17 years late, the new landfarming guidelines are a sham

The National Government’s voluntary guidelines for spreading toxic oil and gas waste on farmland ignore the concerns of New Zealand’s environmental watchdog about the dangers of heavy metal contamination, and could lead to greater risks to people and animals, the Green Party says.

“MPI’s guidelines for spreading of oil and gas waste on farmland ignore concerns of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment about the danger of contamination by heavy metals, for example, barium and cadmium, and the need for soil and water to be regularly tested for these persistent contaminants,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“The guidelines are woefully inadequate because they fail to protect animals or humans from toxic heavy metals, and are less stringent than existing laws.

“The landfarming guidelines are yet another fake solution by the National Government, looking to appear to be doing something while in fact, they’re ignoring the problem and potentially making it worse.

“The guidelines suggest that a farmer can graze stock on land that’s previously been used as a toxic petroleum waste dump, with no requirement that the soil, or the milk that the cows produce, be tested for contamination by persistent heavy metal contaminants.

“Furthermore, MPI’s guidelines undermine existing rules by failing to mention that it is mandatory to get council approval when converting a petroleum waste dump site into one used for growing crops or grazing cattle.

“In May 2015, Taranaki district councils agreed that, in order to comply with existing land use laws, they’d apply what’s been called a “lock the gate policy” that prevents the grazing of stock on land until the district council agreed to a change of use.

“It’s outrageous that the Government has released weak voluntary guidelines that undermine more stringent mandatory rules meant to protect human health,” said Mr Hughes.

 

References:

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s concerns about heavy metals and landfarming: p.63-66, http://www.pce.parliament.nz/assets/Uploads/Fracking-Report-web-May2015.pdf

Information on the existing “lock the gate” policy for landfarms: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/68666552/district-c...

Latest Environment Announcements

Story

Make it a shore thing – Bird of the Year 2021

The Green Party is calling on people to go dotty for dotterel and vote for the New Zealand Dotterel/Tūturiwhatu as Bird of the Year 2021.
Read More

Story

Waste strategy needs to learn from nature

Anything less than a transformational national waste strategy and waste legislation will not be enough, the Green Party said today.
Read More

Story

RMA reform must ensure a healthy environment and community wellbeing

The Green Party welcomes the release of the first draft of part of new legislation to replace the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), and urges the...
Read More

Story

Greens welcome progress on hard to recycle and single use plastics, but more needs to be done

The Green Party welcomes progress on the phase-out of some hard to recycle plastics and some single-use plastics, but says more must be done.
Read More

Story

Stronger biosecurity protections at our border and for our iconic kauri

$28 million (as part of $32 million over five years) to roll out a National Pest Management Plan to protect kauri from dieback. $8.9 million for a...
Read More

Story

Green Party dismayed at delay in intensive winter grazing regulations

“The Government’s decision to cave into agribusiness and delay the implementation of critical regulations on intensive winter grazing is a bad outc...
Read More