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There's more than one way to foul the water

27 November 2007

There's more than one way to foul the water, Charlie

Federated Farmers President Charlie Pedersen's claim that water quality is improving in the Manawatu area due to farmers' improvements is being challenged by Green Party MP Nandor Tanczos.

Mr Pedersen told the Federated Farmers annual conference in Wellington that "by Horizons' own analysis, river and stream water quality has improved substantially over the last 40 years" and "farmers in the region have done a great deal to achieve this improvement". The comment was made as part of the justification for his attack on environmental regulations.

"This statement flies in the face of the evidence and misleads farmers and the public. It's just not possible to ignore what's happening to our rivers, lakes and stream as a result of dairy intensification."

Reports from both Horizons Regional Council and NIWA show that the water pollution associated with farming (non-point source pollution) has significantly increased over the last 20 years. This is directly linked to the increasingly intensive use of agricultural land.

"Pedersen needs to take another look at the figures and make sure he knows what kind of pollution he's talking about.

"Pollution from direct discharges, such as from factories or sewage plants (point source pollution) has improved in some areas. However, it is the communities that protested against this pollution and not the agricultural sector that deserve the credit for this."

Horizons have stated that the most significant cause of poor water quality in their region is non-point source pollution, pollution from farming. This is echoed in the NIWA report which refers to a continuing shift in relative importance from point source to non-point source pollution.

"It is atrocious that so many of our lowland rivers are unsafe for swimming or drinking.

"Charlie Pedersen needs to stop living in a fantasy world. He does his organisation, and farmers generally, no good at all by denying what is plain to see. The issues are difficult and complex and we need to all work together on them, but that can't happen while Federated Farmers remains in a world of its own."


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