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Excuse to pollute 'appalling'

Excuse to pollute 'appalling'

Fish & Game NZ is appalled that the dairy sector is using the removal of nitrogen inhibiting products from the market as an excuse for more pollution to enter New Zealand’s waterways.

“Fonterra Shareholder’s Council has signalled as much,” says Fish & Game chief executive Bryce Johnson, “practically demanding that regional councils lower nitrate pollution targets.

“It is utter arrogance for a sector which is already reaping significant environmental subsidies to use this as an excuse for affected farmers to maintain their artificially elevated stocking rates and further pollute the public’s freshwater resources.

“An environmentally and socially responsible industry would employ alternative measures to compensate, not say ‘Oh well, it’s back to business as usual boys’.”

The withdrawn products were seen as a means of helping reduce dairying’s impact on water by reducing the amount of diffuse nitrogen pollution leaching off farms and into waterways.

Mr Johnson says in their absence regional councils must not lower pollution targets and instead should put the onus on the farmers to adhere to environmental guidelines and reduce the impact by other means.

“If that requires a reduction in production, then so be it.”

Lesser options that could assist include using less fertiliser and using it more efficiently, upgrading irrigation systems and increasing riparian margins adjacent to flowing waters,” he says.

“The individual farmers affected by this should meet the costs associated with ensuring that they aren’t polluting the public’s freshwater resource.

“That’s what would be required of any other business – the dairy sector should not be treated as a special case and demands for yet more environmental subsidies should be flatly rejected by regional councils and the government.”


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