Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has unveiled the terms of reference for the review of the 17 year-old Dairy Industry Restructuring Act which regulates Fonterra.
But Fish & Game Chief Executive Martin Taylor says those terms are confused and contradictory.
“The introduction specifically mentions dairy’s environmental impact, saying its practices play a key role in the environmental wellbeing of New Zealand,” Mr Taylor says.
“But then on page 4, it specifically excludes the environment as being outside the scope of the review.”
Martin Taylor says this exclusion contradicts the minister’s statement on 15 February when Parliament passed the Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill.
“The minister’s February 15 media release specifically said “the review will consider key issues facing the dairy industry, including, for example, environmental impact and land use.
“But now he’s backed away from that promise and the environment is specifically left out. We want to know why.
“There is no doubt that intensive dairying is hurting the environment and its entrenched, existing practices play a significant part in causing that harm,” he says.
“But the terms of reference announced today appear to ignore that and need clarification.
“Dairying’s success relies on the whole industry being environmentally sustainable for future generations.
“That means not polluting our waterways as well as paying the clean-up costs of its existing environmental damage.”
Martin Taylor says the Minister needs to confirm the review will consider three key questions.
1.What regulatory measures are required to ensure an environmentally sustainable dairy industry?
2.What incentives are required to ensure Fonterra delivers on nationally agreed environmental bottom lines?
3.What regulatory measures are available and appropriate to create the right financial incentives for dairy farmers to meet their on-farm environmental limits?
“As uncomfortable as those questions may be, ignoring them isn’t good for the dairy industry, the economy or the environment,” Martin Taylor says.
“The recent public opinion survey done for Fish & Game shows pollution of our rivers and lakes is one of the top two concerns for New Zealanders, with three quarters of those surveyed saying they are concerned about pollution of our waterways,” he says.
“The outcome of this review needs to acknowledge and address public concerns about our lakes, rivers and streams.
“The new reality is that no political party can win an election without policies that specifically and realistically address issues like water quality and climate change.”
By: Press Release: Fish and Game New Zealand
Source: Scoop Media