The Green Party welcomes news from Dairy NZ that dairy farmers have made good progress in improving farm management to exclude dairy cattle from waterways.
The comments come on the back of a Dairy NZ report showing nearly all farmers who signed up to the Water Accord have fenced out dairy cattle and have bridges or culverts at stock crossings points.
“Fencing dairy stock from waterways and bridging stock crossing points is the new normal. Hard work by dairy farmers has lifted the bar in terms of what business as usual looks like on farms,” said Green Party primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“Fencing, stock crossings and having nutrient management plans are the first steps in what we need to do to clean up and protect our rivers, lakes and aquifers.
“We need to look at the source of pollution – particularly cow urine – and reduce the number of cows on our land and reduce nutrient pollution. We can’t protect water quality when we have 6.6 million cows, intensive fertiliser use and huge demand for irrigation.
“The Green Party in government will require all stock to be fenced out of waterways, not just dairy cattle, wind up Government subsidies for large-scale irrigation schemes and put a moratorium on new dairy farms.
“Looking at the sources of pollution and controlling it by reducing cow numbers and putting a temporary stop to new dairy conversions will help us clean up and protect our rivers further,” said Ms Sage.