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Farming leaders still failing NZ say freshwater campaigners

Farming leaders still failing New Zealand, say freshwater campaigners

For immediate use
7pm Tuesday 21st November 2017

Agricultural leaders’ “Dairy Tomorrow” strategy, launched this evening, is a feeble response to the crisis of polluted rivers, lakes and groundwater, says freshwater campaign group Choose Clean Water.

It comes on the heels of dairy-giant Fonterra’s plan for waterways released last week, that the group says also fails to address the crisis head on.

“Look closely and you find the dairy sector’s statements and commitments are way too little too late,” says Marnie Prickett, spokesperson for Choose Clean Water.

“The industry is still speaking in generalities, about self-regulation and vague plans for distant dates in the future, instead of what they can and should do right now.”

“Dairy leadership say they aspire to being “sustainable” but if New Zealand is forced to sustain the industry in its current form, we will continue to see our rivers and lakes, and consequently our people, suffer.”

“We need to protect and restore our rivers not sustain their current levels of pollution.”

The group say the first steps to address New Zealand’s serious water problems are already known.

“To begin with we need strict and enforced freshwater standards, fewer cows and an end to public money going towards environmentally-damaging large-scale irrigation schemes.“

“These are clear first steps. They’re a supported by reports from OECD and Vivid Economic, as well as environmental, tourism, recreation and public health organisations, but they are largely ignored by Fonterra, Dairy NZ and Federated Farmers.”

“The “Dairy Tomorrow” document says that the industry wish to “lead efforts to improve the health of our rivers and streams”. But why would New Zealanders let the industry lead on this important issue, given its track record of downplaying its contribution to water pollution and watching on for many years as rivers, lakes and groundwater become increasingly contaminated?”

The group says the government plays a key role in waterways protection and restoration and is keen to see Labour, NZFirst and the Greens implement these first steps.

ENDS

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