Prime Minister John Key and Finance Minister Bill English need to get their stories straight over Landcorp’s large scale dairy conversions, the Green Party said today.
While Mr English said on Saturday that the Government is “uncomfortable” with the extent of Landcorp’s plans to add another 29,500 cows to the upper Waikato farms it is converting from forestry, Mr Key said this morning that Landcorp’s plans were not a matter for Ministers to concern themselves with.
“The Green Party are very clear about this issue – which is a contrast to the Government’s mixed messages,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
“We’re calling on the Government to stop the conversions so that we can take stock of the dairy sector and weigh up the economic and environmental concerns many New Zealanders have with it.
“We have asked Landcorp to show us the contract that the Government signed back in 2004 with landowners Wairakei Pastoral to turn the forests into dairy farms, but they have refused. The public deserve to know what the agreement is, and what they are stuck with.
“More than 8000 people signed our petition calling for a moratorium on Landcorp’s conversions even before the dairy price plunged.
“They are concerned about the 1.6million litres of cow effluent entering the already very polluted Waikato River each day from Landcorp’s farms, and the effect that will have on the good work being done by environmentally-responsible farmers downstream.
“They’re denying this issue is a crisis, which shows how out of touch they are with the farmers who are crying out for help across the country,” said Ms Delahunty.
The petition calling for a moratorium on Landcorp’s conversions will be presented to the Primary Production select committee on Thursday at 10am.