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Key findings on Clean Streams Accord

10 November 2009

Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Key findings on Clean Streams Accord not challenged by Federated Farmers

The key findings of Fish & Game and Forest & Bird's review of the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord have not been challenged by Federated Farmers' so-called "peer review" released today.

The Forest & Bird and Fish & Game review of the first five years of the Accord concluded that it failed to achieve its major goal to:

"Reduce the impacts of dairying on the quality of New Zealand's streams, rivers, lakes, ground water and wetlands."

Where water quality in dairying areas has been monitored, it has generally continued to fall during the five years of the Accord, Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager and report co-author, Kevin Hackwell says.

Even in the five closely monitored "best practice" catchments that have been managed above Accord standards, water quality has not improved or has declined.

Federated Farmers has not challenged this key finding, which is based on independent research, Kevin Hackwell says.

Federated Farmers has also not challenged the review finding that the Accord has consistently failed to meet a number of its principal targets. The most disturbing is the continued failure to meet the target that all farm dairy effluent discharges will comply with their resource consents and regional plans.

"In some major dairying regions 18 to 24% of all dairy farms are in "serious non-compliance" with their legal obligations. We found that the national average of serious non-compliance is more than 14% of dairy farms - twice the 7% reported in this year's Snapshot Report by the Accord partners."

Federated Farmers should join Forest & Bird and Fish & Game in supporting those farmers who have taken responsibility for their environmental impacts and are doing the right thing, Kevin Hackwell says.

Federated Farmers has objected to the review's interpretation of the independent research, and said that five years is too short a time to be judgmental about the Accord's effectiveness. However the original Clean Streams Accord included a requirement that progress be reviewed after five years.

"Sadly, today's so called "peer review" continues a long history of Federated Farmers denying the dairy industry's responsibility for the significant decline in water quality in many rural areas."

ENDS

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