Farmers Admit Role In River Pollution – But Will The Pay For The Clean Up?
WELL DUUUUUH. IT’S NOT LIKE IT WAS A SECRET WHO HAVE BEEN POLLUTING OUR WATER WAYS FOR 40 ODD YEARS. NOW STOP THE POLLUTION AND PAY TO FIX A PROBLEM YOU FARMERS CAUSED. OF COURSE THIS GUY HAS SWEET F.A. TO WITH WITH FONTERRA SO DOES NOT ACTUALLY MEAN THEY WILL ADRESS THE PAST AND PAY FOR THE DAMAGE.
AND GOOD ON TVNZ FOR DOING SOME ACTUAL REPORTING AND NOT JUST BEING LAZY AND MAKING SENSATIONAL STORIES UP. HAVE THEY GOT RID OF THE USELESS NEWS HEAD THEN?
Federated Farmers has admitted New Zealand’s growing dairy herd is posing problems for the environment and says farmers are doing something about it.
Massey University Environmental scientist Dr Mike Joy says nearly half of New Zealand’s lakes and 90% of the country’s lowland rivers are polluted.
Federated Farmers new president Bruce Wills told TVNZ’s Q A programme farmers have an obligation to farm sustainably.
Wills said agriculture gives New Zealand a competitive advantage but must be balanced with environmental concerns.
Wills said some farmers are on track with sustainable practices, but others need to step up.
“Farmers want clean water, like everybody else in society. We are progressing towards that – well, in some areas, not as quickly as I would like,” he said.
“I think there is some groups that need to step up their obligation to the environmental footprint. You know, 26% of our total export income comes from dairy. It is what we’re good at here in New Zealand. We’ve got schools to run, hospitals to run, bills to pay.”
He said the dairying industry pays New Zealand’s bills and helps shield the country from the same economic fate as some other countries.
Joy told Q A the pollution of waterways is getting worse and the big problem is the number of cows.
He said politicians have done nothing about intensification and more than 60% of our native fish are now threatened.
“Does that sound like a clean green country that has 60% of its freshwater fish (threatened)?”
The national dairy herd is 5.9 million, nearly twice the number of 25 years ago. And in the South Island there are 2.1 million, nearly seven times as many cows as there were six years ago.
The main worry about the cow numbers is nitrogen from their urine leeching into soil and water.
Each cow produces 14 times more waste than a human being. The total herd in New Zealand is therefore equivalent to more than 80 million people.
However, Wills said dairying is getting the lion’s share of the blame, but there’s a whole lot of other factors contributing to pollution of waterways, such as town sewerage systems.
“No question, farmers put their hands up and say, ‘We are part of the water issue.’ But farmers do want to do something about it, and they are doing something about it.”
Wills said he represents a new era.
“There’s a real mood amongst the farming community to keep in balance the road to profitability and prosperity, but keep in balance with that, their environmental obligations.
“And I can tell you that for the people I talk to and see in the farms that I regularly visit, there is good progress in meeting these environmental obligations that we need to meet,” he said.