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'Dirty' minority in Waikato flout good practice

25 October 2006

'Dirty' minority in Waikato flout good farming practice

Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson Sue Bradford is very concerned at news that one in four farms monitored during a recent Environment Waikato helicopter flyover were found to be breaching dairy effluent rules and allowing effluent to be released into drains and waterways.

Environment Waikato have indicated that they will issue infringement notices and prosecutions under the Resource Management Act to the offending farms, but Ms Bradford says she has little confidence that the matter will be adequately dealt with.

"This is not a new problem. More than a year ago, in April 2005, another Environment Waikato audit found that over half of the farms surveyed were flouting some effluent rules, and 16 percent were seriously non-compliant. Action was promised at the time, but given this recent result, it seems that nothing has changed. A significant minority of farmers are not taking their responsibilities seriously.

"This should be of concern to Federated Farmers.

"It is particularly unfair to those farmers who are complying with the Clean Streams Accord, as they are being put at a comparative disadvantage by others who are breaking the rules.

"Clearly there needs to be stricter enforcement and tougher penalties for not dealing with effluent correctly. In the long term, it is in farmers' interests to lift their game in this area, as it is their own future livelihood that is being threatened by the environmental destruction that incorrect disposal of effluent causes," Ms Bradford says.

ENDS

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