Farmers and councils 'equally to blame' for declining water quality

Graham Carter says fencing off streams is not sufficient for farmers to claim they're doing enough.
Graham Carter says fencing off streams is not sufficient for farmers to claim they're doing enough.

Anglers say farmers and councils are equally to blame for declining water quality.

Graham Carter of the Federation of Freshwater Anglers thinks the farming community is making excuses for its harm, and fencing off streams is not sufficient for farmers to claim they're doing enough.

"The problem is not just a five-metre strip beside streams and rivers, but one of watershed management. The smaller creeks and drains require as much attention as the wanton fertiliser spreading needs adjusting," he told Newshub.

It follows comments from Federated Farmers president Katie Milne, who thinks there are misconceptions about the impact they have on waterways.

"Irrigation and effluent and poor water quality don't go hand in hand, necessarily, at all," she told The Nation on Saturday.

Mr Carter doesn't believe farmers are the only ones having a negative impact.

"Fertiliser companies need to take greater responsibility and put out that education to farmers that the super phosphate's got high levels of cadmium in it."

He also said councils were just as big a culprit as farmers.

"Anglers are very much like canaries in the coal mine, alert to the significant rise in degradation of the rivers, and know that intensified dairying is a major factor.

"Importantly as a major factor, Federated Farmers NZ needs to stop making excuses and work with Fish & Game and the federation to understand the issues, so a team effort results."

Newshub.