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New Zealand dairy industry in irrigation row

Farmers have spent $1 billion on green initiatives over five years.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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New Zealand dairy industry in irrigation row #teamdairy

Environmental campaigners have called for the capping of dairy production or cow numbers in New Zealand to tackle pollution in the country’s rivers.

 

Fonterra and DairyNZ have put forward plans to improve the quality of NZ waterways as the Labour-led Government announced it will stop loans for big irrigation schemes.

 

Funding

 

Following pledges to end loan funding by the Government, Irrigation NZ said it ignored ’irrigation’s vital role in regional growth and in climate change adaptation’, adding for every 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of irrigated land developed, 50 new jobs were created.


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Threat of irrigation abstraction fee hike Threat of irrigation abstraction fee hike

NZ dairy facts

  • 95 per cent of New Zealand production is exported
  • New Zealand accounts for 3 per cent of global production
  • NZ$12.4 billion (£6.42bn) of dairy products exported last year
  • Top five markets are China, US, UAE, Australia and Japan

Source: Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand

Following pledges to end loan funding by the Government, Irrigation NZ said it ignored ‘irrigation’s vital role in regional growth and in climate change adaptation’, adding for every 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of irrigated land developed, 50 new jobs were created.

 

Open day

 

NZ farmers also opened up their farms last weekend (December 10) to showcase the work being done.

 

Miles Hurrell, chief operating officer of Fonterra Farm Source, said farmers had spent more than NZ$1 billion (£0.51bn) on environmental initiatives over the past five years.

 

He said: “This is a major undertaking, but it highlights our commitment to getting this right. We are already seeing in some regions these actions are having a positive impact on water quality.”

 

The co-operative pledges included farming within regional environmental limits, reducing water use and improving wastewater quality at plants and investing in science and innovation.

 

Mr Hurrell said: “All intensive land uses have had an impact on water quality in this country.

 

“This is why we have to work together to address the issue. Today, we are putting up our hands and promising to work with communities to promote healthy waterways for Kiwis to enjoy.

 

“Importantly, we are backing our words with action and making tangible commitments we believe will make a real difference.”

 

But Greenpeace labelled the plans ‘a gutless betrayal’.

 

In November, it transformed Parliament’s lawn into a 50-metre long waterway as it delivered a petition signed by 68,313 people calling for ‘an end to state funding of big irrigation’.

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