Even the lawyers say stock numbers should come down

Legal advice that says Hawke’s Bay farmers might have to reduce stock numbers in order to mitigate pollution to waterways, will have implications for water allocation all over New Zealand, the Green Party said today.

Earlier this year, a Board of Inquiry ruled that the proposed $80million Ruataniwha Dam in Hawke’s Bay can only go ahead if farmers taking water from the scheme keep the amount of nitrogen from their farms entering waterways below certain limits.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) sought advice from law firm Simpson Grierson on whether farmers could be exempt from that limit if their farms take a best practice approach.

“HBRC are desperate for this dam to go through no matter what,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

“HBRC have tried to wriggle out of the conditions the Board decided on by getting this advice.

“However, it has backfired, and the lawyers have said that even best practice methods do not let farmers away with high nitrogen outputs, and they will have to reduce stock numbers.

“This advice has implications for other water storage schemes in the works around the country. Every one of them needs to take the environment into account, and not let commercial interests outweigh protection of our water quality.

“Many parts of the Tukituki catchment are all already at the limit of what the environment can handle.

“But HBRC appears determined to see the Ruataniwha dam go ahead no matter what damage it does to water quality.

“New Zealanders want rivers they can swim in, not rivers that are degraded by algal blooms, infested with weeds, or pose a health risk, which is what happens when too much nitrogen and other pollutants from agriculture enter the water.

“Reducing stock numbers is a sensible approach, as it’s the volume of waste from animals that degrades water quality. Fewer animals means less waste, which means less pollution in the long run,” Ms Delahunty said.

ENDS

 

Latest Environment Announcements

Story

Budget 2022: Greens call for urgency with nature-first climate investments

Budget 2022 shows progress on conservation commitments in the Green Party’s cooperation agreement Green Party achievements in the last Government ...
Read More

Story

Nature needs us to act right now

The Green Party welcomes the release of the implementation plan for Te Mana o te Taiao Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy and calls on the ...
Read More

Story

Urgent action needed to bring natural environment back from the brink

The release today of Environment Aotearoa 2022 is a sobering reminder of what is at stake if the Government does not step up and take urgent action...
Read More

Story

Greens welcome Three Waters recommendations

The Green Party welcomes the recommendations of the Three Waters independent working group and urges the Government to seriously consider the repor...
Read More

Story

Green Party says Government needs to do better to protect our drinking water

The Green Party is calling on the Government to improve environmental standards so every New Zealander has access to clean, healthy drinking water.
Read More

Story

The time to protect our oceans is now

The Green Party is calling on the Government to support a strong global treaty at the United Nations to protect our oceans, as Greenpeace hands ove...
Read More