EDS wins cubicle farming case in the Mackenzie Country
The Environmental Defence Society has won a High Court case challenging cubicle dairy farming in the Mackenzie basin.
"EDS is very pleased to announce that the High Court has quashed resource consents and certificates of compliance issued by Waitaki District Council for 3 large cubicle farming operations in the Mackenzie Country," said EDS Chairman Gary Taylor.
"Our High Court challenge related to land use consents. Previously effluent discharge consent applications that had been called in by the Minister for the Environment were withdrawn by the applicants.
The applications were made by Killermont Run Ltd, Southdown Holdings Ltd and Five Rivers Ltd. The consents relate 8,555 hectares of the Mackenzie basin. They involved housing 17,850 dairy cows in large sheds around the clock from March to October and for 12 hours per day for the rest of the year. Up to 1.1 million litres of effluent could be discharged to pasture daily. The cows would be kept in stalls, fed in the sheds and milked robotically.
"Our concerns were primarily at the effects of the proposal on the fragile and unique tussock grasslands and landscapes of the Mackenzie Country. We do not believe that the future of this iconic part of New Zealand should be decided by individual resource consent applications.
"Clearly there has been a failure of public policy at all levels. The Government has failed to provide national guidance; the regional council has failed to identify nationally important landscapes; and the two district councils have failed to develop coherent and effective district plans.
"There is now a real window of opportunity to prepare a long-term Strategic Plan for the area. In our view that should be led by the local community but both Environment Canterbury and the Ministry for the Environment should be involved. It needs to look at the landscape, natural values and social and economic development options for the Mackenzie Country over the next 25 or more years.
"EDS remains willing to work with the authorities to secure an agreed way forward for the Mackenzie Country. However if decisions impacting on it continue to be made in an ad hoc way, then we will continue to be vigilant," Mr Taylor concluded.