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

 

Prefu Roundup: Forecasts Revised, Surplus Intact

The National government heads into the election with its Budget surplus target broadly intact, delivering a set of economic and fiscal forecasts marginally revised from May to reflect weaker commodity prices and a lower tax take. More>>

ALSO:

Convention Centre: Major New SkyCity Hotel And Laneway For Auckland

Today SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited revealed plans to build a new hotel and pedestrian laneway of bars, restaurants and boutique shopping on land it owns in the Nelson and Hobson Streets block, expanding the SKYCITY Entertainment Precinct. More>>

ALSO:

Igniting The Spark: Bringing The Digital Enabler To Life

Changing a name is, relatively speaking, the easy part of a re-invention. Changing a culture, getting all the ducks in a row, turning yourself inside-out to become customer-inspired is a much bigger challenge. More>>

ALSO:

Ebola And NZ: Targeted Screening At Airport But Risk Low

The risk of any cases of Ebola in New Zealand remains very low, but health and border authorities are well prepared... anyone arriving in New Zealand who in the last three weeks has visited countries affected will be screened for symptoms of the disease. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Brewer Seeking Crowd-Funding Cancels Shareholders’ Dividends

Shareholders in Renaissance Brewing company, the first business to seek equity through crowd-funding in New Zealand, have cancelled their claim on $147,000 of accumulated earnings “to make Renaissance a more attractive investment opportunity.” More>>

ALSO:

It's Spark Now:
Why Telecom Wanted To Change

New Zealand led the world when Chorus demerged from Telecom. It gave us a telecommunications industry structure where the network is completely separated from the products and services it delivers. The changes brought about a new market dynamic and it dramatically changed Telecom’s role. More>>

ALSO:

Glass Half Empty: Dairy Prices Fall To Lowest Since 2012

Dairy product prices slumped to the lowest level since October 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, paced by whole milk powder and cheddar. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news