10 Jul 2013

Dairy industry's water accord launched

2:33 pm on 10 July 2013

The dairy industry hopes its new environmental strategy and water accord will benefit the environment and show people that the industry is working for everyone's best interest.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy launched the sector's new strategy and water accord at Parliament on Tuesday night.

Mr Guy says the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord sets out expectations for farmers when it comes to water quality and will result in a reduction in the environmental impacts of dairy farming.

He says the Government also has a role to play in the accord - through continuing to support research to reduce the dairy sector's freshwater footprint.

Mr Guy says the Government will also support research and innovation aimed at managing other environmental impacts of dairying while also allowing it to unlock its potential though irrigation.

Dairy NZ has been in charge of establishing the new environmental blueprint for the industry, which chief executive Tim Mackle says has six mains themes.

Three carry over from the last accord - stock exclusion, nutrient management and effluent management.

Dr Mackle says the three new areas are water use efficiency, riparian planting plans and standards for dairy conversions.

He says the good thing about the new accord is that all dairy farmers will be supporting it, not just Fonterra's farmers.

Everyone at the launch agreed that it is fantastic the dairy industry is trying to lift its environmental game and improve water quality but some say the new measures do not go far enough.

Green Party water spokesperson Eugenie Sage says no other industries can pollute the country's fresh water without resource consent and the dairy indsutry shouldn't be able to either.

"It's good that the accord embodies best practice but it's not enough to keep our waterways clean and to reverse the ongoing polution that we're seeing."