Tiny district council has opportunity to stop Mackenzie dairy conversion
A tiny district council in the South Island may be all that stands in the way of an industrial dairy development in the unique and fragile Mackenzie Basin.
Simons Pass Station ltd, owned by developer, Murray Valentine, has applied for consents to build three dairy sheds and 14 houses for a new dairy mega-farm in the Mackenzie basin.
Refusing the consents could put an end to the dairy conversion. All eyes are on the Mackenzie District Council, one of the smallest in New Zealand as it weighs up this heavy responsibility.
"Putting seventeen new buildings in this is vast and scenic place will have significant landscape environmental impacts," says Greenpeace campaigner Gen Toop.
The building consents have been put on hold by the Council. They’re needed for the latest stage of a huge new dairy farm, which will use a big irrigation scheme to put up to 15,000 cows near the base of Aoraki, Mt Cook.
"If completed, this new dairy farm will cause major pollution of iconic lakes and rivers in the region. It will destroy the unique landscape and threaten the existence of endangered birds."
The proposed site for the industrial dairying operation just south of Lake Pūkaki is a unique desert-like dryland on glacial outwash plains.
It is home to 18 threatened plants and four threatened bird species, including the critically endangered Black Stilt.
There are 100 left in existence.
The MDC has recently toughened regulations around intensive farming and infrastructure in the Basin in order to protect the unique landscape and the native flora and fauna.
These rules have begun to bite, with the council turning down consent applications for the placement of centre pivot irrigators at the neighbouring farm, Maryburn.
Greenpeace is encouraging the public to support the MDC to make the right decision and protect this unique wilderness.
"We’re calling on the Mackenzie District Council to be brave, to stand up and protect the Mackenzie and decline the consents for this dairy mega-farm "