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Dairy Farmers Must Hurry Up To Clean Up - Greens

Green Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street MP today said dairy farmers must move as quickly as possible to clean up their farming practices, saying the public were increasingly concerned at the impact of dairying on the environment.

"Farmers are saying they need more time to clean up their act but I am inclined to agree with Southland Fish and Game that simple and effective measures such as fencing waterways to keep out stock could be implemented immediately.

"High levels of run-off - of both fertiliser and effluent - have seriously degraded waterways in the North Island and now the problem is spreading south.

"We all understand the phenomenal growth of dairying, particularly in Southland, and we understand what this means for both the regional and national economy," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"However these economic benefits are currently coming, in part, at the expense of our environment and our waterways and this is unacceptable. It does not have be this way."

Mr Ewen-Street said a Ministry for the Environment report showed that losses of up to $570 million for the dairy industry and losses of nearly $1 billion for tourism if New Zealand's clean green image was tainted.

"What farmers must come to understand is that if they drag the chain in cleaning up their act they will be shooting themselves in the foot. Not only will people not want their produce if they ruin the environment to produce it, but nobody will want to visit their area either.

"The public are running out of patience with needlessly polluted waterways, and quite rightly so.

"Rather than pointing out the benefits of the industry, Federated Farmers would be better off trying to preserve these benefits by urging their members to get on with cleaning it up," said Mr Ewen-Street.


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