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Clean Streams Accord An Enviro. And Market Winner


Media Release – December 20 2003


Clean Streams Accord an Environmental and Market Winner


The Clean Streams Accord and actions promised by Fonterra, regional councils, Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will be an important contribution to improving the environment on land and water in dairying areas, Commissioner for the Environment Morgan Williams said today.

The accord lays down environmental targets for the next 10 years, including measures to combat "dirty dairying".

“The initiative should be applauded by dairy farmers, not apposed as some appear to be doing,’’ he said today.

``New Zealanders and our global customers now expect the health of the lands and waters that produce our foods and sustain our biodiversity to be of a high standard.’’

Dr Williams attended the International Water Association Conference on Sustainability in the Water sector in Venice last month, where concerns about agricultural contamination of surface and ground waters and the amount of fresh water consumed by agriculture (70 percent) and urban water issues were discussed.

“How to maintain healthy rivers and clean ground waters is a major concern world wide”, said Dr Williams. “Many people, urban and rural, rich and poor are increasingly wanting a say about fresh waters management.”

“Advancing the sustainability of fresh waters has become a deeply social process as understanding of its growing scarcity and undervaluing grows world wide,” he said
Communities, government agencies and businesses increasingly realise they have to team up to ensure water issues are addressed in practical ways – and that they have to do it for whole river basins. In Europe there is now a Water Framework Directive, which came into force in December 2000.

It’s based on the concept of ‘good surface and ground water status’ with ecological quality being the key indicator of surface water quality.
In the Fraser River Basin in Canada similar concerns have lead to the formation of Fraser Basin Council and an Accord aimed at ensuring the ecological health of the basin and thus the economic viability of industries and communities.

In light of these international trends in some of NZ’s dairy markets the ‘water’ leadership shown by New Zealand’s largest farmer Co-op, Fonterra, in partnership with central and local Government agencies is very timely.

Given that New Zealand in the business of pampering the palates and passions of the world fussier consumers keeping our food producing water and lands healthy is essential, Dr Williams said.

The draft accord targets include:

- Having half of all streams fenced off by 2007, and 90 percent fenced by 2012.
- Half of regular stock water crossings to have bridges or culverts by 2007, with 90 percent by 2012.
- All farms to adopt nutrient budgeting by 2007, a measure which would account for fertiliser and affluent applied to pasture..

Ends

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