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Farming Report Doesn't Paint Full Picture

Farming Report Doesn't Paint Full Picture

Thursday 4 Nov 2004 Gerry Eckhoff - Press Releases - Rural

The Parliamentary Commissioner of the Enviroment's report on the sustainability of farming accentuates the negative and eliminates the positive of New Zealand agriculture, ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"The report, preparded by Dr Morgan Williams, studiously ignores the negative impact of Government policies, for example, removing 1.2 million hectares of extensive grazing country in the South Island forcing farmers to intensify the development of the lower country. This must include irrigation and high use of fertiliser, the very things Dr Williams argues strongly against. "The impact of the Conservation Department, in its continual restriction of land use in favour of preservation, also adds to the pressure to intensify farming practice. These pressures are a direct result of Government policy and not farming desire.

"The problems associated with high nitrogen use is a real one but can be eliminated very rapidly with the introduction of genetically modified white clover. White clover, the power house of New Zealand's farming system, is under severe attack from the white clover mosaic virus which few people in the agricultural world seem to be aware of, including Government Ministers.

"The only way we can solve this problem is by the introduction of genetically modified white clover seed, which would, to a very large extent, reduce the need for artificial fertiliser. Why has Dr Williams failed to mention such matters in his report?

"New Zealand farmers are cleaning up their back yards at a hugely accelerated rate due to industry imperatives, not the continual carping from the environmental lobby groups which appear to have captured the Commissioner's office," Mr Eckhoff said.


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