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Green Party calls for toxics testing in Taranaki food

18 December 2013

Green Party calls for greater toxics testing in Taranaki food

The Green Party has welcomed the Ministry for Primary Industry’s (MPI’s) announcement that it will begin testing the milk coming off landfarms in Taranaki, but is calling on the Government to implement comprehensive testing of all animal products that have been exposed to toxic waste and pollution from the oil and gas industry, including from any of the 31 mix-bury-cover sites where petroleum industry waste has been dumped.

“The Government has been negligent by not yet testing any of the milk or meat in Taranaki for hydrocarbons and other toxic contaminants from the oil industry,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“While we welcome the decision of Government to start testing milk coming off landfarms, there needs to be testing of all animal products from Taranaki that may have come into contact with pollution from the oil and gas industry.”

In addition to the 12 landfarms in Taranaki, there are over thirty sites in Taranaki where toxic petroleum industry waste has been buried on farms in a technique called ‘mix-bury-cover’.

“Neither Fonterra nor the Government have tested for contaminants from the oil and gas industry in milk from farms with mix-bury-cover sites where oil and gas waste has been dumped,” said Mr Hughes.

“The Government still isn’t testing for petroleum industry contaminants in the milk or meat from farms which have petroleum wells on them despite companies having permission to discharge contaminants to air, land, and water at the wellsite. These farms must be part of MPI’s new testing regime.

“In the last 20 years, over 400 wells have been drilled in Taranaki, many of which are on or immediately next to dairy or beef farms.

“The National Government is putting New Zealand’s reputation for producing, clean, green and safe food to the world at risk by promoting the expansion of the oil and gas industry on our farms.

“Mixing the oil and gas industry and our food producing industries is an accident waiting to happen.

“We have seen from the DCD and botulism scares, that we can’t afford to have another contamination incident.

“Ideally we would not to extract oil and gas from the same land that we are trying to produce food that we sell to the world as clean, green and safe. But if the Government is going to let this happen, then at the very least, it should have comprehensive testing of all food products that may have become contaminated from petroleum industry pollution,” said Mr Hughes.

Reference:
List of ‘mix-bury-cover’ sites: https://www.greens.org.nz/misc-documents/list-mix-bury-cover-sites-taranaki-provided-taranaki-regional-council-under-official-

ENDS

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