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Focus On The Positive

29 November 2007

Focus On The Positive

Two new reports on water quality show that New Zealand fresh water is in pretty good shape, and is a lot better than many environmentalists claim, said Charlie Pedersen, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

“There are few, if any, countries in the world that enjoy the water quality we have in New Zealand. Water quality has improved substantially from 30 years ago when towns and farmers used waterways as dumping grounds.

“Farmers are determined that they will further reduce their environmental impact, to ensure that quality overall is heading in the right direction,” Mr Pedersen said.

The report on lake water quality found that approximately 60 percent of New Zealand lakes are still likely to have excellent or very good water quality.

These lakes include Wanaka, Te Anau, Tekapo, Rotoma, and Brunner.

“The fact that approximately 2,300 New Zealand lakes have excellent or very good water quality is something that we should be celebrating,” he said.

“That said, we have to continue to work on improving the quality of the remaining lakes.

“New Zealand farmers are doing their bit to improve water quality by fencing off waterways, riparian planting, nutrient budgeting, and adopting new farming techniques and technology.

“A lot of work is underway into further improvements and extending new technologies on farm. As these new technologies and techniques become more widely used, water quality will improve in most of the lakes with poor water quality,” he said.

The report on groundwater quality supported the implication that human activities on the land have led to the degradation of groundwater quality, particularly in shallow, unconfined aquifers.

However the report said it could not prove that there was a relationship between the particular land use types and intensities surrounding monitoring bores and the magnitude or pattern of impacts of these land uses on groundwater quality.

“Federated Farmers will continue to encourage farmers to adopt best practice and we will never defend farmers who recklessly pollute.

“But in the meantime environmentalists should stop acting like modern-day Jeremiahs. New Zealand is a great country and its water quality is mostly very good. Creating a perception that the water quality is going to hell in a hand basket because of farming is just playing politics,” Mr Pedersen said.


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