DairyNZ’s refusal to understand that the public are pushing for a step-change in water quality was highlighted by their cynically-timed press release on their Water Accord, Fish & Game New Zealand chief executive Martin Taylor says.
“The Minister for the Environment is due to release new rules to halt the decline in water quality and improve rivers, lakes and streams this week (starting September 2 2019),” Mr Taylor says.
“Rather than welcoming the need for change, DairyNZ have decided to highlight their so-called Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord instead of showing leadership and working with farmers to ensure a just transition to the new rules that Kiwis are calling for.
“What they don’t tell you is their Accord is voluntary, has incomplete goals, and refers only to some of the aspects of dairy farming that degrade the environment.
“They have also failed to tell New Zealanders that 82 per cent of river length in farmed areas has modelled pathogen levels that pose risks to human health from swimming.”
Land, Air, Water Aotearoa’s (LAWA) most recent analysis of trends between 2008 and 2017 shows that there were nearly twice as many sites where national water quality was degrading (42 per cent) than sites where it was improving (25 per cent).
A StatsNZ report from 2019 shows a strongly increasing dairy herd that stood at 6.5 million. Between 1994 and 2017 the South Island saw a dramatic increase from 0.6 to 2.6 million dairy cows.
The voluntary Accord means there is no guarantee that the goals will be implemented, much like the voluntary approach to winter break feeding practice guidelines.
“Photographs of winter break feeding show that, despite the voluntary guidelines, the practice has not significantly improved.
“For years, Kiwis have been calling for change and leadership from the Government.
“Instead, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers have always believed that some farmers need to be free to pollute, instead of supporting mandatory regulation.
“Polling by Colmar Brunton released by Fish & Game New Zealand today (September 2 2019) shows that two-thirds of people are expecting the Government to put rules and regulations in place to protect water quality. Three quarters – 77 per cent – of those surveyed said they were extremely or very concerned about the pollution of lakes and rivers.
“Kiwis expect to be able to swim, fish and gather food from their rivers, lakes and streams. People are calling for change so their children’s children can have a New Zealand they are proud to call home.”
Source: Fish and Game NZ