Not so hot off the Press - Federated Farmers "Build Dams not Cycle Lanes" 28th October 2008

28 October 2008

Build dams not cycle lanes say farmers

Federated Farmers President, Don Nicolson today urged all political parties to focus far more on the productive sector. He said if government increased infrastructure expenditure it should spend money on building dams rather than cycle lanes.

Several political leaders on the TV One debate last night, said that given the current international financial crisis, the Government should spend more money on infrastructure as a way to stimulate the economy.

“It’s not complex – dams store water, cycle lanes don’t. Water grows grass and grass produces food which we can sell to the world to pay the nation’s bills.

“If we have a strategy that can harness New Zealand’s enormous water resources so we get water in the right place at the right time, our world-beating farmers will be able to convert more grass into food and fibre for more export receipts. If we are going to survive this economic crisis New Zealand needs to produce more primary sector exports to pay the bills.

“While building new houses, new classrooms and new cycle lanes may be helpful for some, it’s not going to increase exports to set New Zealand up for greater success. Water storage that enables New Zealand to turn the water tap on and off for the productive sector, will.

“Water storage is critical to New Zealand’s future. It is well known that farming is the backbone of the economy. Current run of river water allocation systems see farmers too vulnerable to drought and floods. In the past year we have had both. The drought is widely acknowledged as a significant contributor to our current recession. Storing water now, as part of a response to the financial crisis, will see this risk reduced for at least the first half of this century.

“Not only will new storage help increase exports, we know from the Opuha experience that the towns, cities, boaties, fishermen and environment also benefit.

“Federated Farmers calls on all political parties to think seriously about water storage when they consider any “emergency” infrastructure spending plans in coming weeks. Such proposals should not be about trying to win elections, but about setting our nation up for success for decades to come. Politicians need to get off their bikes, use some common sense and look to storing water,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

Mr Nicolson said the Federation had been working on a campaign on water storage for some time, to follow on from its recent T150 campaign, but was now bringing the issue forward, given comments from an increasing number of politicians.


  1. Are these cycle lanes something in the pipeline for state highways or something? Urban cycle lanes are handled by local government, not central -- so why have these come up in the general election?

  2. Sounds like it Ice. I'm looking into this a little further. I missed this press release somehow. I get them straight away from Agresearch and Fed Farmers. I have a feeling because of the Kyoto Protocol the emissions issue has become a big thing. I can't me cycling to Auckland!!!!

  3. Haven't found any sign so far of a government project to put in cycle lanes as a special deal anywhere. Usually, it comes as part of a package in a roading project, if they remember to put it in.

    Perhaps, whoever formulated that release thought to themselves -- "We want the government building more water storage dams. What can we compare something important like that to, something really trivial ... I know! Cycle Lanes!"

    "What cycle lanes, where?" asks a colleague.

    "Don't be specific, Humphrey. It'll do."

    Now, if they'd said, "Why go spending billions of dollars putting another road through that Waterview place, just to please the truckie firms, spend that money giving us storage dams," that would have made much more sense.

  4. Exactly - I think it's a matter of talking off the top of the heads rather than simply saying well this is what we really need. I couldn't find anything so I thought to myself - bad way of putting things. Now if they had said - stop wasting money on sending people overseas to study Hiphop and fund water storage projects - just as you put in your comment it would make sense. I'll call this particular press release - "Jumping to Conclusions" They could have done better by checking out some facts first perhaps?

  5. A case of shooting themselves in the foot. To some sectors of The Powers That Be, they could well come across as just noisy ravers, the old "empty pails" saying.

    Which is a pity, because yes -- New Zealand country areas need water storage policies and infrastructure. Changing climate, increasing drought cycles -- any which way you look at it, the rural areas will need H2O in the future. Without putting measures in place sooner rather than later, we'll all be up th' ol' (dry) creek without propulsion device.

  6. Thing is I would have thought they would have actually 'read' up on the infrastructure stuff before they made the media release? Looks like you and I are having one of them ol conversations in the comments here. But seriously you are right. Water is going to become a very big issue sooner rather than later. I have had another press release come in but it's under embargo until 1 am tomorrow morning. It's to do with the Fed. Farmers Menifesto launch in Wellington. I decided to shove them on here since I can't put them in the paper I edit. Room is why. Seems they're definitely being read for some reason. I try to post them as soon as they come in - heck at this rate I'll end up being a media blog!!!!

  7. You know not the power that you wield ...

  8. POwer ???Where????Gimme gimme!!!!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts