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Exports at risk from dirty dairying

Exports at risk from dirty dairying

Green media release 26th May 2008

The Greens are warning that our dairy products will struggle to gain a European Union eco-label due to the impacts of dirty dairying on our rivers and lakes. This will place our exports at a competitive disadvantage and punish those dairy farmers who are doing the right thing.

The European Union’s eco-labelling scheme places ‘water quality’second in the list of environmental factors to assess in deciding whether to issue an eco-label to a product.

“Industrial dairying, or agricultural intensification, is leading to a decline in water quality across the country, as revealed in the suppressed Chapter 13 of the Ministry for the Environment’s State of the Environment report earlier this year,” says Dr. Russel Norman, Green Co-leader.

“If we want to gain an EU eco-label we will need to clean up the effluent and nutrients running into our rivers and lakes leaving them ecologically decayed, not to mention dangerous for our kids to swim in.

“Our economic future is linked to our environmental husbandry. We need to look after the land and the rivers if we expect others to pay a premium for our produce.”

Ch.13 concluded that: ‘our primary production sectors trade heavily on our environmental sustainability. Our reputation for producing high-quality, natural products and natural foodstuffs is a major competitive advantage for New Zealand and one which is important to maintain. New Zealand therefore has a very high stake in maintaining a high-quality, natural environment.’

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“It is exactly this competitive advantage that is being put at risk by the way we are degrading our rivers and lakes across the country.

“Federated Farmers and much of the Government are still in denial about the declining quality of our natural waterbodies. Good farmers doing the right thing are being punished by industrial dairy companies making a fortune trading on our clean and green reputation. But if we don’t force industrial dairy to clean up its act then our clean and green reputation will end up tarnished which will damage all our exports, including tourism.”


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