of their actions.
''However, we are doing more preventative maintenance;
developing a trade waste bylaw, and increasing public
awareness about what is and is not appropriate to put into
sewers and drains.
''We will also be co-operating with the Otago Regional
Council on prosecution action where an offender can be
identified,'' Mr Feeley said.
- by Leith Huffadine