Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Professor slams environmental performance report

Media Release
28 February 2008

Professor slams environmental performance report

A water quality expert at Waikato University has slammed the environmental progress report for the Clean Streams Accord as self-congratulatory.

Professor David Hamilton, a chair of Lakes Management at the University of Waikato said the levels of deforestation and water abstraction in dairy conversions, as well as intensification of the industry, were having a severe impact on waterways throughout New Zealand. That left a legacy of pollution and environmental degradation for future generations to pick up, and resulting in rapid deforestation.

“The levels of intensification of dairy, through increased numbers of cows per hectare and use of water and fertilisers are placing severe demands on New Zealand’s natural resources, some of which were being used unsustainably”.

The recently-released fourth progress report on the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord showed steady progress was being made towards the accord's targets in most areas, but some farmers were letting the side down.

The accord is an agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry for the Environment, Fonterra Co-operative Group and Local Government New Zealand. Signed in May 2003, it aimed to achieve clean, healthy water in dairying areas. It covers streams, rivers, lakes, groundwater and wetlands.

Professor Hamilton said there had been a lack of leadership and information provided to farmers in environmental management by the industry.

The ‘put up a fence’ attitude hid underlying considerations required for the size and management of riparian buffers, as well as the non-point source pollution. In most cases it was nothing more than window dressing and there had been minimal progress since the Clean Streams Accord, he said.

Professor Hamilton believed most New Zealanders would be willing to accept dairy prices that were inflated if they knew that a good portion was being used to address the industry’s environmental problems.

“Instead, regional councils, who are dealing with multiple environmental problems relating to air, water and land, have the burden of undertaking prosecutions in an industry where around 15% to 30% of farmers are not complying with simple measures for surface water discharge of effluent.

“That level of non-compliance is only being sustained because the fines are inadequate and the industry has failed to chastise the offenders and deal with repeated non-compliance by exclusion.”

However, Professor Hamilton praised new Environment Waikato Chair and former Federated Farmers President Peter Buckley, for pinpointing and recognising the difficulty of dealing with diffuse pollution - often caused by cow dung and urine.

“But groundwater in some parts of the Rotorua lakes region now has nitrate levels 10 to 20 times above natural levels and is increasingly rapidly. Ongoing intensification of dairy in this region will have severe impacts on high value lakes, as is likely in many other parts of New Zealand.”

Professor Hamilton saved his most severe criticism, however, for the expansion of dairy in arid regions, particularly the east coast of the South Island. Intensive dairy in these regions was only possible through irrigation, he said. Enormous pivot irrigation schemes were denuding the landscape of any trees, and placed extreme demands on water and power.

“At around 10,000 liters of water used per cow per day for many of the irrigated schemes it is obvious that there is simply not enough water to go around as the industry keeps expanding”.

Professor Hamilton also criticised the Government for lack of leadership. “Government and the dairy industry have been prepared to sit back and say that self-regulation will work. It isn’t and regulation and leadership are required urgently”.

ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

BusinessDesk: APN's NZME Sees Future In Paywalls, Growth In Digital Sales

APN News & Media has touted a single newsroom concept for its NZME unit in New Zealand, similar to what Germany's Die Welt uses, saying an 'integrated sales proposition' is helping it win market share, including ... More>>

Labour Party: Global Milk Prices Now Lowest In 6 Years

The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices ... More>>

BusinessDesk: NZ Inflation Expectations Creep Higher In June Survey

May 19 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand businesses lifted their expectations for inflation over the next two years, sapping any immediate pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates, and prompting the kiwi dollar to jump higher. More>>

BusinessDesk: Lower Fuel Costs Drive Down NZ Producer Input, Output Prices

May 19 - Producer input and output prices fell in the first quarter, mainly reflecting lower fuel costs and weakness in prices of meat and dairy products. More>>

Media: Fairfax Media NZ Announces Senior Editorial Team

Fairfax Media New Zealand has today confirmed its new editorial leadership team, as part of a transformation of its newsrooms aimed at enhancing local and national journalism across digital and print. More>>

Science: Flavonoids Reduce Cold And Cough Risk

Flavonoids reduce cold and cough risk Research from the University of Auckland shows eating flavonoids – found in green tea, apples, blueberries, cocoa, red wine and onions – can significantly reduce the risk of catching colds and coughs. The research, ... More>>


BusinessDesk: RBNZ House Alert Speech The Catalyst For Government Action

Prime Minister John Key all but conceded that pressure from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand for concerted action on rampant Auckland house prices was one of the main catalysts for the government's weekend announcements about tightly ... More>>

BusinessDesk: How To Fall Foul Of The New Housing Tax Rules: Tips From IRD

Just because you rented out your investment property doesn't absolve you from paying tax, says the Inland Revenue Department in a summary of commonly made mistakes by non-professional property investors when it comes to their tax liability.More>>

Legal: Superdiversity Law, Policy And Business Stocktake Announced

Mai Chen, Managing Partner at Chen Palmer New Zealand Public and Employment Law Specialists and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Auckland, today announced the establishment ... More>>

Housing: More House Price Gains Expected

House price expectations remain high, with a net 56% of respondents expecting house prices will increase. Fears of higher interest rates are fading, consistent with the RBNZ’s signals this year. Affordability and a lack of houses for ... More>>

TDDA: State-Of-The-Art Drug Testing Laboratory To Open In Auckland

World leading drug testing agencies, The Drug Detection Agency (TDDA) and Omega Laboratories, open New Zealand laboratory More>>

Network: Bigpipe Launches Ultra-Fast Broadband Into Wellington

Bigpipe Launches Ultra-Fast Broadband into Wellington Naked broadband provider Bigpipe has extended its national reach, announcing today, the launch of its unlimited UFB offering into Wellington. The Spark Venture business is giving Wellingtonians the ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news