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Fonterra's Commitment To Clean Up Cynical Spin

3 May 2002

Fonterra's Commitment To Clean Up Cynical Spin So Far

Green Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street today said the timing of Fonterra's announcement that it planned to clean up New Zealand's dairy industry was cynical spin that bought into question the company's commitment to the environment.

"I am very suspicious that Fonterra chose today to publicly launch their new commitment to the environment - the same day that Fonterra have been found to be responsible for massive pollution of the Waikato River," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"Today's Fonterra announcement smacks of cynical public relations damage control. This issue deserves to appear on 'Spin Doctors'."

Mr Ewen-Street said New Zealanders have become increasingly concerned about the damage the recent dairy boom has inflicted on New Zealand's waterways.

He said cows are many times more likely to defecate into water than they are onto pasture and it was high time the industry funded the fencing off of riparian margins, the bridging of streams and planting along waterways.

"The fact of the matter is that the dairy boom, while being good news for the economy, is having a seriously negative impact on our environment and if concrete steps are not taken to stop this our tourism industry and our international reputation will suffer," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"The growth in the dairy industry needs to be managed so that short term gains do not ruin long term prospects for this country's economic development through environmental degradation. Until now the dairy industry from Federated Farmers through to Fonterra has been sluggish and reluctant to admit to the problem.

"Today's news about Fonterra's pollution of the Waikato River is the tip of the iceberg. In Southland and Canterbury small waterways, creeks and rivers are being ruined by dairy cattle and something needed to be done long ago," he said.

"I am glad that Fonterra now appear to be fronting up to the problem but given today's news they really had little choice. The Greens hope the content of today's announcement is not as cynical as the timing of it."

Ends

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