Dairy farm­ers are lis­ten­ing

The Northland Age - - Local News -

The Col­mar Brun­ton sur­vey show­ing that healthy rivers and lakes were the great­est pub­lic con­cern in New Zealand came as no sur­prise to DairyNZ.

“We be­lieve so strongly that Ki­wis care about wa­ter­ways that we’re start­ing a move­ment, where the vi­sion is clear — we want all New Zealan­ders to do their bit to look af­ter rivers, lakes and beaches. You can find out more at the­vi­sion­is­clear.co.nz,” chief ex­ec­u­tive Tim Mackle said.

The dairy in­dus­try had an im­por­tant role to play, as about 15 per cent of New Zealand’s streams ran through dairy farms, and dairy farm­ers had been do­ing their bit, with 97 per cent of wa­ter­ways fenced off from stock, and sig­nif­i­cant work done to to es­tab­lish ri­par­ian mar­gins and wet­lands.

“Farm­ers over the last 10 years have also been sig­nif­i­cantly in­vest­ing in ef­flu­ent man­age­ment sys­tems that work with the land, and DairyNZ con­tin­ues to in­vest mil­lions of dol­lars into re­search, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy that will look af­ter our wa­ter­ways,” Dr Mackle said.

“Claims that in­ten­si­fied farm­ing con­trib­utes to wa­ter qual­ity de­clines are both ac­cu­rate and mis­lead­ing,” he added how­ever. The real­ity is that all types of land use con­trib­ute to wa­ter qual­ity, and that farm­ing, whether it’s veg­eta­bles, fruit, beef, sheep, dairy, deer or even wine, must all work to­gether to make sure wa­ter­ways are pro­tected.

“The most pol­luted rivers ac­tu­ally run through ur­ban cen­tres, and this is where the pub­lic can do their bit too.

“Farm­ers, in­dus­try and busi­nesses who don’t pri­ori­tise look­ing af­ter wa­ter­ways should be held ac­count­able.”

PIC­TURE / FILE

Pro­tect­ing rivers and lakes from pol­lu­tion is a job for ev­ery­one ac­cord­ing to DairyNZ’s Tim Mackle.

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