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Greens misguided - fencing, planting will not solve nitrates

Media Release ACT Party 8 September 2014 Immediate Release

Don Nicolson ACT ACT Rural affairs Spokesperson

Greens misguided - fencing and planting will not solve nitrate runoff

“Riparian fencing and planting are not the total solution to nitrate run off,” said ACT Rural Spokesman Don Nicolson.

“This is because the nitrates permeate into ground water and the water runs below the root depth of vegetation on the riparian strip. This accounts for the majority of the nitrate that runs into fresh water. It follows that most of the nitrate will not be stopped by the Greens policy. Planting and fencing is a lot of expense to go to when no one has really quantified whether it will be effective enough.

It is also impractical to fence some waterways, they flood often and fences will need continual replacement.

The Greens have done a good job portraying the myth that water quality and the rivers we cannot swim in are at risk because of dairy farming. In fact the impact of urban development has a greater effect. E coli from inadequate sewerage treatment and septic tanks affect swimmability. Sediment is also a factor and forestry is one of the contributors to that.

It is a myth that farmers discharge untreated effluent in to water like they used to. Farmers no longer release waste from the cow shed. In the last 30 years dairy farmers have made huge strides to maintain water purity. 90% of the affected area is now fenced. They have all done this at their own cost.

Farmers are responsive to market pressures; Fonterra has this problem well in hand.

There was no need for the govt to get involved. The best way to help farmers keep waters in better condition is to reduce their compliance costs and give them the profitability they need to be able to afford to fix the problem themselves.”


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