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Dirty Dairying Accord Is A Failure

Monday May 26, 2003

Dirty Dairying Accord Is A Failure

All New Zealanders will lose from the Dairy Industry Accord which aims to stop “Dirty Dairying” Fish and Game New Zealand said today. The Accord will be signed this afternoon by the Ministers of Agriculture and Environment, Fonterra and Local Government New Zealand.

“This final version of the Accord is a failed attempt to remedy one of the greatest environmental threats New Zealand faces,” says Bryce Johnson, Fish and Game Director. “Fonterra, the Ministry for the Environment, MAF and Environment Waikato, have fumbled a critical opportunity to change our countryside from dirty and brown to truly clean and green.”

“Kayakers, trampers, rafters, anglers, families, picnickers, indeed all the community who want to enjoy clean lowland streams, are going to have to face waterways polluted by nitrates, campylobacter and cryptosporidium for many years to come.”

“This Accord has serious failings. We want to know why the Ministers of Conservation and Health were not involved? Both Ministers have a critical role in water quality and the environment, especially public health, given that polluted waterways in dairy farming areas are not safe for human recreation or consumption.”

“We want to know why this Accord means it will take nine years before 90 percent of dairy streams are fenced. And why is that figure not 100 percent? The worst dairy farmers are being left out! Yet a single wire electric fence is cheap, simple to install, and effective for dairy cows.”

“We want to know why this Accord gives dairy farmers nine years before 90 percent of raceway culverts are put in place? Again why not 100 percent, especially when research shows that cows are fifty more times likely to defecate and urinate when they walk through water.”

“And why is it going take another four years for dairy farmers to have a proper nutrient budget system to reduce fertiliser leaching and run off, when all major fertiliser companies now offer this service for free.”

“All these time targets should be halved and incorporated into Fonterra’s supply contracts.”

“We believe that it has been Federated Farmers’ undermining and bullying of Fonterra which has caused Fonterra to settle for far less than what they know would be truly effective.”

“The stance of Federated Farmers is entirely predictable. All they have done is bleat how they weren’t consulted by Fonterra, and they are constantly pushing to get out of any sort of environmental controls.”

“Why doesn’t Federated Farmers finally pull their heads out of the sand and realise what the rest of country has accepted, that New Zealand faces a very serious problem with water quality caused by intensive agriculture and dairy farming in particular. They should be the leader for water quality improvement and not the chief obstacle. Ironically, along with tourism, they need the clean green image the most.”

“This Accord not only fails to include two key government Ministers, but we cannot see how it will have any significant effect on Regional Councils. Neither the Accord, nor the proposed regional action plans are binding on the parties and Local Government New Zealand has little influence on Regional Council performance. These Councils must carry much of the blame for the current poor state of lowland streams in dairying areas through their weak application of the sections of the RMA which are intended to protect the environment.”

“The public can be assured that Fish and Game New Zealand is not going to let this Accord white wash the polluting behaviour of the dairy industry, and we will continue to highlight the issue and put pressure on the industry to clean up its act.”


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