The Green Party will continue to fight for rivers and lakes New Zealanders can swim in, despite the Primary Production Select Committee deciding this week that it can’t place a moratorium on Landcorp’s potentially polluting dairy conversions at Wairakei Estate in the Waikato.
Government-owned Landcorp has been in the process of converting land in the upper Waikato to dairy farms, with plans to introduce 29,500 cows to the environment – putting the Waikato River at further risk of pollution. The Green Party took a petition with more than 8,000 signatures to the Select Committee, calling for a moratorium on dairy conversions in the area.
“New Zealanders want rivers they can swim in, not rivers they can only wade in because a dairy cow’s been there before them and used it as a toilet,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
“Although the select committee has decided not to put a moratorium on conversions, I’m pleased the downstream impacts of dairy conversions will be monitored more closely.
“The issue of clean waterways isn’t going away in this country. New Zealanders are fighting for our waterways because they know this Government’s goal for ‘wadeable’ rivers is pathetic.
“We were overwhelmed by the support for our petition, from members of the public, and from farmers too.
“Many farmers signed the petition against Landcorp conversions because they are worried that the measures they are taking to mitigate pollution and manage effluent on their own land will be undone by all the pollution coming down the river from Landcorp.
“Whatever Landcorp decide to do with the remaining conversions at Wairakei Estate, the impact of farms in the area, their livestock, and the waste they produce will need to be monitored closely so that the good work farmers and others have been doing to revive the river downstream is not undermined,” said Ms Delahunty.