Is this what we want for future generations? Do we want to keep feeding them poisoned food?

Who owns the water? Who decides what use it is put to? Who protects it?

Ideally in a sane world the use of water would not be decided by governments, local councils and big business, all influenced not by health of the environment and people, but by money.

The use of water would be decided by the people who protect it, and the people who understand it. Every town and city would have a council made up of elders and guardians who work for the protection of our planet's most precious resource.

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It could include some wise and committed children and millennials.

'Nearly all the numerous poisons used by agriculture here are neuro-toxic, endocrine disrupters and carcinogenic.'

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On his Facebook page, Captain Paul Watson, of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has a poster with a photo of his young child and the words; 'The Future Is Watching You'.

It was Captain Watson who 15 years ago said humans became used to diminishment. He said, "If 30 years ago we had been told that one day the water coming out of the tap would not be fit to drink we would not have believed it, but today we accept it."

The diminishment situation has been occurring up in the Far North of New Zealand for many years. A lot of people I have spoken to here know that all the poisons blithely sprayed along the roads and waterways end up in the aquifer. How could they not?

The amount of Roundup sprayed is mind-blowing, and talked about widely by backpackers and tourists, who are often in shock and feel ripped off by Tourism NZ, who lured them here under the pretext of clean and green.

I have met many of these young people as I travel in my camper van, and have worked with them in a number of Woofing situations. They are in disbelief at the poisons being used by the avocado growers up here.

Roundup is just one of the many chemicals used by growers. There are far worse, but Roundup is bad enough. It was banned by Sweden many years ago after it was discovered in the underground water; this is contrary to the Monsanto Safety Data Sheet, which states it will not contaminate underground water.

Nearly all the numerous poisons used by agriculture here are neuro-toxic, endocrine disrupters and carcinogenic. Is this what we want for future generations? Do we want to keep feeding them poisoned food? Where is the intelligence in this? The main sprayer of Roundup here is, of course, the Far North Regional Council (sic).

There is nothing healthy about an economy based on poison. There is nothing sustainable about an economy based on poison. Has the Far North Regional Council signed up to the United Nations sustainability protocol?

I do not want to hear the "regulated' argument. In Australia, Endosulphan, used by macadamia growers, was regulated and approved by the EPA, until the fact that it was ruining lives, decimating waterways and killing bees and frogs was so evident they had to ban it.

At last week's commission hearing into the allocated use of water, one of the applicants described his avocados as nutritional food. I disagree that anything with the amount of poison used to grow avocados could be considered food, certainly not nutritional food.

This peninsular, with its unique aquifer and rich soils, could be used to establish a hub of organic farms that could not only feed the local population but the rest of New Zealand.

Instead we have to be concerned, and always on the lookout for the next helicopter releasing its toxic load over the fragile landscape and threatened swamp land. There can be no question that all of these poisons are contaminating the aquifer.

Hemp would be an ideal crop for the Far North. It grows easily and does not require obscene amounts of water. It is grown without poison, and is very nutritional, with a high protein content. As well as food it can be used for housing, clothing and medicine. Henry Ford built his first car using hemp.

The Department of Conservation had three independent scientists present studies into the swamp lands at the hearing. They were all concerned that the amount of water requested by the applicants could adversely affect the rare and unique flora and fauna of the wetlands.

I don't have to say anything about the beauty and atmosphere the wetlands give the local landscape.

But right now they are being bulldozed into ugly messes that look like wetland graveyards. Less than 10 per cent of the original wetlands, post-European settlement, remain.

Some very strong and powerful voices spoke for the water at the commission hearing. Submissions have been published on the council website. Please read them. This is your water and your children and grandchildren's future. The future is watching us.

A headline for this article could read, Millions of years in the making, how many years in the breaking?

Save the wetlands.

ASHIYA AUSTIN
Co-ordinator, Residents Organised Against Roundup (ROAR)
Byron Bay, NSW