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Farmers Need To Do More To Make Image A Reality

July 17, 2001 - Wellington



Forest and Bird today challenged Federated Farmers to actively work towards making New Zealand’s Clean Green image a reality. Federated Farmers is holding its annual conference in Rotorua today.

“Farming is having a major impact on the environment, especially on streams and rivers, in many parts of the country,” says Eric Pyle, Conservation Manager of Forest and Bird. “In particular the dairy industry needs to improve its performance. Cows should not be allowed to wander through streams as they currently do in many areas of the country,” said Mr Pyle.

“Increasingly, the New Zealand economy is becoming dependent on its “clean green” image, yet in some areas the farming industry is putting this image at risk,” said Mr Pyle. “Recent research shows that 42% of New Zealanders consider the “clean green” image to be a myth”.

“To date Federated Farmers has fought the Resource Management Act – a key environmental statute - through for example, the Farmers Fighting Fund”, said Mr Pyle. “Federated Farmers needs to change its attitude and work positively to improve the environment. The RMA is a key part of making New Zealand’s clean green image a reality. Rather than fighting RMA, Federated Farmers should commit to making the clean green image a reality”.

“In the short term other industries, such as tourism, may be at risk from poor environmental management by the farming sector. In the long term even the farming sector may be at risk as overseas markets seek verification for “clean, green” claims,” said Mr Pyle.


Notes to Editors
Water management is an area that the dairy industry in particular needs to improve to protect New Zealand clean green image. Many of New Zealand’s lowland streams are degraded by farm runoff and dairy shed discharges. It is easy to compare water quality in New Zealand with other countries because there are internationally agreed protocols for measuring water quality. It is only a question of time before overseas markets begin to realize that the farming sector is not as “clean and green” as the image suggests.

The solution is simple to the dairying-water quality problem; dairy cows should be fenced from streams. The dairy industry should move quickly to fence all streams to protect New Zealand’s waters and make the clean green image a reality.

The statement that “42% of New Zealanders consider the clean green image is a myth, is from a survey by Massey University’s Marketing Department; “New Zealanders and the Environment, International Survey Programme, March 2001”.


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