Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Greens scaremongering? Surely not...

Federated Farmers Taranaki has come out swinging after an alarmist Green Party media release; the Taranaki Daily News reports:

Federated Farmers Taranaki is concerned the Green Party’s scaremongering over rehabilitated landfarms is putting at risk New Zealand’s number one merchandise export.
“Politicians and political parties have a higher duty when it comes to what they say or do,” says Harvey Leach, Federated Farmers Taranaki provincial president.
“The Green Party media release I saw is like going into a packed theatre and yelling fire. I think we are hitting new lows in politics when the sum total of a political party’s research effort is a television news segment."
“Unlike that party, Federated Farmers has asked questions and knows there is a double testing regime in place for rock cuttings and clays."
“Taranaki Regional Council is incredibly rigorous in what it does. The Council tests ground conditions to ensure things are as they should be. Fonterra further tests for contaminants when it collects milk to ensure integrity of the entire milk supply chain."
“The science is clear; there is no issue here. Of course you don’t want the truth to get in the way of a bad story."
“Politicians misrepresenting the truth is low-ball stuff.  They are calling into question the integrity of a major regional council which is the most experienced we have in dealing with oil and gas."

We understand that the Green Party's media release was based on a story on Campbell Live; here it is:

Fonterra should suspend milk from oil and fracking land

4 June 2013
Fonterra should suspend milk from oil and fracking land
The Green Party is calling on Fonterra to suspend taking milk from land where oil and fracking waste, including highly toxic chemicals, has been spread and covered in Taranaki.
The call comes following revelations on Campbell Live that Fonterra takes milk from up to 12 landfarms and many other sites in Taranaki where oil and gas industry waste, including fracking waste, is spread and covered.
“Consumers will be concerned to know that milk from cows grazed on land spread with oil industry and fracking waste is in our milk supply,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.
“People don’t want to drink milk from cows grazed on pasture with petroleum industry waste beneath it.
“The DCD scare showed us that our consumers want a clean product.
“Fonterra says they rely on the regional council consenting process to ensure safety. But the Taranaki Regional Council is not a neutral umpire when it comes to fracking and the oil industry; it is an advocate.
“Fonterra has not unequivocally said that there are no issues with this milk from farms with fracking waste on them. The public deserve to know what testing has been done on milk from these farms and what the testing shows.
“Consumers can get dirty milk from any number of countries. Our brand advantage is that our milk is clean and green. We need to take all steps to ensure our milk stays that way.
“This issue highlights how the Government’s petroleum development plans are creating a reputation risk for the dairy industry.
“Widespread growth of oil and gas is a threat to our reputation as producers of safe, clean food.
“The dairy industry cannot afford another residue scare like we had with DCD,” said Dr Norman.

Dr Norman's media release adds nothing to the allegations made by Campbell Live. In fact the most noteworthy aspect of Norman's presser is his criticism of the Taranaki Regional Council. We wonder if that has anything to do with the TRC not having found in the Greens' favour when it investigated instances of fracking in Taranaki last year, declining to order a moratorium. That decision was endorsed by Jan Wright, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment who conducted a lengthy investigative process.

It would seem that there is an element of utu in Dr Norman's presser of yesterday. If the Greens have evidence of greater scientific basis than an opinion expressed on Campbell Live (which has been very Green-friendly in recent years) they should make that available. It would seem however that this is part of an ongoing attempt by the Greens to discredit the Taranaki Regional Council, even though the Council's decision on fracking has had high-level independent support.

It hasn't been a good week for Russel Norman. Perhaps he needs to read his party's values statement again, and reflect on whether he is complying with those values.


Lofty said...

Just more of the same......lies & misinformation....the stuff of losers. Aided and abetted by their sensationalist and compliant running dog Campbell, with no science and fact to back up the assertion.

It is all disgraceful stuff, from the anti everything brigade.
Still landowners are the common enemy of the communist.

bsprout said...

The TV3 programme revealed that many sites had not been tested, Fonterra refused to answer questions, and the Taranaki Regional Council admits it is still coming up to speed with testing:

I would say that until there is conclusive evidence that the infected sites are safe, we should be concerned at how the land is used.

Saul True said...

If the Greens are able to restrict NZs earning capacity from agriculture and mining then printing money will become a viable alternative.