Government won’t back the farmers working hard to improve water quality

Prime Minister John Key needs to back the farmers who are working hard for water quality, and join Waikato Federated Farmers’ call for a moratorium on dairy conversions in order to assess the impact on the environment, the Green Party said today.

“Just two days ago, the Prime Minister said that any debate around the potential for more dairy conversions should be driven by the capacity for maintaining and improving the environment,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

“But today in Parliament, he says it’s ok to leave the future of our waterways to National Standards that clearly aren’t effective.

“Government-owned Landcorp is in the process of converting swathes of land in the Upper Waikato area to dairy farms, and introducing 29,500 cows to the environment. The impact of those cows and the waste they produce will undermine the good work farmers have been doing to revive the river downstream.

“The Government could step in and stop this from happening, but have chosen an environmental disaster instead.

“The Government and Landcorp should do the right thing by our environment and support a moratorium on dairy conversions. There’s only so much the environment can take, and we believe we’re at the point where it can’t take anymore,” Ms Delahunty said.

Note: The number of dairy cows on New Zealand farms has risen by 85 per cent since 1990; from 3,440,815 to 6,378,248. The regions with the largest increases are Canterbury, Waikato, Southland, Otago and Hawke’s Bay.