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Greens: It ain’t pretty, it’s shitty

It ain’t pretty, it’s shitty

Green Media Release 29th February 2008

  • Greens video shot in the northern Wairarapa

  • Today the Greens released a video shot in the northern Wairarapa on Wednesday. It shows that cows are routinely not excluded from large and small rivers and streams and it shows cows defecating into one of major rivers in the region.

    “The day after the Government and Fonterra released their self-congratulatory progress report on the Clean Streams Accord, we found rivers large and small routinely being treated as sewers for cow effluent,” says Dr. Russel Norman, Green Party Co-leader.

    “The Government and Fonterra released their report at Fonterra’s corporate offices in Auckland on Tuesday. On Wednesday we travelled around the country near Pahiatua and Eketahuna in the northern Wairarapa to see what was happening beyond the world of PR spin.

    “And it is not pretty, it’s shitty.

    “It was a simple matter to look around the dairy and beef farms of the northern Wairarapa to find cows with full access to streams of all sizes. Cows were free to do their business directly into the streams and rivers.

    “We videoed calves walking through and defecating in the Makakahi River, a major tributary of the Manawatu River. We found cows with full access to the tributaries of the Mangatainoka River, which also feeds the Manawatu.

    “Is it any surprise native fish have disappeared from two thirds of the Manawatu catchment when cows are free to fill the water with effluent.

    “The Government and Fonterra are keen to tell us that things are getting better, and I acknowledge that many farmers are doing the right thing and I congratulate them, but the intensification of agriculture means that overall things are actually getting worse.

    “The Government is going too slowly – after eight years of government they tell us that they have almost produced a draft national environmental standard on water quality. Fonterra, and other dairy companies, are not taking the issue seriously after five years of the Accord and should stop taking milk from farmers who repeatedly breach their resource consents.

    “We need to support the good farmers by introducing national environmental standards so that there is a level playing field, rather than allowing bad farmers to undercut them by not fencing their rivers and streams.

    You can see the video here –


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