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Dairy figures no cause for congratulations

14 November 2008

Dairy figures no cause for congratulations

Horizons' non-compliance figures a sad example of spin

Horizons Regional Council should be ashamed of its latest press release patting dairy farmers in the Manawatu-Wanganui region on the back for their efforts to fix problems leading to breaches of their effluent discharge consents, according to Forest & Bird.

Horizons' latest figures show dairy compliance is getting worse - though Horizons claims that dairy compliance is improving, Forest & Bird's Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says.

"This year figures show that 18 per cent of Horizons' dairy farmers were in serious non-compliance when the regional council did its regular inspection. This is a fifth more than last year when 15 per cent were in serious non-compliance.

"Last year Horizons was the third-worst area in the country. Sadly, it looks as though Horizons is heading for second-worst this year," Kevin Hackwell said.

"Horizons' press release is a disappointing example of the sort of spin that actually encourages poor-performing dairy farmers to continue their bad practices.

"Farmers have a legal responsibility to be in full compliance at all times with their effluent discharge consents. Farmers know they will be inspected at least once every year. If they are in serious non-compliance, they should be prosecuted rather than warned," Kevin Hackwell said.

"The Clean Streams Accord in 2003 set the target of zero non-compliance from the first year. Most New Zealanders will struggle to see how a regional council can be happy about an 18 per cent level of serious non-compliance.

"If the people of Manawatu-Wanganui are going to get clean rivers and streams, Horizons Regional Council should introduce a no-tolerance approach to continued law breaking."

ENDS

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