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Farmers are environmentalists, too

18 July 2006 - Wellington
Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Farmers are environmentalists, too

Federated Farmers President Charlie Pedersen does farmers a disservice by attacking environmentalists, Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says.

In a speech to Federated Farmers annual conference in Nelson today, Charlie Pedersen accused environmentalists of “high-minded arrogance” and waging “war against the human race.”

Kevin Hackwell said he was sure Charlie Pedersen’s speech did not reflect the views of many farmers, who were active in protecting the environment on their own properties, or the views of consumers who want environmentally friendly farm produce.

“Charlie suggests environmentalists want to turn back the clock, but it sounds like he is the one stuck in a time warp. Farmers are increasingly aware of the benefits of looking after the environment –not least because of the economic benefits it brings.”

A study by the Ministry for the Environment showed that New Zealand’s “clean and green” image was worth an added $30,000 a year to every New Zealand farmer, due to the premium it adds to their products.

Charlie Pedersen’s comparison of environmentalists with the zealotry of missionaries was inaccurate, Kevin Hackwell said.

“His perception of a war of environmentalists versus farmers belongs in a different century. We’d like to welcome Charlie into the 21st Century, where looking after the environment for the benefit of all – including farmers – is ‘mainstream.’

Increasingly, farmers were using simple measures, such as fencing stock out of waterways, to ‘do their bit,’ and Forest &Bird was proud to count many farmers among its membership, Kevin Hackwell said.

ENDS

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