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All about conservation, ecology, the environment, climate change, global warming, earth- watch, and new technologies etc.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

NZ Government must force dairy farmers to comply with regulations to maintain waterways...

View of the Manawatu Gorge, Manawatu River, Ne...Image via Wikipedia
The New Zealand Minister of Agriculture has lashed out at the dirty dairy farm practices of some farmers in the country. Last november NZ was lambasted by the British Guardian  newspaper as having a 'green image' that wasn't warranted - rather unfairly I wrote at the time.

Minister John Carter discussed an audit report that showed totally unacceptable levels of effluent the industry here. The audit showed an increasing rate of dairy farmers failing to properly treat the toxic runoff from their land, which in turn poisons waterways and streams.

In the Guardian article the Manawatu River was named, rightly or wrongly, as one of the most polluted  rivers in the Western world.

The Dairying and Clean Streams Accord report showed that while farmers are doing reasonably well at keeping cows out of rivers and bridging their their waterways, the treatment of effluent had gone downhill.

The Government is talking the talk, but is it prepared to walk the walk and take action to prosecute those farmers who are not looking after waterways that belong to us all.

The Dairying and Clean Streams Act was signed in 2003 under a Labour-led government, between Fonterra, the ministers of Agriculture and the Environment and regional councils, and aims to minimise the negative impact of dairying on our waterways. It sets a target to keep dairy cattle out of waterways and manages the use of fertilisers and other nutrients.

The government needs to more than just issue infringement notices,  it needs to fine the culprits thousands of dollars  to hurt them in the pocket and force them  show some consideration and responsibility to the industry and our waterways.

Minister John Carter needs to stop the rhetoric and force some action, even if it means losing a few rural votes for the National Party at the next elections, because this government shows all the hallmarks of being a one term government.

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