Dirty dairying

The Minister for the Environment, Trevor Mallard, was not in a very talkative mood this afternoon.   Russel asked him during question time if he was concerned that dirty dairying in New Zealand is now “gaining international notoriety?, as stated in Rural News on 29 August; if so, does he agree with comments in Rural News on 2 September that “the recently outlined National Policy Statement for freshwater management demonstrates an abject failure in leadership??

Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Minister for the Environment) : No.

Dr Russel Norman: Has the Minister read the Environment Waikato report, out yesterday, that says that water quality has deteriorated over the last decade—the years of this Government—and now more than 75 percent of waterways tested are unsafe even for stock to drink from, and how can a rapidly worsening water quality in the Waikato be anything other than an abject failure in leadership?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: Only the summary.

Dr Russel Norman: Has the Minister read the tourism industry election manifesto, also issued yesterday, that lists improving New Zealand’s environmental performance as one of the six Government priorities if we are to protect $8.3 billion of tourist income, and does he believe that the 70 percent of Waikato rivers that are unsafe for humans to swim in, due to faecal contamination, are actually 100 percent pure and tourists are going to flock to swim amongst the cow faeces and urine?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: To the first part of the question, only the summary, and to the second part of the question, if the member had read other media he would have seen that this Government has recently invested over $300 million in that very problem. We would have thought we would have praise for that, rather than running down the tourism industry the way that that member has…

Dr Russel Norman: Is the Minister concerned that the perception in the rural media is that “Fonterra must be sitting smugly on the back of its lobbying against the Government’s threatened hard line for the dairy sector?, as reported in Rural News; and is the paper not correct when it says that he is scared of Fonterra’s clout and his promise that rivers will be clean enough within a generation has now been sacrificed after the lobbying of big polluters?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: No, and, yes, it is not correct.

8 thoughts on “Dirty dairying

  1. Russel – THAT’S the kind of hard-hitting stuff we want from you. I hear the two ‘dirty’ parties combined forces to clobber you for your ‘temerity’. :-)
    Keep raking that s**t.

  2. Biogas Digestors would go a long way to cleaning up the factory farming industry as well as producing a little electricity.
    It seems dairy farming in NZ is now factory farming but any factory farm like chickens should also get rid of their waste in a bio gas digestor.
    Biogas digestors are powering villages in China so why can’t they power dairy farms in NZ.

  3. paranoid peter – biodigesters are indeed a good technology, but we don’t factory farm here in the sense that the rest of the world do. We do dairy intensively, and in theory there is plenty of poo to feed a digester. However, most farmers refuse to invest in the stand-off pads and herd homes required to collect/concentrate that effluent, so it is too far spread around the paddock to be of any use – except perhaps to global warming.

    There are two large scale biodigester projects in NZ that I know of, and early results are promising. Fingers crossed that more large dairy conglomerates start using them…

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