Media Releases 3 August 2007
Fish & Game New Zealand endorses the comments made today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment that the dairying industry is damaging the environment and needs to start paying for the water it presently takes from the wider community for free.
“Dr. Jan Wright’s call for the environmental costs and inputs of dairy farming to be paid for is right on the button”, said Bryce Johnson, Chief Executive of Fish & Game New Zealand.
“While many dairy farmers and industry leaders have taken steps to try and mitigate their environmental impact in recent years, it simply doesn’t go far enough. The profits of intensive agriculture are being made at the expense of New Zealand’s freshwater environment.”
“The income generated could then be used by Regional Councils to fund the restoration of the environmental damage caused by this industry which to date, it has failed to take formal responsibility for. In effect, the environment and our future generations are subsidising this booming industry. It is well overdue that, like any other business, full production costs are internalised and met by the industry. A cost for the huge water demands of irrigated dairy farms must recognise the cost of reduced natural flows in rivers and streams, the lowering aquifer levels and the degradation in quality of residual water bodies.
“New Zealand’s freshwater water resource belongs to all Kiwis and is not the priority or exclusive right of intensive agriculture. Meeting the true costs of production is one way intensive agriculture will accept responsibility for its adverse environmental effects.”
“A voluntary approach to environmental responsibility has not generated the outcomes needed. Perhaps the time has come for intensive dairying to become a controlled activity, especially with the new wave of expansions and conversions that will follow the high pay outs.”
For more information:
Chief Executive Fish & Game New Zealand
021 397 897