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Maruia Ecologically Incorrect


MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE USE

1JULY 1999

The Maruia Society, now called the Ecological Foundation, should check its facts before undertaking to destroy New Zealand's clean, green, environmental image, said Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton.

"Their plan to launch an international campaign suggesting a poor environmental record of dairy farmers in this country, is factually incorrect and likely to jeopardise the prosperity of our largest industry. It is also a real attack on our hard working dairy farmers."

"The group would be well advised to look at the environmental report of New Zealand's largest dairying area, the Waikato, published this year by Environment Waikato which had this to say about pollution in the Waikato River running right through New Zealand's major dairying area."

The report suggests that: "Downstream from Hamilton levels of human and animal waste were high between the early 50's and the 1970's ... Since then levels have fallen to well below those found in the 1950's. At Mercer human and animal waste levels fell ten fold between 1970 and 1980 as a result of better waste treatment. Over the past 30 years or so Waikato River quality has generally improved or stayed the same while demand for water has increased dramatically. Between 1980 and 1997 monitored sites on the Waikato showed a net improvement except at Mercer. Other regional streams and rivers showed less obvious results, some improving, some not, but most not changing."

The Maruia Society would be far better advised to be advertising the huge amount of money that the New Zealand dairy industry spends in eradicating New Zealand's number one environmental pest, the opossum, which could be argued as being taxpayer's environmental responsibility.

The Society also needs to be very careful that in spreading false information it exposes itself to potential damages claims from industry participants.


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