River fences mended
The Waikato River Authority has welcomed a move by New Zealand’s largest dairy company Fonterra to insist that its farmers fence their waterways as part of the terms and conditions for their milk supply agreement.
The authority’s cochairmen Tukoroirangi Morgan and John Luxton said this latest action by Fonterra was great news for the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River.
‘‘We know that there has been considerable effort by the dairy industry in the last few years to ensure greater protection of waterways on farms. However this latest move goes one step further in setting expectations and achieving better outcomes,’’ said Mr Luxton.
Fonterra said there were many farmers who already had stock fenced out of waterways and were fully compliant with this new standard but there were others who would need to do some work to meet the requirement. Fonterra will be giving its farmers 18 months to come up to the new standard.
The river authority has identified the protection of water quality in the lakes and streams that feed into the Waikato River as a key aspect of improving the Waikato River itself.
Mr Morgan said the authority congratulated Fonterra on the move. ‘‘This is another step towards restoring the Waikato River. We’ve always said that it will take a combined and collaborative effort from everyone who lives and works in the river catchment to make a difference. This is great progress.’’