The Country - Rachel Stewart: Everyone wants a water royalty except farmers

Opinion writer Rachel Stewart takes sides in The Country.

With only a few weeks to go until the election, seven National Party ninjas decided to go the full headband by pledging to make all New Zealand rivers "swimmable". Not even by some far-flung, distant date.

The self-titled "Farming Leaders Group" comprise Federated Farmers president Katie Milne, former Federated Farmers president and Ravensdown director Bruce Wills, governmental agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen, DairyNZ chairman Michael Spaans, Meat Industry Association chairman John Loughlin, and Beef + LambNZ chairman James Parsons. As I understand it, Fonterra's Director of Social Responsibility (an oxymoron, surely?) Carolyn Mortland, stood in for Fonterra chairman John Wilson for the combined photo shoot and announcement.

While they all posed awkwardly together on the banks of the Ngaruroro River, the "farming leaders" were long on the blah blah and short on the detail. As in, nobody has a clue how they'll achieve it - least of all them.