Landcorp’s decision to review its conversion of forestry land to dairy farms in the upper Waikato is a cause for celebration, the Green Party said today.
“We’ve been calling for a moratorium on Landcorp’s dairy conversions in the upper Waikato in order to stop the further degradation of the Waikato River and its catchment,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
“We hope that, in order to protect the Waikato River from the pollution that would be created by these conversions, Landcorp chooses to stop dairy conversions altogether, and find a way to use the land that is economically and environmentally sound.
“Any time we have asked the Government about a moratorium on the conversions to dairy, the Government has held up their hands and said they were powerless to break the contract between Landcorp, a state owned enterprise, and landowners Wairakei Pastoral.
“But media reports have revealed that the land can be used for other forms of farming, and Landcorp could renegotiate the lease with Wairakei Pastoral.
“We’ve asked the Government to show us the contract it has with Wairakei Pastoral but we’ve been refused on the grounds of commercial sensitivity.
“It’s clear the Government doesn’t want the public and the 8000 people who joined us in calling for the conversions to stop, to know the real story.
“If Landcorp decides to continue with its proposed dairy conversions, around 1.6m litres of cow waste will enter the catchment each day from 43,000 cows. It doesn’t make any sense, economically or environmentally, to persist with unsustainable dairy conversions,” Ms Delahunty said.