Proposed new environmental rules for the Waimakariri District will drive some farmers off their land, say farmers and their support groups.
The three rivers listed in irrigated catchments; Ruamahanga, Tukituki and Selwyn, when compared with the water quality of other rivers in these regions shows whilst they each have challenges, they are not the dirtiest.
"The true state of water quality in New Zealand can be gleaned from the Land Air Water Aotearoa website www.lawa.org.nz. This contains the most accurate and up to date picture of actual river water quality in New Zealand.
"The Porirua in Wellington region, Karamu in Hawke's Bay and Heathcote river in Christchurch all have worse water quality issues than the Ruamahanga, Tukituki and Selwyn," says Curtis
"The Greens are being mischievous with their dirtiest rivers stunt. They are trying to create a divide between rural and urban communities which is not good for New Zealand."
There are some huge water quality issues facing all of lowland New Zealand if pristine, swimmable water quality becomes the minimum standard.
"Just as farmers will have to invest in changing farm practices, rates will have to rise significantly in urban areas to pay for rivers to be cleaned-up to a pristine standard," he says.
Despite this cost, Curtis says the primary sector is actively embracing change. Adoption of good management practices, like stock exclusion from waterways, is the first step. "The continued evolution of precision agriculture is the long-term solution if we are to create a resilient and sustainable future for rural New Zealand."
"The goal posts for farmers have changed and there are now environmental limits in place or in the process of being put in place."