Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Kiwis say dairying has gone too far

Kiwis say dairying has gone too far


A new independent survey shows New Zealanders believe the economy is either too heavily dependent on dairy farming (37%) or the growth of intensive dairying has gone too far (31%).

Only 19% believe the country should continue to grow dairy farming, with more cows per hectare if necessary, the survey finds.

The ‘Farming and the Environment Survey’ of 3134 respondents aged 18+ was commissioned by Fish & Game NZ and conducted independently by Horizon Research Limited, with a margin of error of just ±1.8%.

Fish & Game NZ chief executive Bryce Johnson says while the organisation’s primary interest relates to the habitat of trout and salmon and the pursuits of freshwater angling and game bird hunting which are enjoyed by many thousands of New Zealanders, this research proves that Fish & Game and the wider public are united when it comes to freshwater issues.

“The sole focus on ramping up primary sector growth – notably intensive dairying – whatever the costs, has put the economy on a collision course with the environment and public opinion,” he says.

“What this research shows is that nine out of 10 New Zealanders fundamentally link their Kiwi identity and lifestyle to their natural environment. It also exposes that a very clear risk of losing support exists for political parties which introduce policies promoting economic growth without guaranteed safeguards to protect the environment.

“Kiwis are clearly very concerned about both the economic direction we're heading in, as well as the impact it is having on the environment and lifestyle, particularly our waterways and the ability to recreate and gather food from them.”

Asked about New Zealand’s rivers and streams, over 92% said either all waterways (56.8%) or the majority (35.8%) ‘should be safe for swimming, fishing and food gathering’.

However, 70% of Kiwis say the expansion of dairy farming has made the quality of our fresh water worse than it was 20 years. Only 6% believe it is better. Even among farm managers and owners, there was agreement (65%) that water quality has worsened after two decades of unconstrained dairy growth.

“Contrary to the current situation in which the general public is picking up the bill, there is overwhelming agreement that those who pollute our waterways should be made accountable for their restoration,” Mr Johnson points out.

Some 89% support this view while only 1.6% disagree. Agreement for this polluter-pays principle sweeps across all occupations, including farm owners and managers (76%) and supporters of all political parties in Parliament.

Of particular interest was the strong overall support (73%) for requiring dairy companies to take formal responsibility for the environmental performance of their contracted suppliers – currently not the case, with the struggling role falling to regional councils funded by ordinary ratepayers.

“Surprisingly, this support rises to 82% among farm owners and managers, so there’s very little political risk in addressing this oversight,” says Mr Johnson. “This could probably be handled in part via a simple amendment to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001, and would have the effect of internalising the accountability and cost where it belongs."

Actions farmers are expected to take under the voluntary new Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord were presented to respondents – such actions are to take place in the next six to 16 years, with no obvious sanctions for not meeting the targets.

Almost eight out of every 10 New Zealanders want livestock fenced out of waterways – including small streams currently not part of the accord – as a mandatory requirement; there is 70% agreement for farmers implementing the accord within five years or less; 60% want compliance with the accord to be regulated, with a further 30% wanting regulation if the voluntary moves fail to improve water quality.

Mr Johnson expects that the survey results will come as a shock to many in the agriculture sector where the long-held presumption has been that farming enjoys the popular support of the wider public.

“That has clearly all changed as a consequence of the bullish attitude of the dairy industry, and while many farmers are doing their best environmentally the sector has simply gone too far with the industry leadership and regional councils failing to deal with the poor performers.

“The survey results speak for themselves, and the dairy companies now have to assume the pivotal role of dealing to the poor performers in their industry in defence of those good farmers.

“It’s clear Kiwis aren’t buying into the industry or Government spin about their commitment to improved water quality.

“What is desperately needed is a new strategy to farm smarter – Tomorrow’s Farming Today! It is helpful that there is a growing body of evidence and independent experts promoting a shift away from dairy companies’ push for volume towards individual farmer profit – fewer cows, on the same amount of land, requiring less fertiliser, labour and animal health inputs.

