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Otago must come clean about rogue farmers

12 August 2008

Otago must come clean about rogue farmers

Otago Regional Council must stop protecting names of persistent polluters if it is serious about the problem of worsening river quality in the region, Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman says.

"The council is running a 'Watering the Future' forum this week in Cromwell after a 'water quality workshop' last month at Clydevale Hall and I totally support getting farmers and others around the table in this way.

"But keeping secret the names of a small minority who offend against council pollution rules gives an impression the council is firmly on the side of polluters rather than the wider community and environment," Dr Norman says.

The Green Party has been trying for weeks to get names of offenders from the council without result and a direct email from Dr Norman to council chief executive Graeme Martin nearly a week ago (see attached) has not been answered either.

"Names of the worst polluters should not only be supplied to us, they should be listed on the council's website and available to everyone so there is real pressure, not just talk.

"On July 15 the regional council said in a statement that, 'It isn't acceptable to the community, including farmers and the regional council, for the water quality of streams and rivers of South and West Otago to continue to deteriorate'," Dr Norman says.

"On June 13, The Otago Daily Times reported Otago Regional Councillor Duncan Butcher saying, 'Money, education and consultation with industry have failed to achieve the environmental outcomes the council and community desire of dairy farms'.

Says Dr Norman, "Let's continue the consultation, but it's time also to get tougher, and more honest, about individual polluters."

ENDS

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