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Resource consent breaches 44% higher than stated

03 March 2008

Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Serious dairy farm resource consent breaches 44% higher than stated

44% more dairy farms are in serious breach of their resource consents than indicated by the figures released last week by the Ministry for the Environment.

"The misleading way the national figures were calculated and then presented to the public means that there are nearly 350 more dairy farms in serious breach of their resource consents than indicated in the Clean Streams Accord progress report," said Forest and Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell.

"For the last four years the annual reports have under-stated the extent of serious breaches by averaging the totals from the different regions rather than using the aggregated national figures."

"Averaging the results between regions means that a good performance from a region with a small number of dairy farms such as Marlborough, masks the poor performance of a region which has a very large number of dairy farms such as the Waikato." Mr. Hackwell said.

"This is a very basic mistake which anyone with even a simple understanding of statistics should have picked up," he said. "We have to ask; how many other mistakes does the report contain?"

It is disappointing that the public has been misled on the extent to which a significant minority of dairy farmers continues to break the law in ways which have a significant impact on the environment.

"If the true extent of the problem had been accurately reported the government might have moved by now to regulate the poor performers," he said.

"The majority of dairy farmers who are working hard to meet their commitments under the Clean Streams Accord would probably welcome greater regulation to the poor farmers to improve their performance."


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