“The need to require the dairy industry to be on an environmentally sustainable footing is a no-brainer in the minds of the vast majority of Kiwis. The sector might believe it enjoys a ‘licence to operate’ but that is quite clearly in the process of being withdrawn by the public.”

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

  • Week in Parliament 22-05-15
  • Saturday Sitting
  • House Rises At Midnight
  • Telco Levy Bill Passes
  • Telco Levy Bill Completes First Reading
  • Social Housing Bill Passes Under Urgency

  • TPPA: University Of Auckland Warns Of Negative TPP Impact

    The University of Auckland May 20, 2015 University of Auckland Warns of Negative TPP Impact With the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation drawing to a close, the University of Auckland has expressed serious concerns about its potential implications. ... More>>

    NZ Flag: Flag Referendum Gets Hit Hard In New Poll

    The latest Campbell Live text poll confirms it is time for the Prime Minister to listen to the public and shelve his flag referendum, says the New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

    Gordon Campbell: The Government’s Belated Moves On Property Speculation

    Is it a property tax on capital gains or a capital gains tax on property? The Jesuitical distinctions in the government’s spin about its latest moves on property speculators are all about whether the government can claim that it jumped, or confess that it ... More>>

    Grant Robertson:
    Key Can’t Just Be Prime Minister For Parnell

    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In a ... More>>

    Labour Party: More Regional Jobs Go In Corrections Reshape

    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka ... More>>

    ALSO:

  • NZ First - Prison Job Losses to Send Money Offshore
  • TPPA: ‘Team Obama’ Regroups On Fast Track, Still Not Deliverable

    ‘After yesterday’s stinging and unexpected defeat for the Obama administration’s attempt to advance Fast Track legislation in the US Senate, Senate leaders have worked up a compromise they think will get them past this blockage’, according to Auckland ... More>>

    NZ Government: 5,500 More Doctors And Nurses In Our Hospitals

    Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a record number of doctors and nurses are working in District Health Boards across the country. More>>

    Controller and Auditor General: Katherine Rich Conflict of Interest Decision

    We are writing to you about a matter that has been raised with us by members of the public. More>>

    ALSO:


    Budget 2015: Andrew Little On The 2015 Budget

    Speaking to the Chamber of Commerce, the Labour opposition leader attacked the government’s approach to economic issues facing New Zealand. He said they have been “more than reckless in their complacency” and “the next week’s budget will do nothing ... More>>

    Defence Force: NZDF Building Partner Capacity Mission Personnel In Iraq

    NZDF Building Partner Capacity Mission Personnel in Iraq The New Zealand Defence Force Building Partner Capacity training mission contingent is in place at Taji Military Complex in Iraq. The Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating says the ... More>>

    PM Press Conference: ACC Levy Cuts Announced

    In a press conference this afternoon in Wellington, ACC Minister Nikki Kaye proposed $500 million worth of ACC levy cuts. More>>

    Quakes: New Process For Red Zone Crown Offers

    Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a process to give everyone a say on the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial/industrial and uninsured properties in the Residential Red Zone. More>>

    ALSO:

    Gordon Campbell: On The Battle Obama Is Waging Over The TPP

    For the past two and a half years, this column has been arguing that the fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will hinge on whether US President Barack Obama can win Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from Congress... Last week, the White House finally, finally unveiled a draft TPA Bill. More>>

    ALSO:


    Gordon Campbell: On lessons for Labour from the UK election
    If the polls were right – and the pollsters kept telling us how accurate they’d been in 2010, and even Nate Silver was getting the same results – there seemed no way that the British Labour Party could lose last Thursday’s British election. With Labour predicted to win around 270 seats and the Scottish National Party batting around 55-60 seats, Labour seemed to be home free. But…as we now know, things didn’t turn out that way. Labour ended up with 232 seats and the Conservatives swept back to power with an outright majority, after winning only a little more than a third ( 36.9%) of the votes cast.MORE >>
    Also.

  • NZ PM John Key - PM congratulates David Cameron after UK election
  • The Nation IV Transcript - Hack Attack author Nick Davies
  • Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Politics
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news