A wee while ago there was quite some hoohar that went down when Donald Trump decided he wanted to build a golf course and resort thingy in Scotland. He promised loads of jobs and huge increase in the income of the area – the Government of the day fell for it.
In a nut shell, he talked his way into obtaining land that was set among the Great Dunes along the Aberdeenshire coastline, like, 4000 year old dunes designated as a special environment site!
Now we now how delicate the ecosystem is when it comes to dunes, so, as you can imagine there was a lot of people who didn’t want the Trump Meister building.
But build he did. One poor farmer got a whole heap of dirt piled up so his view was blocked just because he wouldn’t sell out (dirt later removed through court action). Trumpy even wanted to get the Government to seize the surrounding farms, but under Scottish law, couldn’t be done.
The real trouble came when the Scots decided they would build a wind farm out at sea right opposite the golf course. This was just too much for Trump and he tried to sue the government which didn’t get him anywhere.
The upshot was that he threw his toys out of the cot and basically up and walked off the project. There’s now just a club-house and a golf course there, very few people use it but the sad part is that the ecosystem is stuffed.
So where’s this leading to I hear you ask. Back here to N.Z.
If you’re a New Zealander reading this you will know, or at least have heard, about the McKenzie Country. That gorgeous ecosystem in central South Island, most of which is owned by us, the public, and leased out as pastoral land. Some of this area provides habitat for several rare birds and fish including the black stilt, NZ Falcon, Canterbury galaxid (fish) and long-finned eel.
It is one of the most pristine areas of New Zealand (God knows we need to hang onto them) because it abounds with lakes, tussocks and environmental beauty.
Not only are there moves to sell off some of it to the private sector but now pastures of green turf have begun to appear to support a growing dairy industry in the area.
The, forever money hungry, dairy industry is not content with the existing farms, but is hell bent, it seems, on destroying all the ecological and environmental delicacies that N.Z. has.
Sort of Trump style – no consideration at all even though there has been opposition from high country farmers, community boards, environmentalists, fisheries, forest & bird, tourist operators even hunters to no avail – the dairy farms came and continue to come.
And the impact they have made already is so sad. The problem is that these farms need water and so they are drawing from local lakes and already the impact has been felt.
Where once there were water filled ponds and small lakes – the reservoirs are drying up. The large lakes are still o.k. …. but if the dairy continues to grow – well, I’ll leave you to ask the questions.
What will become of the MacKenzie Agreement? This is a landmark document developed over the past couple of years by farmers, environmentalists, tourist operators, businesses and the community which is designed to protect the special values of this area.
It seems that nothing stands in the way of the dairy industry. The irony is that dairy payouts to farmers has fallen dramatically and if this keeps up there’s every likelihood that we’ll see a repeat of the 80’s when greed overtook sensibility and the kiwifruit crashed causing many to just walk off their orchards.
Today many dairy farmers are facing similar outcomes. Suicide rates have increased and perhaps we’ll see abandoned farms which, unfortunately, have already left their destructive footprint on our environment.
Ciao for now