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FFNZ: Dioxins Report Flawed.

15 October 2001 PR154/01


FFNZ: Dioxins Report Flawed.

Yet again, the Government is seeking to regulate without adequate examination of the costs and benefits according to Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) President Alistair Polson.

Mr Polson was responding to the release of the Ministry for the Environment's An Action Plan for Reducing Discharges of Dioxin to Air which proposes to ban the burning of backyard rubbish such as plastics, treated timbers and farm waste such as silage wrap and chemical containers.

"New Zealand farmers recognise the marketing advantage of the low levels of dioxin in our products, said Mr Polson. But this report is ridiculous in its lack of foresight and blatant desire to legislate for the sake of legislating."

"Waste combustion contributes 56% of New Zealand's dioxin emissions and of that domestic waste burning accounts for 11%. The report states that if the amount of dioxin-creating waste burned in an uncontrolled manner were halved, the total current discharge of dioxin to air would fall by at least 5%. But at what price to achieve that 5%."

"Any policy must be practical, the benefits must justify the costs, and should look at all the alternatives to legislation. In this case education, improved on farm burning, recycling or using more environmentally friendly containers may well provide acceptable solutions."

"Most farmers do not have the luxury of rubbish collection from the gate, many do not live near a local authority landfill, and most agri-chemical containers are non recyclable," said Mr Polson. Evidence from the United Kingdom suggests an efficient on-farm incinerator will greatly reduce dioxin emissions. Surely, this makes more sense than driving 30 km to the nearest dump - dioxin is an inevitable by-product of burning fuel."

"Farmers take pride in their clean green status, but realistically this can only be achieved by economically viable farms. Why threaten the continued growth of the rural economy with unrealistic and ineffective compliance costs," asked Mr Polson.

"Regulation should be a last resort, not a first solution. Federated Farmers will be making a strong submission to the Ministry of the Environment suggesting alternative scenarios to legislation."

ENDS

For more information: Alistair Polson, PH 06 342 2853 or 025 370 085 Kevin Geddes, Ph 03 66 8416

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