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Report Gives False Comfort


31 May 2006

Report Gives False Comfort

Fish & Game New Zealand question the results of a progress report released today outlining the results from the second year of the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord.

The report applauds progress against the targets set in 2003, but does not demonstrate significant progress in actual on-farm practices. “To suggest that a 1% increase from 2003/04 to 2004/05 in bridging stock crossing points is ‘significant progress’ is stretching the reality. Again, a 2% increase in use of nutrient budgets from a low 17% in 2003/04 is hardly ‘significant progress,’“ said Bryce Johnson, Director Fish & Game New Zealand

“I think that report does accurately highlight three facts that Fish & Game have been advocating for some time. Firstly, that many farmers are taking measures to protect and enhance the nation’s freshwater resource. This core group has been working with, or towards, sustainable practices since before the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord was initiated, and they deserve acknowledgment for this.

“Secondly, the targets set in 2003 Accord are far too soft – many of these standards would have already been met by that core of environmentally responsible farmers. Achieving soft targets, and reporting on existing performance in excess of ‘targets’ does not demonstrate significant progress.

Thirdly, the real rate of progress in changing the approach of the balance of farmers whose practises continue to degrade our finite waterways is very disappointing. Independently of targets and already established healthy practices, there is very little increase in the number of farms using nutrient budgets, excluding stock from streams, protecting stock crossing points or management of dairy effluent.

The report gives false comfort to those unwilling to take responsibility for adverse environmental affects; the good news is not “news” at all, but is the result of a core group of farmers having long established sustainable practices. The report enables the environmentally careless to ride on the backs of those put in the effort to pass on a healthy environment to the next generation.”


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