The Green Party has welcomed news that New Plymouth District Council will implement a ‘locked gate’ policy which prevents farmers from grazing cows on oil industry dump sites until the soil has been tested and declared safe.
“After years of the National Government claiming that there were no issues with cows grazing on pasture spread with oil and gas waste, it’s great to see New Plymouth District Council stepping up and taking leadership to protect New Zealanders and our clean, green brand,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.
“It’s defies logic that the National Government has allowed livestock to be on land spread with oil and gas waste, without testing the land for oil and gas waste contaminants.
“Despite serious shortcomings identified by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, the National Government has failed to implement any changes to the way that dump sites are regulated and the Government working group on the issue has failed to even produce recommendations.
“To protect our clean, green image, we should not be growing food on oil industry waste dump sites at all, but if we do, at the very least, comprehensive soil testing must be done in advance.
“Mixing oil and gas industry waste products with our food production is an accident waiting to happen.
“We have seen from the DCD and botulism scares that we can’t afford to have another contamination incident.
“Our brand advantage is that our milk is clean and green. We need to take all steps to ensure our milk stays that way,” said Mr Hughes.
The Green Party has advocated for more than two years to keep livestock off farms where oil and gas waste has been spread.