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Federated Farmers Declines Mystery Creek Debate About Water

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

5 June 2008 - The Green Party is trying to set up a face-to-face public debate with Federated Farmers over water issues, but has failed to get the federation to agree on a time and venue so far.

Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman emailed Federated Farmers President Charlie Pedersen on Wednesday after Mr Pedersen said on Newstalk ZB Rural Report he [Mr Pedersen] "relishes the prospect of a debate over a levy for commercial water use" and "water is a debate the country needs to address".

Said Dr Norman today; "I then suggested to Mr Pedersen it would be difficult to think of a better venue for such a public debate than the "Fieldays" 40th anniversary at Mystery Creek, Hamilton, next week and that if we approached the organisers jointly a debate on water would surely be of great help in promoting the Fieldays.

"I'm very disappointed Mr Pedersen has today declined - he would've had a huge advantage at Mystery Creek with so many of his members there." Mr Pedersen's secretary has replied saying, "His schedule for Fieldays is very tight and he wouldn't be able to fit this in. He also felt that perhaps it was too short notice to arrange this."

Dr Norman said he remained keen for a debate on water levies and pollution issues with Mr Pedersen and also Mr Pedersen's comment on the radio that; "Farmers should be paid for the rain water that flows off their farms into waterways".

"I'm in no way being flippant about this,'" Dr Norman says. "As I said at the Greens' conference last weekend, freshwater is one of the biggest issues of our time. It is becoming scarce in many countries and there are fears that tension over diminishing water supplies due to climate change will be as big a problem for the world as tension over diminishing oil supplies.

"I want to compliment Mr Pedersen for his statements welcoming a debate on water issues and hope the two of us can find a time and venue where it could happen."

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