Education and steeper fines needed to get stock out of waterways

The Green Party is today calling for better education and steeper fines for those who allow their stock to pollute waterways, after cattle on a Canterbury farm were deliberately let into a lake to drink last week.

“Farmers up and down the country are working hard to protect rivers and streams by excluding stock from waterways and investing in riparian planting that helps to alleviate nutrient pollution,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

“This shocking incident where cows have been deliberately let into a lake that people use for recreation and fishing demonstrates that not everyone is on board with protecting water quality, and the possible fine of $750 is unlikely to deter them from allowing this to happen again.

“Now images and stories are coming in from other parts of the country where the public have had to play whistle-blower to these incidents.

“In Northland, members of the public police rivers when local authorities should be undertaking this work. This blasé attitude by local authorities has contributed to our poor record on water quality; 62 per cent of our rivers are not safe to swim in.

“We support the Land and Water Forum’s recommendation that all waterways be fenced off to stock. We also urge the Government to give local authorities better tools to enforce water protection rules, and for councils to use those tools more effectively,” Ms Delahunty said.

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