That appears to be the business strategy of meat processor and marketer AFFCO … certainly its Wairoa operation.
According to NZ Farmers Weekly, AFFCO just announced a group profit of $36.56 million for the year ended September 30, 2010 — up from $25.2 million the prior year. The company, now wholly-owned by the Talleys group, is holding $52 million in cash or near cash.
Meantime, in Wairoa, AFFCO is spending as little as it can, as slowly as it can, to come into compliance with effluent discharge conditions — imposed by the HB Regional Council back in July 2009! — it is miles away from complying with. As previously reported, at times water tests have revealed faecal coliform counts of 3600cfu/100ml, when the District Health Board says anything over 550cfu/100ml triggers danger alerts. Indeed, the “safe recreation” level is only 260cfu/100ml.
AFFCO has appealed the HBRC conditions and is engaged in a protracted mediation with the Regional Council … a process now effectively in suspended animation while AFFCO tries to ‘diffuse’ the waste products it is dumping into the Wairoa River. Given the high levels of waste the plant is discharging, one might be justifiably skeptical that ‘diffusion’ (spreading the waste in finer particles into the river) will be sufficient to protect human health or the ecology of the river.
How do you feel about swimming in thin gruel versus thick?
Under an agreement negotiated with HBRC, AFFCO has until September 30 to establish that measures it is taking are capable to bringing it into compliance with new (i.e., 2009) consent conditions. Failing to satisfy HBRC, the matter would go to Environment Court by November 2011.
Meanwhile the waste pours out.
And AFFCO runs adverts in the latest Farmers Weekly (and elsewhere I presume) boasting:
“At AFFCO, it’s what you find behind the doors that counts.
We’ve invested in better meat processing techniques for more than a century, and we’re still investing today. In fact, in the past five years alone, we’ve spent more than $117 million where it will benefit you most — inside our plants.”
They might as well add: Who cares what happens outside our plants. Screw the environment!
AFFCO has claimed that it might cost $2 million to clean up its Wairoa plant. Even if that’s true (no such plan has been put forward), that amount can now be viewed in the context of which AFFCO boasts — $117 million in investment in the past five years alone.
The Farmers Weekly article notes that AFFCO’s “core business is in contract sales to big supermarkets in the United Kingdom and Europe.” Boy, would BayBuzz like to get in the ears of those buyers … maybe they’re the ones who tell their customers they only buy from ‘clean, green’ New Zealand sources! What do they know, I wonder, about AFFCO’s environmental practices?!
Get me The Guardian!