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Federation Wants Wayward Dairy Farmers Hauled Into Line

Federation of Freshwater Anglers

3rd December , 2018

PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release

Trout-Rivers Federation Wants Wayward Dairy Farmers Hauled Into Line

A nation-wide trout and rivers advocacy group want wayward dairy farmers not complying with environmental safeguards with regards aquifers and rivers to be forced to comply. The president of the New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers, Graham Carter from Hamilton, has written to co-operative dairy companies in New Zealand (Fonterra, Westland Dairies and Tatua).

“Most New Zealanders, are increasingly angry at the farmers who do nothing about their required compliance to Council requirements as regard fencing, effluent pond issues and runoff/seepage. Despite threats of litigation, these people are getting away with non-compliance.”

Graham Carter said the minority of farmers not complying were a blight on the responsible dairy farmers. “It is the irresponsible ones are damaging our countryside and that will continue to cause the damage and destruction while our Councils watch from their ivory towers.”

“They must be hit in the pocket in not getting paid for milk not collected and would give Fonterra the option of 'hitting the pocket with "real penalties" versus the one option of dumping milk which must be monitored and handled correctly.”

Recently Fonterra published its second annual sustainability report covering economic, social and environmental impacts for the 2017/18 dairy season. In it, Fonterra's director of sustainability, Carolyn Mortland, said Fonterra's environmental ambitions and targets required the most effort.

"This report shows we've got some work to do to reduce our environmental impact, and a great role to play in providing people with natural and nutritious food," she said. "We really need to reduce our environmental impact... that's the hard stuff... and our focus is on climate change, water and waste," Ms Mortland said.

Carter said Carolyn Mortland’s call was timely and significant. He said the Federation’s letter suggested a “stick and carrot” approach may be the best approach to getting these issues sorted out. A six month period to comply was recommended and if at the end of that, no remedial action had been taken, then companies should refuse to collect milk from offenders.

"This type of approach should see farmers scrambling to become compliant.”

Graham Carter said “the actions suggested in the letter to companies was only part of the solution.”

“Corporate dairy farming in low rainfall areas is just plain dumb, as it placed extreme demand on aquifers and rivers for irrigation water to compensate for inadequate rainfall. Yet the previous National-led government seemed hell bent on dairying anywhere and everywhere.”

Whilst this action could potentially affect the profitability of companies, Graham Carter said he hoped that these non-compliant farmers will become compliant in the time frames given and therefore no financial impacts to these Dairy Companies would be felt.

“Rivers and water are public resources and have to be respected. At the same time it’s vital for marketing exports that our clean, green, 100% pure market brand has integrity and credibility,” he said.


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