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Fonterra must act on dirty dairying to protect NZ

22 July 2009

Fonterra must act on dirty dairying to protect New Zealand

The Green Party is calling on Fonterra to apply financial penalties to New Zealand’s most infamous dirty dairying group after it was once again convicted of polluting the environment.

Party Co-Leader Russel Norman said today’s Waikato Times report on the Crafar brothers’ convictions makes grim reading, as the case has the potential to damage New Zealand’s international reputation.

Dairying brothers Allan and Frank Crafar were found guilty of 34 of 40 charges brought against them by Environment Waikato related to the systemic failure of an effluent system on one of their farms near Hamilton. This is the latest in a string of cases involving the Crafars.

“Dirty dairying is causing untold damage to New Zealand’s rivers, lakes and harbours. In the Waikato around 70 percent of lakes and rivers are unsafe for swimming. Nationally, Ministry for the Environment found only 58 percent of the 300 monitored freshwater swimming spots were safe for our kids to swim in,” Dr Norman said.

Dirty dairying is also causing damage to our clean and green reputation on which our tourism and primary production exports are based, Dr Norman said. This reputation is worth more than a billion dollars a year in exports.

“Fonterra needs to demonstrate that it takes this seriously by applying financial penalties to these recidivist polluters. Fonterra claims to take water pollution seriously but at the end of the day they have to put their money where their mouth is and actually make dirty dairying uneconomic.

“Good dairy farmers doing the right thing by the environment are having their reputations damaged by those who repeatedly break the law, like the Crafars. It’s time for Fonterra to stand up for the good farmers by penalising the bad ones.”

* Waikato Times story on the Crafar brothers’ convictions: http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/2662533/Farm-manure-charges-stick

* MfE Report on Freshwater quality: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/environmental-reporting/freshwater/recreational/results.html

* MfE Report: Our clean green image, what's it worth? http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/sus-dev/clean-green-image-value-aug01/summary-leaflet-aug01.pdf

* 70% of Waikato waterways are unsafe for swimming - Environment Waikato report: http://tinyurl.com/l7g3y9

ENDS

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