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Dairy booms, rivers bust: time for Green Solutions

Dairy booms, rivers bust - time for Green Solutions

Green Media Release - 31st January 2008

The announcement today of the first ever one billion dollars in dairy exports in a single month, coming at the same time as the release of the State of the Environment report showing declining water quality, makes it plain that now is the time to invest in the sustainability of this important industry, and that so far this Government has failed New Zealanders, says the Green Party.

“This Government has had more than eight years to begin to put right the problems identified in the last State of the Environment report after years of bad management by National Party Governments, but instead things have only got worse,” says Dr. Russel Norman, Green Party Co-leader.

“Not only have they failed to solve the problems threatening New Zealand’s biodiversity which were the key problems identified in the 1997 report, we now have the addition of major problems of environmental degradation caused by land use intensification and increased roading transport, which are also driving water quality problems and greenhouse emissions.

“Now is the time for Green solutions not more rhetoric.

“We have doubled the number of vehicle kilometres travelled. New Zealanders are crying out for better public transport, but this Government’s response has been to launch the biggest road-building spend this country has ever witnessed. We need more public transport.

“We need central Government to provide strong direction on cleaning up our waterways via a National Policy Statement and a National Environmental Standard under the Resource Management Act. These must contain timelines and targets for improvement.

“Federated Farmers will oppose this kind of regulation but the Government must act on behalf of all New Zealanders who want clean rivers and on behalf of those dairy farmers who are doing the right thing by the environment and being undercut by corporate agribusiness.

“Local Government must too play its part. Councils should require resource consents for agricultural land intensification, including dairy conversion, with limits on nitrogen and phosphorous run-off.”

“The equation is simple, we can not allow unfettered growth of dairy without the environment paying the price. There are limits to growth.

“We do acknowledge that there have been gains in some areas such as point source pollution, driven by the RMA. But overall the picture in water quality, fisheries, biodiversity and greenhouse emissions is not good.

“The environment has endured eight years of hard Labour, and decades of National Party indifference, it’s time for Green solutions.”

ENDS

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